Thursday, September 11, 2014

Attention to Detail

A friend of mine had the opportunity to listen to one of the directors of Frozen speak about prepping for the movie.  Prior to creating the animation they took people to South Dakota during the winter.  They wanted to film a woman walking uphill in the snow.  They found out that there is a unique way by which her foot sunk in the snow with each step.  They videotaped this, and in looking at the video also analyzed the way her hair swayed as she walked.

Chip Kelly, head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles, has incorporated science into his coaching.  An article on discusses how he uses the "latest wearable player-tracking technology" and monitors "resulting data in real time to determine how players and when they become injury risks."  Another article I read about him discussed how he monitors their sleep habits with the same technology, using the resulting data to determine how rested they are as practices and games approach.

This kind of attention to detail cultivates excellence.  What would this look like in schools?  What's stopping teachers from videotaping every lesson (every practice I participated in while playing college football was taped and reviewed) and sitting with colleagues to analyze?  What's stopping administrators from having a colleague shadow them and take notes along the way, and then sitting and reflecting at the end of the day, or during intervals throughout the day, to see what went well and what needs improvement?

What would this look like in your school?  And how would you make time for it?

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Power Windows

Saying we need more technology in schools is like saying we need every car to have power windows.  Sure, the air is going to get into the car quicker, but it's still the same air.

To assume that more technology is going to result in more learning is inaccurate.  I've had the fortune of working with and/or watching some genuinely awesome teachers during my career.  A grand total of zero of them were awesome due to the use of technology, and a grand total of zero of them would experience a decrease in awesomeness as a result of a loss of technology.  They are awesome for a number of reasons, none of which have anything to do with technology.  Unless...

Unless they understand that technology is simply a tool to be used to strengthen their students' knowledge and develop their students' skills.  Unless they use twitter and blogs to widen their professional learning network and expose themselves to a variety of resources.  Unless they utilize technology to empower their students to think creatively and critically.

If we don't do these things, and so much more, we're just rolling up the car windows faster on a cold day.