Why This Blog? Why Now? Why This title?

I am no longer blogging under duress. This part remains true: I had a blog once and I lost the password...and then, I gave up. I really am not a giver-upper, but there is a point of diminishing returns to anything that takes energy, passion, and vision and yet, doesn't work out. So, off I go again, wish me luck! AND knock on wood I have had luck. And it is sort of fun.

P.S. Why this title? I read this phrase today 6/16, don't remember where. I liked it. I'm using it. I might change it. It may or may not have relationship to the content.

Thursday, July 4, 2013


What Alan November, in Who Owns the Learning? is really calling for is a revolution. By revolution I mean a change in a socio/political institution. And the institution I am talking about revolutionizing is education, as we know it today. We are in some phase of a revolution already, but it is slow, and cumbersome, and we are fighting, and we are loosing site of the point--purposeful work/learning for school-age children. The revolution calls us to, "use social media, mobile devices, and other information and communication tools to enable kids to make contributions to their classrooms, their communities and across the globe." The revolution asks us to, "take technologies out of the project mold and make them a fundamental part of the learning experience." Take those "thousand dollar pencils" and use them to give kids responsibility for collaboration, contribution, and research in and for  their learning.

Mr. November has a path for that revolutionary change--"by focusing on information systems and the flow of communication, we can define and develop a new educational framework." "Guide students in the complex tasks of innovation and problem solving, and in doing work that makes a contribution to the learning processes of others." Trade the incentives of grades, and other intrinsic and extrinsic rewards for the incentive of meaningful, purposeful work/learning for authentic audiences. Mr. November calls for kids to leave a legacy, make a mark, and that means making school "work"/ learning mean something. All this while still teaching/learning the curriculum with student ownership of experiences that build, deepen, and grow understanding.

So what is standing in our way? Why are we only in a phase of the revolution? Why are we still fighting? Why is the process cumbersome? Why are we in danger of losing the point--purposeful work/learning for school-age children? Well, change is hard--yada, yada, yada. I say giving up control is hard and this revolution is really about who has control, who wants control, who the control should really belong to. We serve to many masters--the nation (the common core, the "Secrete Sixty" people who are writing standards for the nation--haven't heard of this? go to http://blogs.edweek.org/teachers/living-in-dialogue/2009/07/national_standards_process_ign.htm for an Education Week Teacher blog post) the local district, the local school, the community...need I go on. We have lost site of the one master we should serve--KIDS!

Mr. November has some great ideas for revolutionizing things...I say we drop all these other interests in deference to the one and only interest that counts--purposeful work/learning for school-age children that leads to legacy and global contribution.


  1. Noreen,
    Wow! Loved your articulate and bold post. You manage to discuss November's work and what it means to our current state of education. Most of all, you remind us that we may have lost sight of what's most important --- CHILDREN. I couldn't agree with you more. In an effort by politicians, corporate reformers, and special interest groups, education is slowly being dismantled. It's up to us to work toward positive change for children and keep them center.

    Yet, I can't help but wonder, is it just children we're in jeopardy of short changing --- or is it the future of our country?


  2. Noreen,

    What a passionate and clear cry for action! Your comments about who has control is right on the mark for me. I have just spent three years working at the system level, which means I have spent three years banging my head against the powers that be in an attempt to nudge the system towards a culture of openness, sharing, collaboration, and of course, trust. This is the culture that can put students at the centre. It is only when the adults can check their egos at the door, focus on kids as priorities rather than money and test scores, and can really engage in life-long learning themselves that the revolution will take off.

    Thank you for your willingness to share in this forum with us,


  3. Wow! I loved the way you really got right to the heart of November's book and message. A lot of what you were saying reminded me of Will Richardson's call-to-action for reforming education. If you aren't familiar with his work, I think you would get a lot out of what he has to say. (I'm a big fan!)

    Thanks for joining in the conversation!

  4. Noreen,
    I admire your call to action...how we do this is by joining in on conversations and pushing each other's thinking...we need more teachers to join...spread the word about books like this and get more people to realize that we need to steer kids to the future without corporate America driving the bus!
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

    1. I went to the secret sixty too and read it...seems hard to believe we are already4 years into the standards...I feel like Rip Van Winkle. Where has the time gone?

  5. Noreene,

    I, too, loved the passion that came through in your post. Let's help each other keep this passion alive in the upcoming school year when things get bogged down. Let's take turns reminding each other to keep moving forward.