I believe the best way to create change within education is to reflect upon the practice of teaching and learning with those who are doing it every day. My podcast is part of a deeply engaged community. It, as an extension of my blog and Youtube channel, is where I get to tackle all of the things I would like to learn how to change in Education with a community of reflective practice teachers and leaders in order to create an engine for authentic learning.
My Digital Identity during the week of the #StemShooting.
This was going to be a different post filled with all kinds of rich artifacts of my digital identity during a regular week of life and work. It was going to be a reflection on the past decade or so of sharing my experience within the many social and private spaces I inhabit, but that isn’t this post. Instead, this post is a reflection of my digital identity during the week that my two older children (10 and 12) experienced the most extreme form of violence within their school. You see, they go to Stem School Highlands Ranch. And, on Tuesday, May 7, 2019, they did not have a normal day at school. This post is the result of the day that they had. It is a result of the one that my wife and I experienced. And it is a result of the day and week that the community around us shared. I don’t have any intention for it other than to record this information. I want it preserved for myself and for all of the other #DigPINS participants that are endeavoring to reflect upon their own Digital Identities and make things for others.
I believe there are some events that fundamentally change the ways that we see ourselves and our community. This is one of those events for me.
First, this is a visual representation of my digital identity this week (according to the format laid out here):
My Digital Identity this week. The only change I would make is that Ferrite should be further to the right in the resident column. You can watch me make this in Explain Everything on this Youtube Video (sorry about the audio cutting in and out at the beginning of the video).
Second, these are the posts that I made and the reactions that they received from my community:
The list of things I could think to do with my family after my two older children experienced #stemshooting yesterday (grades 5 and 6) to help process. I wanted to share in case it is useful to anyone. For the record, we are choosing number 9. pic.twitter.com/qMHmy2n7mV— Ben Wilkoff (@bhwilkoff) May 8, 2019
I posted this to my Twitter Community. I hope it was valuable to some.
Messages Shared in (Semi) Private Spaces:
My short reflective writing pieces that I wrote with the help of the Writing Prompts App:
(Note: Prompts from the app are in bold.)
1: A signal of time is how often I think about my children being locked in a classroom, waiting to find out if someone is coming to kill them. The further I get away from it, the less often this thought occurs. But, when it comes back, it stays and is still just as visceral. I want to protect those kids just as much. I want to save them from this moment. And I feel the teacher’s fear as my own. It is real.
2: To me, a good life means knowing that you will not outlive your kids. That they will not be taken from you and that you will have to survive with the idea of what they could have been and done with their lives. You should not bury your children. You should live to see them free.
3: Whenever I start writing I go to a place in the upper right corner of my mind, remembering what I have to say, as if each time I make more words they come from the same source.
#WHOISaps: When will teachers have enough time?
Joelle Warsh, technology teacher and coach at Boston Elementary, discusses the real purpose behind using tech in classrooms and the best ways for teachers to find time for learning from and with children in the process.
#WHOISaps: How can we inspire students to be self-directed learners?
Marcelina Rivera, Chief of Staff for Aurora Public Schools, discusses what truly inspires children to learn and teachers to teach. She also questions the ways in which we can use all of the resources and relationships at our disposal to support learners.
“Learning is a relationship…”
#WHOISaps: How do we create opportunities to celebrate our kids?
Ran Jung, Principal of APS Online HS, defines Blended and Personalized Learning and the ways in which relationships between teachers and students can provide for better opportunities for learning. She also goes into the ways in which we might better “write our own story” with celebrations.
#WHOISaps: How can we make better connections with our students?
Joshua Kusch, PWR Specialist for Aurora Public Schools, reveals how he sees learning as a problem solving endeavor. He also goes into the ways in which we can continue to make stronger connections with our students, no matter which role we may find ourselves in.
#WHOISaps: What are our expectations for teachers?
Jennifer Andrews, Art Teacher at Dalton Elementary in Aurora Public Schools, dives into the ways in which we can better engage our students in collaboration and connection in our classrooms. She also questions how we can better set expectations for teachers in our district.