Standardi-Nation: When Enough is Enough

Standardization. Enough is enough.

This is a personal tale about my life as a high school teacher in Central Florida. It is based on a true story.

Recently, our administrative team came to my department with another "hand-me-down" from the school district personnel and the state DOE. This time the topic was: board configuration. Yes, as in whiteboard... the standardization of whiteboard configuration. (Whew! That was a mouthful.)

The district and DOE now want the educators in our school to configure their boards in exactly the same way. They have outlined in a nifty PowerPoint exactly how this is to be done. The reasoning I am guessing is to ensure that inadequate educators do what quality educators do in their own way. The problem is that they are sucking the education and creativity right out the door. I can only take so much, as I mentioned in my post titled, I Have a Dream.

The DOE has outlined nine criteria that are supposed to be on our boards in their configuration for the secondary level. The worst part is that I teach in a classroom that has an LCD, SmartBoard, SmartReview clickers, I blog, use Twitter and yet the DOE is obsessed with me delivering content through the good ole' fashioned... whiteboard. So much for classroom 2.0!

Thanks for letting me vent.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this issue and what you are encountering in your classroom.

More to come...

Mike Meechin


I Have a Dream...

With the birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr. tomorrow I figured that the title was fitting. Just as MLK did 60 years ago, I too have a dream.

My dream comes from my failure to believe in the system of public education any further. I blogged about several examples in 2009 of factors that are leading to the demise of our public education system (What Are We Doing; Chivalry is Dead). Now, I have hit the end of the road in my belief in the system I have taught in for seven years.

In my post Traversing the Information Gap, I wrote:
"My fear is for my high school students post-graduation. Where will they ever get this information that they have missed? Our schools are not designed as a whole to produce independent critical thinkers..."

The answer to my question is not in our current school systems. Albeit, some schools do a good job with traditional education, others can not even handle that. However, I have a dream...

I discussed at the beginning of 2010 that I would look for Direction. I believe through my dream that I have finally found my direction. The answer to the question that I posed is what Chris Lehmann discusses in School 2.0... the next generation of school in the United States and all over the world. The fact that there are these innovate educators going outside the standard schooling is so exciting to me. You can find Lehmann's blog at his Pratical Theory. Chris is the founding principal of the Science and Leadership Academy in Philly. SLA is doing some exciting things right now in the world of School 2.0...

I no longer believe in the system. The next step for me in professional journey is to create an alternative solution to standard schooling. Along the way I will bring my struggles, questions, and ideas here to this forum to share with you in addition, to my educational and technology contributions.

This is my dream. This is my direction.

More to come...

Mike Meechin


Delivering Meaning

I recently had a conversation... well, several conversations with other educational professionals about homework. In fact, homework has been a topic of PLCs at my school several times this year.

We always end up in the same place with the same question. What is MEANINGFUL homework? However, this is not the debate I want to have. You can debate that question with your own colleagues. This question did make me think though. It made me think about how all of these classroom 2.0 technologies can help us to deliver meaning with our homework assignments.

I think that we all can agree that the days of worksheet and "busy" homework are over (and if you don't agree you may want to reconsider reading this blog). Through the use of classroom 2.0 tech we can create many meaningful homework assignments for our students. Today we have the ability to have our students embrace technology to collaborate with each other using GoogleDocs. Students can work to create "living" posters with Glogster. Students can access any type of information they need... and it is all right at their fingertips.

Well I guess I will get into the debate a little...

Educators must embrace these classroom 2.0 technologies to create meaningful homework for their students. Delivering meaning is a key ingredient that we sometimes miss in the madness of "standardization". We must use these technologies to create homework that allows our students to think, create, write and... well, the sky is the limit. Our students need this... they need us to deliver meaning more than ever!

So, I challenge you. I challenge you to deliver meaning.

If you need a place to begin your quest, any of the links on my blogroll can help you out tremendously. Also check out my post about #edchat or head on over to Twitter and check out the #edchat hashtag. This is an educational technology buffet.

I plan to create a place where educators can share their meaningful homework assignments. Follow me on Twitter to find out when.

More to come...

Mike Meechin



I wanted to share with you something that I stumbled upon over my two week break from the classroom. A group of educators connect with each other on Tuesdays through Twitter... this event is known as #edchat. The name of the group is also the twitter hashtag [click here to find out what a hashtag is] for this group.

You can join the discussion that occurs on Tuesdays at 12pm EDT and 7pm EDT. Usually a day or two prior they will post a poll where you are able to vote on the topic for that particular week. You can follow @web20classroom on Twitter to find the link to the #edchat poll each week, or just to find out other great information about Web 2.0.

This week I am going to participate in my first #edchat and am hoping this week's topic will be classroom management techniques - ones that work and others that do not. Which brings me to the other point... a great read! Over the past two weeks I have had the pleasure of reading "What Great Teachers Do Differently", and it has been a great refresher about what being a great educator is all about. I would highly recommend this read for any educator whether your first day or twentieth year.

I want to thank Sean Nash over at nashworld, for mentioning this book in one of his blog posts. [You should check his blog out - some great food for thought.]

After reading Whitaker's work I have some great discussion points that I want to put to use... hopefully on Tuesday in #edchat. I hope that you check out the blog, the book and most importantly... the #edchat.

More to come...

Mike Meechin



Happy New Year.

It has been some time since I have posted to my blog. In October life got busy and it took some time to play catch up. That is why I have decided to title my first post of 2010, Direction.

While trying to figure out my professional new year resolutions, I tried to focus on a direction. Here are my resolutions for the new year:

  • Build a readership of education professionals that are interested in outside the box education
  • Share my ideas, experiences and reflections with fellow educators around the world
  • Focus on Classroom 2.0 technologies and their integration into our classrooms
  • Find a direction for my writing and contribute regularly to this blog
These are just a few professional goals that I hope to work on in 2010. In addition I am launching my consulting company, Innovate Education, LLC. I will be contributing to this blog weekly, most likely with a regular post on Sundays. Please join me on this journey in 2010 as I explore education and my direction.

More to come.

Mike Meechin, M.Ed.