On August 9, 2012, I asked (via my blog) colleagues from around the world with whom I interact regularly through social media as well as face-to-face to offer their own external review of my engagement with them as an educator and a scholar. The response has been overwhelming and all of the data can be found by accessing the Google Spreadsheet where the responses live. The responses come from a range of educators, including classroom teachers, school and district leaders, and professors of education. Below, I’ve posted some of the more notable reviews.
Jon Becker questions thinking within the educational community, pushing its members to consider different perspectives upon the current state of research presentation, academic journal access, use of educational technologies, leadership, and educational practice. In doing so, he challenges status quo thinking, educational faddism, and the echo chamber of learning communities, Pk-20. He asks reflective questions, offers critical analysis, and seeks understanding from practitioners to inform his own thinking and ours. I have learned from and with him in both face to face and virtual settings and count on him to create a dissonance of thought to provoke questions that will ultimately create pathways to deeper understanding of the connections of educational theory to implementation of practice. He has always been quick to respond to my own questions and to engage in dialogue about those. Dr. Pam Moran, Superintendent – Albemarle County Public Schools, Charlotesville (VA)
Dr. Becker has been an important contributor to my learning network for many years. His open teaching and learning practice has given me the opportunity to gather knowledge that is critical to my professional practice, yet was missing from my formal educational experience. He has consistently opened my mind to new ideas, and directed me to resources I never would have located on my own. I trust Dr. Becker as a source for balanced opinion and expert guidance on getting to “truth” in circumstances where many are blinded by mob mentality. He puts his best into his teaching practice, while admitting that “best” is a moving target, and it’s his responsibility to prepare for change. -Jennifer Dalby, Instructional Designer – Seattle University, Seattle (WA)
Jon is someone who I have a great deal of respect for in the social media-education world as he challenges people to think about why they are doing what they are doing, and its impact on learning. I have read many of his posts and shared them to others, but I find that he is a person to really challenge what we do for our students to make their learning better. – George Couros, Division Principal of Innovative Teaching and Learning, Edmonton, Alberta (CA)
Jon provided extensive feedback for my US History students on opinions they drafted for a Supreme Court simulation. Students were impressed by the opportunity to receive feedback from someone who had legal training and was a college professor. Jon and I, along with Jason Green, wrote a book review included in an open access, peer reviewed publication. I appreciate the way in which Jon has viewed me as a meaningful collaborator, even though I do not currently hold a position at the university level. Jon has also been a great informal intellectual conversant and sparring partner. He’s read drafts of proposals and articles I’ve written and offered his feedback. We frequently interact and, occasionally disagree (all in good spirits), on Twitter. -Meredith Stewart, secondary school teacher, Durham (NC)
Jon is a mentor I go to with questions, ideas, and snark about education, life, sports, and fatherhood. He provides a perspective I don’t have and he has worked to understand my perspective as well. He gets a lot of my “almost tweets” as direct messages. Jon has made me reflect on what it means want the best for every child in my community. He makes me think about how I can think of data in a positive light, how I can use data to become a better teacher. -Russ Goerend, 6th grade teacher, Waukee (IA)
Jon has been a source of encouragement and knowledge. I joined Twitter in 2007 concurrently with my very first graduate classes at the University of South Carolina. Over the years of pursuing my Master’s and later completing my Ph.D., Dr. Becker regularly asked how my study was going and even helped with a statistics question or two. Aside from those specifics, I learn much from Dr. Becker’s Twitter and blog entries. His blog series dissecting a Marzano research article is still one of his best entries, as it helped the lay educator understand how to read between the lines when reading research. -Dr. Christopher Craft, middle school teacher (Columbia, SC)
I met Jon Becker through Twitter approximately four years ago. Since then, we have had the pleasure of meeting face to face at education-centered events three times. At those events, Jon and I chat. I don’t learn from/with Jon during those meetings. We have a few laughs, enjoy a meal, and go on about our lives. Where Jon has been of greatest support and service to me as a doctoral student, faculty member, and learner is on Twitter. Using Twitter Jon and I connect daily, and depending on my need for his advice or perspective, several times a day. Since our meeting, Jon has served as what I lovinginly refer to as “my sixth man” (a saying used in basketball to refer to the home crowd). He is one of a small handful of colleagues who has coached, advised, and encouraged throughout the majority of my PhD studies. [Note: I’ve been away from my home campus, the University of Connecticut, since summer 2008.] Completeing PhD studies is difficult enough with a local crew of colleagues to serve as critical colleagues, encouragers, and friends. I’ve been on my own for four years. But not really. I never feel too alone because I know the second I have a question, idea, concern, or just need a bit of friendly encouragement, I can find Jon on Twitter and he’s right there with me. He has been an excellent mentor-from-a-far, and continues to be as I move into the final phases of my degree. In sum, Jon Becker is righteous. -GNA Garcia, 5th year doctoral student in educational psychology, Storrs (CT) (kinda)
What follows are letters of support from former dissertation advisees.
Dr. Tony Brinckwirth, former dissertation advisee (VCU)
Dr. Gina Crance, former dissertation advisee (Hofstra)
Dr. Candice Barkley, former dissertation advisee (VCU)
Dr. John Andrews, former dissertation advisee (VCU)
I have also included a small selection of emails I have received from former students, typically received at the end of a semester in which they were in one of my classes.
This last email comes from a former student who created a digital story as a final project in my class. Through a series of events, her video ended up being viewed by U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.