Post written a couple weeks earlier on my papa/family blog.
Just a 1/2 day here on campus on this lovely late-October Friday.
Homecoming is here. Classes ended at lunch. Life is good.
Beckett -- back on campus in his preschool for the first time in a full week -- came over to papa's side of campus to have lunch. Sitting on the floor of papa's classroom indian-style, the Long boys watched "Harold and the Purple Crayon" on the big screen while eating.
At some point in time, one of the good people that keeps papa's classroom clean came by with a vacuum to tidy up the room for the weekend.
Beckett celebrated her arrival by running *on top* of all of his student tables. Hard to fault his enthusiasm, although papa's students might have received a stern warning for similar behavior.
Mmm. Perhaps rapid, network-inspired change -- even in traditional markets -- is possible.
Even though things may appear to be resolved, it is worth reading Slyvia Martinez' follow-up blog post to the one that originally grabbed many of our attention. Note her efforts to find balance, which -- in spite of my own note left on the wiki -- is to be appreciated.
And also note the first commenter. I suspect that true resolution will be in bringing voices such as his and those who reacted out of frustration together to re-think the power of language when marketing to and about students/schools.
I wrote my own reaction to the NYSCATE session title earlier today.
Been kicking around the idea of jump-staring "think:lab" once again.
Been nearly a year since I had the site shut down for a couple of reasons (focusing more on my classroom, less on consulting; being a father of another new child; time; etc.). And while I had hoped to wait a bit longer until the good people at Typepad were able to get everything put back together in terms of the template/design bits, something 'woke me up' today. And regardless of a poorly designed blog, the time to begin writing/publishing again is today.
Here's what sparked it all:
Via Twitter (@smartinez, @budtheteacher, @karlfisch, @wfryer, and many others in my expanding network), I can't stop thinking about a single presentation -- that is about to be held -- at NYSCATE (The New York State Association for Computers and Technologies in Education) conference titled, “The Enemy Within: Stop Students from Bypassing Your Web Filters.”
Mmm. Students = enemies. An intriguing way to work on behalf of students, the very reason any of us have jobs in the first place.
Sylvia wrote about the upcoming session on her own blog: “Students are not the enemy.” She deserves to be thanked for nudging the rest of us into this ever-growing conversation. I also want to thank Wes Fryer for doing great work to take it to the next level via his recent blog post, "A proposed student social media protest campaign fro NYSCATE", that you should definitely read as well.
Ironically, on the upcoming session's NYSCATE wiki page, Karl Fisch discovered that the page is open and editable... a perfect recipe for adding a few of our voices to let Sophos and Chris Ridgway (the session's speaker/rep) know where this ever-expanding conversation may be headed.
I wanted to drop you a note to let you know that I find this session title and the frame that you're using to sell your services to be offensive and beyond the pale. Our students are not our enemies and their behaviors are not rooted in violence. So long as you make them out to be, though, you'll certainly be doing our schools and our students a great deal of harm.
I suspect you're a smart dude, wise about networks and the Internet. I hope you'll hear what I'm saying here and, in the future, when speaking and teaching about the actions of our children, you'll do so in a way that doesn't make them out to be criminals. Because they're not. No more so than vendors are scoundrels that prey on our worst fears.
All the best. I'd look forward to your response.
Even if that was all that was written, a critical point would have been made.
But, others had added their voices, so I thought I'd think-out-loud a bit on the wiki as well.
This is an excerpt of my much longer response left on the wiki:
Whether I consider my world view as a father (of 2 in diapers), as an educator (who now is a 10th grade English teacher), or as a speaker/consultant (working with school architects/planners around the world, and many vendors like yourself who hope to have their products/services spec'd into projects), I am stunned by the choice you (and your entire organization, since they are indeed associated directly with the presentation) made in terms of framing the underlying reasons why someone should select a school-wide Internet management strategy with your firm.
Ultimately this is just business. And I don't mean that a vendor can pull that trigger and ignore those who disagree with sales/marketing tactics. No. What I mean is that our collective, global, 24/7, 2-way response is "just business". While we may respond as people, parents, educators, and citizens, ultimately our response is "just business". And your bottom line.
While it is tempting for me to react as a father and as an advocate for my students (and the many I support world-wide), it is within my business/consulting/speaking role that I am most perplexed by your session's title. A marketing/PR campaign that is centered on fear has limited value, esp. when kids are now the "enemies" in a system where they are actually the entire point.
Worse yet, such a marketing campaign that suggests that those who advocate for kids should see *now* their relationship with young people as nothing less than *proactive warfare* strikes me as misguided, poorly conceived, and frankly the work of a late-night presentation drafting scenario decision process as a nervous speaker tries to figure out a way to superficially dress up their presentation in order to desperately scrum for business in a desperately competitive market.
This does not seem like an industry leader's voice based on wisdom and a view of the big picture. It sounds like someone fighting to keep their job.
The language -- “The Enemy Within: Stop Students from Bypassing Your Web Filters” -- you engaged your perceived audience with is at best merely buzz-language hype. Note: As an English teacher, I give you casual props for borrowing from something that was stated long before your product came to market, but that is a side point.
At worst, your language strips the very industry you are paid to *serve* of its mission and heart, not to mention the fairly painful irony that it attacks the very group that schools exist to advocate for...and to empower...
While most of you can be far more pithy and to-the-point than I can, consider adding your voice to Chris, his company Sapphos, and NYSCATE (the conference organizers).
Here's the wiki page link.
Look forward to reading your response.
If anyone else was curious: yes, I am. Effective now.
If anyone is curious why, please get in touch. I'd be happy to chew the fat.
Otherwise, it was just time. Life moves on. Priorities shift.
And certainly other voices are better suited for this state-of-education conversational game and have more valuable/timely things to contribute than I am able to do at this point in my life/career.
My Kids, My Students
Don't get me wrong. I still blog like crazy. It'll just be elsewhere.
But my days as an edu-blogger are now officially in the past tense.
All that previous "think:lab" blogging energy will now be dedicated 100% to my kiddo (and his bro/sis-to-be) and to my HS English students (each year):
Come Visit, If You'd Like
Feel free to swing by at any point.
While I'm not focused on outside voices being 'the point' of the exercise or fostering 'flat classrooms' per se, you are free to add your voice to the comment mix as long as it appears
As I said in my last post, thank you.
I've been very lucky to have this network offer me a seat at the 'table'.
And my students/child(ren) are the better for it.
I have no intentions of continuing to edu-blog here at "think:lab" after today.
I consider it the equivalent of a remarkable 'graduate' degree that I've been blessed to experience for the 3 years and claim many mentors, friends, & colleagues from this process.
The technical reason I am keeping "think:lab" alive is for archival reasons and that several other blogs I have use "think:lab" as a 'parent' URL, including my kiddos' blog. Thus, Typepad will continue to receive my yearly payment though all new blogs (including my 2 classroom blogs mentioned above) are now going to be WordPress.com sites.
3 days: my students return from summer break as my 2nd year (back) begins.
Now: it's only appropriate that now is the time to finally re-align the needle.
Thank you: for the connections, the lessons, and the vision along the way.
Been truly humbling to have a front-row seat in this remarkable edu-convo.
Funny. Just another 7 days and it would have been three years to the day.
Sunday post: "Fatherhood P.O.V."
Making It Easy for Santa This Time
Thanks to a QR Code generator, my kid gets his very own QR code this 12/25.
Suppose that means he'll be stealing papa's cell phone for legit reasons now that he'll need it to confirm that this actually reads "Beckett Michael Long":
Can't Think of a Time I Haven't
To be honest, every single keynote conference presentation I've given that has centered on re-thinking the future of school design, I flashed a shot (or dozen) of public QR code displays (esp. in Asia)...
...followed by the phrase:
"Learning is Everywhere"
For most of my arch/edu clients/audiences, QR codes were new.
I had little to zero interest in looking at the actual technology behind these content-embedded phone-scanning 'images'. That's somebody else's gig.
All I wanted to do was emphasize that information/content is everywhere -- along with the ability to connect to it, edit it, mash it up -- and that such a realization should have an impact on the way we think of 'boundaries' in campus/school/classroom design.
An Artistic / Slash / Marketing Swing
Take a look at the "Are you QRious?" video:
Legit info value? Performance art only? Or just Marketing 2.0 gone awry?
Even better: take a look/listen at this Pet Shop Boys vid that goes there, too:
Not sure if my Beckett will truly face a day when every street corner, deli shelf, billboard, movie ticket, hip-n-trendy clothing item, or museum display will be QR codified and PDA/cell phone readable. Maybe yes. Maybe no.
But the idea that "Learning is Everywhere" that underlies QR tech?
Well, that I'm pretty sure of.
Sunday post: "Fatherhood P.O.V."
Fast and Furious Connections
Over the last 24 hours, I've been blessed with a fast and furious flurry of gracious messages coming in from all corners of my networked globe.
While I'm not at liberty to explain the backstory until this coming Wednesday morning -- when I'll go all blog-post-ga-ga over it -- suffice it to say that even after 4 years of blogging this loosely coordinated message avalanche struck me as almost stunning.
Looking His Way
Looking at my kiddo's horizon-bent gaze this afternoon at the pool...
...I began to sense that such a flurry of network messages will be the norm for him throughout his future. Real time feedback from all corners of the globe sparked instantaneously by real-time events/actions within his life.
Its all digitally connected. And its all digitally immediate.
For me, still amazing. For Beckett, just the only thing he'll ever know.
Accessorize or Fade Away
From the trippy-cool gang over at Universitat de Kunste Berlin, down the Gestalten mit digitalen Medien academic corridor, lies a pretty oh-my project that sorta takes the theory of clickability [see below] to a whole new level.
Update of the ring as a status symbol.
Shows the number of Google hits you get, when you search for the name of the person who wears it.
Clickable is the New Black
As hinted at above, fellow edu-guy Will Richardson threw a pretty big idea-rock into our collective pond not too long ago.
He said, in so many words:
If you ain't thinking about what it means for your kids/students to be clickable in this economy, you ain't thinking.
He said it better, of course. But you get the point.
And I'm only hoping that for Beckett's sake, his future teachers will get it, too.
Sunday post: "Fatherhood P.O.V."
Putting Some 3D Funk in His A, B, C's
Rummaging around the family couch for enough quarters or a loose double sawbuck to purchase a single copy of this alphabetic-wonder pop-up book:
You Need a Card Catalog to Find Anything
Can't tell how many books the kid has near to his crib. Or on his floor.
Silly really. And we haven't even begun to 'read' yet.
Just repeating words, pointing at furry animals he knows the name of, classics like Mike Mulligan's steam shovel and bears named Berenstein, mama books mama reads best, papa books papa reads best, and some funky Japanese ones that are just cool for the sake of cool.
Yet, I'd give them all up -- in a blink of a librarian's eye -- for Marion's design-minimalistic alphabetic wonder book.
Even if paper-cuttin' Sabuda wanted to challenge me to a pop-up duel.
OK. I admit it.
You can't take my Sabuda.
Esp. the Alice's Adventures in Wonderland copy that I have on the coffee table next to my couch in my classroom. That's got a bear trap around it.
Sunday post: "Parenthood P.O.V."
But Ain't It Just Marketing?
Call me a design snob-geek. Or whatever comes to mind.
But if my kiddo (or any future kiddos) went to to a school that had design chops like this little kiddo academic research center -- of all things -- does, I'd be very proud. Now, if only their web site lived up to this lovely bit, then we'd really have some inspiration to wrap our parental arms around. [shrug]
And assume my kiddo would be expect to be read to each night in a toddler-sized Eames rocking chair, too.
Just Design. Right?
Check out this link and behold the power of oh-so-fine business card design.
Now, take out your stop watches and throw down your bet on when Ethan has a commission or two that get added to this list in the next few years now that his college years are about ready to launch.
Love what he says in a recent blog post about his new shiny camera:
When you carry a camera you see the world more.
Also rather appreciate his vision for his later years, post-college/career.
My Personal Fav
And the one I want to rip off straight away? [pun very much intended]