Tuesday, 14 April 2015

We Have to Stop Pretending - My 5 Things

Thanks @mcleod for the motivation this morning.  Great idea.  I hope all pick up on this.

When it comes to education, we have to stop pretending…

  1. Covering content is the same as creating content.
  2. Talking about critical thinking instead of doing critical thinking.
  3. Sitting in rows, having students grouped by age is the best way to learn.
  4. Learning is best done when broken up into subjects and units.
  5. Textbooks are the best material to drive our lessons.
What are yours? 

Please join us. When it comes to education, what are 5 things that we have to stop pretending? Post on your blog, tag 5 others, and share using the #makeschooldifferent hashtag.

Please visit +Scott McLeod blog, http://dangerouslyirrelevant.org/2015/04/we-have-to-stop-pretending.html to see his original post.

Write it in a blog, post 5 tweets.  Tag 5 other people.  Use the #makeschooldifferent tag.

I tagged, @tina_zita @pmillerscdsb @Gregbagby @jameseliasnunes @plugusin @leslie_edu

Remember to TAG 5 others.

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

You don't have to be first to really lead

I have been thinking about this post for awhile and my motivator today comes from spending a day with my son and then reading a post by @gcouros entitled, 5 Ideas for Conversations on Change.

If we lead with what is best for kids, good things will always happen.

We should always do what is best for our students.  From my days developing DI portfolios for grade 10 History, to hand coding webpages so that my class and their parents could have access to materials, to embedding a critical thinking methodology into department courses, they were always done because I believed it to be best for kids.  It was this conviction that built support for these ideas from department members and other staff. While I may have had the initial nugget of an idea it was only ever with the help, support and the willingness to innovate from my colleagues that allowed these ideas to come to fruition.  Great things can happen when you start working from what is best for students.

Help teachers know where they are and where they need to go.

No teacher wakes up and says, "today I choose to do exactly what I have done before even if it isn't good for kids."  Most teachers and administrators, do what they believe to be best for kids.   Even when they can't do what was best for kids, it isn't because of a lack of want.   It is usually because they can't get from their start line to the finish, or they do not even know where the finish is - or if the finish even exists (in education there really is no finish). No teacher ever wants to be left behind.  It is our job to listen to their concerns and wisdom from years of teaching and seek common ground.  If a teacher isn't doing what's best for kids in our eyes, they are not certainly doing what's worst for kids in their eyes.  We need to see things from their perspective; find common ground and start building our common ground to start working towards what is best for kids. 

It is better to support teachers than pull them along.

How many times have you seen in movies where someone falls of a cliff, building, airplane, etc. and someone else catches them?   How often is that really successful?   Would you rather just save someone or develop someone?  Supporting our teachers through change will have a far greater impact than just pulling them begrudgingly along.  This will be a long journey and cannot be done over night.  Break this journey up, provide markers for success and check ins for help.  Supporting people is the key to doing what is best for kids.   We need to let teachers know it is safe to step outside of their comfort zone and try something new.   When teachers do this they are putting themselves out there and they need to know we support them.  When this starts to happen, good things will come about.  

Listen, model, learn together - My day cross country skiing.

As an example, yesterday my family and I went cross-country skiing, at first it was a challenge for my son.  He was doing something he never had done before. He was uncomfortable and embarrassed as he kept falling going up hills.   I could have lead him, gone in front and pulled him up the hill.  It would have been quicker, it would have been easier, but what would have been learned?  Instead I stayed behind, offering suggestions and support, occasionally coming up beside him to listen to him and try and figure out what he was attempting to do. I then attempted to model technique (with all my none cross country experience) and eventually it clicked for him and we were off on our journey, together!

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Powerful Ideas - Powerful Visuals

There are times on Twitter where I have come across a really great idea and I get motivated to take that idea and pair it with a great visual to share with others.  I thought I would use this post to share the collection of my favourites.  Besides being on Twitter, I have these on my wall in my office, the LFD tvs at the school and up on old school bulletin boards.

I made these images with @canva.  A great tech tool canva.com.

You can find these images on twitter, @vptechnodork.  Share away.

Be Great because...You are Great.  My great tweep @gregbagby as this as part of his Twitter profile.

My kids inspired this, when things weren't going so well for me one day they said this line.  

Yeah we all get the Sunday night nerves.  Admitting it is half the battle.  Are students get these nerves as well.  Just a reminder that the WE can handle it. Bring the AWESOME!

We are developing staff and student understanding of Growth Mindset.  I read an article about Canada's World Junior loss last year and the goalie had this great line about dealing with failure.  Even funnier, my son's own hockey team is not doing so hot this year.  My son read this and said, "wow dad, my team has learned a lot this year!"

This was simply my one word for this year.  Resilience. Our students and staff need more of this.  

When are students want to pack it in when the learning pushes them past their comfort zone. 

Just developing our understanding for the benefits of failure. 

#edtech is not the solution to improving education.  Yeah I said it. 

The benefits of Twitter.  U can also check out the evolution of this image from a storify I put together.  Value of Twitter on Storify

My message on creation vs content. 

From @rmbyrne keynote at #BIT2014

My perspective on having students look up content. 

My view on social media. 

How I work, how I lead.  

Technology is only powerful if we use it with a purpose. 

Reliability of information.  Expression found on a t-shirt. 

We need to change teaching. 

That's it, that's all for now.  Find me @vptechnodork and full sized images are there.  Share away.

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Connected Culture, Collaborative Culture: Comes From the Top!

Today I read an old post from Edutopia, on creating a Twitter driven school culture.  Great piece on getting your staff going on Twitter.  It can be found at: Link to article.

It offers some great ideas for leaders to engage their community, but not just on Twitter, really their suggestions work on creating a positive culture that will be able to accomplish anything.


Edutopia is absolutely correct in leading off with modelling.  We as leaders must take those first critical steps in everything we do, from instruction to behaviour to tech use we have to show and set our expectations through modelling.

Next, they suggest displaying your Twitter handle.  This is great for Twittet but don't forget to show how else you connect and to also display how you want others to teach and learn.

The third example of real time encouragement is crucial, again crucial not just on Twitter.  It's easy to retweet and favourite, but it takes a real effort and go the extra mile and talk face-to-face with others and let them know how much you appreciate what they do.  I need to work on the face2face component as well.

Their fourth point really comes down to voice.  Let people know that their voice is heard.  This goes for staff and students.  The twitterfall in the staff room is a great plan.  I will use our hallway LFD TV for this.

We need to trust our staff that their backchannel Chet's on Twitter and at the water-cooler will be purposeful and have meaning. The more open we are the more conversation and the greater the ideas will become.

The Final point on creating a team will naturally occur if we pay attention to all of their other points.  If we create a safe, collaborative environment where we learn together great things will happen.  And as Drucker says, "culture will eat strategy for breakfast."