Leadership · Curriculum · Lifelong Learning

I was wrong. Here’s a try that definitely failed. But why?

#HamstraHighlights is committed to archiving and sharing experiences as a learning portfolio. Personal journeys aren’t about showcasing all the time. After all, educators talk about students failing forward, and yet it’s still considered a risk for some educators to be vulnerable and share mistakes? I’m sharing one right here.

I’m reflecting on reflection. Inspired by educator leaders like Steven Weber, Derek McCoy, Melanie Farrell, George Couros, and Bill Ferriter, (and a few other twitter friends) to begin writing, blogging, publishing, and posting my learning journey, #HamstraHighlights is happy to post this reflection, number seventy-two in seventeen months. Yet it’s not about quantity as much as it is about quality. And reflection quality is measured by how much it matters to me in my personal and professional growth.

Reflection is a crucial step in our personal and professional growth.

Especially in our on-demand world, some moments are so big and over-stimulating, that we wish we could hit all the DVR buttons in this order: pause, rewind, replay in slow-motion, and then play. It’s only in times of reflection where ideas grow MORE:

  • Apparent–Some thoughts take time to form, like peeling back layers of an onion;
  • Connective–Spiders strengthen webs in times of planning, researching, and thinking, and bridges are built one span at a time;
  • Transferable–After much thought, we know better why and how to apply our newfound learning to our personal and professional walks;
  • Valuable–Ideas worth learning are worth thinking thru;
  • Powerful–Ideas worth thinking thru are worth acting upon; and
  • Transformational–Ideas worth acting upon can change your life.

Meeting new friends at ASCD’s Empower 18 Conference, it was New Jersey’s Mt. Horeb Elementary School‘s principal Scott Cook that encouraged me in decision-making skills:

“Sometimes, you have to let ideas marinate.”

Reflection is important. It really matters to me.

Sometimes, I’ll reread blogs I’ve written over a year ago, and I’ll see definite errors. I have to make a decision–Fix it or leave it? After all, my blog domain is my name, and I certainly can’t run the risk of looking unintelligent, or worse yet–Being wrong… right?

I always edit grammatical errors or mistakes, such as even slightly misquoting someone. I’m determined to give credit where it’s due and demonstrate digital citizenship. I continue inviting readers to help me in these processes. But what about evidence of simply not knowing things, as a direct result of being younger in my learning journey at that time? To me, that’s part of my journey–suspended in time–and personally archived as a reference, or point of origin from which may stem future comparisons, analyses, reflection, and growth opportunities.

Reflecting on Professional Learning Experiences

How many dynamic professional learning sessions, educator events, conferences, or edcamps have you experienced in which you learned something new?

How much of that learning was actually retained and applied?

For the longest time, I thought that if all of my learning wasn’t reflected upon and immediately archived right there on the spot–Then it would be lost forever! Check out my progression of thoughts:


For the 2018 North Carolina Technology in Education Society Conference, I created this Flipgrid reflection opportunity for all conference goers. I thought that educators would literally record a video of what they learned from each session. At the time, it sounded like a quality learning opportunity–right there on the spot.

After all–These well-organized Flipgrid reflections would be so valuable, serving as:

  • An archive from which to access future learning;
  • An archive for staff meetings and instructional technology folks;
  • An archive for annual administrator-educator evaluation;
  • A session evaluation tool for presenters to see immediately what resonated with their audience, and;
  • An overall conference evaluation tool for event organizers to see attendees’ key takeaways, which may help in guiding the planning of future conferences.

And… the result? 

Only ONE conference goer responded. Special thanks to Tahquetta Hunter of North Garner Middle School for responding! Nice to meet you!

But WHY didn’t my idea for reflecting on-the-spot work? Perhaps, because at a conference:

  • People strive to maximize absorption of new information;
  • People strive to maximize face-to-face time, meeting old and new friends;
  • People strive to get their money’s worth, possibly funded by others;
  • Flipgrid was not the preferred method in which to reflect; and
  • Long-term processing and reflection time haven’t matured yet.

Reflection in the Short and the Long

Intermittent reflection may be as dependent upon the timeline as it is upon the platform.

Short-term reflection may be captured thru moments via social media, such as twitter, facebook, instagram, and Flipgrid. Word-processing tools also capture newfound learning via Google Docs, digital notepads, or even paper-and-pencil.

It’s that long-term reflection that has me curious. Why and how does this happen?

Somewhere, someone has done brain-based research informing reasons for deep processing and slow-release expression. Somewhere over the temporal lobe in the cerebral cortex, neurons are firing, synapses are synapsing, and learning is still unwinding…

2 Replies to “Reflection Over Time”

  • Kyle,
    Your post on reflection has got me reflecting. Reflecting is important to pause and look at your past, evaluate your present and make changes for your future. You my friend do a great job with this. Thank you for sharing and modeling how important reflection is. Keep on keeping on!!!

  • Thank you for your kind words, Melanie! And thank you for taking time to reflect on reflecting with me. Learning from you every day, and having you in my PLN helps me grow as an educator and as a person, and that’s priceless to me. Thank YOU. I think reflection may be the most crucial stage in the learning process, and I’m very interested in how and when educators think things thru at the end of every day, conversation, and conference, for example. It really matters that we make this happen in effective ways. Thanks again!

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