iwonderstand?


The Ocean and the Tide

I am inspired by Jade Ballek’s post on What Do Our Students Need Us to Learn? I find as a leader of professional development, I am constantly asking the teachers I work with “What do you need?” or “What do you need to learn to best support your students”? And then my own learning stems directly from that question. For example, if my teachers identify that they need to learn about effective ways to identify where students are in their understanding of multiplication and division, and how to teach from where students are, I get my research hat on, look at books and resources by key thinkers, and learn a whole TON about multiplication and division that I never thought I would ever need to know, remix it with what I already know and *Shazam* we have a learning opportunity around the topic that teachers have requested.

But… what if there is something that is larger and more pervasive than those learning needs identified by the teachers I work with? What if there is an ocean that everything we do and learn and communicate is suspended in? And what if that ocean is something that I actually know very little about other than “it’s blue and it can be pretty and it can be deadly”. For me, that ocean is technology and the tide is digital fluency.

Don’t get me wrong – I am not usually techno-phobic and I am pretty proud of my prowess with Excel, Inspiration, and I make pretty awesome graphic organizers in Word. So I can USE tech tools at a pretty OK functioning level. But… what do I actually know of my responsibilities, rights, and privileges in the digital world? Here is where life gets sticky. My fatal flaw is that I trust that everyone in the world is helpful and truthful and kind. I swim through the ‘click click click install’ messages on my computer, and happily sign up for apps and profiles without a care in the world. I don’t wonder why my Google Search is different than my friend’s Google Search on the same topic. Back ‘in the day’ digital citizenship seemed to be confined to:

  1. Don’t say mean things.
  2. Keep your Facebook page private and be careful who you are friends with.
  3. Check your sources – don’t believe everything you read.

And now… there is so much to be aware of. I need to be aware of how I am being influenced by the data profile attached to me. I need to be aware of… well, sadly, so much that I don’t even know that I need to be aware of. And this is the point. When I don’t even know the potential, I don’t know what to be aware of. I don’t know how to be safe. I don’t know how to model and teach my learners.

And so I turn to the #DCMOOC and the community it has created. Through community, we can navigate this ocean together. This is important to not just KNOW, but to LIVE, to MODEL, to BE.

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4 Responses to 'The Ocean and the Tide'

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  1. Great post. IT is true that, for most of us most of the time we breeze through so much of what we do online because we trust. The same goes for our daily lives, we trust. Sometimes we get burned but usually that trust is reinforced. The metaphor of the ocean is perfect because the reality is that, for most of us, no matter how many time we venture out onto that ocean, we will see a minuscule percentage of what there is to see. And that’s only on the surface. If you dive under, you will see a world that is completely different – and constantly changing – so that to try to learn all there is becomes impossible because what you were looking at has now changed. Looking forward to learning with you!


  2. […] Johanson’s post The Ocean and the Tide has me thinking about the whole idea of being “online” and what it means to be a […]


  3. […] The Ocean and the Tide […]


  4. […] do Our Students Need Us to Learn while Terry Johanson explores the idea of digital citizenship in The Ocean and the Tide and growth in her post Just like Nancy.  Alisha Montieth explores moving to a new school and the […]


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