The Computer That Started It All

Picture of an Macintosh LC II computer from 1990.
The Macintosh LC II. Introduced October 15, 1990 with a retail price of $2500.00!

This is literally the computer that started it all for me. The very first computer that created my love for computers, technology, and helping others learn about and be more comfortable with technology. This computer came out in 1990, and it was the first computer my mom had to use in her classroom. I was in 9th grade I believe when this picture was taken which was the 91-92 school year (I’m using the picture with friends sitting on top of my desk as a reference point ?). How about that wide assortment of cologne too?! Oh middle school and high school sure was fun…but I digress.

Since this was a computer provided to my mom for use in her classroom, which was a big deal in and of itself, teachers were allowed to take their computer home over extended breaks and during the summer. Thinking back, that was a really big deal that teachers were allowed to do this; especially now when we consider what we have in our pockets every day and how we effortlessly take our computers anywhere we want! So since the computer came to my home any chance I could get, when it was at home it became my computer.

I connected everything, fired that thing up, and I was instantly in a new world. No, not because of the internet, because I was using a technology that prior to being 14/15 years old I hadn’t had any real exposure to. I was obsessed with knowing everything there was to know about what that machine could do. There weren’t any YouTube videos to teach me; I had to explore, try, mess up, and try again. I quickly mastered the basics and was soon teaching my mom everything she needed to know for day to day productivity and also some fun things too (hello Print Shop!).

Pretty soon, my mom was loaning me out to the other teachers at school. Mind you, I went to the same middle school my mom taught at. So when mom told me she was taking me over to a teacher’s house on the weekend to help them with their computer skills, I felt pretty amazing that I was going to be teaching them something!

This one particular moment in my life is where my love for computers, technology, and teaching others about it began. Completely unplanned, unintentional, and nothing I learned about in a formal way.

I wish I would have had more opportunities to learn that way growing up. It was all so linear and locked into such traditional means. We all now have a multitude of ways to learn on our own time and in our own way, and sometimes that doesn’t have to only happen inside of a physical school building or during “normal” school hours. I’m not insinuating we should depart from “normal” education as we know it, but when we can learn in real-time or at our own speed, by ourselves or in a group, across a wide range of media, maybe it’s time to rethink some things.

A Little About a Lot or a Lot About a Little?

Is it better to know a lot about a few things or a little bit about a lot of things? Or put another way; is it better to go a mile wide or an inch deep? I wonder how many leaders, especially over the last 11 months, have struggled with this? Ahh, so many questions when I start blogging again. ?

I think to a degree, leaders have been expected to know (and rightly needed to know) about a lot of things as we’ve navigated this school year. As a leader, there have been times where I have thought, “Should I already know how to do this?” or “I should have known how to do that!”, but then I remember that everyone is doing a lot of learning this year and having a lot of “new” to navigate. It’s a good reminder to give each other, and ourselves, a lot of grace.

Personally, I think I’d rather dig in deep on a few things and feel confident on those versus knowing about a lot of things, but not knowing any one of them particularly well. This is how we should be framing it when we work with teachers. I’d rather help them feel really good about one or two things instead of opening the firehose to full power immediately to only have them feel overwhelmed. Build a good foundation of confidence with a little bit, then add to it gradually.

As long as we remain learners first and teachers second, we’ll all get better for ourselves, our colleagues, and our kids.

Why I’m Awesome – And You Are Too

Over the last couple weeks, but really the topic has come up many times before that, I’ve seen folks talking about all of the self-promotion they’ve seen online from various authors, speakers, principals, teachers, etc., etc.  There’s plenty of it for sure – videos, tweets, blog posts, articles, keynotes, pictures with MC Hammer (yes, that really happened to me 8 years ago), and many more. Is it something that is over saturated? Yep. But let me ask you, would you ever wish that on your students that they would stop doing that? Isn’t that something we encourage them to do in this digital era we continue to craft for them?  To highlight their accomplishments, to create that oh so important “digital citizen” we want them to be. By the way, let’s just make that “citizen”. Let’s strive for good humans that know how to do amazing things with the tech and connections we provide for them. But I digress.

Why is it bad (negative) when a teacher or a principal or a superintendent does the same thing? Is there some kind of malice or other ill-intent I’m missing or just something I’m naive to? Is it because they’re trying to sell books or get more speaking gigs? For the people who are out there doing this that I know as friends, it makes me proud to know them. We should be happy for them. Why shouldn’t we encourage our teachers and teacher leaders to promote themselves in a positive light just like we do for students? Picture of Bitmoji Kyle

So, I’m deciding to put myself out there with this post. I’m going to get out of my comfort zone and list reasons that I’m awesome. For the simple reason that I hope it encourages lots of others to step out and do the same thing. I’ve never been a “toot my own horn” kind of guy, and I probably will never become one, but I’m doing it today. We need more people to share the great things about themselves and the work they are doing. What can it hurt?

Why I’m Awesome

  1. I have good people skills.
  2. I put relationships first.
  3. I recognize that a team decision is always better than just me making a decision.
  4. I’m funny (I would likely pick stand up comic as a career in another universe).
  5. I am great at explaining things in a way that’s easy to understand.
  6. I don’t talk down to people.
  7. I really enjoy bringing people together for the betterment of themselves and our students.
  8. I’m approachable.
  9. I make people feel comfortable
  10. I recognize peoples’ needs and do whatever it takes to meet them.

Well, that wasn’t too awful. You should give it a try. It doesn’t feel horrible and we need to hear why you’re awesome. Let’s not stop having our students do this and let’s be less hesitant to do the same for ourselves.  Use #whyimawesome if you share yours online!