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Thursday, July 14, 2011

Why Fast Food Thinking Harms Learning (and Life)

David Warlick tweeted about this amazing video from Martin Warlick's video a day blog. It is an incredible on-building animations of the Astronomical Clock for the 600th anniversary of Prague.

Listen at the very beginning, you here someone quickly snipping at the beginning:

"How anticlimactic."

They were wrong. What emerges is a phenomenal on-building animation that will take your breath away even half a world away here in Camilla, Georgia.

Do we jump to conclusions and prevent learning?

This reminds me of a Tweet Jon Becker made at ISTE where he stated that he overheard a conversation from a teacher who said something like:

"I give a presenter two minutes to get my attention and then, if they don't give me what I want, I'm out."

Fast food learning. 

We want a big Mac learning experience with a greasy side of 80 tools that provide us with very little nutrition but a satiated feeling that we've packed in everything we can.

1/3 lb. Bacon Burger with fries at HegenburgerThis fast food mentality is what has gotten our waistlines in horrific shape and this mentality can also harm our learning.

Sure, we have boring presenters and need to do a better job of it. But to honestly think that you can sum up what you will learn in the first two minutes is taking it to an extreme!

As Jon replied back to me:

"What if that teachers let her students do this?"

We'd probably have one or two packed classrooms and the rest might be empty!

Social Media Doesn't Mean Social Skills
There are people behind presenters. All of us start off pretty rough. But presenters are presenting for a reason. (We hope?) If you want to kill their self confidence, walk out.

We need to have social skills. If one or two people exit a room it is disconcerting. But, you literally sap the energy from a room when you leave en masse.

En Masse Keynote Exodus
The ISTE 2010 mass exodus was embarrassing but I heard it happened again this year as well. I'm sorry, but if you go hear a keynote, unless you're about to embarrass yourself in a more primeval, physical way, you should stay to hear the keynote. It is rude to those who are around you and the speaker. How much learning are we missing by sucking the energy from the room? And what are these prominent people going to think about educators because of our unbecoming behavior?  

I can say this because I was one of the people who left the ISTE 2010 keynote and I was later ashamed that I did. I should have stuck it out even though the presenter's slides were unbelievably wordy and impossible to read from the back of the room.

Two Faces
Two Faced Tweeters Harm their Credibility
When you tweet behind someone's back - IT ISN'T BEHIND THEIR BACK. Say constructive comments that help a person improve and learn. I have had one person who truly treated me in a nasty way as I was speaking. He tweeted out over 20 tweets during my speech berating me for my thoughts to teachers and how they should face the future in education. The fact was he wasn't and has never been a teacher but his comments were over the top, but it is OK, if you do anything in this world, someone won't like you - and some people don't like anybody. It is OK.

But when I got offline and tried to re-address what he'd said on Twitter, his terse response was,

"This debate is too long for being on Twitter."

So, he can insult me on Twitter all day long, but will not do anything to be accountable for his actions? Is it any wonder when he dm'd me several weeks later to beg for a retweet to help him get an award, I wouldn't retweet. It isn't that he disagreed, it was how he disagreed (in a way intended to humiliate) that I had a problem with. He wouldn't even engage in a discussion so I could right the misquotes to his audience. Such a person is not admirable and I do not respect him for it. In every disagreement is a learning experience. I learn a lot from those who disagree with me and often email them when it happens. He denied me and others a learning experience and only intended to act ugly.

I'm fed up with rudeness. Technology is no excuse.

I will protect you from the Bokeh!
Protect those you love with your habits.

Protect Your Family's Privacy Online
I know of a prominent tweeter in educational technology who often says disparaging things about his sister in law, his wife's food, and the company he keeps. If the people he is face to face cannot trust him, then why should I? He is making them a laughing stock on Twitter and when they see it, he is going to permanently damage the relationships he holds most dear.

My husband could tweet and thousand dumb things that I do a day! (Well, maybe not a thousand but a lot!) I trust him to love me anyway -- perfect love is really when imperfect people love each other anyway.

When we were on vacation in June, the kids kept saying "is this going to be on your blog?" Because they wanted to be themselves. I told them NO - they are protected. I didn't even tell anyone we were going.

Don't Jump to Conclusions: Stay the Course
So, when I heard the person on the video above immediately say:

"How anticlimactic" before the show even started it hit me wrong.

It is a symptom of fast food thinking.

Fast Food Actions Don't Fix Problems Caused by Long-Term Habits
Every major problem in my life that I've had to tackle: my weight, my debt, being a good mom, managing my time, organizing my office, organizing my home and classroom, managing the over 20 roles I play in my life - it has taken concerted work. Study. Habits. Hard work.

I'm working on understanding and putting habits in place to help me with my email problem. I'm on my fifth book. I've spent hours doing Inbox Detox and Bit Literacy and every concept I can take that will help me with this problem.

If something took a lifetime to mess up - you can't fast food yourself out of it.

Schools do this all the time. Teachers tell me that if the front office would do ONE thing it would improve learning at their school:

Never use then all-call intercom during class. 

(At our school you can only go on the intercom the first two minutes of class or during the last five. No one breaks that rule.) This one thing is messing up the flow of several dozen classrooms. It is a fast food mentality. I need them now, I'll get them now. In a school, front office efficiency is not as important as learning efficiency. Class time should be SACRED. STOP IT!

Fast Food Learning Doesn't Work
Everyone wants a quick fix to education. They have one class to implement a new strategy and someone tries it once and says

"oops, it doesn't work, try something else."

You haven't given it a chance. You haven't stuck to it.

Teachers are sick of the "flavor of the month" tactics. Oh, now we're going to emphasize this and next month it is going to be that. Change happens with consistency.

Don't Confuse Tactics with Strategy
Dr. Adler my prof in strategic management stressed that a tactic is less than a year and a strategy is over the course of a year or more. It isn't a strategy if you're hopping from thing to thing. You are fast fooding your problems and it DOESN'T WORK. Your tactics add up to a strategy of NOTHINGNESS. Zip.
Strategy - It's game of life

This blog and my Twitter account and Facebook account and even Tumblr - these are things I WORK on. I consistently apply myself every day to sharing in the very best way that I can. To improve the lives and classrooms of teachers. I have certain things I do every day.

Do something long enough and you reap it. The iron law of the universe is that you reap what you sow. (Brian Tracy and the Bible.) Whatever you do, you reap the results of it.

Don't balance your checkbook and you'll overdraw (most likely.) Don't exercise and eat right and you'll get fat. Think short term and you'll not like your long term.

Time to Think Slow, Steady, and Consistent
It is time for some consistency, some staying power, some manners, and some hard work.

I'm sick and tired of fast food living in any area of my life. Are you?

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