Thursday, November 8, 2012

Why Abundance?

I just finished reading Will Richardson's book Why School.  Among many compelling ideas and insights, in the book he promotes the idea of abundance as a key driver of change in education.  Things that we have long thought to be scare (i.e. effective teachers and learning materials) are now, in fact increasingly abundant.  Yet many of our practices still reflect a view of the world that sees them as limited.  More on this in future posting for sure, but the immediate application here is that Richardon challenges us to do more sharing and contributing to this vast array of resources.  I think he is right, and so I will.

As a School Development Coach for the New Tech Network, I am frequently attempting to establish and maintain lines of communication with schools and teachers to support their work to create meaningful learning experiences for students.  In the past, this has taken the form of a weekly (or bi-weekly) email blast to all of the teachers I am working with.  These emails have been a mixture of logistical network announcements, probing questions, strategies and resources, and enticements to share.  While I received some positive feedback at times about these blasts, I have increasingly struggled to send it out - due to the following I think:
  • Too many purposes and audiences (bad practice to mix logistics with resources with attempts to collaborate.  
  • Artificial structure - a weekly email seemed to imply a structure to the collaboration and communication that was never really there. 
  • Too many goals meant emails were TOO LONG!  I am very guilty of being overly verbose and I am certain that my emails have been less effective for some teachers due to their length.  
 Part of my new solution to the above issues is this blog.  I try to remind myself to do more "publish, then filter" when it comes to sharing resources and thinking with my colleagues.  Rather than having a regularly scheduled email with strategies and resource sharing, I am going to try to push all of my PBL thoughts and resources I find to this blog space.

My hope is that this will have the benefits of allowing me to push things out more regularly and in smaller doses.  Additionally, I hope it becomes a place that teachers can seek out on more of an "as needed" basis.  It might also stimulate greater discussion and sharing via the comments features.  I am also hoping to promote some forms of digital literacy (RSS Subscriptions, Twitter, etc) through the blog as well.

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