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binge watching 101.

Browsing through the prompts provided for this month’s challenge, I was curious to find Netflix pop up in one. I mean, it’s my go to procrastination stop when I should be doing so many other more valuable things. It has in fact probably helped me delay the writing of this post!

Now having been distracted searching for Netflix memes, I’m trying to refocus on the task at hand!

I took a few minutes and checked out this video from the PBS Idea Channel.

The overall premise of the video was to discuss what might be the type of work that will carry through from this current period of time. They stipulate that in the past, novels, film, and TV have all become formats that resonate in history. The creators of this video argue that this decade will be remembered for the “Streaming Series”, those that are ‘screen agnostic’, they are on demand and always available and there are no ads. These shows are designed to be binged.

And, as we know, they are!

The video goes on to argue that a type of media that makes a lasting impression ‘doesn’t just change the way we consume, it also changes how the story gets told.’

Because of the popularity of these series, more and more producers of media must rethink their programming and what will capture the audience. I almost always choose short episodic TV shows vs. a full length film. My attention span is surely shrinking and I just don’t have the stamina for a two hour movie. (But I can watch 10 hours of episodic nonsense…don’t worry.)

But, at the end of the video I was contemplating how this type of media can and will change our students and their learning needs.

I did a quick search to see what information was already out there about these streaming series providers, like Netflix, and students. Here’s a couple links if you’d like to read more:

Netflix: is it every student’s worst addiction?

What Netflix Research Teaches Us About Student Study Habits

I think the advent of streaming shows continues to build the human desire to get what we want at the moment we want it. We need to take this idea and determine how it translates into an education setting.

Most schools today are still building very prescribed programs for students. These are often driven by a standardized testing experience that sets guidelines and standards that must be met. Why do we continue to pursue such narrow pathways for student learning?

It quickly makes me think about the work my friend Madeleine Brookes is doing at WAB right now that allows students to personalize their learning journey.

And Sam Sherratt’s stance on Breaking Moulds, encouraging schools to step away from boxed-in models of education.

The idea of challenging ourselves as educators to rethink the current vision of a school is often scary and difficult to conceptualize, but overall so exciting! It gives me such encouragement for the future. I’m glad to know that there are educators out there looking to push boundaries and take the challenges today’s students offer and use them as a springboard for future planning.

What are your thoughts on “streamed series” and the role they may play with our students? Are you a Netflix addict? And, of course, I’m happy to hear which series I should include in my summer viewing! #suggestionsplease

It Can’t Just Be One.

It’s terribly difficult to make time for this blog when there’s no outside reason pushing me to do just that, so I’m excited that Tricia posed this opportunity to blog over the next five months with some support of a few others joining this short journey. I always have such great intentions to write here, but, well, you know…

As part of this challenge, a series of potential prompts was posted. Inspired by Sonya terBorg’s Learning2 talk this spring at the American School of Warsaw entitled, “Who is Your Amy?” I’ve decided to write a bit about the Amy’s in my life.

Sonya was inspired by the work of Amy Krouse Rosenthal and shared her views thoughts about this incredible author at the conference. She left us with the question, “Who is your Amy? Who inspires you to do more?”

For me, there can’t just be one person. When I think of the collective group of people in my life, there are several people who I take inspiration from, who encourage me to strive for more, to be the best version of myself that I can be.

goodall quote

One of those people is a former co-worker, who shared her wisdom with me for three years and was a constant source of reassurance and guidance. She had a great listening ear and often knew just the right piece of advice to offer. She kept up with many new trends, apps, and strategies in education and was always willing to share her knowledge without hesitation. This co-worker is a great mother, teacher, learner, but most importantly, friend. Tammy, thank you for your wisdom and your willingness to give so much of yourself to others! I feel so blessed to have had three years of your side by side partnership! Follow Tammy on Twitter for your own source of inspiration.

Like Sonya, I’m also inspired by someone I’ve never met. I watch the videos posted by Casey Neistat to YouTube and find his passion and attitude refreshing. Casey strives to do more and become the best version of himself. (This sounds strikingly similar to Amy Krouse Rosenthal.) Some days Casey’s videos are just fun, and sometimes educational, but often he offers words of wisdom acquired through his years of experience in business, film and life. Listening to him inspires me to do more, try harder, and push myself to become better. I even mentioned Casey last year in my own L2 talk.

My entire PLN on Twitter has also become a huge source of inspiration. I follow so many amazing people who continue to share new and innovative methods that encourage learning and growing amongst our students and ourselves. This includes some amazing educators like Tricia, who digest books like a crazy person, Pana, who’s always sharing some super creative coding ideas, and Kim, who is helping me navigate the beginning of our iPad and portfolio adventures with so many great ideas and answering a myriad of ridiculous questions that I have. And this just skims the surface because there are so many amazing men and women that help to inspire so many educators like myself around the world.

Who are the people that inspire you and why? I’d love to hear from you in the comments!

Learning 2.015 Manila

Last week I was lucky enough to have the chance to attend Learning2 at the International School of Manila.

Almost a week has gone by and I’m still wow’ed by the thoughts running through my head.

What’s at the top of the list?

Sam Sherratt’s talk on breaking free from the molds that we all find ourselves stuck in: schedules, what a ‘teacher’ is, the school itself. He drew all his own visuals (I think in the Paper app for iPad) and they were amazing.

And I’m still thinking about what he said.

And thinking about how I can break free of the molds around me.

It makes me think that moving to Asia to work isn’t a bad idea.


Listening to both Jeff and Kim speak is always a highlight. They are both so passionate about education and the direction we should be heading.

Kim focused on rethinking our perceptions of social media in a classroom and allowing our students to use those platforms to share their learning. She says, “We can empower our students to build communities around ideas that matter to make a difference in our world today.”


Jeff questioned, “What do we need to replace because it’s 2015?” He went on to wonder why any 2nd grader is learning about maps on paper, since no one uses that format any longer. It’s a really good question. Shouldn’t we be teaching the students how to navigate Google Maps on the devices so that they are learning the modality they’ll use in real life?


Towards the end of his talk he mentioned the idea that all international schools want to be a “leading” school, but also ask for the research behind a new idea he might present. Jeff stipulated that leading schools don’t follow the research, they create it.

I had never looked at it like that before.

But it is so true.

And thought provoking.

I wonder how many school directors will take the time to really think about that idea.

Another thing I really enjoyed about the conference was the role the students played. They were active in several workshops I attended and two high school students lead a workshop on Makey Makeys that I was blown away by. High school students leading a room full of teachers. They had great visuals and plenty of hands-on activities.


Many adults could take a few lessons from these students.

And now, I sit in my desk in Milan, exactly six months in advance of the Learning2 conference in Milan.

It’s going to be awesome!

But there’s still a long way to go between here and awesomeness!

Time to get back to work!


We hope you’ll join us for Learning2 in Milan April 7-9, 2016!