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Peter Skillen
Education bricoleur. LOL Basically, I love to tinker with all ideas related to learning.
Education bricoleur. LOL Basically, I love to tinker with all ideas related to learning.

Peter's posts

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Peter Skillen commented on a post on Blogger.
“The government, both state and federal, has invested a lot over the last ten years…Maybe instead of investing so much money developing a new product, the government could have invested more in regards to support and infrastructure…simply providing support in the form of coaches with the implementation.”

Yes, the essence of what you are suggesting here, if I read it correctly, is that you wish for decentralized decision-making on top of a decent infrastructure—and then providing appropriate ‘just-in-time professional learning for teachers.  Sounds reasonable to me. Actually, so much has been invested over the last 35 years, it tears at the core of my being. I have watched the arts, outdoor education and school libraries losing their support and funding while we spend countless fortunes on the latest and greatest technologies and then distribute them ‘equally’ across schools where they are either hardly used at all or used in extremely superficial ways—or perhaps in destructive ways. We make awesome teachers feel less than worthy if they are not using technology and we propel some mediocre teachers to pinnacles of success because they geek out (even if their educational practices are dubious).

Invest not in equipment to be wasted, but in people to become wise.

Regarding leadership, you say, “Another point of confusion relates to the leadership and guidance surrounding the support of ICT in schools.” Yes, it is absolutely amazing the preponderance of roles! And, who gets these roles? Often, it is the computer-savvy not the learned learner.  
I remember when I was in a central position in a school district of 140 or so schools back in the early 80s.  We wanted to have a representative from each school so that we could build capacity. Most school principals designated the computer savvy individual. Not what we wanted. We wanted the learner, the sharer, the education savvy, the education bricoleur.

We also want, as I delicately said in Another Brick in the Wall, leaders to not be posers—to be ignorant—to be advocates for something they know little about. How dare they make decisions for the lives of kids and teachers when they are not themselves immersed in this.

It is the ‘illiterate telling the literate what to read’.

“To me, palming responsibility off to students is not stepping to the side, this is stepping out of the classroom. What eventuates in this environment is a culture of fear where because you never really know what the students are doing, you jump at every flash and bleep that may occur.”

Aaron, I love this. We see a huge number of tweets with simplistic statements (as you and I have discussed <g>) such as ‘the teacher just needs to get out of the way’! No. Wrong. As you suggest, if I may paraphrase, the teacher needs to be finely attuned to the intention to support the learner. Then you will have sentinels at the watch for all that goes by. You will be ‘at the ready’ to opportunistically grasp anything that is useful to the learner. You must be vigilant so that you do not miss events relevant to your intention.


In my humble opinion, other reasons for the failure include that we are shortsighted and that we have a short memory for the past and that we are seduced by the corporate antics that woo our leaders and our teachers to be corporate harlots.

We need to look to the past—to many great educational leaders (Dewey, Bruner, Vygotsky, Papert, etc.)—to do well in our future.

Thx for this post Aaron.

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Peter Skillen commented on a post on Blogger.
Hey Aaron,
There are so many points in here that I wish to discuss with you. I thought I might be able to have a read and do it this evening - but, alas, I wish to invest appropriate effort here in response. I will do so - once it 'sits with me' for a night's sleep! :-)

In the meantime, I can't recall if you and I had a chat about "Another Brick in the Wall".  It relates to this topic. If you haven't read it, let me know. I'll point you to it and then maybe we can merge our thinking and perhaps learn a bit more together.

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Peter Skillen commented on a post on Blogger.
Ok Aaron,
Now you are making me think TOO HARD!! :-)
As a result of your post, I am gaining more respect for 'one liners'!  I guess the fact is that it is not the one liners that cause the problems - it is what one does with them as we both have said. They are excellent starters for deep discussion as we can spend time unpacking them with colleagues. We can look at the 'intention' that brought them to be 'one liners' and we can examine the complexities that reside in what seems to be a simple statement. Then we can have a look at dangers and opportunities in perpetuating these one liners. :-)

I am glad you are reading George and Stephen's work on connectivism. It is a passion I share!

I need more time to digest the rest of your post so I will come back and visit it again soon.

So glad we have met.

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Hey all! Peter here. I started teaching elementary school in 1970 and taught grade one - PRE-VELCRO! lol

I began my experiences with computers and kids with some grade ones in 1978 and took a fairly constructionist stance then and since. I did the district technology leader thing for a couple of decades in the 80s and 90s before I had my final explosion with those who chose to institutionalize rather than to empower. ;-) (I wasn't so well versed in 'appreciative inquiry', 'evocative coaching' and having 'difficult conversations' in those days.)

But, actually, am thinking it's (r)evolution time once again!  

Are ya sure, Lyn, that you are up for all this?! :-)

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