‘Messing Around’ More

This post is a result of my work in my COETAIL course and is cross-posted from my blog over there.

Over the weekend, a lot of my tweeps were at 21c Learning Hong Kong. If I were going, one of the main reasons I would have done so would have been to see Punya Mishra from MSU. He is a driving force behind TPACK. During Mishra’s keynote, Jabiz tweeted:

[blackbirdpie url=”https://twitter.com/#!/intrepidteacher/statuses/170433850911105024″]

This immediately reminded me of Messing Around. In their whitepaper, authors boyd, Ito, et al. write the following:

When messing around, young people teachers begin to take an interest in and focus on the workings and content of the technology and media themselves, tinkering, exploring, and extending their understanding. [p. 20]


It is important to recognize, however, that this more exploratory mode of messing around is an important space of experimental forms of learning that open up new possibilities and engagements. [p. 23]


we see [messing around] as a necessary part of self-directed exploration in order to experiment with something that might eventually become a longer-term, abiding interest in creative production. One side effect of this exploration is that youth teachers also learn computer skills they might not have developed otherwise. [p. 25]

(Obviously, the strikethroughs are my edits!)

In my role as technology facilitator, I spend a lot of time with teachers, either in a one-on-one, small group, or workshop setting.  While there is an obvious willingness to learn something new, that desire to ‘mess around’ is usually missing from the teachers. There’s a huge list of legitimate reasons why this is the case: lack of time, too much marking, planning, other  meetings, to name a few. I get that. But as teachers, we must be willing to the behaviors that we want to see most in our students: curiosity, self-reliance, inquiry, stick-to-it-tiveness. To me, that is what ‘messing around’ is all about.

As teachers, we all have expertise. We know our content areas (Content Knowledge) and have been trained (or have learned on the job!) in teaching pedagogy (Pedagogical Knowledge). Historically, the best teachers have been the ones who lived inside the intersection of those two realms of knowledge.

With the increased pervasiveness, ubiquity and infusion of technology, there is a third realm that defines the best teachers: Technological Knowledge. The TPACK model of technology integration helps teachers think about the intersection of these the knowledge areas when developing and delivering meaningful learning experiences for students. I believe that it is only through ‘messing around’ and discovering new possibilities within the context of one’s own Content and Pedagogical Knowledge can teachers begin to truly harness the transformative power of technology in learning.

How much ‘messing around’ do you do? When do you find the time? What keeps you from doing it more?

Image Credits:

Disconnect to Connect

Over at Intrepid Teacher, Jabiz is having a blazing conversation on the need for balance. Cristina pointed me to the following video that I had never seen before, which is an ad for a mobile phone company in Thailand. According to a commenter on YouTube, the narrator at the end says:

Stay offline some time to embrace your surroundings. Use the phone just as necessary

Be sure to add your voice over at Intrepid Teacher if you haven’t done so already.

Keep Your Eye on the Blog

I’m not normally an internet meme kinda guy. But I like the idea of spreading a little love and knowledge…

Thanks to Maggie at Tech Transformations for the recommendation as a blog to keep an eye on. Actually, I believe the term she used is “Vale a pena ficar de olho nesse blog,” an initiative to highlight, well, blogs to keep an eye on!

Learning on the Job is an attempt by me to document my thoughts and experiences as I work my way through my new position. It is becoming my de facto portfolio, one that I would happily point any prospective employer towards as it is equal parts reflective and celebratory. It also serves as a sounding board for my thoughts and ideas; just taking the time to write them down help clarify things for me.

Of course, I don’t work or live in a vacuum and I am constantly inspired, motivated and encouraged by my blogging colleagues around the world. Here are 10 of them, presented without commentary:

Keri-Lee at Tip of the Iceberg.

Jabiz at Intrepid Teacher.

Kim at always learning.

Jackie B at Continuities.

David at Questions?.

Dina at The Line.

Adrienne at create. connect. question. (not hugely busy ATM since she is in the middle of her Master’s Degree) and her MYP Language A blog for Triple A learning.

Maria at Teaching College Math.

All the folks at 1 to 1 Schools.

The good folks at Boing Boing.

If you haven’t had a chance to read some of the blogs above, please do check them out. And if you are one of the bloggers listed above and you choose to play along, here are the rules: Copy the picture, link back to here, and recommend 10 blogs of your own for people to keep an on!