Saluting a hero

I took time out a few days ago while up in the North East to visit St James Park stadium, the home of Newcastle United, to pay my respects to Sir Bobby Robson. Robson was not only a local hero, he was a true legend of the beautiful game – a giant in the world of sport.

He played for Fulham, West Brom and England, and then went on to manage the national England team in two World Cup tournaments. He managed Newcastle United, as well as Barcelona, FC Porto, Sporting Lisbon and PSV Eindhoven, and led lowly Ipswich Town all the way to that shock EUFA Cup win in 1981. Sir Bobby was a fighter too – he battled valiantly against cancer for a lot of his adult life, but in the end, earlier this week, he sadly succumbed. His sporting legacy across Europe is tremendous, and for many he was unique. He was rewarded for his service to sport and his single-minded support for cancer charities with a knighthood in 2002.

I was overawed when I walked out onto the terrace at St James Park that day. In bright sunlight, I was greeted with a sea of football shirts, draped over the seats, stretching across one complete end of the huge stadium. Interspersed with flowers, cuddly toys, placards, banners and other artefacts, it was a visual spectacle the old boy would have loved to have seen. What struck me most though, was that many of these shirts, keepsakes etc, were probably irreplaceable, each holding sentimental value for its owner. I watched as a man reverently draped his antique England shirt, circa 1950s, over one of the chairs – he probably owned it as a young lad. It must have cost some of these fans dearly to give away their prized possessions, which they placed like offerings to their hero – their deepest mark of respect and thanks for the man they so revered.

This got me thinking about how we honour people in the world of education. Well, mostly we don’t. Sure, in the UK there is the annual teacher of the year award, and there are other awards such as the one we see each year at the Handheld Learning Conference, but generally, many teachers, learning technologists, researchers and other education professionals tend to go unnoticed and unlauded through most of their careers. I was honoured to receive a fellowship from the European Distance and e-Learning Network last year in Lisbon. It’s the one and only award I have received to show for over 30 years of engagement and service to education. Many others in the teaching profession are less fortunate than me. In the U.S. there are, I notice, a lot more opportunities to recognise great teaching, research and educational leadership. I was at the US Distance Learning Association awards in Washington D.C. in 2001 to see the ‘American Eagle’ award presented for outstanding contributions to distance education. There are awards for best papers, best presentations and so on, at many of the major conferences. At ALT-C next month, the Learning Technologist of the Year award will be presented. Education professionals need to be honoured for their steadfast work in classrooms and lecture halls - and yes - also behind a keyboard and screen late at night.

So if we set up a hall of fame for learning technology legends, who would be your top three nominations and why?


Drew Buddie said…
My 3 learning technology *legends* would be without question:

Seymour Papert
Alistair Wells
Leon Cych & Ian Usher (can't separate them)
My three choices (three is challenging!), but I'm going with the three I feel have most positively influenced my journey over multi-year periods:
1a) David Rosen

1b) Carla Arena

1c) Larry Ferlazzo

David Rosen, because he's stimulated more self-reflection and classroom reflection and worldview reflection and curriculum choice reflection and facilitator skill reflection (and... well, you get the idea) David's work with the listservs and wikis has influenced many.

Carla Arena: a warm, bright smile; joy; a light on a dismal day: Carla intuitively masters new technology tools, analyzes their value (or not) for ESL/ESOL/EFL classroom use, their applicability to K-12 and/or adult ed, AND so, so graciously engages, encourages other educators/facilitators (from anywhere along the technology proficiency continuum), volunteers generously to a global audience, is an excellent photographer and sharer -- and she does this in more than one language! Among the many online presences she exhibits her talents are via TESOL -- EVOs (Electronic Village Online sessions -- Webheads, Blogging, Images4Education, and so many more)

Larry Ferlazzo: infamous Edublogger: Larry posts and shares and updates and reflects upon thousands of sites and tools and their applicability to the field of ESOL/ESL/EFL, he publishes, he's an extremely active teacher in a challenging setting -- and he responds (in his own style) and attributes faithfully

There are many more in my personal "gratitude hall of fame" -- tributes to you all!
Boyd said…

Are you at the ABD destination in your program?

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While both types might require help to move on, it is the latter that is likely to derive the most benefit from this article and become motivated to complete, perhaps, the most important event in their life.

You are intelligent enough to have come this far, there is no reason (from an academic stand point) to linger in the "ABD Zone." The longer you are there, the more difficult it becomes to pick up the pieces and move forward.

Many Ph.D. candidates seem to hit a brick wall and feel disarmed when called upon to work on the "methods" and "results" section of their dissertation. This is the point where many students diligently search for help calling on their mentor, peers, university assistance and even Google. This is also the time when the student may ask themselves the question "HOW MUCH HELP IS TOO MUCH"?

For complete article:

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