Sit Rep!

It’s the very start of the summer, and here’s where I’m at with projects:

1. The Massachusetts Digital Publication Collaborative is happening tomorrow, and I’m pretty excited. We’re over 600 people registered- making it one of the larger one-day education conferences in the northeast. I’m leading one session the first day, and I’m leading four sessions (including a keynote) the second day. Busy busy busy. Exciting stuff, though.

2. I’ve had to put the fifth episode of Tangential on hold for a minute.  Between the end-of-the-year, exams, moving my classroom, #madpc, and getting ready for some genuine vacation time, there’s not been any time to shoot or edit an episode. The subject and script are both ready, I’ve just not been able to crank it out. Keep calm: I’ll be doing it this summer. Earlier- but likely not for about two weeks. Likely. As it stands right now, the entire Tangential series is less than twenty minutes long- but don’t underestimate how densely packed that twenty minutes is. That’s wall to wall, foot to the floor delivery- and boy, being a Boston kid, can I talk fast.

3. I’ve had a bit of a transformative moment after watching this video put out by Tom Sach’s studio. I’m not entirely sure why it’s effected me so much- but it’s been creeping into my life ever since. I’ve been knolling my cutting board in the kitchen while making our meals. No, really. Anyway, I think some of the concepts will form the basis of my new Media Production classroom for next year. The idea of “sacred space” and “the code” are pretty compelling. So compelling that I’m writing my own handbook for success.

That’s it, for now.




Hey Folks!

Lots going on, even though it’s the very end of my school year. The fun don’t stop.

1. The Mass Digital Publication Collaborative is nearly here, and numbers are booming! Nearly (as of Friday, anyway) at 600 people coming, and I do hope you’re one of them. The schedule is up, and I’m running a few sessions. The catering’s being done by B.Good, who are both excellent and excellent to work with. Can’t say enough good things about them. I’m getting excited- and I’ve got tons to share. If you can’t make it, make sure you follow the conference on twitter with the #madpc hashtag.

2. I’ve been doing the research for Tangential Ep5- I’m hoping to shoot/edit/post that this week, likely earlier rather than later. It’s a bit crazy right now with finals and whatnot going on, but I’m going to try to get it done anyway. View counts are still pretty low there, but I’m hoping that’s because it’s the end-of-the-year wind-down and nobody is looking for new stuff right now. Though, truth be told, it could just as easily be because (a) nobody really wants to see me that close up or (b) nobody really dives into the tangential stuff I do with Lord of the Flies. 50/50 really.

3. I’m working on some digital publications. That should come come as no surprise, I suppose, given #1, but it’s true. I’ll post more about them when they’re in a state to be posted.

4. I’m doing a bunch of work to refine my setup. Nothing that’s posted on the Setup page as of yet, but some clear changes that’ll simplify and amplify how I work, I hope. Cutting back on the number of machines I work at/with, clearing up some crazy cable messes, mounting things differently, etc… One of that inspirations for that came from this excellent video, found via The Setup.

5. I’m doing a lot more posting over at G+. More so, even, then here or twitter. I can’t recommend it enough as a platform, and it’s really maturing nicely with features. By far the most interactive place I’ve found to share ideas.

That’s it!

I’m starting to worry.

The title to this is a teeny bit misleading, I know. I always worry. It’s part of who I am.

Given that, the title should be “I’m starting to worry about all this collaboration-focused education doing disservice to the introverts in schools” but that wouldn’t fit. I just posted a new Tangential last night, and it deals with Introverts and Extroverts and Lord of the Flies. But that got me thinking (again) about how we accomodate those two personality types in the classroom.

We’ve been putting a tremendous amount of faith in the power of collaboration in the classroom- and I’m not saying that’s entirely a bad thing. There’s a lot of good that comes out of collaboration, and there’s a lot of collaboration that goes on in the working world. It’s an important skill, and it suits the extroverts in the room well.

But our rooms aren’t full of extroverts- they’re full of a mix of extroverts and introverts, and with all the focus being put on the extroverts in the room, I worry about the smaller group of introverts being ignored. Susan Cain makes a good point surrounding this in her TED talk on the subject- and while when that came out there was a bit of nodding and agreeing on the subject, I haven’t seen anything actually done about it. I wonder about the spread of introvert vs extrovert among classroom teachers- are we overwhelmingly extroverts? Is the performance aspect of what we do attracting significantly more extrovert and therefore skewing our ideas about teaching the general population?

Maybe I’m sensitive to this sort of thing- maybe years of being put on the spot in classrooms has made me overly shy about doing the same thing to a student. Maybe the current view is that students that are introverts need to be trained how to be more extroverted in the classroom. Maybe extroverts need to likewise be trained to be more introverted in classrooms.

I don’t know why. I’m not sure why each group can’t be taught to use what they have as a gift and work with it. I’m not sure why we have to be compelled to try to change the fundamental nature of how student function.

I think the better plan is to teach students how to exploit the way they work- teach the introverts to embrace the introversion and the extroverts to use theirs. It seems obvious- as they’ll want to function that way in life anyway. The ambiverts in the room can practice moving between the two.



For a second, while cleaning out the span in the comments on here, I thought I had a live comment. Nope!


1. I helped write a grant for a 3D printer for my school, and it got accepted. So that’s good- and this week I had a meeting with a rep about some of the printers he carries and offers. I’ll give him loads of credit- he knows his stuff, and he was totally awesome to deal with. He’s offering his for more than twice the price of what I asked for, so that’s something to be thought about, but regardless it’s looking like we’ll have a 3D printer at the school next year. Awesome.

2. My session this summer with EDCO is running for sure, which is good news. I’m really looking forward to that. There’s still room, from what I gather, so get in while you can.

3. The MA Digital Publication Collaborative is coming along nicely- that is to say “is accelerating wildly.” The schedule is up, and I’m running a ton of sessions- so please, sign up and come and share. Last I looked we were rapidly approaching 400 people- and we still have some room for more…

4. I’ve got three episodes of Tangential up- the cover some basic vocab, the Milgram Experiment, and an overview of the Robbers Cave Experiment, the Stanford Prison Experiment, and The Third Wave experiment. I’m really enjoying doing them, and I’m hoping to get another up in the coming week. These are all part of the first unit devoted to Lord of the Flies- a book I have strong feelings about teaching.

That’s it, I think. Loads going on in the wings, but I’ll make sure to post about other new exciting stuff as it happens.





Tons of stuff.

1. Tangential, my new ELA podcast is two episodes deep right now, and I’m really proud of it. I’m starting with Lord of the Flies, and I’ll keep going to cover tangential topics related to other books as well.

2. Long Road Home is still live, but I’m changing the format somewhat. I got sick of one camera in the car, and I want to make it a little more stimulating visually. There are two of the new-er style up now, and I’m not entirely settled on where it goes from here.

3. The 2012 Massachusetts Digital Publication Collaborative is edging closer and closer. I’m still excited, and I’m still teaching a ton of sessions. Come!

4. I’m still teaching a summer workshop on iPads in High School classrooms with EDCO. You might still find it useful.

5. I’m starting some work on some digital editions of some books- It feels nice to get back to building books, as it’s been a good while since I handled anything properly large. I’ll post links as those go public.