The Struggle Between Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivators

I began the morning today reading Larry Cuban’s interesting comparison of the ideological differences of some teachers that use and don’t use Class Dojo. 1 In his post, Cuban discusses the intrinsic and extrinsic motivations students have for behaving the way they do, and cites a Lepper, Sethi, Dialdin, and Drake study (1997) that offers interesting insight in its culmination (see pages 44-45):

We come to learn to do things not only because they are fun or likely to lead to some immediate payoff, but because we have come to believe that we “ought” to do them, either to facilitate our own long-term goals (i.e., because it would be “good for” us) or to follow the norms of the group or the situation in which we find ourselves (i.e., because it seems the “right” thing to do).

I have struggled lately with the balance between intrinsic and extrinsic motivation, and can empathize with the value inherent to both. While there’s something to the accountability and measurability of extrinsic motivators, lasting change seems most common when rising from within. Alas, one of the original, pure struggles of teaching (and of managing teachers of teachers).

Aspiration Management

In a fit of interesting irony this morning, I immediately thereafter read Class Dojo’s announcement that they (we?) had reached an exciting milestone:

As of February 14th, 2014, teachers have given students over 1 billion pieces of feedback on ClassDojo. That’s 1,000,000,000 moments when teachers have recognized students for doing something wonderful!

Is this something teachers should celebrate? Absolutely. Schools would be far brighter places if more successes were recognized and celebrated than failures. PBIS, for the win. 2

Show 2 footnotes

  1. As a personal policy, I have ceased linking to any of Cuban’s work – regardless of quality – in my own form of protest. An odd type of extrinsic motivator, to be sure, but his continued, blatant disregard for the copyrights of others is simply inexcusable. As a teacher and example to others, he “ought” to behave better because it’s the “right” thing to do.
  2. Does your school implement PBIS in some form? A praise to reprimand ratio of 4:1 or higher is the goal our schools have set.
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My Take on the Proposed 5th R of Openness

In 2007, David Wiley introduced the world to the 4Rs of Open Content:

    • Reuse – Use the work verbatim, just exactly as you found it
    • Rework – Alter or transform the work so that it better meets your needs
    • Remix – Combine the (verbatim or altered) work with other works to better meet your needs
    • Redistribute – Share the verbatim work, the reworked work, or the remixed work with others

In other words, the above actions were identified in 2007 as “the four main types of activity enabled by open content.” 1 They also now constitute four of the activities for which explicit permission can be subsequently granted when creators choose to license their content using most CC licenses. 2 Since 2007, many have used the 4Rs Framework to assess the degree of content openness; or, the extent to which content can be reused, reworked, remixed, and redistributed without violating copyright law. Furthermore, people and societies have been pushed toward greater openness – gracious nod to openwashingbecause of our newfound ability to assess philosophy using the 4Rs Framework.

Creative Commons

Last week, Wiley argued to expand his original 4Rs, such that a fifth might now be included:

    • Retain – the right to make, own, and control copies of the content

In an attempt to move publishers toward a position of granting ownership of learning content to (strapped college student) licensees, Wiley also argued that “any advances toward ownership will have to come from the field of open education.” 3 4

As one invested in the field, I’m not sure this is entirely true. Why must it fall on a field in education to define ownership bounds and nuance? 5 While I’m relatively comfortable saying that an unwillingness to transfer ownership indicates a lack of openness, and can clearly see that explicitness and transparency in licensing can be used to move individuals and corporations toward increased openness in practice, a number of questions give me pause.

What does ownership really mean?

Assuming that open licensing (e.g., Creative Commons) eventually embraces the 5th R, then what potential consequences will result? For example, when a licensor grants permission for users to own copies of the content that the licensor has created, will “ownership” mean that licensees will then be able to sell these copies as if they had originally created the content? How about licensees and content twenty iterations down the line? If I were to license this post with a CC-BY-RO (Retain Ownership) license, and you were to share your now-owned, remixed copy of it, will the people that acquire your copy be required to credit me when they choose to share? Twenty iterations down the line, how will users know that I created the original copy – particularly if you, as the new owner, chose to remix my work in such a way that my contributions are hardly recognizable? In order to ensure continuity, will all RO licenses also inherently require the Share Alike attribute? Similarly, will this whole process also require that licenses be transferrable, from one content owner to the next?

Currently, there’s no need for license transfers because all CC licenses are irrevocable and ownership remains with the creator. “Once you apply a CC license to your material, anyone who receives it may rely on that license for as long as the material is protected by copyright and similar rights, even if you later stop distributing it.” However, extending ownership to others will likely create this odd new relationship between (1) the original licensor, (2) early iteration licensees as new owners, and then (3) subsequent owners of content shared. Because of this domino effect, how will creators or original licensors be recognized infinitely down the line? Or, because licensees are now owners of copies of once-open content, are they now free to license their newly created re-works however they’d like, or even not at all? Are owners not entitled to freedom? Again, what does ownership really mean?

Can the technology of licensing really facilitate eternal life?

The evolution of digital content sharing has given rise to new revenue models, including some that enable an expiration date to content accessibility. While some (corporations) need this model to survive, others object to the limitations these models place on the quantity and quality of learning. I can certainly empathize with these objections. However, can the issue of content expiration really be solved through licensing and/or mere declarations of openness? Should it be? Or is disappearing ink a necessary evil when market economies are used to improve quality?

In a case similar to that of disappearing ink, Apple has remained arguably closed in its terms and conditions related to the transferability and ownership of content purchased in the iTunes Store. It was rumored in 2012 that Bruce Willis was planning to sue Apple because their terms didn’t allow for him to bequeath his rightfully-purchased iTunes library to his children upon the time of his passing. As it was confirmed that this episode was only a rumor, it was also clarified that even though Apple now provides users with DRM-free files, the only thing iTunes Store users really own is a license to play the content on up to five devices. Actual music and movie ownership never changes hands. And while I’m comfortable proclaiming that Apple is not open because they’ve failed to provide customers with the right to retain, I wonder what good this proclamation will do. Will people stop using the iTunes Store to purchase convenient access to music; or is the convenience, quality, and seamless experience worth the costs and alarming lack of openness?

Why should the act of declaring content openness be used to limit or extend its longevity? Surely there must be a better way.

Why is ownership necessary?

Wherein lies the true value of openness ownership? Must students own learning content – along with the history of their interactions with that content – in order to fully enjoy the benefits enabled through their access?

I don’t think so. Access trumps ownership, but only when access can be guaranteed without it.

Beyond the disappearing ink and Bruce Willis iTunes dilemmas, I now struggle to see an overwhelming need for content ownership. This wasn’t always the case. In the ’80s and early 1990s, our family purchased an extensive movie collection on VHS. With the increased clarity and longevity of DVD technology, we then chose to repurchase many identical titles throughout the late ’90s. Why? Because we wanted to own the highest quality copy of the content that we loved. Why did we want to own, instead of rent, lease, or borrow? Because we wanted the guarantee of timely access to the content that we loved, in a format we could actually use. 6 Not surprisingly, this is also exactly why we repeated the cycle ten years later, this time because of our newly acquired Blu-ray snobbery.

Does anyone else see a problem here? 7

With this cycle in mind, what will stop us from wanting to repurchase this same content again in 2025, so that we might then be able to fully enjoy it using the latest technology? (400K televisions, I can’t wait!) Nothing will stop us, really, minus the lessons we learn along the way. Did we really need to own Star Wars in every format? No, but we certainly wanted access to it; and ownership was the best way in those days to ensure dedicated access.

Is ownership still the best way to guarantee access?

Probably not. The crazy irony of this whole situation is that the thing we’ll probably need most in 2025 is a content purchasing model similar to Apple’s.

When I originally purchased (access to) music in the iTunes Music Store back in 2003, it was encoded at 128 kbit/s using then-current AAC technology. In 2009, Apple updated their music distribution practices to parallel improvements being made in popular consumer technology. Consequently, they’ve since released music at higher-quality bit-rates (256 kbit/s) and with enhancements built into the AAC standard of encoding. In spite of these improvements to the format of the music, I can log into Apple’s Music Store today and download an improved copy of the music to which I purchased access in 2003. Do I own the music I’ve purchased from Apple? No, but convenient access to it – in a format that works well today – is worth far more to me as a consumer than the cassettes I own and have stored in boxes through the years.

My suspicion is that when it comes to access to learning content in a useable format, tomorrow’s students will probably feel the same way. Hence, the rub with this entire dilemma is that better access can probably be provided using a relatively closed model for sharing (like that enabled by Apple), even though our hope is to enable greater access through increased openness. Can people and societies be pushed toward greater openness because of our newfound ability to assess philosophy using the 5Rs Framework? Probably, as long as we value quantity of access over quality of access.

When will this post ever end?

In conclusion, the issues of usage and ownership reside in parallel, but discrete universes.

  • Because ownership is no longer required for high-quality access, I question the value of measuring it.
  • The issues surrounding ownership are complex, particularly when mingled with licensing.
  • Combining openness with ownership may have a tendency to emphasize quantity of access over quality of access.

Can a car be owned today without maintaining its license? Of course it can, but it can’t be legally driven. (Just like open content.) Is a license required to transfer a car’s ownership? Not really. (Just like open content.) Why muddy the waters of openness with ownership, if ownership isn’t really what’s needed most?

Show 7 footnotes

  1. This material was created by David Wiley and published freely under a Creative Commons Attribution license at: http://opencontent.org/blog/archives/355.
  2. CC-ND does not, for example, allow the licensee to rework or remix.
  3. This material was created by David Wiley and published freely under a Creative Commons Attribution license at: http://opencontent.org/blog/archives/3221.
  4. Both of these Wiley posts illustrate a refreshing shift in academic publishing: professional and open; unlike the amateur label some might hope to promote.
  5. IP lawyers, unite!
  6. Yes, this is the very argument Wiley has used for including the 5th R.
  7. I mean, besides the snobbery…
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Toward Improving the Instructional Use of Technology

I’ve appreciated the discussion taking place over the last few days regarding SAMR, and am impressed with the variety of opinions and pressures resulting from varied local implementations.

Because my district has yet to “shove SAMR” down teachers’ throats, I didn’t realize how invested so many others are in advancing poor pedagogy for the sake of technology integration. The very purpose of my last post was to spell out why SAMR doesn’t work for me. To be clear, it’s not that SAMR is a faulty model, per se. The malpractice, to me, exists in the misguided directions some educators take when using SAMR to make instructional decisions.

For what it’s worth, I also think John Maklary’s comment from Saturday sums up the hype facet beautifully:

I think folks are intoxicated with clever and colorful charts that seem to point them toward the next best thing. A lot of the learning innovation I see doesn’t always build on a foundation but rather replaces it. We are in a hurry up culture everywhere and in education, it is no different.

Given technology’s role as an indiscriminate amplifier of both healthy and unhealthy instructional practices, we must tread more responsibly. Fancy models and tomorrow’s infographic must not distract us from our primary objective: to teach better today than we did yesterday.1 With effective pedagogy predominantly in mind, I continue to affirm that there are distinct times when it’s quite appropriate for teachers to function at every level of SAMR; depending, of course, on the learning goals at hand. Blindly climbing the SAMR ladder is hardly a worthy goal.

Is a tool’s impact any more remarkable when that tool is integrated to accomplish only tasks unique to its use? I know I was sure happy to get that light-switch cover off (pictured below), even though some would argue I should have been buttering bread, instead.

Is a tool's impact any more remarkable when that tools is integrated to accomplish only tasks unique to its use?
#SAMRSlamr: For use with those insistent that SAMR is an appropriate instrument when evaluating the effectiveness of teaching with technology.

Regardless, are newfound metaphors even needed?

Exchanging ladders for pools doesn’t change the fact that effective teaching requires different tools and tactics at different times. Nor does it change the fact that substitution and/or augmentation may just be what students need when certain valid and appropriate learning goals require technology’s use.2 Furthermore, if Education 3.0 does call for an increase in student directed learning, teachers need not (read: should not) function wholly within the Modification and Redefinition domains to successfully shift pedagogy. To do so would be terribly ineffective. As long as teachers exist to shepherd students in their pursuit of learning, (lowly substitution and augmentation) scaffolding techniques will continue to be essential.

In the end, I can’t fault people for trying. Shoving SAMR down throats seems a bit extreme, but people do strange things when the future’s on the line.

Our need for an appropriate way to measure the quality of the instructional use of technology is real. Mere usage statistics and ISTE rubrics don’t cut it. Because budgets are tight, priorities vary, and the politics of education demand accountability, I’m hopeful that people smarter than me can figure this out soon!

</samr-closure>

Show 2 footnotes

  1. Yes, I realize this “primary objective” is highly debatable. What is the purpose of school, teaching, and life itself?
  2. Great teachers know which tools and techniques to use when. Not-so-great teachers need more help.
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That Time When SAMR Gets Us Into Trouble

There’s a lot of talk out there about SAMR these days (the model, not the rifle, although both are kind of cool). See what I mean?

SAMR

Combined with other models, you might even end up with this:

Bloomin SAMR

Or this:

SAMR Wheel

Problems occur, however, when educators instinctively attempt to the climb the hierarchical ladder. In one such moment, Susan Oxnevad energetically wrote:

Researchers have determined that technology integration typically moves through specific levels. The higher the level of an activity the greater the educational benefit.

Because I’m a simpleton, I just don’t buy it. When should technology integration ever be typical, and what does educational benefit really mean?1 Does it mean higher test scores? Does it mean lots more fun?  Surely balance is in the equation somewhere, and hopefully today’s lesson is engagingly different than yesterday’s. If we, as educators, are shooting to be typical, then it’s little wonder why our kids are so bored.2

In well-meaning fashion like Susan, others have pushed the term “life-cycle,” when referring to technology adoption.3 All the while, countless others insist that the only right way is up.

We’re all in this together, though, so you tell me: Must our teaching and learning goals always linger in the lofty realms of redefine and create? Is there really no glory in enhancement?4 Or are there legitimately times when it’s OK for students to remember, understand, and apply? I contend that there are. Higher order learning tasks, maybe not; but sensible and important skills, nonetheless. Teaching at higher SAMR levels doesn’t guarantee greater educational benefit. Instead, it more likely results in different educational benefit.

But different doesn’t always mean better.

A few days back, Darren Kuropatwa live-tweeted a Ruben Puentedura presentation entitled Building Transformation: Frameworks and Practices. My ears perked up when I saw the claim that empirical evidence suggested that upper SAMR levels have greater effect (on student achievement?) than lower:

So immediately I dug in and quickly learned that Dr. Puentedura had used a study from 1989 to illustrate that when technology allows for the creation of new tasks previously inconceivable (SAMR‘s beloved R), then relatively high effect sizes result (r=1.53, see slide 8 here). Now, I’m a fan of 1989 as much as the next guy, but is this really the best we can do? Why must the creator of one of our field’s most prolific models rely on research older than Netscape Navigator?

Our answer may sound a little like this: HYPE.

SAMR + Hype
SAMR + Gartner’s Hype Cycle

The hype of technology’s bling – combined with well-intentioned pushes for more meaningful experiences of learning – have produced a field ever-eager to jump on the bandwagon. We love a good echo chamber when we find one, but owe it to our students to do better.

In SAMR-ry,5 I think many of us in education are frustratingly stuck in Gartner’s trough of disillusionment, trying to understand why million dollar purchases are only being used as textbook and bubble sheet alternatives (SAMR’s beloved S!) Here’s to the day when research catches up with vision, and greater enlightenment more fully translates into more meaningful transformation.

Show 5 footnotes

  1. Does typical technology integration mean talking your way through your eight-year-old slide deck? Should it?
  2. While we’re at it, who in the world are these “Researchers,” anyway, and why are they moving so much cheese?
  3. But when does the cycle ever end? After redefining, is it appropriate to then substitute?
  4. The Makers might say, “NO!”
  5. Sorry, couldn’t resist.
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Tonight Show Genius

To start your Thursday, two quick clips from Jimmy Fallon’s new slant to The Tonight Show

From this first clip, it’s hard to beat the lesson Will Smith teaches about leadership. Near the two-minute mark, Will teaches Jimmy that The Tonight Show (has been and) will be a success because people, caring, and relationships matter most.

People are coming for you. The Tonight Show is big, and it’s historic, but people are coming… because of your heart.

As teachers and leaders striving to change lives, it’s so important to remember this critical lesson!

I tell [my kids] all the time, “you just keep loving people.” Right? The thing is to make sure with your art… your art is a gift to people to help their lives be better and to be brighter. And what happens a lot of the times where you see people fail in this business is they’re in this for their ego, and they start doing it for them. And it’s like, “No!” You’re trying to help people just get through the day… and you do it really well.

Why do you do what you do? As a world and a field and as schools, we could sure use a lot more brightness and a lot less ego.

The Tonight Show

In the second clip, from Tuesday’s show, Jerry Seinfeld delivers a hilarious monologue. Topics in the monologue include our dependence on cellphones to half-heartedly communicate with “the people in your life,” and a brutal critique of mail carriers and the 21st Century US Postal System.

I can’t understand how a 21st Century information system based on licking, walking, and pennies is struggling to compete.

Is it even possible to watch this clip without making comparisons to (hopeful? needed? impending?) efficiency shifts in education?

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Planning for 1:1 Technology Access in Utah

The Public Education Modernization Act (HB 131) was introduced today in the state of Utah. To discuss the bill and the vision behind it, House Speaker Becky Lockhart spoke with one of our local media outlets during the lunch hour.

Unlike many of the 1:1 plans we seem to be seeing these days, this one does feel slightly different. I love how difficult questions continue to be considered; before public monies are spent.

In spite of her struggles while fumbling through an answer to my question about sustainability, I was impressed to see that Speaker Lockhart does understand that this will need to be an ongoing investment in both technology and teacher development. I hope the rest of our Legislature understands this, too. Furthermore, I was pleased to hear of the confidence she places in LEAs and loved that her timeline accounted for students receiving the devices well after infrastructure, PD, and other issues are addressed as a part of program implementation. Finally, her hesitance to take a one-size-fits all stance in device selection was also promising.

Other questions I asked for this #tribtalk session included the following:

  • How will 1:1 devices be used to improve teaching and learning? What is our plan, beyond purchases?
  • How much of the 1:1 budget will go toward technology coaching (sustained PD for teachers)?
  • What does the 1:1 timeline for implementation look like? How will success be measured?
  • What will we do with students whose parents refuse to allow them to use technology?
  • Will Internet access be provided for students that don’t have access at home? If not, then why 1:1?

1:1 Technology Access

What does 1:1 technology access look like in your area? What questions do you think need to be answered in order to avoid potential pitfalls? Of all plans going into a 1:1 program, which issues do you feel are most critical to address well?

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Pay Attention 2014

The talented Ann Oro has developed an update to the original Pay Attention video I created back in 2007.

As I watched her updated version, I was struck by how many things have changed in so little time.

Since 2007, I’ve taken a new position in a new school district. This alone has translated into many changes in my professional life, along with changes in the way my former employer now operates. With me moving on (and obviously other natural and understandable shifts due to the passage of time), I’m afraid those remaining in the Jordan School District lost interest in maintaining the vision and direction we had co-created before the split. As a result, the original Pay Attention files and attribution page are no longer available in their original locations.

Some of my biases and philosophies about education have also changed since 2007. For example, even though the opening sequence of Pay Attention salutes the concept of learning styles, my understanding of and willingness to acknowledge the notion has shifted.1 Because “there is no credible evidence that learning styles exist,” I prefer now to embrace an approach widely broadcast by Annie Murphy Paul. Instead of dividing learners into style-type categories, I teach others to focus on the fact that all “students benefit from encountering information in multiple forms.” Moreover, I stress that students differ “in their abilities, interests, and background knowledge, but not in their learning styles. Students may have preferences about how to learn, but no evidence suggests that catering to those preferences will lead to better learning.”

Howard Gardner has also since attempted to clarify the matter. In partial defense of his Multiple Intelligences theory, Dr. Gardner provided three related “primary lessons” for educators in October, 2013:

1. Individualize your teaching as much as possible. Instead of “one size fits all,” learn as much as you can about each student, and teach each person in ways that they find comfortable and learn effectively.

2. Pluralize your teaching. Teach important materials in several ways, not just one (e.g. through stories, works of art, diagrams, role play). 

3. Drop the term “styles.” It will confuse others and it won’t help either you or your students.

In addition to my change in philosophy regarding learning styles, I’m also in the process of kicking back against most claims that “digital learning” should be categorized – or promoted – any differently than other non-digital forms of learning. For me, learning is just learning; and whereas we never hear pundits discuss the importance of “digital engagement” or “digital reading” or even “digital study,” engagement, reading, and study are all often integral components of a modern and effective learning experience.

I guess I’m just tired of cliché. #clichéfatigue

At the end of the day, nevertheless, I’m still very pleased to see that people are still interested in the underlying message of Pay Attention. While I remain hesitant to continue embracing the constant “Ra! Ra! Go tech!” so prevalent in our field (at what point does advocacy for change actually impedes its progress?), I obviously still see value in using video to motivate and/or springboard conversation.

Furthermore, I continue to firmly believe that teaching students to learn with technology is one of the most important critical skills any school can help students to develop. If teachers still aren’t using technology to teach, hopefully they can at least appreciate the value technology brings as an enabler of learning! My favorite phrase these days is simple: How hard have you tried to learn?

Too many teachers - still today?
Too many teachers – still today?

Finally, I’m so happy that Ann took the time to update Pay Attention! I greatly appreciate her willingness to reach out to me, and encourage teachers everywhere to share it widely!

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Today We Fight Back Against Mass Surveillance #privacyisaright

Privacy is a Right

As has been written in the International Principles on the Application of Human Rights to Communications Surveillance:

Privacy is a fundamental human right, and is central to the maintenance of democratic societies. It is essential to human dignity and it reinforces other rights, such as freedom of expression and information, and freedom of association, and is recognised under international human rights law. Activities that restrict the right to privacy, including communications surveillance, can only be justified when they are prescribed by law, they are necessary to achieve a legitimate aim, and are proportionate to the aim pursued.

I’ve signed the 13 Principles. Have you?

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When #Data Misdirects

I got a Fitbit for Christmas and have loved it!

I’ve loved how it effortlessly tracks my physical movements, and I love how it pushes me to remain active. There have been times when, near the end of the day, I’m prompted to take “just 834 more steps” in order to reach my daily goal. And so instead of digging into another bowl of ice cream, I’ll get my lazy self off the Lazy Boy and take a few laps around the house. Sometimes I’ll even throw in a flight or two of stairs for good measure.

I didn’t used to do that, and so in one sense, continually reviewing my Fitbit data has been a very good thing.

D Drape's Fit Bit Data
Fitbit allows you to effortlessly monitor the number of steps taken over time.

In spite of these wonderfully helpful nudges toward desired behavior, nevertheless, I’ve learned that life with the Fitbit also comes with a dark side to it. Because the device can only record the data it measures, I’ve yet to get it to function while not wearing it.

As a result, there have been numerous occasions when my children have heard me grumble because I journeyed to the basement storage room “without getting credit.” Can you imagine climbing stairs without anyone there to notice?!

Ugh.

Or ever so refreshing; depending, of course, on your perspective!

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If Tomorrow is #DLDay, When Do We Celebrate Learning with Pencils? #LwPDay

February 5th is Digital Learning Day! Fun, I know. There’s a pledge you can take, by clicking a link. I took it, I know.1 There’s even an official avatar. How many days do you know that have their own avatar?

#DLDay 2014
#DLDay 2014

Now, I appreciate a good party as much as the next guy, but why do we really need this? Perhaps we’re an anomaly, but we “build awareness about the potential of technology” in our schools daily. Celebrating digital learning on one day a year infers that we shouldn’t – or don’t – learn digitally all the rest.2

And what is digital learning, anyway? Or better yet, what is analog learning? Is there really such a thing? When will we reach the point where learning is just learning?

I’m ready to stop drawing lines in the sand, so I’ll make you a deal. I’ll wear your avatar on February 5th if you wear mine the rest of the year.

Learning with Pencils Avatar
Learning with Pencils Official Avatar #LwPDay #FTW

Show 2 footnotes

  1. Place your hand on your screen and repeat after me: “On my honor, I will do my best to support digital learning. Whatever that means.”
  2. Is this really just a way to give exposure to the #DLDay corporate partners?! Do they really deserve more exposure?
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