sharing… education… same thing


In his 2010 TEDxNYED Talk, David Wiley said, “Without sharing, there is no education.” At the time, I chalked it up as being one of the many inspirational takeaways from that day. But, more and more, this has maybe become the way I think of everything in education… my own, my students’, the whole thing in general.

I’m in the late-beginning-ish stages of planning for a new model of technology professional development for my school, as I’m going to try and facilitate a half-day unconference. For many, it’s going to be the first time they take part in an unconference, and I’m excited to see what comes of it. But I’m more excited to see some of them experiment with things they’re not necessarily expert in and to share with each other. (I’m excited about this regardless of what my grad school professor thinks about decentralized professional development…)

I’m also hoping to get them into a more networked way of engaging with others. Not in the “I’m going to post this status update” kind of way, but in the kind of PLN-aware way that I’ve benefitted so much from in the last ten plus years. From NYCIST to EdCamps to Twitter chats, this kind of decentralized and uninstitutional lifelong learning is something that I believe everyone can and should benefit from.

And now we can start turning to the people who make the products that we use every day to help us share, build our networks, and continue learning. ShowMe makes a great iPad app that not essentially makes your iPad an interactive whiteboard but, more importantly, has cultivated a community of teachers who share their ideas and lessons freely. Livescribe makes a great pen that allows people to record notes, lessons, audio — pretty much anything except video. As if that wasn’t cool enough, they also host a collection of teacher-contributed pencasts. Explain Everything is a very new iPad app that lets you “explain anything and everything” — make and share videos, collaborate on ideas, and do live presentations. They’re also accepting submissions for videos to feature on their EE Showcase. Heck, Polyvision, the makers of eno interactive whiteboards, had some colleagues and me to their New York City headquarters to talk about how we use their products, what we would like to see from them, and talk about how we could actively help them with some future planning.

This is significant — vendors and other people whose tools we use know that none of us are quietly using their products and keeping to ourselves. We’re already sharing our experiences with each other, and they’re encouraging us to share with them so that they can help make our experiences better. Is it to also make their products bstter? Sure it is. But there’s a more immediate benefit for us in that we can expand our networks, learn new things, and help others learn. 

No one should be doing this alone. It’s not what education is about, and there’s too much teaching and learning to do.

photo credit: self-explanatory