“I feel like I’ve known you for years!” – Steve Dembo’s closing keynote at the MACUL 2013 Conference

This address by Steve Dembo is one you really need to find the time to view. Although I didn’t agree with all he proposed, he certainly left me with a lot to think about. I can highlight a bit of the address, but you really need to watch it – maybe more than once – to really absorb his wisdom about where society is heading and how teachers have to be aware of these shifts so the can lead their schools into new directions. Here is the link to the video, courtesy of MI Streamnet:


Steve starts out by telling us of his son’s favorite job at preschool, that of line-leader. It’s what everyone wants, isn’t it? To be first? Steve is proud of being the first educational podcaster and first to use Twitter for educational purposes.  However, he notes, for many, that wish to be first is lost as we grow older. We fear being looked at as crazy. Schools, he says, in particular are afraid of being first. Schools bend over backwards to protect the privacy of students.

But society is going through a shift from one that jealously protects its privacy to one where parents increasingly want their children to have an online presence. Steve then goes on to stress how important it is to help students to create a positive digital footprint and be aware of promoting themselves now for the future where print resumes are becoming a thing of the past and initial job interviews are done in Twitter. Heady stuff.
There is so much in this address that I hope everyone will take the time to listen and reflect on what Steve has to say.

Two points, in particular, resonated with me. He states that Bloom’s taxonomy does not go far enough. It can not stop with creation. If something great is created but is not share widely, it just sits there. It has to be collaborated on, shared, possibly replicated, etc. Students need to know how to communicate and effectively share the great things they are doing. The same goes for schools. He say that if testing is not telling enough of what goes on in your school, it is up to the teachers and administrators (and I think, the students) to tell the real story, to advertise all the great things going on on a day-to-day basis.










The other point emphasizes how little light touches such as a response on a blog post, a tweet, a published video, etc. are surprisingly powerful at developing relationships between us. He says he’s had folks whom he’s never met come up to him at conferences and say, “I feel like I’ve known you for years.”

I know that is true for me. I have actually met Steve in person, but, even if I hadn’t,  I’d feel as if I know him. Just recently, he went out of his way to help me so that I’d have the ability to post to the CT Leadership Council blog again. Somehow, I’d lost the bar that allowed me to access the dashboard. Now, I am sure Steve does not remember me personally, but he went out of his way to answer me personally and get me the help I needed. It made me feel so special. Speaking of light touches, following Steve on Twitter has given me insight into what he values besides educational content. It is those light touches that connect us to other DEN members and educators we’ve met on the web. Isn’t it an amazing world? If we can feel so empowered by these connections, imagine how our students feel when they have the opportunity to connect with others as they complete projects in school. Too many students still are working in isolation with only their teacher as their audience.

There is so much more in Steve’s keynote.  You might want to think about the “one-second-per-day” project that Steve demonstrated. I’d never heard of it before, but what a powerful story he tells. It could be a fun project for you to try. And he introduced us to the “Harlem Shake.” I’ll let you see that for yourselves.

I’ll be anxious to hear if any reading this post find time to watch the keynote. If so, please leave a comment. Thanks, Carolyn – DE enthusiast!




  1. Wendy norton said:

    I agree, we do awesome things in our classrooms and need to showcase. I feel my hands are tied with the privacy concerns my school has and often times step back from sharing. The DEN offers so much thanks.

  2. Carolyn Stanley said:

    Thanks so much for taking the time to comment, Wendy. It is one of those “little light touches” that mean so much. Maybe you can get one of your administrators to at least listen to Steve’s keynote. It might not change his/her mind right away, but it will plant a seed. Happy Teacher Appreciation week!

  3. Paula Naugle said:

    Carolyn, I have never met you in person, but I certainly feel as though I know you. I believe we first “met” in the Classroom 2.0 Live webinars that happen on Saturdays. Then we connected on Twitter. I love when I’m attending a webinar and I see your name in the participants list. It is comforting to “know” some other person (or persons) who share my passion for learning and doing PD on our own time.

    I have met Steve Dembo, and find his energy to be incredible. He is so well versed on all of the latest technology and he can certainly wow a room with his fast paced delivery. Thanks for sharing the link to his closing keynote.

    • Carolyn Stanley said:

      Yes, Paula. Thank you. I feel the same way about you!!!!! As Steve said, “All the little light touches” help to forge relationships. Looking forward to meeting you on line. Keep up the good work!

  4. Steve Dembo said:

    At an airport and boarding, but wanted to comment quick. 1)I’m touched. Thank you so much for sharing your reflection. 2) Of course I remember you 🙂 3) You just made my night! I’m turning off the Internet so I can just savor this one for a while 🙂

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