Ditch That Textbook by Matt Miller

Connect, Share, Motivate

  • Matt started his teaching career as a lone wolf, but along the way he realized the benefits of connecting with other educators around the world. Once you connect you are likely to find others to inspire you, motivate you, challenge your thinking, provide camaraderie, and humor. As you collaborate you will learn about computer tools that others have tried and found successful. Matt finds that Twitter and the blogs of others provide rich resources. It also got him to start his own blog to help others. By not sharing your good ideas you are being selfish. You can also share good ideas you find online like I do almost every day. Although few educators can afford to attend many conferences, anyone can attend webinars and watch TED Talks almost anytime.
  • If you believe Daniel Pink, carrot-and-stick motivation has a limited reach. Things more likely to motivate are: 1. Autonomy: the urge to direct you own life. 2. Mastery: the desire to get better at something that matters. 3. Purpose: the yearning to do what you do in the service of something larger than yourself. Ditching your limited textbook opens up your classroom to the world of choices. When students have more choice, they are more like to maintain their curiosity and engage in cooperative activities.

Leverage Technology/Personal Professional Development

  • Rather than suppressing technology use, educators need to leverage it. When it comes to social media we need to help students learn how to navigate it and use it for learning. When it comes to professional development, each teacher is their own best developer. Each knows their strengths and weaknesses and should be able to put a learning plan together. Your students should be able to help you figure out what you want to learn next and when it comes to technology they may even be able to teach you. YouTube and various learning blogs (like this one) offer rich learning resources. Educators you connect with can also help you figure out what to learn next. As you learn more about technology it’s time to let your creativity flow and put lessons in place that use the technology you have learned.

Teachers as Salespeople

  • You don’t make flowers grow and you can’t make anyone learn anything. As a teacher you simply provide the optimum conditions for learning. In a sense we have to sell our students on the idea that learning is in their best interests. Matt recommends Daniel Pink’s To Sell Is Human summarized here as it will help teachers do a better job with their sales pitches. Matt goes on to show how Pink’s principles can be applied to teaching.
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DrDougGreen.com     If you like the summary, buy the book
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