Well, I set up this blog over the summer with the best of intentions. And then life happened, as is usually the case. Something about my house needing to be completely rewired, then all the drywall repaired, then painted… I’ve been living in somewhat of a disaster zone for the last couple of months, but fortunately the holiday break gave me the time to get things (mostly) back in order. All’s well that ends well, but I will say that if I never sand drywall again, it will be too soon. That certainly hasn’t been the only thing I’ve been up to… teaching, working with cadets, and a fair few committees have also kept me pretty busy on the professional side. The point is, writing here ended up being a fairly low priority, which was probably necessary, but I wish it wasn’t the case.
While I haven’t been saying much here, I’ve been fortunate to be part of some great professional conversations on Twitter through #mbedchat and #cdnedchat. I remember when Twitter first launched I thought “well this is useless, who would want to text to the Internet?”. Well, I was really, really wrong about that.
Also on the subject of things I might have been really, really wrong about… When I first heard Alfie Kohn speak a fair few years ago, I wasn’t buying his message about grades being a “bad thing”. Lately, though, I’ve found myself thinking that maybe he was right. I’ve noticed that my own students seem very focused on their mark, and wonder whether that’s what I want them to pay the most attention to. I used to think that high standards and a clear grading scheme helped to promote student learning… but now I wonder whether placing a grade on something often means the end of learning on a particular topic or task. I’ve also found myself thinking about what exactly high school is for students, I’ve come to the realization that a lot of the time it is “I have assignments which have due dates, and I need to make sure I do my work so I am caught up and have no missing work”. And it troubles me a little bit that “learning” doesn’t appear anywhere in that description. Plus, I wonder whether boiling down a semester of hard work, learning, challenges, and triumphs into a two-digit number might be a bit silly. This is definitely something I need to do some more reading about.
I’m not sure what I think about New Year’s resolutions… I don’t often make them, and I note with interest there are stats which say that 90% of them get broken. Having said that, blogging here with greater frequency is definitely something I want to do in 2014… not a resolution so much as a plan. So on that note, Happy 2014 Internet, and I’m hoping I’ll be writing more often this year.