Lee Kolbert (@TeachaKidd on Twitter) makes me think. She makes statements or shares links or asks questions that get me going. Thanks, Lee, for pushing my thinking on this issue!
First off, let me say that I think David Jakes is a very smart person and I respect him and what he usually has to say a LOT. I enjoy following him on Twitter and deliberately attend his presentations when I can to learn from him. However, in this case, he and I may need to agree to disagree.
David recently wrote a blog (http://strengthofweakties.org/?p=297) that said get rid of the badges you have been given. His statement about why is that “they send a bad message” and to back that up, he says what bothers him is the “have-have not mentality that they promote….and perhaps the false sense of accomplishment that goes along with their display.”
I believe teachers who get recognition, whether they apply for it or not, should show the honors they receive—for it IS an honor to be selected as an Apple Distinguished Educator, or a Google Certified Teacher, or a STAR Discovery Educator or a Golden Apple recipient, or a presenter at k12online conference, or NECCunplugged, or Edubloggercon, or any of the other badges teachers display. I believe, beyond the have/have not mentality, that it shows teachers who go beyond the classroom, who look for connections to other educators and who share and probably revel in being a lifelong learner. What David doesn’t explain is that being part of these communities is just that—being part of a larger community of learners, of thinkers, of doers and movers and shakers—and the coolest thing to me is the INCLUSIVE behaviors of these educators through these programs.
I KNOW Apple Distinguished Educators mentored others through the application process in 2009 and spoke for them to Apple.
I KNOW Google Certified Teachers did the same.
I KNOW DEN STARS are always telling others—“You should become a DEN STAR!”
I’ve heard these things, seen them and experienced them.
DEN STARS are always offering tips and tricks about Discovery Education, streaming video, digital storytelling, and sharing the incredible resources available on the DE site.
At the July 09 Apple Institute, ADEs were streaming it and sharing the videos being created as soon as they were made.
At the August 09 Google Teacher Academy, the agenda was sent out publicly and tweets shared the learning throughout the day. I virtually attended the previous two through the notes docs being shared and the agenda and the incredible resources there.
At the conferences mentioned, the presentations are streamed (and often archived) so others can attend and learn virtually.
I, and many others, I am sure, have learned about these opportunities through those badges—seeing one and saying, ”What is that?” It’s NOT about having or not having a badge—it’s about sharing the opportunities to learn, sharing the knowledge one learns through those opportunities and encouraging others to apply the next round. It’s about making the world—and various types of learning—more accessible to a larger group than a company can accommodate. For me, those badges aren’t about exclusivity, but about sharing and learning and growing, and when I see one I see that person as someone I can ask about that opportunity.
What do YOU think?