5 Conversations I Don't Want To Have Anymore

Source: http://conversationsinsocialmedia.files.wordpress.com/2010/07/conversation.jpg

Meditating on the crazy stuff people do from day to day in the service of schools, I realized that a fun article to write might be something along the lines of, 5 Conversations I don't want to have anymore. It's an idea that I immediately plurked/tweeted/fbook'd and received only a few responses, all definitely worth sharing.

Of course, here are some of the conversations I just don't want to have anymore:

  1. Education reform a la implementation of a new curriculum or professional development approach. As a beneficiary of my own incredibly diverse, rich professional learning network (PLN), I find that I need less of traditional professional development and more face to face conversations about what I'm learning. For me, PLN Talk isn't about convincing others about the certainty of great ideas but finding people who are interested in implementing great PLN ideas in their work setting.
  2. The merit of using Moodle, wikis, blogs in K-12 education. You know, after so long, it's incredible that schools still resist the use of these powerful learning technologies. I'm tired of arguing whether they will work or not, or trying to convince people. Listen, if you don't get it, you don't get it...I'm moving on.

    As cited in a Texas CTO report, "School districts are more focused on dealing with the problems of Web 2.0 than on challenges to leverage Web 2.0 for learning." Enough already.

  3. The value of empowering end users to use social media tools (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, Plurk, RSS feeds) to connect with their community and stakeholders. One of my favorite presentations on this (of course, i did it for Texas Chief Technology officers Council) quotes Seth Godin. It goes like this:

    “While you’ve been hiring Communications experts to create a smooth-talking, slick appearance for your K-12 school district, establishing policies about who gets to post what, and creating a chain of command to ensure that only appropriate and approved materials show up on your static district web site, your students, teachers, parents, community and Media outlets have been creating little interactive web sites for their own use, telling their version of your story."
    --Miguel Guhlin’s adaptation of Seth Godin’s work in Meatball Sundae (must-read!)

    Wake up, School Leaders and Communication Experts! Let's stop having that conversation because, to be blunt, if you don't get it, you probably have something else motivating your learning.
  4. School finance changes. I don't know if anyone noticed, but I nuked my budget notes over the last legislative session. What a soul draining experience to review those...deleting them allowed me to shed rocks out of life's rucksack. While I encourage journalists and citizen-journalists to keep pour disinfectant by shining spotlights on the actions of the few that damage the many, I find reflecting on the tough changes to be unproductive and depressing. Let's figure out how to do more with less since that is a constant in the education universe.

    And, finally, the last thing I want to not talk about anymore is...
  5. ...the idea of any one solution being the be all, end all for education. As a technophile, my focus is on learning in whatever form and sharing that. Too many blog entries are focused on a new technology (e.g. livebinders) as being the must teach tool to teachers. Instead, I want to focus on helping educators build professional learning networks that will help them become community collaborators and co-learners. Of course, WordFoto does catch one's eye.

Since I shared this blog entry with others, here are some of the conversations fellow educators said they didn't want to have anymore:

From PLURKers:

mweisburgh I don't want to talk about standardized testing as a way to evaluate teachers anymore
classroom_tech I'd rather not have any more conversations about who is to blame for broken education systems. move forward, people! not backward!
shirky17 says Do I really have to do this assignment? How many points is it worth?
MrP_tchr says Why are all these free educational websites blocked at school?

From Twitterers:

What conversations do you want to start having?

Update: Wow, some folks have sparked to this meta-conversation. Thanks to Stephen Downes for sending folks thisaway:

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Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin's blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure


Unknown said…
How to make "school" the place to be. How to get kids excited about learning within the given framework of assessments & curriculum
Justin Stortz said…
I don't like when people say "Hallelujah!" or "amen!" to stuff like this, but wow, somebody might need to. I feel you on #5. Ugh... Thanks for sharing.

- @newfirewithin
RobDarrow said…
The conversation I would like to have are about the types of schools that will cause all students to graduate from high school.

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