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Sharing: The Moral Imperative

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Sharing: The Moral Imperative By Dean Shareski for the 2010 K12 Online Conference I'm a giant derivative Think of that opening as credits or A bibliography of what I know. Obviously, I can´t possibly show you every place and person that I learn from but i hope you get a sense of the tremendous learning network I participate in. I owe those people so much. Collectively they have been a huge part of my learning journey for the past several years. Because everyone of them embraces a culture of sharing, I benefit. I won´t pretend that I'm going to share something new and original. That's really hard. As I scan the mountains of data that I've created over the past 6 years of posting regularly online in all types of forms I'm not sure there's anything there that's completely original and mine. I've been blessed to work as part of a larger community of learners, teachers, explorers and innovators who, in the spirit of sharing have thrown their ideas onto a giant whiteboard for others to use, critique and mash up. In the end, it's difficult to claim much ownership. I'm okay with that. We all seek recognition for our contributions but the moment we focus on protecting our work, we are in some ways the antithesis of a teacher. We, as David Wiley says, "invoke our inner two year old" and undermine the entire premise upon which education is built: that is sharing. Sharing, and sharing online specifically, is not in addition to the work of being an educator. It is the work. Ewan Mcintosh The first time I read this quote by Ewan I did agree with, but wondered if it might be a bit overstated. I mean "it is the work" seems a bit strong. You mean our work is to share things online? I'm been thinking about that one for a while After listening to Wiley speak, I now agree. David talks about the obligations of institutions to teach not only the students in the buildings, but beyond. And if indeed we believe that teaching is sharing, then if there is no sharing, there is no education. Our factory model of education meant that we had to confine learning to a space and a specific audience. As we know, this had its efficiencies and benefits for years. We're all products of this very closed, targeted environment. We didn't think of it as closed at the time because we didn´t know anything else. We're in the very early stages of a sharing revolution. And that sharing includes everything from your immediate presence, your location, your photos, your thoughts, your videos, your reading lists and more. For some it's too much, and for others, they can't get enough. In this early stage we've witnessed some important success that have proven the test of time. Social bookmarking, for example has been around for over a decade I remember using a service called ikeepbookmarks back in the early 2000's which is still around in fact. Social bookmarking as an educational sharing tool might be the most prevalent and easiest entry into the sharing culture. It's a pretty easy sell. You get to peek into the virtual bookshelves of anyone willing to share and use whatever you wish. It´s a great system. very unobtrusive and anonymus. You´re not required to invest or share anymore than you have to. It´s educational voyeurism that everyone feels comfortable with. But the moment you begin to ask about the people behind the shared resources and favorites, you move away from safe and into some vulnerability. All kinds of questions and concerns emerge as you venture into this world of sharing. Is it safe? Why would I do this? Is it worth my time? How do I make it valuable and meaningful? Those are all important questions I want to focus on something else I want to talk a little bit about Is this an obligation? Does my institution see value in this? And how will it help my students? Before the internet, we never really consider an obligation to share beyond our buildings. I mean, how could we even do that? Maybe you got invited to present at a staff meeting or conference, maybe your old college friend asked to use some resource you created, but these were rare. It was often the case that the teacher next door had no idea what you did in your classroom let alone someone from another school. Sharing was hard, sharing was a luxury, sharing was only for the students in your room. My experience is that most teachers love to share. Again, if sharing is education that makes sense that educators love to share. While there are exceptions, generally teachers are wonderful sharers. The sharing part is not the hard sell, it's the who and the where and the how do I share that not enough have understood. Remember the days when resources were scarce? I've been teaching now for over 20 years and had a single shelf of material when i began. Outside of a few textbooks for certain subjects, I had to scrounge to find resources for the eight or so curriculum that i was responsible for. I spent hours trying to develop learning activities to meet outcomes and had little energy left to spend on reflection and whether or not it was even effective. Today our problems are more about vetting and filtering information and ideas to find the stuff that's most relevant and useful for our students. Who better to vet and filter information about education that educators? What if you could share with the very best educators in the world. Today you can. Dan Meyer is a mathematics teacher from California. He's been teaching less than 10 years, but 4 years ago decided a blog might be an interesting thing to begin. He says: blogging was the cheapest, most risk-free investment I could have made of my personal time into my job. You start by writing things down that are interesting to you. practices you don´t want to forget. And then you start trying new things just so you can blog about them later; picking them apart, and dialogging over them with strangers. Periods of stagnancy in your blogging start to correspond to periods of stagnancy in your teaching. You start to muse on your job when you're stuck in traffic, in line for groceries, that sort of thing. That transformation has been nothing but good for me and it all began on a free Blogspot blog. Dan's done a lot more than simple muse about his job. He's created some outstanding math resources that he's shared for free. These resources could easily be packaged and published by large companies and sold to educators for significant dollars. One such resources was a video series called graphing stories. Dan Meyer. Santa Cruz, California ...resources in my third year of teaching I was really unhappy with the, a particular transition between math topics, the transition to a graphing, from single variables, and i got this idea and i spent I recall, about 18 hours on a weekend. so, total of 40 hours, 18 of those were spent either, filming this the raw materials for this lesson or editing them on my computer or putting them into a format that I can use in the classroom, this is a long lesson and i mentioned them on a blog that I've done this and a lot of people said look this is a recipe for burn out, to spend that much time on web lesson. Instinctively I told myself well, look, i can reuse this every year here after if it's good. And it was very effective for my goals and then to give a credit to their concerns I put it online the day after in a format that could be downloadable by anybody anywhere I put it a dvd disc image so you could download this image and create a physical dvd that i use in class that has the generic handouts on it, some instructions for using it yeah, I just put it up there, just like that I figured that the more you use it, the more, the less, cost those 18 hours worth to me. So I was really interested in a lot of people getting whatever use out of it they could, so If someone, I offered people I'd mail them the dvd, the first 30 people who posted about it on their blog So i got some traffic on my way and eventually at the end of two weeks i checked my stats and 6,000 people had downloaded the disc image in those two weeks, so in an instant my 18 hour time cost felt like nothing to me, it was much more worthwhile. I asked Dan if he had anyone who could speak to using his resources in his classroom I found an educator in Scotland, his name is Chris Smith Here is what he has to say about using Dan's stories. Chris Smith, Scotland .... ... .... my department just to share ideas ... for lessons. .... useful websites that you may want to look at ..... in the classrooms .... ..... ....... just .... really fresh and.... ideas and .... ....... I was able to share that in my .... ...for myself.... ...... something that should be ... should be.... should be.... active instead of doing that .... ....... ...... .... this is an opportunity for them to.... ...real life scenarios... attention.... a lot more sense to.... something out of the ....... I think the .... students.... ......... ................ Every single day you are the beneficiary of sharing. Whether it's a published textbook, a district created resource, a book you read or as often is the case today, something you found online. Does your district have any idea how much you save them by using these freely available resources and ideas? Your students lives and education are so much richer by having access to people like Dan and countless others because they've embraced a culture of sharing. Are we willing to share even a little bit of what we have and know? We're not all having to share in the same fashion of Dan Meyer, and as he said, the benefits of one lucid comment or idea can be golden to someone. Your experience, your insights are worth sharing. It costs you nothing but your time and the Return On Investment can be exponential. Recently, George Couros, a principal at an elementary school in Edmonton, Alberta, shared a project he had done at his school called the Identity Fair. And unlike Dan, who spent countless hours developing a very polished resource. George, simply as part of his day and excitement over what was happening in his school shared bits of a very simple idea that had some pretty significant outcomes. George Couros, Story Plain, Alberta. One of the things that was happening ....just got this idea that as we had this event called identity fair, identity... day, whatever you want to call it. the kids brought this .... of display... the science fair concept, but it was about themselves what they are passionate about. I just went around with my blackberry and took pictures of the topics and so I put the tag identity fair so i could actually go back and look at the information later so i just made it easier for myself and then .. people wanted to look then i had these resource that I was creating for the... We had a girl that has Tourette Syndrome and that was her identity fair display, where she had, she talked about Tourette Syndrome so that she could explain ...understand part of who she was and it was like a, it's even talking about it, anytime I talk about it, I get a teary eye immediately because it was such a moving day it was something she was so passionate about and then, I wrote about her first and a lot of people were writing me comments because I shared that with her mother so, she actually wrote back on my blog, so she used that as a forum, and then, that was my blog post was used by the national like the Canadian Tourette Syndrome Society or something like that, so they used that as something that they picture on their facebook page and so they add maybe this connection with this national society and then I wrote about the process of that day, kind of what we did so we got a lot of comments about it so they actually set that up in Texas so we are in Story Plane, Alberta which is like a small town just outside of Edmonton And she is somewhere in Texas with her school, and she decided that that was going to be what their school did as an opening activity and before we walked to the school she had sent me an email but first she sent me a message saying we just did day q, it was amazing, so i took that email and i posted it and blog about it and wrote about it and how it is in my opinion to as we do share this good practices because i've been at six schools and or five or six schools, and no matter what I always love the kids And i find out, if i go to ten more schols I'll always love the kids and if we are really advocates for education we want to make sure we are sharing our best practices with other people and open to them.... and so when she did that, she put ....wasn't exactly ..... it was amazing that it was inspired by us, and then i showed her ... this is something that we did. to see and my idea.. now was... it wasnt about sharing something amazing it was sharing something amazing that i was inspired and the staff has done our kids were also part of, it was just

Video Details

Duration: 25 minutes and 55 seconds
Country: Canada
Language: English
Producer: Dean Shareski
Director: Dean Shareski
Views: 8,054
Posted by: k12online on Oct 3, 2010

Dean Shareski's K12online pre-conference keynote. This keynote looks at the new obligation of sharing for educators. With stories from the a variety of sources, the fact that we now have the ability to teach and share beyond our classrooms is moving from "nice to do" to "necessary to do". See if you agree.
Twitter ID: @shareski

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