Tuesday, October 21, 2014

#WeirdEd Week 28- Monsters PLUS Edchat Soapboxing

Welcome to Week Two of Three* of Halloween themes here at #WeirdEd. This week we are going to talk about the Monsters of Education. We know they are out there, what can we do about them? What are their weaknesses? What calls to them and creates them? Why do we fear them?

Are classrooms like Frankenstein's monster? Bunch of kids stitched together into one whole, hit with electricity, and brought to life?

*gets soapbox out*

Last week's chat about fear was so amazing and honest and I want to thank everyone again for that. I know you come to #WeirdEd looking for a good time and an interesting chat and I try very hard to deliver that, but without your willingness to go places you might not go elsewhere we'd have nothing. We'd be normal, like every other chat. No disrespect to the other mods out there, but are we still talking about being connected educators? Come on, you guys. We have all of education at our fingertips and we're going to stick to one specific topic for an entire month**? That would be like having 25k twitter followers and only tweeting bumper sticker platitudes. What a waste of an opportunity and of your audience's valuable time. We can do better. Look to #LBGTeach for an easy example of doing more. Jess only runs her chat once a month (not often enough in my opinion, because I love it so much), but every month she takes aim at important topics that are relevant to not only her, but all of us. Anyone who works with kids. #TotallyRossome took on gender issues a few weeks ago. A topic that pissed me off because I didn't get to it first. I LOVE that Ross went there and trusted his teachers to go there. When #InnoEd was running Lauren regularly went to interesting places not many other chats would touch.

How many chats covered Ferguson? Want to get on that? It's not over. It's not an #educolor issue. It's an education issue. Take it seriously. I think I need to write a chat on #GamerGate, but I need the teachers involved to have context, so I need to frame the chat in such a way that everyone knows what we're talking about and why. Why do I need to write a chat on #GamerGate? Because it's an educational issue that is actually happening and edtech should be tackling it but won't for some reason. This is real life stuff, folks. Stuff we need to be talking about. Use twitter as a tool. A flexible, living tool. Talking about being connected is just words if you don't take advantage of those connections.

We can do better or edchats are going to die on the vine. We must dig deeper. We must see the world as an educational opportunity and we must see each other as true learners. How many times can we have the same chats about the same things? Mods, if you see a chat that covers a topic you wanted to cover change your topic. Or at least take note of the questions and change your doubles. So many of us won't give kids homework that is meaningless but we're more than happy to parrot the same As to the same Qs over and over and over. Stop writing leading questions to answers you already know. That's safe and boring. Stop being bumper stickers and platitudes. Come up with your own memes.

I'm tired of the same old chats about the same old topics. I don't want to play in that pool when we have the entire ocean of education open to us.

Let's get creative. Let's get deeper. Let's actually use the experience and expertise of those around us in a meaningful and impactful way.

*I know last week I said it was two weeks long, but that's because I didn't actually look at a calendar, I just guessed when Halloween was.

**says the guy doing three weeks of Halloween-themed chats

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