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More Reflective, More Creative, More...

Posted by on in UNward!
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ONE: This week I learned that another hallmark of a 21st-century education is “reflection time.”  Nancy BlairKelly Tenkely and Mark Weston, Ph.D. made me aware that taking time during class to reflect is now in vogue.  This came as quite a surprise, since “reflecting” during class was called  daydreaming when I was in school and riveted attention to the sage on the stage was the mandate. Sounds like a 21st-century education is much more fun.  

This is a very exciting development to those predisposed to reflection. I just want to know where Nancy, Kelly and Mark were when I really needed them back in high school. (Smile.)  

I enjoyed listening to How Do We Encourage Reflection Among Students and Teachers?, and it was the most popular segment on BAM Radio this week.  I take solace in knowing that if this notion catches on, the next generation may be free to daydream, er… ah..., I mean “reflect” in class without being scolded for failing to focus on where the real learning is happening. The show also attracted an interesting tweet from Tim Vagle who struck a chord with several people: 


 Thanks Tim!

TWO: Match education technology to specific student needs - Of course!  This must be happening everywhere, right? Surprisingly this is not necessarily true. This week I learned from Sharon Plante and Brian Friedlander that schools are “starting to divide into camps” - becoming MAC school districts, Chrome school districts or Windows… Often, the technology platform selected by the school for general use may not be the right technology based on individual student needs. Brian offers a useful framework in this episode, A Four-Pronged Model for Matching EdTechTools to Student Needs  Thanks, Sharon and Brian. This was an eye-opener.

THREE: Insightful takeaways this week from Vicki Davis’ interview with Melinda Kolk on being more creative educators and encouraging more creativity in students.  Melinda noted that being truly educated is not about having all the right answers but about knowing all the right questions. 

Somewhere between elementary school and high school I got convinced that I was supposed to have all the right answers.  Somewhere around age 40 life convinced me that I didn’t.  What a pleasure to be freed from that burden... to be able to explore the world again with the curiosity of a child, scaffolded by the insights of a few decades of experience. In the episode, Vicki quoted Sir Ken Robinson who said, 



Three Proven Ways to be a More Creative Educator was among the most popular segments on BAM Radio this week and is worth a listen. 

The Gap: What We Think We Know, What We Really , What We Do

ONE: This week I learned that I don’t know anything about “rigor,” and apparently I’m not alone.

When Barbara Blackburn closed her interview with Vicki Davis by saying that there is a broad “lack of understanding of what rigor is” among educators, I was surprised. How could this possibly be in the wake of all the vigorous discussions about rigor in education today?  I thought, hmmm Barbara should probably brace for some pushback on this one. As it turned out her episode, Three Myths About Rigor: What It Is, What It’s Not, What It Looks Like in the Classroom was the most popular segment on BAM Radio this week.  The only challenge I did see was a provocative tweet from Lori Lalama, @techeducator1   accompanied by the following definition:  

Well, I thought I knew what rigor meant.  Apparently Barbara was right.


Both of the remaining “aha’s”  this week came under the heading of,  do I really have to keep learning these lesson over and over again?






 lessons I leaned this week


hmmmm I wonder how this if going go over


TWO:  It’s quite possible that one of the most important life lessons is one of the most ignored across the entire education community. This week Nancy Blair, Peter Spiegel and William Chamberlain reminded me (for the billionth time) that it’s critical to take time to rest, rejuvenate and take care of ourselves.  I know, this sounds like a GEICO commercial “everyone knows that.” Yet the gap between knowing and doing in this area is wide and seems to be getting wider. For fourteen years I took every Wednesday off to spend eight hours alone in the mountains. I invariably  returned energized and was undeniably more productive for the rest of the week,  At some point  I convinced myself that I had too much to do to continue these Wednesday retreats,  so I decided to make Wednesday another workday. This week’s Edchat Radio segment, Five Ways to Rejuvenate Yourself and Stay Energized for the Rest of the School Year reminded me of what a foolish decision that was.  


THREE: The final most important lesson of the week came during this week’s episode of BrandEd with  Joe San Fellipo, and Tony Sinanis (Yes, Joe’s contract requires that he gets top billing).


Listening to the first few minutes of Joe and Tony’s show is like chasing three cups of java with a can of Red Bull.  The energy and the amplitude are off the scale.  As you listen to the opening banter between them, two things quickly become clear: They are nothing like the school superintendent or principal you grew up with, and you are definitely not listening to NPR. 

But behind the self-deprecating humor, quick wit and schoolyard ribbing, is a serious commitment to supporting kids, educators and learning that matches or surpasses any of the 3,000 plus guests who have appeared on BAM Radio.

 I’ve often listened as lively, engaging and interesting guests were magically transformed into talking- point-delivery robots by four simple words,  “Okay, we’re recording  now.”  It’s as if somewhere it is written:

                       “Thou shalt be professional and professional sounds like this and only this”

The lesson for me is that we don’t have to “sound “ serious to “be” serious about our commitment to kids, education and lifelong learning.


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I'm the executive producer of BAM Radio Network, which means I get to eat, sleep and drink education talk radio. Over the last 10 years, I've been a fly on the wall in over 4,500 discussions between some of the most thoughtful, passionate and fascinating educators in the nation. On these pages I share the most important lessons I've learned from them, along with an occasional rogue insight of my own. BACKGROUND: I am a 25-year veteran of the media. Over those two-and-a-half decades, I had the opportunity to author four books; write for The Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, The Washington Times; and spent three years as a popular radio talk show host on KIEV in Los Angeles. I worked for seven years as an "on air" political commentator and co-hosted the Emmy Award-winning program Life and Times on PBS television. I eventually moved on to become a business reporter at KTLA in Hollywood. Owing to some great mentors, some good timing and perhaps a shortage of available talent, I managed to pick up five Emmy nominations and one Emmy Award along the way. Oh by the way, I went to Harvard. Well … actually, I was invited to speak there once, but I really learned a lot from the experience. :)

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Guest Monday, 17 June 2019