Posts Tagged ‘sharing’
by I like
Lots and lots have been said about the quality of Finnish education. I admire what they do and how they do it. I do not envy those who want to try to replicate or borrow ideas for implementation.
I am not going to add much to that conversation either. But I will point out what one Finnish educator said at Mind/Shift:
“You know, one big difference in thinking about education and the whole discourse is that in the U.S. it’s based on a belief in competition,” Sahlberg said. “In my country, we are in education because we believe in cooperation and sharing. Cooperation is a core starting point for growth.”
I think that value system is what allows the Finnish to “finish” first in education. But because they are not in competition with anyone else (except perhaps themselves), they do not ever finish.
What do our teachers and educators believe in?
A recent article at Edudemic posed an interesting question: What If Every Tweet Cost You A Dollar? The context of this question was the cost of data plans offered by service providers.
But I have a broader question. What if it cost you money for the right to make a statement on Twitter, Facebook or your blog?
If we focus on the cost to ourselves, we would be more careful and selective of the things we would post. We would prioritize what to share and we would have to decide if to share at all. Money and the right to speak up aside, it also takes time and effort to write or podcast.
But if the cost to us to share is very low or even free, why share at all? I think the answer is simple. The cost to others incurred by us not sharing can be high.
Derek Sivers shared his thoughts on sharing. In a nutshell, what is obvious to you might be amazing to others. If we do not share, others may not be inspired. @preetamrai, organizer of the the educamps in Singapore has a website called Smarter By Sharing. Both you and your audience stand to gain because you share and they share in return.
I try to share as many of my PowerPoint based presentations or resources as I can in SlideShare. I prepared a resource for just five visitors from Vietnam; online it has seen over 500 hits. I put online a resource from my ICT course that I no longer use today; it has been used over 12,000 times in SlideShare.
These numbers are tiny in comparison to even better resources at SlideShare, but I think those who share do so with a similar principle in mind. We share not just because we care. A resource may lose value to us over time, but someone else might find it relevant. We share because that is our responsibility as educators.
This simple presentation is for the Japan Association for Promotion of Educational Technology (JAPET) delegation which visits NIE tomorrow. In the spirit of open sharing and sharing under the Creative Commons, I am making my slides available here.
But sharing has its issues.
Some people may not be comfortable with sharing information. If that was the case, then we should not host visitors in the first place.
I think that it is not a case of if you share information but how you share it.
I think the presentation slides should be as helpful as possible, so I try to embed links in them. But I do not think that the slides alone should tell the story or provide all the information. That is what I am there for. That is why most of my slides are heavy on images and light on text.
There is one important exception to that rule. There are many excellent presentations in SlideShare that are designed to convey information in the absence of a presenter or a voiceover. Those presentations are standalone.
Whatever the presentation, the resource should be open so that you have an immediate and an extended audience. The immediate audience might benefit now and the extended audience later. You just don’t know exactly when or how with your extended audience.
I recall a conversation with an inservice teacher who used a YouTube video to try to convince her school principal to adopt a new edtech strategy. The principal was unmoved not because the idea was bad but because a Caucasian voice was selling the idea.
I do not think that principal was racist. He was merely stating something I have noticed too. Many of the really good videos, Slideshares or infographics seem to originate overseas. Why is there so little content from our own shores or with our context in mind?
I think there are a few reasons for this: 1) we do not encourage content creation as much as we could, 2) we expect someone else to create the content, and 3) what little we create we do not share openly.
I have commented briefly on the first two points when I reflected about how we should stop nannying our teachers. If we favour content consumption over content creation, our learners remain passive and we do not model progressive pedagogies.
If we do not share more openly, then we are not opening ourselves to critique. Just look at the content that remains locked in most LMS or official repositories. They remain unimproved, and like any closed system with little input, remain barren. The mindset of how the resources are used does not change.
Compare that with the open sharing of resources on Twitter, Google Docs or other Personal Sharing Networks. Compare that with what happens in OERs like OER Commons which build on the foundation of Creative Commons.
Given the choice of a well-manicured and walled garden or a slightly messy but self-sustaining and more natural environment, I would choose the latter every time.
I met Derek Sivers at a TED briefing last week.
There are so many reasons to share. For fame or to shame. For caring or connecting. To inspire or be inspired. It is important to share because you never know who you might have an impact on.
Just don’t share your goals. If Sivers is right about the research he cited, doing this reduces our impetus to actually get going.
It’s Friday, so it’s time for something seriously light-hearted. This video is from the Ministry of Defence, UK.
The agenda was not anti-social media. The message was be safe, not sorry. You can understand this from the military point of view.
Companies and schools worry about the same thing but for different reasons.
Apple doesn’t want its employees tweeting about iPhone 5 or iPad 3 because it’s a dog eat dog world business world. You can understand that. Schools don’t want teachers ranting about horrible student work because it’s unprofessional. Understandable.
So we should all think before we post online because EVERYONE can read what we think or feel. Everyone can interpret or misinterpret what we say. Everyone. This includes those that support you (hello!) and those that don’t (hell-o!).
But worrying about this can stifle both creative and critical thought. People use social media for many things: To share, rant, crowdsource ideas, get feedback, promote, etc.
I use it to reflect out loud. If you agree with me, great. If you don’t, even better. Let’s think when we share!
According to LifeHacker, ShowDocument allows “instant document-, whiteboard-, and browser-sharing sessions with anyone. You can collaborate on documents in real-time without the hassle of installing an application, and everyone involved can save the result.”
Sounds like a nifty tool that my teacher trainees can use next semester!