An Hour a Day

Recently I read about a young man named Jeremy Gleick in a very long manifesto, Stop Stealing Dreams by Seth Godin.  (Godin, 2012, p.81).  Gleick made a conscious decision to spend one hour per day learning something new.  He became smarter than most of his peers by giving up a little TV.   After reading the NMC Horizon Report 2012, I wondered what the impact on education (and ultimately student learning) would be if teachers devoted one hour a day (okay, how about 30 minutes?) to exploring and learning about innovative and creative practices to enhance student learning.  

One of the drivers of change outlined in the 2020 Forecast: Creating the Future of Learning is the Amplified Organization.  This includes amplified educators.   My understanding of amplified educators is teachers who have consciously made a decision to learn and incorporate social technologies in their practice.  Godin states, “…and the only barrier to learning for most young adults in the developed world is now merely the decision to learn.”  I would delete the word ‘young’ in this statement.  Learning is a choice we all make (or not) every day. 

A key technology goal of our school division is to use technology on a daily basis to support learning across the curriculum.   “Digital media literacy continues its rise in importance as a key skill in every discipline and profession, especially teaching.” (Johnson, Adams, & Cummins, 2012, p.9)  Plainly, this goal needs to be met in the very near future.  Due to lack of formal training, I see teachers beginning to make a concerted effort to search out informal learning opportunities.  As David Donahoo says in his blog, “… developing children’s skills across multiple literacies like visual, digital, media and networking is important and using technology to do it is a no-brainer.”  Developing educators’ transliteracy skills is also a no-brainer. 

Wondering where to start?  The NMC Horizon EdTech Weekly App caught my eye this week.  It is a $2.99 App that provides field examples of emerging technology effectively integrated into teaching, learning and creative inquiry. Twitter offers numerous leads to online resources.  TeacherTube has numerous instructional videos online.  “Real learning happens in bursts, and often those bursts occur in places or situations that are out of the ordinary.”  (Godin, 2012, p.144)  Whether it’s an app, the Net or Twitter, teachers can find learning opportunities everywhere… it’s as close as your Smartphone.


Darwish, J., Grimsley, K., Moyer, J. World of Learning Resources. Retrieved from: 

Donahoo, D., Horizon Report 2012 Released: The Future of Education is Mobile.  Retrieved from:

Godin, Seth. Stop Stealing Dreams (What Is School For?). (Free Online Publication, 2012). Retrieved from:

Johnson, L. Adams, S. and Cummins, M. (2012). NMC Horizon Report: 2012 K-12 Edition, Austin, Texas: The New Media Consortium. Retrieved from:


2 thoughts on “An Hour a Day

  1. I agree that the idea of devoting an hour or even 30 minutes a day to learning about innovative and creative teaching practices would do wonders to move educators forward. But finding that half-hour per day may not be as easy as it seems. Teachers are required to do so many things in a typical day – from emails, meetings, phone calls, supervision, extra-curricular activities, not to mention planning, teaching and assessment of student learning tasks. If our system is ever really going to change, I believe that workload and organizational structures need to be reconfigured to allow for this important learning to occur. Gawelek et al (2011) describe how Seton Hill University implemented wide-spread use of iPads during the Fall 2010 semester. It was the belief of administration that infrastructures and attitudes such as training and risk-taking that were required for successful implementation. Without training and support, it can be very difficult to initiate change.

    Certainly it is possible for teachers to learn by jumping in and figuring things out along with the students, and I believe this an ideal strategy in some situations and for some teachers. But not all teachers are comfortable introducing technologies or strategies which they are not confidently familiar with themselves.

    Learning opportunities may be as close as your smartphone, but not all teachers have them. Should teachers be required to adopt technologies in their practice? Perhaps. Should they be required to adapt their teaching practices to best meet the needs of students? Absolutely. If time and resources were provided for teachers, perhaps we would see more growth and innovations in teacher practice.


    Gawelek, M., Spataro, M., & Komarny, P. (2011). Mobile Perspectives: On iPads–Why Mobile?. EDUCAUSE Review, 46(2), 28-30,.

  2. The idea that learning is a choice, at least in the developed world, is fundamental. It means that we have the resources and we have access to the knowledge that we need to be able to progress in our own academic development. But it also raises a lot of questions. Once I’ve decided to learn, do I need access to a teacher? If not, how do I find learning that fits in my “zone of proximal development”? What is the value of informal learning and how can it be assessed for effectiveness?
    I love to learn, but I find that my motivation ebbs and flows. When I am motivated, I can read many books and write or otherwise act to reinforce or test my learning. But when I feel tired or overwhelmed, I may pause for weeks or even months before picking up a new project. That’s why it always surprises me that we expect student to learn on demand and to be always on.

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