The toughest assignment I have had of late
Scott McLeod, J.D., Ph.D., is an Associate Professor of Educational Leadership at the University of Kentucky. He also is the Founding Director of the UCEA Center for the Advanced Study of Technology Leadership in Education (CASTLE), the nation’s only academic center dedicated to the technology needs of school administrators, and was a co-creator of the wildly popular video series, Did You Know? (Shift Happens). He has received numerous national awards for his technology leadership work, including recognitions from the cable industry, Phi Delta Kappa, and the National School Boards Association. In Spring 2011 he was a Visiting Canterbury Fellow at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand. Dr. McLeod blogs regularly about technology leadership issues at Dangerously Irrelevant and Mind Dump, and occasionally at The Huffington Post. He can be reached at scottmcleod.net.
Most folks think I have it pretty easy as an academic. And they’re right: tenured professors at a big university in a nice Midwest college town ain’t exactly breaking rocks for a living. But occasionally I am stretched a bit.
Yesterday was one of those days. An Iowa school district asked me to come talk to its high school students about the laptops they’ll be getting next year for its 1:1 initiative. Although my work primarily is with adults, I was fairly nonplussed at the time of the invite. After all, I taught 8th grade history to students from housing projects and have had several recent occasions to work with high school students. What was there to worry about?
Thursday evening, however, I got the full skinny about what my visit would be like. 300 students jammed into an auditorium. No opportunity for group work. No real opportunity for hands-on work. And, of course, no chance that they could access any materials on the Internet. Just me on stage with my laptop and a projector and speakers. And 300 of them, arms crossed, minds skeptical, waiting to see if I was worthy of their attention.
On the last day of school. For the last 90 minutes of the day.
How’s that for a recipe for success?!
The students were great. I apparently did well enough that they didn’t throw stuff at me or mock me mercilessly. And then they were off to the buses and whatever summer plans they had…
The whole thing reminded me a bit of a quote I once read from 1998 National Teacher of the Year and Disney American Teacher Award recipient Philip Bigler:
I have personally seen $400 per hour K Street Lawyers, who are comfortable debating the most intricate and obscure point of law before their peers, quiver in fear in front of a group of 16-year-old students.
Have YOU been stretched lately?
Photo credit: Faces of fear
Orangutans join humans and bees in a very exclusive club
- Orangutan mothers wait to sound a danger alarm to avoid tipping off predators to their location
- It took a couple of researchers crawling around the Sumatran jungle to discover the phenomenon
- This ability may come from a common ancestor
- The EAST reactor was able to heat hydrogen to temperatures exceeding 100 million degrees Celsius.
- Nuclear fusion could someday provide the planet with a virtually limitless supply of clean energy.
Journaling can help you materialize your ambitions.
- Organizing your thoughts can help you plan and achieve goals that might otherwise seen unobtainable.
- One way to view your journal might be less of a narrative and more of a timeline of decisions.
SMARTER FASTER trademarks owned by The Big Think, Inc. All rights reserved.