the third rail

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What is Appropriate?

February 9, 2011 by seanwilliams · 4 Comments · professional development

Times are changing and expectations need to as well.

Recently our district has established “norms” for PD and they are sent out as a reminder with emails –

Your enrollment implies agreement with PDA Norms, which are:

Be on time

Be on task

Be positive

Actively participate

Use technological devices appropriately

Really, who could complain about any of these?

And that is not my purpose here; I think they are all good ideas.

I do take exception with that last one though –

Use technological devices appropriately

What is meant (and even verbalized) is don’t use your phone, laptop, or iPad unless it’s an emergency……and we will let you know if there is an emergency.

I teach adults. With computers in front of them. I know what it’s like.

But still ~

I think it is appropriate for someone to check their email if they know what I am talking about.

I think it is appropriate for someone to update their FaceBook status if I am not engaging them.

I think it is appropriate for someone to “Google” an idea and go with it – they are supposed to be learning.

I think it is appropriate for someone take care of whatever they feel is more important, they are not going to focus on what I am talking about anyway.  Remember that guy Maslow?

My point is – times are changing.  We need to let go of some ideas and recognize the landscape is changing. More than just “going green” and not printing as many pages.

The way we learn and the tools available to us are changing everything. We need to give learners (young and older) the freedom to decide what is appropriate and what they need.


What do you think?

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4 Comments so far ↓

  • Brent

    At my site, the inappropriate use of technology usually comes in the form of texting (not about the meeting), which then violates the “Be on task” norm. I like your line that ends with “if I am not engaging them.” I think this is key, because if teachers are engaged and feel there’s a purpose for the PD, that inappropriate use of technology will tend to disappear (or at least be reduced).

  • Stephen Davis

    I agree with Brent, the line “if I am not engaging them” is packed with potential…

    Hold on…I just got a tweet…

  • Stephen Davis

    Ok…I’m back…

    This issue is coming up at my site, too. Last week I was at the DO participating in UCLA’s Critical Friends Group and during one of the “protocols” (glorified term for highly structured group work) someone mentioned something about Bloom’s that sounded off…I fired up my phone and got the information correct and shared with the group…all was fine…

    …but if the norm is that we are not able to use our electronic devices, much could be missed…

    linking/connecting ideas…

    …all positives in my book…

    I got another tweet…

  • Diane

    Ya know . . . they have me take notes on our meetings now (in Google Docs) because they KNOW I am going to bring my computer and be doing stuff. At least my primary task is to take notes.

    But that’s just for staff meetings. When it’s PD, it’s often ME doing the training. I showed our teachers how to use Google Docs, and all my close buds were having so much fun in the chat section of their shared Google Doc, they almost got kicked out. But they shared the doc with me so I could see it too, later.

    They WERE engaged. Maybe a little too much. They were not being deliberately disrespectful. They’ll use the tools again, though. I can’t argue with that.

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