Influencer

In my current grad class through Winona State University, Innovative Instructional Leadership, my students having been studying the diffusion of innovation, discussing/reflecting on leadership traits and applying design thinking strategies to create solutions to identified problems.

Influencer: The new science of leading changeAn activity we are working on right now – is a jigsaw of the book Influencer: The new science of leading change.  While I am writing this post -first for my students – I also felt it was worthy to post to my blog for my own reflection and opportunity for feedback from my PLN.

This book provides leaders, established or emerging (this means you students!), insight on how lead successful change.  This is not change for the sake of change.  Remember, our last face to face IDEATION session indicated nearly half a whiteboard of challenges from the perspective of students, teachers, and administrators.

Design thinking defining/ideation with #wsucohort1 – Feb 22, 2017

Chapter 2 highlights that there are 3 keys to influence:

  1. Focus and Measure
  2. Find Vital Behaviors
  3. Engage all 6 sources of influence – Personal, Social, and Structural Motivation and abilities.

Focus and measurement is crucial.  You have to have measures of where you are – and goals of where you are going.  Then measure again. What were the results?

Side Thought:
For many districts, the big measures tend to be test scores and as districts transition to personalized/project-based environments, I do believe, that we can give students great learning experiences (authentic/relevant) and still increase test scores.  It has been so fun to see classrooms that are actively applying these new pedagogies.

From Michael Fullan’s, A Rich Seam

One mistake that I have seen (that I have also been guilty of) is focusing and getting so excited about the innovation – that the original learning goals get lost. We need to make sure we focus on our standards and continually assess our students meeting and exceeding those standards. This will help determine when we may need to provide extra support for our struggling learners.

But…. I see the need for other measures beyond test scores.  Of course, there are surveys and observations (as seen in a report http://bit.ly/531Snapshot) But I am not sure this is enough.  I would really love to understand the district/school measures that go beyond test scores and are extremely effective.

Vital Behaviors. What are the behaviors in an organization that drive results? What are the vital actions that drive change?  What are the vital actions that are “culture busters”?

Side thought: Once we have clear and compelling goals – how often do we find and share those stories of change and success?  Stories can have an amazing impact on an organization/culture.  On the other hand, how often are we willing to address those culture busters? Often, we let behaviors continue because of the fear of confrontation.

The 6 sources of influence.  How do we motivate or enable a vital behavior to reach our desired goals?  Motivation – one’s desire to make the change.  Ability – one’s talent, skill, knowledge to do so.  How often have our students not “reached their potential” due to motivation?  Or how often have we seen students create great strides due to a huge increase of motivation?  How do WE react to change when a change is imminent? Can I do it?  Will I do it? Why should I do it?

These domains are further divided into 3 subgroups – personal, social and structural.  “These three sources of influence reflect and separate highly developed literatures: psychology, social psychology, and organization theory.” (p 69).

It is these 3 sources of influences that are jigsawed and will be shared upon our next f2f day as teams of students will be delivering short but quality PD to their peers (not sit and get PD!).

It’s important to think and reflect on these influences as both a leader within your classroom and a leader within your school or community.  Not all will be equivocally useful -but will offer ideas to support revisions to solution prototypes!  When reading this book it’s important consider our role as an influencers and our role to influence other influencers!

 

Google Classroom – A differentiated experience

Today I am facilitating a f2f PD session around Google classroom and wanted to do a quick reflection before my next session.

Knowing we have users with different abilities, I decided to do a 1 question survey – to find out how comfortable our staff is with the tool.  Below is the results of this survey.

Results of Survey

 

 

 

 

 

I was surprised at how many staff had already adopted the tool.  I also recognized – that the Spray and pray – One size fits all PD session was not going to suffice to be adequate to all of our teachers’ needs.  And so, I decided to use Google Classroom (blended learning) and stations – to differentiate this experience for our teachers.

We also are going down the road of standards-based learning in our district.  Last year teachers determined their course ELO’s (Essential learner outcomes) based on standards. They also started creating scales (building on 1-4 model) to show the progression of learning those critical ELOs. For those of you who have adopted Marzano – you should be very familiar with this.

However, I wanted to also model this idea of progression, (a path to mastery) and create learning experiences to go along with it and differentiate the experience.  Having observed Daily 5 station work in the elementary school – I decided to create stations within my classroom for the day and test it out with adults.  Here is my concept idea.  Please feel free to comment or make suggestions to make this better.

I also wanted to try to create an experience where the learners also had access to personal TV screens (after my visit in Burnsville a few weeks ago)

2016-12-16-10-05-04How did it go?

My 1st session was a great learning experience and by the second session, I felt I was getting better at it.  The opportunity to use technology (like Google classroom or any other LMS) to blend this experience was invaluable.   Also, providing direct instruction to those who needed it (small groups vs large group) also helped.

I also wanted to do a 360 recording of this video so I could have some time to observe myself as well.  First 2 sessions did not work, Hopefully, I will get a recording soon – I will add it to this post if it works!

Stay Tuned!

Is this a breakthrough idea?

Disclaimer: This blog post is just an idea.  It is nothing that has been shared with anyone in the district.  It is nothing that is even “in the works”.  Several factors in the past 2 weeks have contributed to this idea and even the idea of blogging about it.

  1. One of my grad student’s (@JG0005) blog post called Exposed that shares her thoughts about transparency at the beginning stages of a teaching idea and early implementation phases.  This post is a front end idea.
  2. Innovator’s Mindset Mooc discussion – A discussion about Inquiry based PD with George Couros (@gcouros) (2/15/16)
  3. School discussions about what PD will look like next year.  
  4. A Google Hangout with Scott Mcleod (@mcleod)  discussing Trudacot (2/17/16)
  5. A BAM Radio show interview with Brad Gustafson (@GustafsonBrad) and Ben Gilpin (@benjamingilpin) around creativity in learning/teaching (2/18/16) – My takeaway thought – What are the enablers of innovative teaching?  Does innovative teaching lead to creative learning?
  6. Our district strategic plan
  7. Reflections from chapters 4 – 6 Innovator’s Mindset book. 
  8. iPad/21st Century Feedback surveys – We have a good baseline.  Its time to start acting on the things that matter to us.
  9. Observations of current grad class – Connected Educator Connected Classroom.  First round of lesson plans have come in – and I am super excited from what is being shared. Amazing stuff in development. 
  10. Reflections of BearsPD.com – This week at the elementary, I was excited to hear that some of the teachers implemented some of the ideas (with great success!)shared at previous sessions. I find these short conversations (½ hour or so) is enough for some teachers to have an idea and implement.  (reports of both student engagement and observation of teacher engagement).

 

Image Credit – https://ahussam.wordpress.com/2015/05/31/think-different/

Breakthrough Idea – Teacher/Admin Genius Hour

Image Credit – http://lisatilmon.blogspot.com/2014/02/genius-hour-for-teachers.html

Big  Idea – Consider  Teacher Genius hour as a model of PD.   (Maybe Admin Genius hour too? – would love seeing administrators model ways they are being innovative – including this tech director)

Genius hour is a movement that allows students to explore their own passions and encourages creativity in the classroom. It provides students a choice in what they learn during a set period of time during school. (www.geniushour.com/what-is-geniushour/)

 

Driving Questions

  1. What effects does innovative teaching have on learners? (engagement, achievement, skills ect)
  2. Are we delivering on the vision and ALL priorities of our strategic plan?
  3. How do we move from pockets of Innovation to fostering cultures of innovation/learning?
  4. How do we give teachers ownership of PD and honor/celebrate their work?
  5. What opportunities does a  personalized inquiry based PD bring to our district?
  6. How can we creatively tackle roadblocks that get in our way?
  7. How do we empower all of our staff to take risks?
  8. Would modeling self directed learning at all levels in an organization lead to more opportunities of self directed learning for students?

 

Here are a few things that I know about PD.

  • In the book Drive, Daniel Pink shares that employee engagement today relies heavily on 3 things. Autonomy, Purpose, and Mastery.  
  • The best PD is pd that is embedded in the school day.  In a recent district survey, the number one barrier to effective use of technology is time (27%).  
  • The best PD is not a 1 and done, but something that is continually supported and followed up on a regular basis.
  • Learning is not just passively listening to a presenter’s lecture at a workshop, but an applied understanding of an idea/concept into the classroom and reflecting/presenting the results the experience.

 

First run…. A potential plan – Draft Draft Draft!

  • Kick of the event with PD time to explore the topics in @mcleod’s and @jgraber Trudacot lesson design tool.  There could be others but I really like the focus on students and deep relevant learning.
  • Teachers pitch ideas.  Either they create a new lesson or re-design an existing lesson that is improved “significantly” based on Trudacot topics to engage learners and deepen learning.  Maybe do a critical friends session.  The end result – must have a positive impact student learning in some way.  
  • Teacher ideas can be collaborative (seeking partners or team events) or independent.  Would love to see teachers collaborating across the disciplines
  • Decision is solidified, and teachers create an action plan
  • Create mini workshops or coaching sessions based on teacher needs to complete goals.  
  • Planning process is documented/journaled/or blogged along the way.
  • Teachers implement action plan/lesson idea into the classroom.
  • Teachers collect evidence and reflect on the process
  • Teachers (and maybe students too?) present their findings science fair style.  Or I am  thinking it would be cool to have a Ted Talk style presentation – short and sweet – 5-7 minutes tops.  Maybe Pecha Kucha Style?
  • Would love to invite the community to this event.  Maybe even other districts.  I consider this a celebration of the work of our Teachers AND an opportunity to share ideas to others in hopes it generates more ideas and action to try something.

 

ROADBLOCKS and “Yeah Buts” to overcome

I don’t have time for this.  I get this.  We need time and time needs to built into our system.   My dream would be time each week (just like a true Genius Hour project) to be dedicated each week.  However, ½ days every 2 weeks might work or  even 1 day per month.  If we do not have calendar time to support this idea, I do not believe we can have “systemic” success.   Can this be revised? Absolutely – but I am just sharing my “dream scenario” at this point.

Accountability. What about those who do nothing?  In my mind, most teachers would love an opportunity to have time to focus on creative lesson planning/mini action research – However, we know there will be some who will try to get by with as little as possible.  I do think a presentation expectation in front of peers, school board, community – could eliminate this factor….

We don’t know if it will work.  Lets face it.  There are many things we do NOW that do not work.  We have spent many dollars in PD that has been ineffective.  In my opinion, This has all of the makings of success.  The timing is right.  The focus on learning experiences is perfect.  What is the worst thing that could happen? We need breakthrough ideas and we need an avenue to share them and celebrate them!

But some people are more innovative than me.  Some people will make me look bad.  OK – this is a big BIG mindset issue.  We should celebrate everyone’s wins no matter where they are.  The only thing that would look bad is if you do NOTHING. Then that would be on you.

But what if my results are not good?  This idea is about an innovation journey. It’s about failing forward.   Even if results are not as great as one would wish – did you learn and grow along the way?  Even though the results were not as good as you wished – would there be things that you could “tweak” to make results even better.  There may be opportunity for feedback from peers – that could make the product so much better.

So there you have it!  – As this is at an infancy stage right now – there are plenty of opportunities for improvement.  But I do believe going down this path could be inspiring.  I think the creative ideas and innovative actions of our teachers can better define our future at BPS!

So what do you think… Is this a breakthrough idea?  Have feedback? I would lOVE to hear from you!

Image Credit – http://www.weforum.org/agenda/2016/01/is-this-what-it-takes-to-be-an-innovative-leader/

My Why…

Our district administrative team was at a leadership training today with several districts from MN.  Towards the end the day, We watched Simon Sinek’s “Start with Why” video.  It had been a while since I had seen it, but good to reflect upon the vision of our district.

As a homework assignment, we were to reflect on our why.  Why are we in the positions were are in? Why do we come to work everyday? And what is our why (vision) for education?

Below is a few things that drive me. That I believe to my core….

  1. Foster self-directed learners who persevere through difficulties.
  2. Engage learners in authentic tasks to create authentic products for an authentic audience.
  3. Develop student leaders with global and empathetic view of the world who actively act upon problems we face today and tomorrow.
  4. Personalize the education of our children to meet core curriculum as well as their passions and interests.
  5. Create a culture of shared leadership and learning in our organization’s system to provide 1-4 that engages all stakeholders.
A graphic of My Why...

A graphic of My Why…

 

I know this probably sounds like a lot of fluff but this keeps me up at night.  My why keeps me coming to work even when times get tough and it would so much easier to quit. As a tech director, you would think I would focus on technology – and trust me – I do have a passion for tech, but it has taken me years to realize that focus is not about technology – rather focus on those relevant tasks and let technology amplify….

  • Amplify learning
  • Amplify student voice/choice
  • Amplify our students’ opportunities to make a positive impact in our world.

So, what am I missing?  I would love to hear your WHY.

School Leaders: What does your digital footprint say about you? Your school?

Over the next couple of weeks our leadership team is leaving room on our weekly agenda to discuss  DIY PD with twitter as well as sharing our district’s story using social media.  What is our brand? Who is telling our story? How does social media impact our story?  What does my digital footprint say about me as a professional?

To start, I sent a short google form and asked team members to share their professional interests and current twitter use.   I took the time and selected  hashtags that would be relevant to them. As for their Twitter use (below)  I could care less if someone is a beginner… this isn’t an evaluative question – this is a question to guide learning.  My goal – to get all of our team at a level 3.

1 – Beginner – I am fairly new to twitter and I may know some features, but not all features. It still is a little bit of a mystery to me.

2 – Developing –  I know the basics of twitter. I can follow, retweet, tweet, reply, send pictures. Hashtags may still be a little of a mystery to me. I understand there is potential to support my growth – I am just not sure I am there yet.

3 – Proficient – I have a personal learning network that is tailored to my needs. I not only listen and learn, but contribute back to my network. I use twitter on a regular basis to support my growth and use it to showcase the passions and talents of others.

4 – Innovating – I can provide PD around Twitter.  Twitter is just part of my DNA

5 Stages of Twitter Use

5 Stages of Twitter Use

Brad Gustafson’s post “For the Kids” is an excellent way to start a social media conversation as well as taking some time observing his school’s #GWGREATS hashtag. On a personal note, I love LOVE learning about all of the great things our teachers and more importantly students are learning about.  I think its our important for our community as well. While we do have a successful facebook page –  it is manned by a few.  Twitter and hashtags can allow anyone to contribute!

Here are just a few guiding questions (and a few of my thoughts) to start your conversation with instructional leaders:

  • How do you personalize your learning ? When one properly creates their personal learning network (PLN), learning can happen when and where you need it.  Twitter has become the most positive PLC anyone could ever ask for.  I have been fortunate to connect with others (tweeps) to learn personally/professionally  but more importantly to create opportunities for our staff and students to learn.  This takes time – but so so worth it!
  • Who will model good use?  Whether you like it or not kids, as early as 9 or 10, are signing up for social media accounts.  Who do they look for? People they know.  I would much rather have my child  follow a teacher/admin who models and is developing a good digital footprint than some of the pop who has little or no moral intentions.   And even if they do follow those pop stars (you know they will) we can provide opportunities to model good use of technology.
  • Who is telling our story? Branding (AKA TELLING OUR STORY) our schools is a great way to share with our community about how we learn, share, innovate, and inspire our staff and kids.  Its a great way to cross-pollinate ideas from classroom to classroom, building to building or district to district. I also find it great to keep up to date.  Just this past weekend I was watching our #cybears hashtag to keep track of the progress of our robotics team!  We have a great facebook page – however it is only managed by a few.  Using twitter and a hashtag – allows anyone to contribute to our story – including students.
  • How do we continue to seek talented staff? How do we attract families to our community? As more and more people use social media to interact or learn – they also will use it to shop for jobs and schools.  We want families to seek Byron as a great place to educate their kids. We want talented staff in our district. Our schools footprint should be transparent and show why Byron is a great place to work and learn!  For school leaders…. our personal profiles should indicate we are great people to work for/with.

Here is an agenda I used the other day.  Feel free to tweak and use with your own teams.   If you have other ideas -share them out!

What’s in a name?

“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet. ”
William Shakespeare

As I reflect on 21st century learning and the support systems (in the form of people) new education leadership roles have emerged across our state.  Here are just a few titles I am aware of:

  • Data Coach
  • Instructional Coach
  • Curriculum Instruction and Assessment Coach
  • Personalized Learning Coach
  • Technology Integrationist
  • Digital Learning Coach
  • Innovation Coach
  • Media Specialist (Suggested by @blueskunkblog  – added 1-8-2015)
  • and dozens of others….

After reading A Rich Seam, by Michael Fullen and Maria Langworthy, it is clear to me, that  new pedagogies are emerging that blend pedagogy, technology and innovation, and new partnerships between teachers and students.  Technology  is no longer an addition to pedagogy but instead meld a new pedagogy.   Fullan and Langworthy (2014) share the following graphic and explanation:

How New Pedagogies are Different

How New Pedagogies are Different, A Rich Seam, Michael Fullan

“The above diagram helps summarise this discussion of how the new pedagogies and deep learning differ from the model of education that dominated much of the last century. First, this model is new because it aims to achieve deep learning goals that involve the creation and use of new knowledge in the real world. Second, this model becomes manifest in the new learning partnerships that emerge between and among students and teachers when the learning process becomes the focal point for the mutual discovery, creation and use of knowledge. Third, this model responds to and is enabled by digital access inside and outside of schools.”

This work also aligns to a post by Scott McLeod – 3 Big Shifts – in which Scott shares there are 3 shifts that are or need to happen in schools today.

3 Big Shifts

3 Big Shifts, via Scott McLeod, Dangerously Irrelevant

As we think of these shifts in education and/or the new pedagogies that focus on the deep learning  – are our leadership roles also shifting to support these new pedagogies?  For instance, do technology integrationalists also coach these new instructional models?  Do our instructional coaches have discussions about technology?  Do we still need separate roles or are these roles becoming a blend as well?

So it leaves me to ask you – Has your leadership role evolved to support these new pedagogies?

  • If so, how was support given to you? What kind of development did you receive?  What resources were you given? What challenges have you overcome?
  • If not, do you find value in this idea? Or do you think we still need separate people (tech, instruction, data, ect) to support these new learning environments? If you like the idea, what support do you need? What roadblocks would you encounter?

 

Fullan, Michael, and Maria Langworthy. How New Pedagogies Are Different. Digital image. A Rich Seam: How New Pedagogies Find Deep Learning. N.p., Jan. 2014. Web. Nov. 2014. <http://www.michaelfullan.ca/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/3897.Rich_Seam_web.pdf>.

Mcleod, Scott. 3 Big Shifts. Digital image. Dangerously Irrelavent. N.p., 22 Sept. 2013. Web. 21 Dec. 2014. <http://dangerouslyirrelevant.org/2013/09/3-big-shifts.html>.

Keep learning… Geographic Information Systems

GIS - Designing for our Future

Image Credit – ESRI.Com

Did you know that schools in the state of MN can get a FREE site license for ESRI ArcGIS?  Today  (Friday) a couple of my teachers and I sat down with a rep from MDE and a GIS Analyst to discuss how we can adopt GIS (Geographic Information Systems) into our classrooms.  I never realized how powerful mapping can be and how applicable it is across the disciplines!  Check out this website (http://connected.esri.com/) to learn more how  teachers and students are utlizing the tool!  And they even have an iPad version/apps to support learning on the GO!  You can also visit MDE’s website to learn more about the initiative.

Celebrating #EduWins with #Edtech

Communicating Globally in Special Ed – Thursday was such a fun day.  @amberaslakson invited me into her classroom to observe her kids interviewing kids from Canada via Skype.  They are doing a book study with the canadians with the book  The 14th Goldfish.  They have been collaborating with kids via Edmodo and were ready to go live with a skype convo.  Something happened and the skype never occurred but I did enjoy my time interviewing the kids.  They were incredibly excited to share and my favorite moment was when one 6th grade student piped up and said – “Blog, I love to Blog. Its my favorite thing to do.”  These kids have had numerous skype discussions with kids all over the globe in @amberaslakson class and it shows.  I observed these kids had a deep understanding in communication etiquette in technology communication (whether online discussion board, responses to blogs, or skyping live).  This skill is incredibly invinvaluabled will take the a long way!!! Way to go!

Drawing by Byron MS Student

Not your Momma’s PE Class – Our HS PE class was  recognized for  innovating and personalizing physical education when our local news crew (KTTC) came for a 1 hour observation/interview.   This is a teacher led initiative and I am amazed at how far they have come in just 2 years.  Please take some time to watch the video – its just one way they are transforming PE.  I have also learned they are integrating iPads and ePortfolios as new forms of assessment.

One thing that resonated with me after a 1:1 conversation with a PE teacher,  was how our district’s vision set the stage for these teachers taking it upon themselves to innovate in their program. They also took action when our superintendent stood up in front of the entire staff and said we should not be afraid of failure.  So many things are unknown when you begin to transform your classroom, school, district.  I am so thankful they took some risks as it is benefiting our students! THANK YOU!

Kttc Story - PE

Observing iPad use in classrooms – Next Tuesday, Nov 18, teachers from Rochester Public Schools will be coming over to Byron to observe the integration of iPads to support learning and teaching in our MS/HS classrooms.  I sent out an All Call for teachers to sign up for the event.  Boy – did my teachers represent! Here is our list.    Our teachers definitely doing some amazing things…and this is a great opportunity for me to learn from them.   My take away – I think I will take this opportunity and go on a tour of these classrooms as well.  CANT WAIT!

Thinking about leadership and my own professional growth

I have been doing some soul searching on my own leadership qualities to better understand how I can improve.  Our district leadership team did a StrengthsFinder assessment several months ago.  Its amazing how a self assessment can tell you a little about yourself.  Below are my findings. In my mind, it pretty much nailed who I am.

MY TOP 5 STRENGTHS (my report – pdf)
1 Futuristic
2 Strategic
3 Ideation
4 Self-Assurance
5 Arranger

I also completed a Meyers Briggs Self Assessment via 16personalities.com and again… similar themes came out.  After taking the assessment twice  – my personality type did not change. I am considered an ENTP.  I enjoyed reading what an ENTP’s strengths and weaknesses.  And, frankly that is me in a nutshell.  Tonight I did a little more research on ENTP’s and this wikipedia reference really resonated with me… “ENTPs are quick to see complex interrelationships between people, things, and ideas.”  I really enjoy listening and learning about new topics/ideas and seeing how they relate to my work….

However, this week I am struggling a bit.  Our district recently switched to the Marzano Framework for Teaching/Learning (Pdf of the criteria).  I will admit.  When I look at the teacher side of the framework – I can see exactly where technology has a role.  There isnt a single domain, element that is not relevant to edtech and I can easily provide samples/examples where edtech has a place for each!

BUT, this year, I am being assessed on the Marzano District Leadership Framework (learning map – PDF). This is where I struggle.  Usually I can see relationships of ideas/content to my role and edtech. But I am having a difficult time relating the leadership elements to myself. It is  very frustrating that I can not see the link!  I took the self assessment in iObservation and found that I could barely relate to the scales and wound up in the “Developing” mark in many of the elements.    This assessment does not correlate to my StrengthsFinder assessment or my MeyersBriggs self assessment.   I can look at our strategic plan – and immediately relate to what I can do to improve myself and my department to support our organization.  But, it is not very clear with the Marzano side.  This is a time where I would LOVE to communicate with people like me.  Tech Directors who are using and being evaluated on this same framework.  Know of any?

While I share frustration – my growth mindset says – keep moving forward.  Eventually it will make sense.  I hope I can look at this blog post 6mos and realize where I went wrong in my thinking. Can’t wait for that lightbulb moment!

Testing and promoting our makerspace green screen

My HS Media Specialist has been working on creating a HS Makerspace in our media center.  We actually have a small room, right next to our library that is the perfect space.  She recently installed a mobile green screen.  (green fabric and a curtain rod).  The room is great for video recording as you can shut the door to get better audio quality.  We also purchased an iPad/tablet mount for a tripod and 2 external microphones (lavalier and handheld) for better sound quality.  The app of choice  – TouchCast.

On Monday, we decided to test it.  So much fun!  Literally in 30 seconds I had a video of myself, on a beach.  The video – could definitely use some work and we need to play around with lighting and settings of the app.  BUT, even though the quality was not there,  I couldn’t resist and  sent the video out to our entire HS staff.  This immediately sparked teacher interest.  I look forward to this technology getting in the hands of our students and watching them creatively make their video artifacts  more interactive and engaging. So much fun!