I love connected educators. While I have no hard data to prove this, I believe that educators who tweet, join live Twitter chats, and converse in Facebook, Voxer, and Flipgrid groups are better, in many cases, than teachers and leaders who are not connected.
My experience on all of these platforms is that these connected educators are working very hard to be the best at what they do. They share links to wonderful resources and articles about innovative teaching and learning, and they participate in some inspiring conversations that help me reflect and, in some cases, drive content at Times 10 Books. This is powerful, free professional development.
If you’re not sure of a tweet’s intended meaning, why not simply ask the tweeter what she means?
In spite of all the thought-provoking PD happening on social media, there’s still a problem.
As I observe a mountain of marvelous content on Twitter, I’m also seeing an increase in what looks a lot like subtle bashing of other educators who submit their ideas of “best practice.” I put that phrase in quotation marks, because many EduTweeters can’t agree on what “best practices” are.
This bashing, which some people defend by saying, “I was talking about the idea, not the person” is, surprisingly, prolific, which might make you wonder, How can this happen in the education space? These are adults, after all, who are supposed to model proper behavior for kids.
Someone recently posted the following tweet:
Good teachers will spend some time this summer thinking about how they can improve their lessons next year. That’s just what they do.
The tweet was liked thousands of times and retweeted over 500 times. I have to assume this indicates that thousands of people agree.
One popular connected educator disagreed, though, and replied to the “Good teachers…” tweet with this:
The rest of us crap teachers will use summer to rest and take a break without feeling guilty about not thinking about work. That’s just what we do.
That comment sparked a furious conversation that included tweets about unfollowing the author of the “Good teachers…” tweet. Others said the author should simply be disregarded for various reasons. Soon, more zingers followed in support of the popular dissenter, all seemingly aimed at disparaging the “Good teachers…” author.
One well-known connected educator defended the “Good teachers…” author, expressing shock at what he believed to be a “mob mentality.” This was swiftly met with the “I didn’t do anything wrong/ he didn’t do anything wrong” defense.
As I continued to read and offer a different perspective with a few tweets of my own, I envisioned a similar scenario in a different venue with different participants.
It looked like this:
A young girl at school was sharing a poster she’d created for a class project. A few kids liked it and said it was beautiful. Some asked the teacher to hang it up, so visitors could see it when they entered the room.
A few students, though, didn’t like the poster; they understood it to mean something entirely different from what the girl had intended.
They felt it made a statement about the kind of kids they were and that it smeared them in some way, even though they never asked the girl to clarify the poster’s message.
They said the girl had created content like this before and that she should be ignored. “Let’s not play with her anymore,” one zealot shouted. “Truth!” one of the popular kids yelled.
Soon, a few other students, who didn’t know the girl at all, heard the commotion and stuck their heads in the room.
They noticed the popular student shouting at the girl, so they joined in. It had to be the right thing to do, if the popular kid thought so. None of them, though, bothered to ask what the girl’s creation meant.
The ridicule continued. The people who liked the girl’s work lost interest, while the others became louder. When the teacher said they should stop, they shrugged and replied, “We didn’t do anything. We’re just talking about the message on the poster.”
Meanwhile, the girl, who had drawn a beautiful picture of three children with lightbulbs over their heads, dropped the poster and hurried out of the room.
One of the students who had wandered into the class picked it up and read a quote under the picture. It said:
Good students will spend some time this summer thinking about how they can be better students next year. That’s just what they do.
Thanks for reading and, as always, let’s try to hack learning every day.
It might not feel like spring in the northeast and midwest United States, but we’re still Hacking Spring, with an amazing Hack Learning Twitter share contest!
We gave away more than $5,000 worth of books and T-shirts at Empower18 Conference last month, in in effort to spread the word about Hack Learning–a movement aimed at helping teachers and learners easily solve some of their biggest problems.
We’re still solving problems and giving stuff away
Spread the word about Hack Learning, and win!
All you have to do is share a cool, funny, unorthodox, amazing, hacky picture or video on Twitter, get plenty of engagement, and you’ll have a chance to win our Grand Prize!
Keep reading, because this starts TODAY and ends Saturday, April 7, 2018.
Take a picture or video of you or a friend or family member with your Hack Learning T-shirt, Empower18 Hack Learning booth pic, and/or a Hack Learning Series book.
Share the pic/video on Twitter.
In the share, mention @markbarnes19 and add #HackLearning. (NOTE: all shares MUST contain both @markbarnes19 and #HackLearning to be eligible to win.)
Ask for likes and retweets (optional but helpful).
The three Tweets with the most engagement (combined likes and retweets) win!
3rd place — $50 Amazon Gift Certificate
2nd place — $75 Amazon Gift Certificate
GRAND PRIZE — 15 Hack Learning books, 1 coffee mug, 1 tote bag ($500 value)
When is the contest?
Start posting to Twitter NOW: Thursday April 5th
Contest ends:Saturday April 7th at 8 PM ET
Winners announced: Sunday April 8th at 11 AM ET
Tweet your pic NOW!
Hack Learning Ambassador at Empower18 Conference
Tweet a pic with you, a Hack Learning T or book, and/or our banner for a chance to win
What’s the purpose?
Simple: We want people to see Hack Learning books, so they’ll be inspired to check out one of education’s most powerful problem-solving movements. And we’re not afraid to enlist your help and incentivize sharing with cool prizes.
We give away more content than anyone–over $100,000 in FREE content to educators around the world in 2017 and 2018! After all, Hack Learning is not about making authors or publishers rich; it’s about making educators better!
Share your pic or video on Twitter now. Tag @markbarnes19 and #HackLearning. Promote your Tweet, so you can win!
NOTE: Hack Learning authors and team members are ineligible to win.
Let me begin with full disclosure: Before I learned about Unanswerable Questions in Hacking Mathematics, by Denis Sheeran, I thought just about everything math related was unanswerable. Admittedly, math has always been pretty elusive to me.
After reading about Unanswerable Questions, though, I’m looking at math and pedagogy differently.
Rather than talk around Denis Sheeran’s concept, I thought I’d just share it straight from the mathematician’s mouth–or at least from his book.
Join Times 10 Publications founder and Hack Learning Creator @markbarnes19 in the Blogger’s Cafe at Empower18 in the Boston Convention Center, for a fast-paced live #HackLearning Twitter chat.
Of course, you can tweet to the chat from anywhere, but how cool is it to hang out with some of the coolest EduHackers in the world, during this amazing chat. Plus, you can learn how to build your Personal Learning Network (PLN) and actually build it during this chat.
Don’t forget to add @markbarnes19, one of education’s most influential tweeters (or is it Twitterers?).
School must get all kids to comply. School must organize large quantities of children, manage them, sort them, quiet them and control them. For a lot of kids it may not be a big deal. For some, it’s like stealing their soul. — Anonymous
Some weighed in by raging against the machine:
😢helping my 9 yr old grandson w/ his hw. 2 teachers & a para in the clas. No one checks hw. No feedback. He said “Gram, this is so boring & stupid & no one cares about his!” Last night-synonyms antonyms 10 words. 2018 with 1960’s homework. We need to get back to the future!
One regular commenter in this Facebook group had this initial response:
No, you can’t. You can advocate, you can argue, and you can encourage him in a variety of ways. But you can’t change the school or the teachers–it’s not in your power. You can help him to find satisfaction in other ways/venues and maybe within the school or within certain classes. Teach him to hack his own way, eh?
After all of these incredible comments and suggestions, I kept coming back to the previous quote.
And I wonder, is this right? Is school change out of my control? Is it out of our control?
Or, is it possible that we have all the power, and we only have to choose to exercise it?
At the very least, one expert, New York Times bestselling author Jessica Lahey, believes that we need to keep showing the evidence of what’s best for kids to educators. Here’s what the author of Gift of Failure tweeted:
So sorry, Mark. I left a school yesterday with a teacher SERIOUSLY pissed at me for criticizing “teaching” methods that don’t actually teach. Stick to the evidence and keep speaking up for kids and their learning.
Talk about best practices: Create discussions on social channels and at your school about best practices. Ask, “How can we eliminate old school methods and replace them with progressive pedagogy that inspires student engagement?”
Share stories like this one: Share podcasts, blog posts, and Facebook statuses, in which parents and educators discuss their experiences about kids who hate school and what they’re doing about it.
Encourage participation: If a kid hates school, encourage her to join a club, go out for a sport, or try out for the play. The more kids participate in things related to school, the more likely they are to start enjoying it.
Be present: Talk to teachers, school leaders, and parents in your own school district–especially where you kids attend school–about making learning fun. Don’t let them tell you it’s not about the fun; that’s a load of crap and simply not true.
So, what’s my final take on all of this? I’ll continue to advocate for my son, and I’ll continue pushing his teachers–and all educators–to be the absolute best they can be.
With your help, I believe we can make a difference.