Thinking About Balance…Am I That Guy?

I had the opportunity to present at ISTE in San Diego last week with my good friend George Couros, an administrator in Canada who I have learned so much from over the past few years. As we developed our presentation for our session, George shared the video above with me from a recent Louis C.K. appearance on Conan. While I was laughing at the scenario Louis C.K. shared of individuals glued to the screens of their devices, I was also well aware that I can be one of these people sometimes who missed out on the real-time occurrence in an attempt to get a picture or send out a message.

With this in mind, I headed to the Portsmouth Air Show over the weekend and decided to leave my devices at home. I have fond memories of seeing the Navy’s Blue Angels flying squad as a young boy with my dad. At first, I was thinking of bringing my iPad with me to get some clips of the Blue Angels on video. But as I thought back to the above clip, I realized that there are plenty of clips of the Blue Angels online that are much better than I could shoot and that I should just stand back and take the whole thing in with my own eyes. (Check out the great Blue Angels Promo video below)

When it was over, I was pleased with my decision, having seen a lot more with my eyes on on the sky and not focused on the device. Not to mention the fact that I probably would have dropped my device when one of the jets flew about 50 feet directly over my head and I caused me to block my ears to save my ear drums.  (See below)

.@patrickmlarkin and @wwollaeger watching the Blue Angels at ... on Twitpic

Anyway, my main point in this post is that we need to continue to think about having a balanced approach to utilizing all of the great technology that is available to us. There are many times in our lives where the best choice for technology is to leave it out of the equation so that we can fully immerse ourselves in the moment. As always, I feel fortunate to work in a school district that allows students to utilize technological resources because I do not think we could have authentic discussions about balance if our first inclination was to deny access.  

So the next time you go to grab your phone, iPad, or camera, take a moment to think whether or not you will really miss something without it or whether you are missing the bigger picture with it…

Classroom 2.0 Book – Another Great Free Resource from Classroom 2.0!

The Classroom 2.0 Book went live yesterday and I am proud to have a chapter (“Setting the Stage for 1:1”) in this free e-book that was created as part of Classroom 2.0’s 5th Anniversary Project (You can check it out below).  As of now, 16 chapters have been uploaded and more are to follow in the days ahead.

A few of the chapters currently available include the following topics:

Curation for Professional Learning – by Kristen Swanson
Keeping Students Engaged in a 1:1 Environment – Ann Michaelsen
TPACK – Technology, Pedagogy and Content Knowledge – by Steven Anderson
The Flipped Classroom Model – By Jackie Gerstein
Digital Writers Workshop – By Erin Klein

Thanks to Steve Hargadon, Richard Byrne, and Chris Dawson for their efforts in pulling this project together!

Patrick Larkin – Setting the Stage for 1:1 – The School That Launched 1,000 iPads

What Would A "Mockumentary" on Schools Look Like?

There was a little bit of conversation on Twitter a few weeks back when this video was first aired by The Onion.  It is amazing to think at how quickly the video store industry became obsolete. While technology continues to change the way we do so many things outside of schools, what practices inside our schools could be the subject of this type of “mockumentary?” 
As we continue to rethink what learning can look like in this day and age, it is so important to ask ourselves what practices we see in schools that will be (or should be) considered outdated? 

My First Post On My New Blog – Let The Learning Continue

It seems like yesterday that I was introduced as the new Principal at BHS, but the reality of it is that five years have passed.  I have been doing a lot of reflecting on what has transpired over the last five years (both personally and professionally).

While five years seems like a very small amount of time, it is quite significant when I look at it with  the lens of a parent. (I have photos to prove it.)
My kids who were 1, 6, and 9 are now 6, 11, and 14. Even scarier is the fact that my oldest will be entering high school next year.

My Three Kids In 2007 
My Three Kids Now

Finishing my thoughts on my own kids is where my personal and professional thinking starts to collide. While five years is a short time for me at this point, it is a huge amount of time for my children (or anyone else’s). The growth I have seen physically, emotionally, and intellectually has been amazing to witness. With this thought in mind, I am clearer than ever that we cannot afford to have this valuable time be wasted on meaningless activities. What my kids (and everyone else’s) needs is different than what was needed in the past and it is more important than ever that we change the way we define learning in our schools.

Having said this, I am very excited to continue the discussions on learning in my new role as the Assistant Superintendent for Learning.  It is such a great time to be an educator and I couldn’t be happier about the fact that I am continuing my career in Burlington.  I feel blessed to have found such a wonderfully supportive community to work in.   This is such a positive place to work as an educator thanks to the support that the town gives its schools and the wonderful students and staff that occupy our classrooms each day.  It is refreshing to be involved in daily discussions surrounding how we can improve learning environments for students and not sin our wheels with distracting discussions that take our focus away from students and learning.

So I am excited to continue my blogging at this new space, which I will use as a space to chronicle my own learning journey and also share the wonderful learning that is taking place throughout our school district. 
Here we go…