Monday, 24 June 2013

On Professionalism and Opinions

Last week Joel Levin was lucky enough to present at the Games for Change conference, he wanted to use my Solids, Liquids and Gases demonstration as an example of what teachers are doing with the tool he helped to create. So I sent him through the 9 or so minutes of relevant footage and he zapped that down to about 1 minute, still getting the main idea and showcasing the fun learning that was happening. Admittedly he did crop a lot of the discussion I was having with students as we progressed through the demonstration, however I believe there was enough of it left in there to make the concepts in that demonstration clear to most watchers.

Here is the short video edited by Joel.

Now a few days later another presenter (at the same conference) had the gall to call Joel 'a very well intentioned teacher' in a very patronising manner, he did preface his comment with essentially "I know we are supposed to be all nice to each other at these things but...." He then went on to say that was 'horrified' by the use of MinecraftEdu in classes and that my lesson rang 'alarm bells' for him. He did not explain himself very clearly, other than, the demonstration I did with the students was not an accurate model of the way particles behave. Which in itself is true, however he took the whole thing the wrong way, he thought the students were running away from the fire, which if he took the time to watch the actual lesson he might not have that misconception, as the fire (heat) allowed the particles to move more freely from one another, going from solid to liquid, the particles are still contained, but are much more able to freely move once in liquid state.

Now I am trying to connect with this presenter to discuss his opinions, not because I am mad at him for his comments and criticisms and want to 'flame' him for it, but because I am open to these comments and criticisms, and want to be able to reflect on what I am doing from another point of view. Currently a lot of my online interaction is very positive, and that is not necessarily the greatest way to develop best practice. However he is not coming to the party so to speak, he appears to be ignoring me. I have also asked that he watch the original video footage so that we can discuss the pros and cons of my lesson. Now this brings me to the heading of this post.

It is perfectly fine to have opinions, and to share them, but I think people need to be mindful of being professional when sharing opinions. It is easy to say "this Australian teacher" and have that person as a faceless entity in cyberspace, however we are not faceless entities in online interactions. I put a lot of effort towards using MinecraftEdu into my classes, and also sharing the process, thoughts and reflections with the world. So I hope that this presenter will be professional enough to at least acknowledge my request and be willing to discuss and defend their opinions. The only way to improve anything is to look at what is not 'right' and work to make it better. He is the first person to really say that what I am doing is not good, to the point that it should not be happening. This is why I want to connect with him.

Thanks for reading, I would appreciate any comments or suggestions on my current state of affairs. I know this is the second non-MinecraftEdu (well sort of) post in a row, more updates on MinecraftEdu happenings will be coming soon.

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