The invisible God

Photo by stevendepolo from Flickr
Photo by stevendepolo from Flickr

My heart was racing when my wife told me the story of my daughter explaining how God is in her school everyday and that he’s invisible. She said they talk about it each day when they look at the flag. I instantly thought, “Oh my, her teacher is telling them they can think about God during a moment of silence.” I’m not against worship, but I think school is a safe zone for this kind of thing. Turns out my fears were for naught and my apologies go out to Mrs. M., whom I’ve not even met yet.

No, no. My daughter was speaking of the God of:

I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

Her God just happens to be invisible, not indivisible. She’s still right.

“Mad Men” and a mad quote for education

Donald Draper picture available from American Movie Classics, "Mad Men" site.

Donald Draper, the main character in the tragically smoky drama “Mad Men,” has a way with words to which I sometimes aspire. While talking with his partner about a client that thinks they want younger copywriters on their project, Draper senses the clients simply want what their competition is doing. To which Draper responds:

Success is related to standing out, not fitting in. One wants to be the needle in the haystack, not the haystack.

I’d like to find more needles (read engaging teaching and learning; administrators, teachers, and parents who “get it”) in our schools.

What I’m reading

Photo by foxypar4 from Flickr
Photo by foxypar4 from Flickr

In the interest of the greater good, and for selfish reasons to help preserve my own education, I thought it would be helpful to list what I’m reading now as it relates to teaching and learning as well as to the technical world in which I find myself for many hours of the day:

Some materials I am, have, or want to be reading:

  • Groundswell by Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff
    I thought this would be an interesting read because it focuses on how social computing (e.g., blogs, YouTube, social bookmarking) can be used to grow a business. I think there may be some application to education by accident in this book, but I’m not far enough along to be sure. Once I return it, this book will be available at the Lafayette library.
  • Born Digital by John Palfrey and Urs Gasser (Just finished)
    This was a good read, especially after the first few chapters of gloom and doom. This is a book that every parent, teacher, and administrator should be required to read. I think more people would be able to put into context any fear mongering the media has wrought of online predators as well as find the value in being content creators and not just consumers. This book is available at the Lafayette library.
  • Weblogg-ed, a blog by Will Richardson
    Will is short of an educational wizard in my opinion. He’s someone who understands that schools need to change their approach and that technology can help serve as a means of assisting, but is by know means the driver. He updates frequently and gets a lot of comments on his posts. I also follow him on Twitter @willrich45 and he is offering change through his Powerful Learning Practices professional development model. He wrote a great, easy-to-read book titled,
    Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts, and Other Powerful Web Tools for Classrooms.
  • Leading and Learning,” a publication from ISTE (International Society for Technology in Education)
    This is ISTE’s major magazine publication, which I swipe from my wife’s bag all of the time. I find some useful bits in here. The issue I’m reading now is focusing on how much flexibility online courses provide high school students, though my wife tells me they’re a major drain on district budgets.
  • Journal of Research on Technology in Education,” a peer-reviewed journal published by ISTE
    I was thrilled to know Lafayette subscribes to this journal. The most recent series in the archives has a major research project all to do with student response systems (a.k.a. clickers) and varying pedagogical approaches to using them. I realized tonight I need to start devoting more time in my work day to reading these types of materials.

I’d love to know what others are reading as it relates to more project-based, student-centered teaching and how technology is transparently helping to make that happen.