Wednesday, August 25, 2010

How are You Paying Attention?

Watch this spectacular video about the Shift happening in one school district

Assessment and Reflection:

Needs Assessment.Compass What call to action is happening in your school and district to leverage the power of the real-time web, social media. How are you as a principal or superintendent embracing the digital age? Are you staying connected with teachers, students, and other leaders?  How are you leading new behaviors and eliminating dried-up status quo thinking? How are you learning about the new generation of digital learners? Are you creating an environment that encourages students and teachers to “power-up”? Are 21st century conversations happening around skills, concepts, and themes? Is there a plan with clearly delineated action steps that align to national and state standards of assessment?

Has the shift begun? Or are there still barriers without working solutions? Is this conversation taking place in your district? in your school? If so, how? If not, what needs to be in place for this conversation to begin?

Be relevant, not obsolete.

Please leave comments and feedback below.

New Resources for Leading and Learning 08/25/2010

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

A Practical Approach for Administrators


Leadership.Learning with Technology As Innovation Director for North Carolina Virtual School and through our GO LIVE (Getting Organized to Lead Innovation for Virtual Education) Approach, I have the privilege of working with district and school leaders across our state.

Through my Google Reader subscriptions (great for developing a PLN, by the way) I found this blog post from Dave Meister (@phsprincipal). I am indebted to not only Mr. Meister but these other great leaders who have helped build my own capacity as a leader in my organization as well as the impact I can bring to leaders in our state. (Eric Sheninger, @NMHS_Principal; George Couros, @gcouros; John Robinson, @21stprincipal; Susan Carpenter, @susanF95; Philip Larkin, @bhsprincipal). These administrators inspire and challenge me. I desire that those who subscribe to my blog will reap the same benefit from their wealth of knowledge and experience.

Post by Dave Meister from PHSdirectorBlog

What are some tangible steps school administrators can take to lead technology integration at the school level?  My school, Paris Cooperative High School, has made some very good strides in technology integration over the past four years.  Although we in no way are where I want us to be, we have begun to make a difference in student learning, in communication, and teacher pedagogy styles.  As I reflected on where we are at this point, I made the following list of tangible things an administrator can do to promote technology use by students and teachers:

1. The staff has been encouraged to blog. (at the insistence of the PCHS Librarian who blogs here and here)  Some of these blogs have become incredibly useful tools for parents and students to use on a daily basis.  As a result of teachers blogging, students are being encouraged to blog in various classes for a variety of purposes.  Student are engaged by the fact that they are writing for a bigger audience.

2. The staff has been encouraged  to use Twitter.  By using Twitter they have become involved in in-house discussions about various topics as well as discussing education issues with other teachers from around the world on #edchat

3. THIS ONE IS IMPORTANT! Get the keys to your school's/district's web filter!  Beg, borrow, or steal them!  If the tools you want your staff to use are blocked they will give up quickly.  Social tools such as Youtube, Twitter, and Blogger, and etc.... must be available.  If you have the ability to manipulate the web filter you can allow access on demand for sites and better enable staff and students to use these resources!

4.  Equipment and training have to be made available.  We have been lucky enough to secure a couple of competitive grants (EETT) that have outfitted our class rooms with IWB's, new computers and three mobile labs that can be used throughout the building.  We have provided over a 1000 hours of staff development highlighting the use of Web 2.0 tools.  We have brought in experts like Meg Ormiston and Recess TEC Inc. to work with staff on technology integration.  We have follow up technology integration learning opportunities every chance we get.  We try to have a tech day once a week called Technology Tuesdays.  Technology equipment and training must become part of the yearly budget.  I consider the technology budget to be more important than the money we set aside for textbooks!

5. As the lead administrator for our cooperative high school, I think it is very important to lead by example!  I have a blog that I regularly update, a Youtube channel that I use to communicate with the educational community, and I use Twitter to communicate with staff, community, and with educators from around the world!  I have made several presentations to area groups about the importance of modeling technology for area teachers and administrators.

6. The best thing you can do is find ways to say yes to the ideas your teachers have to use technology to increase student achievement.

New Resources for Leading and Learning 08/19/2010

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Open Learning and Leadership: The Power of Relationships

I have discovered that I have carried Fear about posting to my blog, mainly a fear regarding “do I haveRelationships.An Investment something worthy to say?” “Will it be read?” “Will people care?” “Will it make sense?” I have been doing a lot of reading of bloggers I admire (Lisa Nielsen, @InnovativeEdu, all bloggers on The Connected Principal, Steven Anderson, @web20classroom) and really am amazed at not only the depth of each posting, but the frequency by which they post, almost feeling overwhelmed by the shear volume of it all: Where to begin? What to write about? How often to post?
But then it dawned on me. This epiphany came while reading Open Leadership by Charlene Li; speaking of the Obama Campaign’s disruptive and transformational use of technology, she writes, “it [President Obama’s Campaign'] used technology to reach out and create a relationship where there wasn’t one before . . . .” Isn’t that the key? Whether we use Twitter, Facebook, Ning, Plurk, Google Anything, or in this case blogging, we are connecting and engaging with other educational leaders to build relationships that are predicated on transparency, trust, open communication, and free sharing of information. If I approach my digital media endeavor with that open-mindset then I will assuage that FEAR and truly leverage these interactive technologies for the benefit of the community. I heard Lisa Nielsen say, speaking of Twitter, that it “is not about the tweet, but about the conversation.” To have conversation, we must have two-way engagement from at least two people. With blogging and other digital tools, I see that this same approach applies. Conversation constructs relationships, supports it, helps it to flourish. When we write for an authentic audience, we are conversing, connecting, and collaborating.  Li continues by saying, “The repeated successful interchange of people sharing their thoughts, activities, and concerns results in relationships.”
Connections In the same vein as the Tapscott quote above, David Warlick poignantly states, “I blog to learn. Many of my blog entries are questions from which I learn from others." This collective is not just confined to blogging, but to all digital media designed for those who engage to learn and lead together.
I have found myself just “tweeting” to be “tweeting”—making sure I get my quota in for the day; or wrestling with what to blog about because I feel I need to keep up with the blogging “Joneses”. And because of this chasing the wind, I have lost out on the connection, the learning, the relationships.  I really find most value-add when I comment on a blog or respond to a tweet sent out to our PLN to help with a presentation, give a “shout-out” to a room full of new Twitter users, (or just today, offering encouragement to the class of 2014 at Patrick Larkins’s [@bhsprincipal] school), or add feedback to a Wall in Wallwisher for the best Web 2.0 tool for the elementary classroom. This interaction is so critical to the survival of a PLN (Lisa Nielsen speaks of this in her recent blog post The PLN Matures).
I (and others readChange.One Waying this post) have to guard against the “one-way” mentality , interested only in what we have to say, tweeting or blogging about self-interests. I realize that blogging is a self-reflective activity  However, when I only do this, I miss the point. The last 9 months have been by far been the most extraordinary professional growth in my 20 years in education. And it has been due to the relationships garnered in my PLN, the conversations begun with a single tweet and carried over into a larger discussion (#edchat, #cpchat, #edtech, #elemchat). Although lurking and observing has such value initially--to learn, to assess the lay of the land, to discover the “do’s” and “don’ts”, to feel comfortable--CONTRIBUTION to the conversation is absolutely essential.  
I, therefore, resolve to exchange, engage, and share. Will you join me in that charge?

WHAT IF . . .

A world of immersive experiences, personalized learning, interactive technologies, 3-D worlds . . . .
Latitude 42 Study Findings: Where Else Will Kids Think to Put the Web in the World? from latddotcom on Vimeo.
E3 2009: Project Natal Mile Demonstration:

New Resources for Leading and Learning 08/13/2010

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.