Sunday, May 22, 2011

Predicting the Future with Marshall McLuhan

I just finished reading The Medium is the Massage. An Inventory of Effects by Marshall McLuhan and Quentin Fiore. Published in 1967, it is a prescient work, predicting with amazing accuracy the effects of technology on our lives. Here are a few quotes from the book that particularly struck me:

What does it mean that we have been saying these things for 43 years?

"Our 'Age of Anxiety' is in great part the result of trying to do today's job with yesterday's tools - with yesterday's concepts"

"Character no longer is shaped by only two earnest, fumbling experts. Now all the world's a sage."

"Ours is a brand-new world of allatonceness. 'Time' has ceased, 'space' has vanished. We now live in a global village... a simultaneous happening."

"The circuited city of the future will not be the huge hunk of concentrated real estate created by the railway. It will take on a totally new meaning under conditions of very rapid movement. It will be an information megalopolis."

"In the name of 'progress,' our official culture is striving to force the new media to do the work of the old."

"Education must shift from instruction, from imposing of stencils, to discovery - to probing and exploration and to the recognition of the language of forms."

Monday, May 16, 2011

Results of my BYO Laptop Survey

Thanks to everyone who participated in my survey. I greatly appreciate your input. Here is a link to the results (I have removed email addresses). You can also see the results embedded below. Scroll to the right and down to see more responses.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

EdCamp Boston Reflections

It was a great day. Over 100 educators came together to create and consume their own learning. I guess what is most amazing to me is that it wasn't amazing to me. I'm not surprised it was a great day. I wasn't nervous that it wouldn't go well and I had no reason to be. We had an amazing team of organizers, fabulous and generous sponsors and an enthusiastic crowd of participants.

The bottom line is the success of the conference is in the hands of the people that attend. And the people who attended Edcamp Boston did so because they wanted to give up a Saturday to learn. There were no PDPs, no one forced them or made them go. They went because they wanted to. With a crowd like that, it was sure to be a great day.

I attended my first unconference in 2007 at the first Edubloggercon at NECC in Atlanta. I had never experienced a group of educators making their own professional development. It was empowering and engaging. I was so inspired that I brought edubloggercon to Boston thanks to Alan November who hosted our first unconference in 2008. Lisa Thumann and I continue to organize Edubloggercon, but our event is much smaller compared to edcamp.

Edcamp Boston was my first experience organizing a much bigger event. But at it's core it was a great day of learning and that is what is so great about unconferences. There isn't a keynote speaker, no one gets paid to do what they do, we volunteer because we believe in the experience.

I want to thank Dan, Greg, Karen, Larry, Laura, & Steve for all that they did to make this a success. It was wonderful to work with all of you and I look forward to doing this again next year.

If you loved Edcamp Boston or if you missed it, you aren't too late. Check out these upcoming unconferences:

Plus I'm working on organizing an Independent School Unconference following NAIS in Seattle in February. Stay tuned for more information about that and let me know if you would like to be part of that organizing team.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011


For the month of May I signed up to do 31 classes of yoga in 31 days at a studio very near my house. Thus far I have completed 10 classes in the last 10 days. This may explain all of these yoga related posts.

There is a pose in yoga where you lay on your back and grab on to your feet. Most teachers call this "happy baby." One of my teachers calls it "dead bug." Both can describe what it looks like to be in this pose, however, I would much rather be the former than the latter. Words matter!

I may soon have to change the name of this blog to The Power of Yoga...

Friday, May 6, 2011

Making Progress

Inchworm 3 by dreambird, on Flickr
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.0 Generic License  by  dreambird 

I started doing yoga almost one year ago. This week I've been noticing the little bits of progress I have made in my practice.  They are very little bits, but I'm trying to take note of each one and not take them for granted. I can now touch my toes, only with my finger tips, but that is more than I could do before.  I still can't do a wheel (back bend) or a headstand. For me, touching my toes with my finger tips is real progress.

Progress is the key to assessment. Where you start is as important as where you finish. Hyperfocus on the end goal misses the distance of the journey in between. As the school year comes to a close, take a moment and look back to see how far you and your students have come.