About Patrick

I am a teacher in Ontario Canada….I write about educational issues / topics….what else do you want to know (honeslty, if there is anything you want to know, write a question in the comments to this and ‘ll get back to you)?

I am interested in using digital / electronic technology in education and in social media in general.  I was once tweeted a list of  “the best 1240 education blogs to follow (Yikes!) ” so I know the world doesn’t need another positive, encouraging, celebration blog.  I intend to offer counter points and a critical argument (among other things).  We, teachers, have been too naive in our adoption of SM.  Mostly, the limiting factor has been our lack of knowledge and experience; howeer, now that we have learned more as individuals and as a profession, our limiting facter must be replaced – it now must be critical dialogue.  Hopefully, I will add a small voice to that discussion.

A comment was recently posted regarding my entry on using Twitter with kindergarteners.  I thought it forced me to better define my purpose.  I have reposted it below with my responses mixed in to better present my purpose on this blog:

Thank you for your challenging post.  I agree that my initial tweet was a bit reckless.  @happygirl took me to task on that (as she should have – I deserved it).  The term is a bit uncomfortable and regrettable; however, I still stand be my assessment of her practise; she still stands by the acceptability of her practise.  Before I blogged about it, I asked her permission which she gave.  I also forwarded a copy of my post 3 days before I published it so she could vet it

You Said: “After reading your blog I don’t see your approach to blogging so much as stimulating a conversation around a specific topic but rather a forum for you to point out what you perceive as shortcoming with the work that others are doing. Why not try adding something (building) rather than taking away (dismantling) from what others are doing?”

You’re correct, my blog isn’t about a specific topic nor do I intend it to be.  It is mostly thematically related by media and education.  I disagree with your assessment that I am not trying to build something.  I am trying to build a bank of arguments / counter points.  I am trying to build the critical “other side” to so much of teacher’s public discourse.  If I’m not doing it well, it might be because of the lack of examples of how to present this perspective.  I’m not so much trying to dismantle something as challenge it.  If you reread the first paragraph of the above post, you will see a little of that spirit.  With critical thinking, you do point out the weakness, but not so the “tower collapses” but so the tower can be made stronger and not collapse.

You also said: “After reading this post and a couple others by you I’m not clear as to the aim of your blog. It seems you state a point and then argue with commenters who may disagree with your view. Your blog doesn’t seem to be a place for conversation or a forum for sharing ideas. Maybe that’s not your aim?”

I think at that you have correctly assessed my blog here.  It IS a place for argument.  I present a point; others take that point apart; I defend; hopefully, they critically respond to my defence.  This sort of adversarial, socratic method is one of our highest academic standards.  It is the language used in professional discourse among university professors.  It is the language that upholds our legal traditions: the courts and the law.  Both professors and lawyers (at least rhetorically), use this method to try to pursue and construct truth.

Then you said: “One of the things that excites me the most is when someone can convince me of seeing something in a new way or from an alternative point of view.”

I know exactly what you mean.  I love that too.  It opens up so much.  The world can seem to change.  In order to accomplish this though, most often, people have to tell me how I am wrong. 

Finally, you said: “I guess my point is that if you want to be involved in the discussion you might think of adopting a more respectful tone. Otherwise you’ll turn off someone who may give you the gift of a new perspective through discussion or collaboration.”

I am well reminded of this.  The whole experience has served to enforce this message.  When you wrote this I felt the personal attack, even though you were respectful and moderate.  I would do well to remember that feeling and be able to be more empathic to others; however, I also have enjoyed your post.  I want the challenge; I want my argument to be attacked (maybe even defeated).  I want this to be a place that an idea is confronted by its weaknesses so we can all grow.  One-sided, adversarial debate may seem uncompromising; however, this is false.  Afterwards, when 2 powerful arguments confront each other, reflection will find the best in each for a deeper understanding and a compromise.

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