Monday, August 6, 2012

Early August Musings

It's back to school time and the brief break has faded into the late evening sky.

I made a purposeful effort to shut it down for a week and a half in order to clear my head....this included limiting my use of devices.  I felt more recharged than I had in a while at the end of that short respite.

Now August is here and the education world is churning fast and furious again.

A few quick items that have been spinning around in my head that need to be on paper:

1. Connected Educator Month is a model for how professional development could look like in the future.  There are daily events through the end of August.  Click here for the schedule of events.

2. In college my friends and I often would refer to each other as S.C.U.O.P (pronounce it however you like) under certain circumstances.  Since you already gave up, it stands for Self Contained Unit Of Pleasure (next side's been a  LONG time since I thought of that).  To reset this for an educational context, connected educators should take to calling themselves S.C.U.O.P.D (Self Contained Unit of Professional Development).  The primary SCUOPD vehicle is Twitter, which I've been preaching about to educators in my District.  I've purposely kept the list of those I follow small, in order to not be swallowed by my feed.  Follow me @scarletandgray to tap into my list (but if you don't want to follow me, do yourself a favor and follow @NMHS_Principal).

3. While Twitter is awesome and it is revolutionizing the spread of educational ideas and enhancing professional development, I have had to force myself to moderate to a degree.  This medium represents everything that is wonderful and terrible about the web all at the same time.  The wonderful part is the amazing range and breadth of information that is at our fingertips.  The terrible part is the amazing range and breadth as well.  Without developing clear cut guidelines for using this tool (Twitter), the sheer vastness of the information torrent will overwhelm you and render all of the information useless.  For me, I do my best to check my feed once or twice a day, but if I can't get to it I usually read only the most recent day's worth of tweets.  To go back and try to make up for lost time is tough in the Twitter world.  I also try and avoid tweets that talk about the top 10 this or top 15 that.  With as many tweets as there are, you have to be purposeful with your click throughs.  Finally, while Twitter is great, I've found that it has reinforced the bad habit I've developed of skimming everything I read.  Skimming is a great way to get through lots of content, but it is a terrible tool for encoding and retaining information (at least for me).  In order to exercise all parts of my brain, I have at least two books going at any one time in order to take care of the deep level substantive work that my job requires as well.

These are exciting times in the world of education.  Being purposeful and thoughtful about your personal professional development will only aide and add to the energy that this fast paced profession elicits from the best and the brightest.

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