Sunday, May 21, 2017

My Weekly Diigo Bookmarks (weekly)

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

My Weekly Diigo Bookmarks (May 14, 2017)

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Are Fidget Spinners The Problem Or Is It Our Mindset?

photo via

The recent uproar about fidget spinners in schools has me reflecting about my recent post on the potential problems incurred by organizations that solve all of their problems through a strict adherence to the policy manual.   While the United Airlines story was certainly an extreme case, I do think we miss out on some valuable opportunities when we just take a hardline approach and not engage in some constructive dialogue about other options.

While I am not sure how long the fidget-spinner fad will last, I do know that it will begin to fade at some point. I also know that there will be some new gadget or gizmo that will become the next hot item that our kids will want to have in their hands. Will we add that to our growing list of banned items or will we instead take the opportunity to have a constructive dialogue with our students.

When we jump to ban things, we fail to give our students credit for the fact that they are capable of discussing behavioral expectations. We send the message that we don't trust them and that we will need to step in to protect them from themselves. My experience has been to the contrary and I know that students can help us articulate how, when and where a fidget spinner or the next thingamabob should be used in the context of school.  If we are wrong, we can always go to the ban as step two.

Missed Opportunities

It's funny, the first time I saw a fidget spinner was while walking through our middle school classrooms and one of the science teachers was making them with his students. He was excited to show me the spinner and talk about the science involved with his students.  I wonder how many other science teachers took this opportunity?

A few weeks later, my 11-year old daughter purchased one at a local toy store and then we went home and looked on YouTube for some of the tricks that we could try with the spinner.  It was fun to share that time with her and see what the kids were getting so excited about.  As adults, I think it is important to get some firsthand experience with something before we make up our mind about it.  We need to take an interest in their interests and not just brush them aside as trivial.

In the end, my daughter decided not to take hers to school because she did not see a time in her school day where the fidget spinner would be valuable to her.  But the important thing was that she was able to make that decision for herself.

The best example of what can happen when we collaborate with our kids on things like spinners comes from the news segment below from Alabama where educators decided to build lesson plans around this item that has captured the attention of so many students.  It is sad to me that the majority of headlines on fidget spinners were negative and that we did not see more schools and classrooms look at this as a chance to make meaningful connections with students.

Unless we are talking about a safety issue, we need to ensure that we are not invoking the centuries-old "ban reflex." Do we see problems first or opportunities?

WBRC FOX6 News - Birmingham, AL

Sunday, May 7, 2017

My Weekly Diigo Bookmarks (May 7, 2017)

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

My Weekly Diigo Bookmarks (April 30, 2017)

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Monday Must-Reads - April 24, 2017

As a means to try to get myself writing in this space a bit more, I am starting each week by sharing three posts that I came across during the previous week that struck a chord with me. While my intentions are mainly self-serving, I am also hoping that a few folks might catch a post that they missed.

Let's see how many weeks I can keep this up...Four weeks and counting...

1.  72 stunning things in the future that will be common ten years from now that don’t exist today - Thomas Frey

In this post from his site, Futurist Speaker, Thomas Frey reminds us of all of the innovations that we have seen in the last 10 years (i.e. FitBit, Netflix, Facetime, Uber, etc.). With this in mind, he looks at some of the things we can expect to see in the near future.
"If we leapfrog ahead ten years and take notice of the radically different lives we will be living, we will notice how a few key technologies paved the way for massive new industries.
Here is a glimpse of a stunningly different future that will come into view over the next decade... 
 3D printed makeup for women... 
For education and training, we will see a growing number of modules done in both virtual and augmented reality... 
Crash-proof cars. Volvo already says their cars will be crash-proof before 2020...
 Smart chairs, smart beds, and smart pillows that will self-adjust to minimize pressure points and optimize comfort... 
Facetime-like checkups without needing a doctor’s appointment..."
2. How Rudeness Stops People from Working Together - Christine Porath

Christine Porath discusses a recent study from medical settings and how incivility among team members can result in poor medical outcomes for patients. There is little doubt that similar behavior by team members in and professional setting can lead to poorer outcomes. Sometimes individuals impacted are not even aware of their detachment.

"People who lack a sense of psychological safety — the feeling that the team environment is a trusting, respectful, and safe place to take risks — shut down, often without realizing it. They are less likely to seek or accept feedback and less likely to experiment, discuss errors, and speak up about potential or actual problems. Even without an intimidator in the room, they work in a cloud of negativity and are unable to do their best."
For more on this topic, check out Porath's new book Mastering Civility: A Manifesto for the Workplace

3. Plum's Creaturizer - A Neat AR App to Get Kids Exploring Outdoors Richard Byrne

Just in time for the warmer weather, Richard Byrne provides an overview of a great Augmented Reality app that allows them to place fictional creatures in real-world settings. The app is designed by PBS Kids and it is free on Android and iOS

Sunday, April 23, 2017

My Weekly Diigo Bookmarks (April 23, 2017)

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.