Friday, July 17, 2015

November in July

As Diane and I are want to do, we hit the road to Boston. I was fortunate enough to attend BLC15, Building Learning Communities which is hosted by November Learning. To borrow a phrase from Darren Kuropatwa, it was truly brain candy.

As so many in the ed tech world have experienced, once you gather with people of similar ilk, you find both a comfort and non comfort zone, but you are not threatened in any way. The comfort zone because you are with people that understand you as well as you understanding them. The non-comfort zone because you start to feel that maybe, just maybe, you aren't doing enough. Enough for your faculty, staff or students.

Hopefully over the next few days or weeks as I reflect on what I have been through I will take some time in this space to put to words those things I have unpacked. There was a lot of learning, a lot of brain stretching and a lot of thoughts.

So much to learn and so little time.

Friday, June 12, 2015

A Long Way Back

While it may seem dramatic, the title just spoke to me when I was contemplating this post. It seems I have been gone for some time, especially when thinking of the ed tech folks I am usually around. Life got very busy in the last 2 years and I retreated, in many ways to protect myself but mainly just to be able to keep my head down and grinding. Trying to avoid the distractions.

Now in the last month or so I have started to see a little bit of clearing and light (hopefully I don't jinx it). I have also been contemplating making some changes in the blog area. We will see. I have continued to try and stay on top of things in the ed tech world but I am sure I am woefully behind. Again, we will see.

So much to learn and so little time.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Culture Club or not?

Lately I have been trying to understand the culture of a school, my school, your school, my wife’s school. I don’t fully understand the one at my school even though I have been here 37 years. I think that hurts me and it hurts my interaction with all the people walking the halls of “my” school. And that right there may be a big part of the problem, it is NOT “my” school. It is the students' school.

Let me try to explain more. I found myself getting frustrated with some of the questions I was being asked. As I reflected back on those questions and who was asking, I started realizing that the people asking were newer to the school, newer to the diocese as well. While they were in some cases seasoned educators, they were not seasoned at our school or the diocese.

With that in mind I am now trying to better think about how we can help to enculturate newer people in to the school’s culture. That then means I have to fully understand our school’s culture and what exactly that might be for someone.

For a school in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Dallas there are things which people look for such as “Catholic Identity.” What makes our school Catholic? And are we Catholic with a big C or catholic with a little c. Is being Catholic our culture? Is being well versed in the use of technology our culture? Is being service oriented our culture? Is being an inner city school our culture?

As a result of some of this thinking I now have more questions than answers and would appreciate any input you might have. How do you define your school’s culture? Is the culture of a school important? How can we help newer people to our school understand and participate in that culture? Do you think about school culture are am I way off base? Let me know.

So much to learn and so little time.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Playing School

Over the years, I have often heard people say that "students have perfected the art of playing school" or somesuch. I got to wondering, where did they get it from? Where did students learn the art of "playing school?" Then I thought if we are the models for our students are we, us, the adults, modeling that very thing? Are we ourselves playing school?

I have learned so much from so many people, but I get tired of trying to do it differently, trying to push the envelope all the time, trying to be out on the edge, constantly trying to know what is best, what is right, what will take us the direction we all know we need to go.

Then I got to thinking, is that what is taking place? Lots of people getting tired, or merely waiting until it comes back again full circle? Education has for so long be on a merry go round. "Just wait it will come back to this again. For my wife and I, after 37 years of education, we have both seen things come full circle. On occasion, I too,  have sat back, doing what was right for my students, but basically playing school.

Where are you in the mix? What is holding you back? How can I support you if no one else is supporting you? I'm done slipping in to playing school mode. No matter how tired I am it is time to move on and model what is best for our students!

So much to learn and so little time.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

I got Tagged - Did you?

The other day Dean Shareski tagged me here. My first thought was what can I tell people about me that they don't already know. Here are 11 random facts about me:

1. I love road trips.
2. Both our cars have twitter accounts - thanks to @BigPurpleHat.
3. I feel I am incredibly late to the tech party.
4. I worked with the Senior golf tour for 11 years every time it came to Dallas..
5. I have worked at the same school for 37 years.
6. I also graduated from this school and those years are not counted in the number above.
7. I played baseball in college after turning down offers to play football in college.
8. I was in charge of the university kitchen on the weekends to help pay my way through college.
9. I am an ordained deacon in the Catholic Diocese of Dallas.
10. I love picking up people and safely delivering them places when they come to Texas.
11. The university I graduated from just honored me by naming a full scholarship after me that will be granted every year to a deserving student from Bishop Dunne..

Those are the random facts about me that some folks may not know. By the way the Prius also known as the Eco Ride is @PaulRWoodsPrius and the Lexus which is known simply as The Ride is @PaulRWoodsLexus. They can be uppity at times but it is fun to have those accounts.

Dean asked the following questions so here are my answers to those:

1.How do you feel about pants? Highly overrated.
2.What was the last movie you saw in a theatre? The Butler
3.Where are your car keys? Left pocket.
4.What time is it? 8:05 p.m.
5.What’s the last tweet you favorited? Joel Adkins Tweet about
6.Outside of your immediate family, which relative do you like to spend time with? My Aunt Geneva
7.Have you ever been to Saskatchewan? Yes, and even stopped in Moose Jaw and Regina.
8.How long did it take you to walk to school as a kid? Most of my schools were more than 10 miles away so we didn’t walk.
9.Besides you, which blogger should I be paying attention to? Unfortunately anyone I think is important to follow I believe you already pay attention to Dean so I don't have a recommendation.
10.Name one golf course. Dallas National. But here are some others.
11.What’s your favorite Seinfeld episode or line? Any one with Elaine trying to dance like this.

Here are the 11 folks I am tagging:

1. Scott Floyd
2. Matt Gomez
3. Toby Brown
4. Christine Voigt
5. Angelyn Cheatham
6. Zach Snow
7.  Joel Adkins
8. Phillip Cummings
9. Amber Teamann
10. Martha Lackey
11. You. (this includes all the people I didn’t name because I figured they thought  they were too cool to do this as well as those I never even thought, which could be you. Either way, I’ll read what you write)

Questions for those listed:

1. What is one thing you are proud of that you have participated in?
2. Do you follow a particular professional or college team? If yes which one?
3. What is your superstitious ritual? The one that goes with the commercial  "It's only weird if it doesn't work!"
4. What has been your favorite age so far and why?
5. If you could drive any car what would it be?
6. What is your favorite comfort food?
7. What is the holiday you enjoy the most?
8. What is your go to music when you really need a pick me up?
9. What is your favorite movie?
10. What was the last book you read for fun?
11. What is the fastest you have ever driven?

Here’s how it works:

  1. Acknowledge the nominating blogger.
  2. Share 11 random facts about yourself.
  3. Answer the 11 questions the nominating blogger has created for you.
  4. List 11 bloggers.
  5. Post 11 questions for the bloggers you nominate to answer, and let all the bloggers know they have been nominated. Don’t nominate a blogger who has nominated you.
Have some fun with this. I did. Let's hear from you.