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Jan 31

Cross-post with my 'Pair-a-Dimes for your Thoughts' blog.

We are influenced by so many things in our lives. Identifying what has a significant influence on us can be difficult. Here are two things that I believe can be categorized as most influential... and they both happened Monday.

1. Fifteen year old Kristine wrote a very influential blog post last May. It coincided with a lesson I was doing in my class for our school's Renaissance Fair. The post, "How to Prevent Another Leonardo da Vinci", has made the finals for the Edublog Awards 'Most Influential Post '. She is the only student to make the finals in this category. Furthermore, the post has had an impact on me, and many teachers that I have shared it with. Thinking back now, as I write this, I realize that Kris has influenced my blog posts time and again. (The student as teacher, or at least as an influential node in my learning network:-)

As I told Kris in my comment months ago: "You are, and always will be, a lifelong learner who engages in a quest to meaningfully exploring your world, (dare I say like da Vinci)… I guess one would argue despite your education rather than because of it… so there is hope, and there is potential for us to find our next da Vinci… perhaps SHE is within our midst today:-)"

As edubloggers I think that it is great to recognize students like Kris who deserve more recognition than they usually get at school. We should also recognize that although we strive to give students the best possible experience in our classrooms, Kris' message holds more truths than most would like to admit. May her blog influence many learning discussions in the months to come.

2. Two good friends, Dave Sands and Gary Kern came to my school Monday night and did a presentation with me on: Technology, Your Child, and You. Twenty seven parents braved the threat of the first snowfall of the year to participate in the presentation. On a personal note, I felt a little like a rookie called up to the majors to help out with this presentation. Dave and Gary have given it many times, and they had a 'flow' about them that I lacked. Overall I think it was great to be part of the presentation and it was fun to see my Batman/Borg metaphor being used (though they use the more recognized Terminator rather than the Borg).

Dave was very impressed with the parent's involvement and interest. The most vocal of them wanted answers about what to do about Facebook and all the screen time kids have. This presentation however was much more about asking questions than giving answers.

The presentation delivers a number of key ideas: Technology feeds student needs. Technology isn't going away. Parents need to figure out what they value, and they need to understand and engage with the technology their kids are using. If parents want influence with their children, they are far more likely to get it engaging from the inside rather than policing from the outside.

A simple example: a kid that won't phone a parent from a friend's house to say they are changing locations, might not think twice about texting a parent while in the back seat of a car heading to the new location.

The presentation is very well designed and parent feedback was overwhelmingly positive, with several of them wishing more parents showed up, "Parents need to hear this!"

It was a most influential Monday!

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