John Pederson
Skype: ijohnpederson

Thanks for playing with Powerful Learning Practice! I'm excited to be among awesome company of Will, Sheryl, Robin, Dean, all of the fellows, and most importantly you. I was recently trying to explain PLP to colleagues at work. I was asked "What is it that you'll be doing exactly and why are you doing it?" The best answer I could give was "I want to be a part of an online community in this professional context." That looks all Yoda-like well thought out in text. In real life it sounded really, really lame.

The idea of "communities" fascinates me. Both the ability to connect and the relationships that I've formed in online communities during my career have been incredible. Here's a secret. Way back in the beginning of what we know as "blogging", I was among Will Richardson's stalkers. I watched what he was doing and dedicated a weekend to setup my own blog. I distinctly remember taking my wife out to dinner one night and explaining, "If I simply comment on Will's blog posts for a while, he'll know my name and maybe he'll begin following me. This is why I need to build my own blog." She thought I was nuts. I wasn't sure I was right either.

Fast forward a number of years later and a few hundred thousand little interactions later...strange synchronicity of events leads to something like this. It's like trying to explain rock and roll. It's next to impossible until you experience it for yourself...and you know it when you hear it...and it's slightly different for everybody...but it's there.

Let's get to the important stuff. Everybody has their own little flavor. Dean Shareski designs things. Will Richardson writes long, introspective posts in which you can almost taste the angst. Sheryl knows community. My driver is playing around with people's attention. What do people pay attention to and why? In a world with so much information available, how does attention work? This Internet thing really fascinates me. Anything from bacon to copyright. It's all fair game.

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Dean Shareski
Skype: dean_shareski
Blog: Ideas And Thoughts

I'm in year two working with Sheryl and Will and while I've learned lots, I'm not done yet. If all goes well, I'll never be done. That's the lens and perspective I bring to this and pretty much life in general.

I've been very fortunate to work in a progressive school district in Saskatchewan Canada that has rarely said no to any of the wild ideas I've had. Not that all of them work perfectly but they've been crucial in understanding what works, what doesn't and where we need to go to help kids learn better. In addition, I teach pre-service teachers at the University of Regina. Lest you think that generation is receiving an updated education that is preparing them for the challenges of the 21st century, think again. As I remind them often, they are the winners; school worked well for them so the impetus for change is sometimes hard to muster.

If there's one thing I've noticed in my work with teachers is that they are not selfish enough. (Will has written about this often too.) As they strive to meet the diverse and enormous needs of their students, they often neglect their own learning. Given the continued complexities and challenges facing today's classrooms, this is of great concern.

PLP is a tremendous opportunity to take some time for your own learning. We need models of learners for our students. The transparency and openness afforded to us by technology gives us a great way for us to share and model learning. That's what I hope we'll do together. I feel privileged to work with Will, Sheryl, John and all of you. My own selfish goals is to add a few dozen great educators to my personal learning network.

Just a heads up, I discovered that my name contains the word "share" in it and I share lots. You may get to know me better than you'd like. I've given you fair warning.