"The Wise Wizard ~ By David Truss ~ CC = BY::NC::SA"…The wizard cleared his throat.

“In a hundred years or so, everyone now alive in the whole earth will be dead – is this not so?”

The pompous man was relieved. He could follow that. He nodded sagely.

“It would therefore be possible for the human race to run its affairs quite differently, in a wise and benevolent fashion, in a relatively short time.”

This way of looking at things appealed to the Chairman of the Education Committee. It had an optimistic ring, so different from the doom-laden pronouncements of most so-called clever people.

He leaned forward. “And so?” he asked encouragingly.

“The purpose of education,” said Wizard Prang, “is to make sure this doesn’t happen.”

The pompous man was thunderstruck.

“Look here, Sir,” he said, “please remember who I am. Not only do I have civic responsibilities – I am also a Pompous Man. You can’t say things like that, you know.”

The wizard was under the Impression that he just had said it, and looked around anxiously to see If anything was wrong. But things looked much as usual.

“Young people today are lazy and good-for-nothing,” declared the pompous man. He resounded. He was on familiar ground. “They sit around listening to pop music and taking drugs. What they have to do is learn more things, apply themselves.”

“No, that’s not correct,” the wizard explained, “they have to unlearn things.”

“How can that possibly be?” The pompous man was lost.

“Well,” said Wizard Prang, “we can teach only what we know. Now what we know is how to devastate the planet, kill its inhabitants, and starve two thirds of the rest. Seems a bit silly to teach people to do all that.”

“Ridiculous!” shouted the pompous man. “That is not the intention at all, and you know it.”

The wizard looked reflective. “The purpose of a system is what it does.”

– – – – –

Stafford Beer wrote that. I quoted him in my first blog post, 5 years ago. To me it carries 2 messages:

1. The purpose of a system is what it does.

We’ll keep getting better at that if we keep asking both what we are doing, and how can we do it better.

2. Things can change in a relatively short time.

I don’t use a Sony Walkman anymore. I don’t think we need overhead projectors in schools anymore. I don’t think standardized tests need to measure the success of a school anymore. We don’t really have to wait a hundred years or so, we can see change in a relatively short time.

I’ve been a blogger for 5 short years now.

Just like last year, here is my blog’s year in review: The posts I’ve written and a quote from each. I hope that you will find something that appeals to you. (Mouse-over the links to find out a bit more about each post.)

If you have subscribed to, commented on, linked to, or simply taken the time to read my blog… I say a heartfelt

Thank you!

– – – – –

iPads are for iConsumers

“I’m a huge Mac fan, but I have no interest in a bigger version of my iPhone that isn’t a phone, isn’t a camera, doesn’t like to multitask, requires me to have a laptop on the side and then doesn’t fit in my pocket.”

– – – – –

Great things in the classroom

So, I decided to say ‘Thank You!’ to my teachers for doing all the wonderful things they do. I work in a great place with a great staff, and sometimes we need to stop and appreciate the little things we are doing to make our school great!

"Great Things in the Classroom"

– – – – –

A Culture of Caring

The intent of our little saying, ‘Care, Share, Dare’ is to encourage all of our students to value some common beliefs about how we should treat each other in school, and how we should be fearless learners, that contribute to our school and to our classes, always striving to do our best.

– – – – –

Choose Your Battle

So which battle will it be? Do we make classrooms a war zone? A battle zone to keep technology out? Or do we make it a learning zone? A place where we close the gap between digital distractions and digital classroom tools?

– – – – –

Shifting Attitudes

Have you made the Shift? Are you an agent of change?

Where do you fit?

Shifting Attitudes by David Truss

– – – – –

Math can be beautiful!

Math doesn’t always have an easy answer, and it shouldn’t always be about the answer. We should relish in the mysteries of Math’s beauty.

– – – – –

Photosynthesis and Learning: a learning metaphor

Some teachers like to say that, “All answers are good answers,” and in a way this was a good answer in that it brought up a really good discussion. However, I believe that when a student gives a really weak or ‘easy’ answer to a big question, there’s nothing wrong with calling them on it and telling them, ‘that’s a really bad answer’!

Bring Your Own Laptop to School

In the past two weeks I’ve moved from a school with just 3 projectors in a 4 floor, (no wireless), school to a school with:

• Projectors in every classroom (that we will be using next school year).
• Netbooks for every teacher.
• Wireless in key rooms and common areas.

"Can Navigate by genemac110 on Flickr"

– – – – –

Leadership in the digital age

“… This is in direct contrast to my children’s current school where the principal has announced “that there will be no technology between 8:30 and 3:30 without the direct supervision of a teacher.”

– – – – –

Who Owns the Learning?

When we create projects with students and then share them digitally, who owns the learning?

When a student leaves a class or a school, what happens to their blogs, wikis & ePortfolios? Can students take these with them?

– – – – –

Congratulations edublogger, you’ve been duped!

Here is a wonderful badge to put on your website.

"The Top 100 Duped Educators Award"

– – – – –

One last time

Before I got into administration, my good friend Dave Sands always used to say, “Being an elementary school principal is like being a rock star in a boy-band

– – – – –

Parenting in the digital age

I spent most of the day writing presentation notes and editing my slide transitions out for the Slideshare version. My goal was to create an online presentation that others could use.

"Parenting in the Digital Age Slideshow"

– – – – –

Parents as partners

I firmly believe that “It takes a community to raise a child” and so without cooperation and communication between a school and their parent community, ‘we’ cannot fully support our children and their learning. That said, I often wonder about how we can more meaningfully engage parents in a way that they want to be engaged.

– – – – –

Thank you and no thank you

…‘Thank you’ to all the amazing teachers in my network that I learn from whenever I get online, and ‘No thank you’ to people who complain about ‘the system’ and ‘failing schools’ who don’t actually try to do something about them.

– – – – –

First Day of School 2010 – a Google Search Story

The tag line (description) for this video is, “If you are just looking for activity worksheets, then you are missing the point!”

"Google Search Story"

– – – – –


This is probably one of the best arguments I’ve heard against standardized testing and perhaps against standardizing education for the masses for that matter.

– – – – –

I (Heart) Libraries

I am the library media supervisor in our district and I would be interested in your thoughts about 1:1 and how libraries support students, teachers and curriculum and digital libraries.”

"Love Libraries"

– – – – –

Ladders, leaders, students and storytellers

At both the classroom and the school levels, how much do we empower students and how much do we limit their participation in their own learning?

"The ladder of student involvement"

– – – – –

Connected Principals Elluminate Session on Sunday!

Gathering questions from educators all over the world, we will be discussing the following topics:  Management vs. Leadership, Social Media within schools, and Staff Professional Development

– – – – –

An expectation of openness

On a recent post about empowering students, Gary Kern asked me a question in his comment:

What are your thoughts on the structures and changes needed for teachers, especially at the older grades, to be able to foster higher levels of participation in their learning?

– – – – –

Thinking about change

This was inspired by reading Chris Kennedy’s post by the same name.

Chris starts his post:  “With all the discussions swirling around personalized learning, and school reform, I have been thinking a lot about change, and how we do it right.”

– – – – –

Moodle Schmoodle and no point to Sharepoint

Often, technology adds layers of complication by the nature of adding something new to what we have done before.

"Do We Really Need a LMS 'Layer'?"

– – – – –

Confession from a bully

One oddly cruel day, in a moment well outside my character, I said something unkind to her when we were alone, with no one to witness, no one to prove anything to.

– – – – –

Going to the hard places

“If you aren’t willing to go to the hard places,
then you aren’t helping your staff or your school.”

– – – – –

The complete guide to building a digital footprint

1. Pick a site that YOU WANT TO join.

2. Sign-up.


– – – – –

Transformative or just flashy educational tools?

A tool is just a tool! I can use a hammer to build a house and I can use the same hammer on a human skull. It’s not the tool, but how you use it that matters.

A complimentary point: If I have a hammer and try to use it as a screwdriver, I won’t get much value from its’ use.

"Presentations tools... and a hammer"

– – – – –

I was wrong

As Chris Kennedy said in response to my ‘Transformative or just flashy educational tools?‘ post:

“We should encourage tools, especially for our younger learners that can do many things – I think that is one of the great appeals of the ipad.”

– – – – –

a goal that is nothing less than 

making the world a better place

How would I run the program? I’d challenge my group to make a difference in the world! Give them some options or they can come up with their own.

Be a postitive ripple

– – – – –

My 2010 Edublog Awards Nominations

‘I would like to thank the following people for contributing so much to my learning. I’m only nominating in categories where the impact has been powerful and potent. I’m also going to cheat and add a few ‘honourable mentions’

– – – – –

Connected Principals Elluminate Session

– The Power of Social Media

our December Connected Principals’ Session focusing on the variety of ways administrators can use social media to positively impact their learning organizations. Akevy Greenblatt, Janet Avery, Patrick Larkin, and David Truss will be our featured presenters for the evening.

– – – – –

No Office Day!

Friday morning I decided to leave my laptop at home and truly have a “No Office” Day. That morning, I wrote this on twitter:

I am having a “No office” day today. Will spend real time (not just walk-thrus) in every class. Going to be a GREAT Day! :-D

No Office Day Badge

– – – – –

On being an agent of change

My profile byline on many online sites says,

A husband,  a parent…

An educator,  a student…

A thinker,  a dreamer…

An agent of change.

– – – – –


And more and more, I’m thinking that the changes we want… and need… involve truly questioning everything we do structurally and why we do it?

"Question Everything - Bruce Wellman Quote"

– – – – –

Less is more. Teach less, learn more.

In both Asia and North America, schools are driven by statistics and measurements that guide many of the decisions made about how to improve and excel. Meanwhile Finland continues to beat to it’s own drum, to think and to act differently… and to outperform data-driven countries.

Andy Hargreaves 'The 4th Way' - Pyramid by David Truss

– – – – –

Empowering Leadership

It’s not a secret ingredient, it’s just common sense.

If you want to empower people to lead, they need the requisite power to do so.

– – – – –

We aren’t in the ‘teaching business’,

rather we are in the ‘learning business’.

“I think there needs to be a recognition that we aren’t in the ‘teaching business’, rather we are in the ‘learning business’, and if we aren’t constructing a teaching model that supports teachers in their learning then we need to redesign what a teacher’s day looks like!”


– – – – –

3 Edtech Realizations

There is a lot of talk about ‘New Literacies’ and ’21st Century Learning’ and about transforming education these days. As I approach my 5th year ‘blogiversary’ I have come to some simple, but I think important, realizations about how educational technology (edtech) has and will continue to transform what it means to be an educator today.

– – – – –

Late penalties are ‘off the mark’

“As a teacher, I don’t take any marks off for something coming in late. It is my job to make sure that students demonstrate their learning and meet the learning outcomes during the year. All time lines within the year are arbitrary (and usually teacher determined) and not a requirement worthy of penalty…”

"Marks off for late work? What matters more?"

– – – – –

“This is China” – Community

I’m sure there are a few small communities around the world where this could happen, but living in a city of 6 million and seeing this community effort makes my morning!

– – – – –

Do schools really need an AUP?

The one piece of the puzzle I often get stuck on is why internet use is treated so differently from other school rules? We don’t have “Hallway only rules” and then “Playground only rules” and then “Gym only rules” that we have students and parents sign acceptable use policies for, but we have them for our online spaces.

– – – – –

An Authentic Audience Matters

“I thought this was a great project because it was always fun, and when you needed inspiration, it was easy to just click on someone else’s page, and see all the neat stuff that they’ve done, and then it makes you want to make your page just as good (or, it did for me).”

"Pair-a-dimes 3-2010 to 3-2011"Thanks for being such a great audience!


That’s a year of posts! I hope that you have or that you will find something valuable to your own learning, and as always, I welcome your feedback.

Think good thoughts, say good words, do good deeds.


6 comments on “My 5th blogiversary

  1. Congratulations on a brilliant 5 years! I love the recap and I’m going to have to spend some time reading each of these posts! Thanks for all you do for education worldwide. It’s been exciting and inspirational learning from you! Here’s to a short decade more of blogging 😉

  2. I’m about to celebrate just my 8 month anniversary of blogging. You’ve inspired me, encouraged me, and I appreciate your leadership and connection we’ve made. Best now and always :).

  3. Happy Blogiversary! I’ve enjoyed some conversations here this week as I’ve just only begun my foray in blogging. This format overview is great and just gave me a few ideas of my own. More importantly, it just gave me a glimmer of inspiration for the day. Thank you! And, thank you for your recent comments on mine, too. Great story about the girl who ‘missed’ lunch to correct her blog post before you could use it as an example in class!

  4. Thanks Shelly, Tom & Suzie!

    Probably the 3 most valuable things about my blog are that:

    1. It’s my own space… Where I can document my learning, and it encourages me to ‘think big’ and to ‘think deep’.

    2. It’s always on… The learning never stops!

    3. It’s a conversation… A journal would be just with and for me, but here I get to share what I’m thinking and learning with wonderful people like yourselves, whom I get to learn from and with.

    Thank you for your contributions. A tip-of-the hat to you for what has been shared, and what’s still to come!

  5. Thanks again for the great video idea “Drive: The Surprising Truth about Motivation.” My blog today used it as a focus – lots of terrific food-for-thought and discourse needed around the topic of money and motivation. Cheers, David!

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