Hero Versus Superhero: You Can Wear a Mask and Be Open

7 comic superheroes made from Lego bursting through a grey wall B. Toenjes | flickr: Justice League #36 | CC BY-SA-NC

I have no turkey to prep; I think I am actually going to make pizza for Thanksgiving dinner. This leaves me with some extra time on my hands – not always a good thing!

I have been mulling over and eventually mashing up a few unconnected posts from the past week.

  1. George Siemens’s comment to my colleague, Terry Greene, “Canada has been slow on several fronts for open education”.
  2. Terry’s own earnest and appreciative “Looking at stars” post declaring, “When people teach and learn in the open we can see those heroes of learning”.
  3. My short rolling credits kudo | gentle shaming for those not on the list highlighting the superheroes of open textbook adoption in Ontario. [This post will underline my erroneous label of superhero, but I am not changing the video!]

What jumped out for whatever reason (well, I did see Kingsman: The Golden Circle this weekend, too) was the idea of hero versus superhero. Full disclaimer movies based on comics is where it starts and ends for me: I have never read a superhero comic book; I have never attended a Con of comics; I have never dressed as a superhero for Halloween.  

To my mind, a major difference between the hero and superhero is identity. The former’s is most often out in the open, while the latter remains hidden. In fact, unmasking the superhero is not singularly freeing, it often precipitates greater problems ~ internal turmoil as well as external complications and hardships. Now, bringing it back to reality…

Terry highlighted heroes of open and I do not dare dispute his list; it is packed with remarkable people. But I wonder about the number of superheroes mightily, but in quiet grace, contributing to the same ideals? This aligns more to Siemens’s remark about Ontario being behind. Perhaps in our formal cohesion of open education initiatives we appear behind, but I would venture there are countless Ontario open superheroes sharing across the province. Plus, we now have David Porter, and any perceived surface gap will undoubtedly close at the speed of light. Does that make David The Flash? I will have to run that by him…

I don’t have the right to unmask, but I have the privilege of knowing some of these superheroes of education.

With the greatest admiration for Amy Collier, I want to care like Charlene. You won’t find her at conferences or blogging. After tirelessly educating and protecting the most vulnerable in society each and every day, she retreats to her home sanctuary. There, any spare money that could fund a conference or new technology is spent fostering abused and neglected animals. And yes, she ends up adopting the ones that cannot be placed – another reason she’s not able to fly off to conferences and connect.

CogDog is still to be commended for his creativity, connecting, and comic touch, but I want to share like Dave. His boundless and bottomless tech talent keeps so many balls in the air and bits and bytes flowing. He honestly has no idea how remarkable he truly is and how much better we all perform and grow because of him. He gets out from behind his hide, but not to conference or keynote ~ it’s to cycle the globe, couch surf, and even fly out to help a friend camp across country when returning (yet again) from a prolonged western adventure. More recently, his efforts channel into step-dad-ding and partnering while still coding and patching his heart out to facilitate the needs and wants of others.    

Jesse Stommel was new to me, but I understand and underwrite the nod after investigation. But I want to teach like Keith. He always embraced the toughest teaching assignments and managed to reach learners who were in danger ~ at the precipice. He not only re-imagined education in theory as so many of us can do, he remade it into reality. From family classes, where multiple grades collaborated and learned across curricula to ensuring the arts were injected into every lesson. Even after a double amputation and into retirement, Keith volunteers to inspire.

You will have never heard of my superheroes, who share their ideas, time, and passion. Indeed, people working in their orbits likely don’t know of their superpower combo of kindness and brilliance. And they wouldn’t want it any other way. As much as we need our heroes, those sharing out in the open, we need the superheroes, too.  And as these heroes work out in the open, I guarantee that these and other superheroes in education are continuing to answer the call | bat signal | spidey senses | etc. in their own way. It is worth remembering for every star out on stage and in the limelight, there are similarly talented people working away in the shadows. But since this is veering off into another metaphor, it’s time to stop.

However, now that I am now on a superhero kick, I will end by using the superhero name generator to uncover my superpower.

I am Doctor Random:

“You were a seemingly normal university professor – until you cracked a seemingly impossible mathematical conundrum, a feat that unlocked strange and bizarre abilities for you! Now, you lead a team of heroes while also searching for the true meaning of the formula that changed you!

Probability Adjustment is my superpower – Your powers give you the ability to manipulate and control probabilities, meaning that you have a seemingly-supernatural level of luck!”

4 thoughts on “Hero Versus Superhero: You Can Wear a Mask and Be Open”

  1. I love what you do here, and I think there are many many more Charlenes, Daves, and Keiths out there than we might know. Their motives are in the right place.

    Some heros make infinitely scrolling cats and mail surprise boxes of goodies.

  2. I love this idea of the masked superheroes out doing Open Good but with the ability to blend back into the “normal society” when they choose.

    I think this is a perfectly valid point that one can contribute to the public good with open work without a spotlight shining on oneself.

    Beautiful. Thanks for sharing.

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