Reflections of Deeper Learning PD

This reflection will serve as an artifact to meet my goals this year to improve my leadership presence and deepen my understanding of today’s educational environment.

A little backgroundJohn Dewey Reflection Quote

As shared in an earlier post, our district-wide PD efforts this year have been focused on deeper learning.  Deeper learning first and foremost aligns to priorities 1 -4 of our district’s strategic plan.  It also aligns to the Marzano Framework and PLC work educators have focused on in the past 3 years. (determining critical ELOs, creating common assessment, and scale work).

Our district goal was to implement a K-12 ePortfolio system that captures deeper learning.  (Official goal – 100% of all teachers will CREATE or REDESIGN and IMPLEMENT at least 3 lesson plans per year that inspire learners to achieve at high levels as measured by student ePortfolio artifacts.)  This work also aligns with Marzano Framework Domain 1 Element 12 and 22.  

Our process over the year

We began our process in August (Day 1) introducing the district deeper learning protocol (DLP), that was inspired the Trudacot work of Scott Mcleod and Julie Graber.  Staff were provided time to design or re-design lessons that met at least 1 of the facets of the DLP.  As a district, we collected their personal action plans and would meet again in October. Staff were to collect student artifacts and share their work with others.  Here is a snapshot example of our October day.
On March 17 we had our last PD day.  It comprised of a celebration of sharing of their last redesign lesson, ePortfolio Artifacts, a Teachmeet session led by Byron Educators, and finally a crowdsourced slideshow of our staff’s next Big Ideas!  This is a great document to showcase what our staff learned and how they would apply their learning in future lessons!

Reflections from the March PD day

Overall.  It was a great morning.  Celebrating our educators’ work by focusing on student artifacts was very powerful.  Many educators shared (in our feedback survey) how impressed they were with what other teachers were doing. Then to move to the Teachmeet also proved to be beneficial.  We need more opportunities for our educators to learn from one another.  Making the invisible – visible (student artifacts, teachers sharing) is proving to have an influence on our educators – especially when you review the IDEAs that were generated after the sessions.

PD Design.  If we believe deeper learning can benefit students – we should model deeper learning strategies in PD.  From the Deeper Learning protocol, I believe we modeled learner agency, embedded opportunities for collaboration, creativity, and critical thinking (in the form of reflection) and relevance both in the topic and audience.

The role of ePortfolios. Since our move to a k-12 ePortfolio system (SeeSaw for grades K-5 and Google Sites for 6-12) the making of teaching and learning visible is very powerful.  Rolling out the ePortoflios has not been perfect. While we have had a few hiccups (will explain in future post), I feel it has been successful – especially for year 1. We certainly have work to do to improve implementation (as results from our survey) BUT I do believe that it is tools like ePortfolios that will help us capture the power of the deeper learning, student growth, and being college – career – life ready.

Modeling Failure. I had plenty opportunities to model failure that day.  When I arrived at 6:45am , I was welcomed with a “The Wifi is down”.  Ugh.  Having a pd day (dependent on technology) and the district wifi is down is never a good sign.   But the show must go on!  I turned on my mobile hotspot, and turned the keys over to the techs (to work with the engineer to solve the problem).  During the presentation, I was interrupted several times (by calendar notifications, phone call from our enginner, ect).  The final near fatal fail – was tripping over the projector cart power cable and watching the cart weeble and wobble nearly tipping the projector and my laptop over. Could it get any worse? I was almost afraid to ask!  Luckily the wifi was back up before the teachmeet session, (VM server issue) and the technology fails disappeared. Thank you Matt and Matt!

Prizes. While prizes are viewed as extrinsic… they do make the desire to participate a little more fun!  We gave away 1 BreakoutEDU kit and 2 wireless keyboard/track pads. LIVE Drawings for prizes were based on participating in the IDEA activity.  (used flippity.net and Google Forms)

Artifacts from the day!  I always appreciate photo’s and videos that capture the learning process. Next time, I would like to interview a few folks about this experience as it is happening.

 

 

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!

 

As Real World Learning Design comes to a close…

This semester,  I designed and facilitated a graduate level course called Real World Learning Design.  It is course 4 in a series of 5 in WSU’s Innovative Instructional Leadership Certificate program.

Lets get real.

Last night, my students presented their findings from the semester.    I have streamed our final presentations  online before, but frankly, that has not been good enough.  We might be lucky to get 1 maybe 2 viewers at any given time.  Just randomly tweeting out YouTube Live links does not automatically equate to an audience.  (and an audience that will remain with you for over 2+ hours)

Picture of presentation

@Mrs_Ausman4 and her students on Digital Citizenship

We discussed, as a class, that “audience” is an important characteristic of  “Real World Learning” design.   I decided, in efforts to model this, to find an authentic audience for our teachers’ presentations. We needed people who cared (beyond our classroom) about what our educators were doing. While we still were streaming this event via YouTube live (for both a digital audience AND to capture and archive the learning artifact) we also had a live f2f audience that included our superintendent, director of curriculum instruction and assessment, our high school principal, instructional coaches, our school board chair, and representatives from higher ed (graduate level prof and teacher prep prof).  These are people who are curious about the work we are doing and genuinely care about what is happening in our classrooms. Presenting work to an authentic audience has a tendency to improve the student’s quality of work (from the elementary student to the grad student).

I will admit, as the RSVPs of attendance started coming in… I also became nervous.The audience also included my peers, my superintendent, my board chair.    Did I do a good enough job to support these educators? What if the presentations do not go well, what does that say about me? About my course design? My facilitation?  That lasted a while… and then I came back to my senses.  I know these teachers. I know the quality of their work. I know the passion for their kids and their profession.  They got this.

Below is the video of their presentations.  It’s over 2 hours long but is so worth the watch.  It is a great artifact for me as well.  It is something I can refer back to later, it is something I can potentially show future students.  It is will serve as an ePortfolio artifact for me.

It’s hard to tell from the video, but as the stories and journeys were unfolding,  there was a certain level of excitement in the room — Both from the other teachers  (this was the first time they heard their classmates present) and the audience.  Now, imagine how you would feel if your superintendent was live tweeting your presentations with comments like below?  I appreciated it immensely!

 

What will be the impact of having the right people in the room, hearing the story of our educators? Time will tell.  But the buzz did not stop last night and the conversation continued today.  Regardless of what happens next, I am very proud of the work of these educators and more importantly the learning experiences they created for our students.  WTG!

My reflections on the course design/facilitation

It sucked.  Yes, I said it.  While my students produced some excellent work  – the course needs some significant improvement.  Below are my reflections for the next go around:

  • Problem 1.  Course design is completely flexible and totally open on day 1 of class.  That means, I have to have all resources, activities, assignments, and proHouston we have a problemgress report templates done before day 1. While there are due dates there still is quite a bit of flexibility for students to do as much or as little as they want, and revise accordingly. (my students love this kind of flexibility) There are flaws to this.  #1 being how do you fix problems of the course, while in the course live and your students are all over the place within the content?  The added online component also makes it difficult to revise in a completely open course.
  • Problem 2. This course lacked s:s collaboration and communication.  While my face to face sessions was some of my best designed so far (One of my personal goals is creating engaging f2f PD) the online collaboration was missing.  There were no discussions between our 3 face to face meetings. As this can be a very complex topic for some educators, there was a need to discuss with others and come to a mutual understanding of RWL.  And with the problem of #1…Trying to schedule a discussion (that was not previously scheduled in an OLL course) was not going to work.
  • Problem 3.  I introduced design thinking in this course.  I LOVE IT.  It was fun to see an activity I did in one of my F2F sessions, tried, applied and tweeted out by my students in MS and HS classes the next week!  However, there was a clear disconnect btw the design thinking activities and the RWL work.  I think it all has to do with timing and  deadlines within the course.  On a positive note, I know what needs fixing and I loved facilitating this work. Could be applicable in multiple areas in my job as prof and dir. of technology!
  • Problem 4. We need a good book. And discuss it.  I have lots of resources but in the course – but I think a book study could be very beneficial.  Right now – I am thinking either Tony Wagners – Most Likely to Succeed or Yong Zhao’s World Class Learners.  If you are aware of any good reads… I would appreciate it!
  • Problem 5. I need to re-evaluate course objectives and make sure course resources/activities are aligned.  Focus on specifically on objective 1 and 3.
    1. Connect students and core content to organizations, professionals, and community members and provide rigorous authentic learning and career/life oriented experiences
    2. Evaluate roles in education where teachers become activators and co-learners who model “learning to learn”
    3. Explore and unpack 21st-century skills and habits of mind to model and foster with today’s learners
    4. Assess the impact of real world design on student learning and motivation
  • IDEA –   Continue to re-evaluate the Mindset, motivation, and self-directed learning course and continue to promote in future courses. We need to come back to that language and discussion often.
  • IDEA – Last night one of my students presented her project which was a series of mini projects.  I actually am wondering if the idea of sprints, could be a great way to take small steps to RWL or even a great way to try something small before going a little deeper with it.  Or be an entirely different path for a user?
  • IDEA – How about streaming the presentation on the districts FB page?  Or maybe even inviting the entire community…. Hmmm.
  • IDEA – Build in a feedback loop for teachers designing their lessons.  Might be beneficial if they have a draft, and they actually pitch the idea to the cohort for feedback.
  • IDEA – I need a PLC.  I have  a PLN, but I am so jealous of educators that have a good support group to discuss learning and strategies around courses.  Now, I am not saying  members of my PLN could not become my PLC but I need to create a support group specific to course design.  You interested? I would be happy to give you feedback on your designs as well.  Let’s not work in silos! Reply to this post or DM me via twitter (@jenhegna). My next course (and FINAL) is Innovative Instructional Leadership…Starts January.
  • Disclaimer – This was attempt #1 of this course so I do have to cut myself a little slack. The first version of anything is not as good as subsequent versions.  With one son’s graduation and my other son’s wedding, bringing on a new building in my district and being short 1 tech at the start of the school year… I was drowning.  But I had to ship what I thought was a decent course.  While I am being very critical of my work (as I should) my feedback from my cohort is very positive.

    “You force reflection and deep thought with your assignments. You don’t tell us what to do, but instead require that we think long enough to tell ourselves. This is true across all courses, but I felt it most in this one.”

  • “Project challenged me to go outside of my comfort zone.”

  • “I thought the result of this course was beneficial to me as a professional and will certainly help my thought processes when meeting the needs or learners.”

  • Now that the reflection is done, I look forward to revising the course into RWL 2.0.  Stay tuned!

    Let the shipping begin

    Image Credit Book Delights – WordPress.com

A new approach to the “PD Day”

If I die - Staff Meeting

I will be honest,  I have led some bad PD in my day. I have read powerpoint slides, provided “click here, click there” how to sessions, all of which have been a one-time, one-size fits all approach.  Did my participants learn? How do I know they learned?  (both questions, I failed to ask – or maybe was afraid to ask?)

On the other side of the gamut (things I am more proud of) I have co-facilitated district edcamps, provided short Just In Time Training (JITT) sessions (small group),  coached educators 1:1, and am currently facilitating a cohort model  through the Innovative Instructional Leadership Program.

This year our district goal is:

100% of all teachers will CREATE or REDESIGN and IMPLEMENT at least 3 lesson plans per year that inspire learners to achieve at high levels as measured by student ePortfolio artifacts.

October 19, 2016, was day 2 (of 4) to help support educators in this process.  As we (instructional coaches/curriculum director/myself) were designing the activities we wanted to model good instructional practices.  We know a day of sit and get does not work in our classrooms, why would we incorporate this on our PD day?

In our PD sessions, have been focusing on personalized and deeper learning that engage/empower kids.  We are using a Deeper Learning Protocol (DLP) based on the works of Scott McLeod (McLeod) and Julie Graber (@jgraber). (Called Trudacot)

Our October 19 agenda with results/evidence:

TableTop Group

Our Workgroup Table Toppers!

1 – Create District Teams Our first decision was to create district teams with representation of 2 educators from each level (K-2, 3-5, 6-8, and 9-12) We also wanted to mix disciplines.   Our teachers are with PLCs on a weekly basis. We wanted the opportunity for them to connect with other educators and learn about their implementation and results.    We felt this would be a great opportunity to build cross district relationships and could potentially lead to new sparks!

2 – High energy starter – We started the day with an epic game of Rock, Paper, Scissors – tied to Growth Mindset  (Thank you George Couros for the idea!)

And the winner is…

3. Lesson Speed Dating –  Educators shared examples/artifacts of student work from created/redesigned  lesson plans.  We kicked it off this activity with 1 teacher from each building sharing what they implemented in their classroom to the entire staff. Then, within our groups, we did 3 rounds of sharing (each 8 minutes a piece)

Script to help guide the discussion
My lesson was…
My area of focus from the DLP was…
What I observed/assessed in student learning (ELO) success was…
What I observed in regards to student engagement was…
If I focus on this DLP area again, I would…
Questions or Comments?

Short Video in Speed Date in Action

While this focused heavily on the innovative things our educators did to deepen learning and engage/empower kids it was important to also highlight the learning.   After the speed date was done, we  had all staff analyze the following artifact with these questions:

  • What facets of the DLP does this artifact integrate?
  • Does this artifact show evidence that the student has met the essential learning outcome? (I Can Statement)
Artifact snapshot

This is an example of an 8th-grade artifact (In ELA) who emailed me earlier that week for some support on a digital citizenship project they were working on.

 

4. Going Deeper into the DLP ( In this activity, we wanted to give educators a blended learning experience with plenty of voice/choice, to study and create a learning artifact regarding a single DLP Facet.  We had 15 groups and assigned 3 groups to each facet. (Facets we focused on: Authenticity/Relevancy, Creativity, Communication, Collaboration, Deeper Thinking).  Below are the instructions we used for this activity.  This will allow you to see the activity looked like (Built on Google Sites)

We allowed educators to choose their learning space.  I observed during the reading portion and video watching portion – some educators chose to sit independently (away from group) while others decided to do everything together. (Both AOK!) Only 1 group chose to sit in rows!screen-shot-2016-10-21-at-6-44-30-pm

Educators were to make a digital learning artifact that represented what they understood about their assigned facet. (We provide NO How to’s here)  We also recognized opportunities to build artifacts (not digital) to represent their knowledge.  Included was a small maker table if they chose that path!

Our little maker table!

Our little maker table!

 

The last portion of this activity was to do a Gallery walk and reflect on the learning experience.  Since everyone had access to the padlet, the workgroups began looking at what everyone else had created.  (which is a great formative assessment for us)  It was fun to see the creative ideas come through!  Some created mindmaps, slideshows, videos, screencasts, drew posters and took pics), ect.  It would have been fun to do another short speed date – first with each Facet teams to share their creation and then the teams select 1 project to go to be presented to the district group. However, we simply ran out of time.  (We may revive this idea, the next time we meet)

We also circled back to the growth mindset conversation we started with, and asked educators to take a silent moment to reflect… did they ever have a fixed mindset moment during this experience? Did they ever observe a team member in a fixed mindset?  Growth Mindset

5. Work time to recreate/design lesson to be implemented and student artifacts to be collected by the next PD day in January.   We gave educators approximately 2 hours to do their own creative lesson planning.  Educators then, submit a broad scope of their lesson re-design and include ELOs and DLP Facets they will be using.  Coaches will follow up with staff throughout the next several months.

6. Evaluate our Lesson – We wanted teachers to evaluate our lesson.  (Google Form)  Right now a little over 40% of  educators provided feedback.  Many reported they liked the groupings and enjoyed the sharing of lessons and ideas. By far the great improvement we need is to give more time to share and create!

We also are sitting at a little over  70% engagement rate. I WISH we had comparison data to sit and get PD!  But unfortunately, we don’t.  However, we do plan on taking feedback from our educators and improving the professional development day in January!

screen-shot-2016-10-21-at-7-10-23-pm

Final Reflection

I am very happy with the result of our efforts and felt we met our goals.

Did we give our educators a different  district-wide PD experience? YES!   One that has multiple activities that activated multiple senses?  YES!

Did we go beyond reading powerpoint slides and give educators an applied experience that made learning visible? Assessable? With their peers?  YES. YES. YES.

Did our lesson include opportunities for learner voice/choice? Collaboration? Communication? Deeper Thinking? Creativity? Integrate meaningful technology?  Again All YES!  However, some were to a greater degree than others.

Do we need to improve for the next time? YES!  We are far from done and are already brainstorming for PD # 3 in January!

What are some awesome things you have done on PD days in your district? Share your ideas or provide feedback to this post!

Note: This blog post is in direct correlation and will serve as evidence of my 2016-17 professional goals:

The transparent technology director

Transparency Quote

This fall I will be creating an implementing a  360-degree survey to receive feedback on my performance as a technology director for Byron Public Schools.  I originally looked at using Marzano’s District Leadership Evaluation tool.  I have to admit, as a technology director, I had a hard time identifying with this tool and found that it would require quite a bit of word-smithing to make it applicable to my job. I also wanted to be completely transparent with my goals and professional growth this year.  For me, that meant using my blog as a place to publish my goals, measurements, artifacts, and reflections of work. Instead of putting this behind a locked site, for only me and my Superintendent to see – my  ePortfolio would be completely public.  (Thanks @gcouros for the inspiration!)

Why?  I want to become a better leader in my field.  Putting my growth information behind a locked site for only a few to see is not going to give me the feedback I need to grow.  Making this decision is not easy… I am putting myself “out there” for criticism.  However, having a growth mindset, I am ready to take that criticism and  grow from it.  (Do I have reservations/fears about this  – you better believe it!)

I began looking for an evaluation framework for the tech director role.  Two sites immediately surfaced  that I felt did a fairly good job  to possibly measure what I bring to Byron’s table.

  1. ISTE Admin Tech Standards (I also like some of the coaching standards – especially teaching, learning, assessment)
  2. COSN’s Framework of Essential Skills of the K-12 CTO

At first glance, the COSN framework is quite comprehensive and has many strands/sub-strands.  Essentially, it takes the tech directors position (they call it chief technology officer or CTO) and break it down to bits.  My concern in using this as a tool for myself and others – it’s too big.  If I were to create a survey tool from this framework – it would take too long for my end users(who are giving me feedback) to complete.  I also found that I was more inspired to use ISTE’s standards. It was much shorter and  I could really see areas where I could grow and become a better LEADER.  I am going to co/mingle some of the frameworks/standards.

My goal is to create 1 survey  and seek feedback from staff, district leadership/board, peers, and key vendors.  I do not want to create a survey for each audience type.  I want the survey to be short and sweet with some open ended areas for feedback/suggestions.  I am planning on using the following scale. (click this link to provide feedback on the scale)

Tech Director Scale

Need your advice! I have created a doc to collect overall feedback from you.  Note, the ePortfolio section at the top right of this blog.  I am just starting to build that out and could use your help.  What am I missing? What resources do you have to share? Do you have any comments/advice?

Innovation: A tech director’s perspective

As I shared, in my previous post, innovation is one of my passions and I want to strengthen and improve my understanding of it to help our district  create a culture of innovation.   It just so happens, a new MOOC (#OSSEMOOC) was beginning this month  around George Couros’s Book – The Innovator’s Mindset.  I had lurked previous, MOOCs before – but never was an active participant AND have yet to see a MOOC through.   So, here is my shot, to elevate further develop my learning through new opportunities.

Image Credit – Bigthink.com

Innovation = First Different, Then Better.

What does innovation mean to you? What does Innovation look like, sound like in your role? 

As a technology director for 20 years, change is a constant in my job.  I think about innovation often.    While you don’t need technology to be innovative, technology certainly can be a catalyst for innovation.  My inbox (email/phone) is continually bombarded with vendors trying to sell me their latest and greatest.  Sell me things that could “Revolutionize Education”.   I will admit, I do love shiny things – and even I wind up getting immersed and excited about the NEW – but I also need to remember to ask – Is it Better?

As I am writing this, I am reflecting on our PD roll-out of 1:1 iPads 3 years ago.   We focused on the SAMR model of integration.  Focused first on the S – Substitution with the hopes within 3 years, the grades would be at the M/R – or transformation. Our  thinking then – was to get our staff “comfortable” with what they already knew. And now, as I reflect on it – I am not sure it was the right decision.  Presentations, word processing and workflow was a significant portion of the initial training.  While we focused on the new of the ipad.  We unfortunately did not focus as much on the better.  Sure it was better that every student had a device – as they wouldn’t need computer labs, had the internet at their fingertips… but our initial training should have focused on the better – specifically BETTER of harnessing the functionality of the iPad to support a deeper purpose…. A student – centered education.  I want to mention I own this failure, as I certainly could have steered us down a better path of PD.  But I know more about iPads, more about GOOD pedagogy, and more about PD than I did back then.

Since this rollout several years ago – PD has improved and I continually try to innovate within the system.   We have had Edcamps, created a DLC position,  created a personalized gamified PD program, and worked with a local highered institute to create the Innovative Instructional Leadership program.  I believe our PD programs should be an incubator of ideas/innovation (around student centered learning)  VS sit and get one-sized fits all death by powerpoint PD.  Don’t get me wrong, large group PD can be good – especially when modeling excellent pedagogy practices.  (Something I want to get better at!)   But, there also needs to be follow up.  PLEASE – no more 1 and done PD.

Image Credit – Unknown.

Many times when an idea doesn’t work (the first time) schools will drop it.  Many times schools will not put forth adequate resources and time for ideas/innovation/action to become better. Measurements need to be determined and evaluated.  While it’s good to have measures – sometimes we don’t know how to measure truly innovative ideas/actions without living it for awhile.  And be ready…. many times Traditional measures  won’t be able to measure innovation.   I also believe reflection and reiteration is just as important as the putting an innovative idea into action.  No matter if you are a student, a teacher, a principal or even a “veteran” tech director – failure should be permitted and opportunities to revise – given.

So what does innovation mean to me? Because of my role in the district, both information and instructional technology – I believe that student-centered thinking and innovation (as in the definition of innovation) should be at the forefront of what I do.    Do I like these new tools/concepts because they are shiny or do they make things better?  They need to have both.   BUT, sometimes the “better” is not so clear and I have to be open to ideas that don’t necessarily seem to be student centered at first.  Have we given sites like Vine and Snapchat a fair shake?  Teachers throwing out grades?   I am always appreciative of divergent educators and will always leave MY DOOR open to new pilots in tackling these innovations  and will work to the Nth degree to help remove roadblocks vs being the roadblock (which unfortunately is the view of many folks in my position).

And finally, I have been participating in the Voxer Group for this Mooc.  One question was raised – Does innovation decrease the further up the ladder one  goes?  IE – From Teacher, to Principal, to Superintendent?  Absolutely NOT.  If anything – the further you move up the ladder – the MORE we should be innovating AND being very transparent of these innovations, actions, reflections, and reiterations….. It is my belief that transparent modeling might just be some of the best PD in a pursuing a culture of innovation.

 

Goal 2: Improving my professional learning through my PLN

I have been thinking alot about my learning and my personal learning network. I recently shared my past/current PLN experience. But now its time to think about where I want to be, and how my PLN can help me.    Over the next few months I want to take time to improve my professional passions and desires and will find ways to integrate these goals with my PLN.  Effective PLNs don’t just happen.  It’s important to continue to cultivate and customize towards one’s needs.

Learning Growing Changing

Image Credit – http://learninggrowingchanging.com/

Before reading my improvement  plan – it is important to mention they all are interconnected with MY Why.    Please note – if you are new to being connected, this may seem overwhelming.  Don’t be.  Instead, think of my thought process to accomplish this task.  I started with my passions and came up with some ideas on how I could further strengthen them. Then I moved to my desires.  Right now – these might not be my passions (yet) but are items I want to either improve upon, learn about, or be a part of!

I hope to accomplish the items below by June 1, 2016.

Strengthen my passions

  • School innovation to improve/personalize student learning.  I love to dream. I love ideas. I love to connect ideas and act upon them. (especially when it revolves around MY Why!)
    • Goal: I want to strengthen and improve my understanding of school innovation and how I can better facilitate opportunities for innovation and help my district create a culture of learning and innovation.
    • PLN Action steps:
      • Find, follow, interact with leaders in design thinking (dt).  Participate in a #DTk12chat.  Participate in a webinar/hangout around the topic.
      • Find and be an active participant in a Mooc (Maybe this one or this one) to learn more
      • Read and be part of an online book study – Innovator’s Mindset.  I have subscribed in one out of Canada (ossemooc) that started in Feb!
      • Share successful innovation stories within my district.  Identify local innovation stories and Tweet at least weekly to #byronbears AND blog OR periscope 2 times per month bigger stories about those innovations.
      • Create Twitter lists of the above!
    • What will success look like?: 
      • WSU Fall course outline will be created, I will facilitate a design thinking experience in the district. Potentially Summer 2016.
  • Become a better educator.  I am constantly thinking about PD and how I can deliver/model it more effectively and make it more relevant for the participants. I have 2 big areas I am working on – a new personalized/gamified pd program within our district. I am also an adjunct in a program where I am really trying to be innovative in the delivery of instruction and  assessment of learning.
    • Goal – Expand/Improve my PLN in the area of personalized learning
      • PLN Action Steps:
      • Curate a list of blogs/resources around this topic.  (diigo or evernote)
      • Find/follow/interact with educators who are doing amazing things with their students AND educators who are doing amazing things with their staff.  Expand my PLN in the area of Twitter/Facebook/Voxer.
      • Share my journey (wins and challenges) through blogging/tweeting!
      • What f2f opportunities do I have to learn and observe in action?
    • What will success look like?: 
      • Reflect on current PD program, find ways to improve it.  Evaluate Connected Educator/Connected Classroom course and reflect on opportunities for improvement. Analyze feedback from staff/students.
  •  Leadership.
    • Goal: Strengthen and improve my leadership – specifically around change leadership and developing other leaders.
    • PLN Action Steps
      • Find, follow, and interact with leadership experts AND folks who are also looking to improve their leadership.
      • Create Twitter list of the above!
      • Participate in a formal leadership chats (outside of #mnlead)
      • Maybe form a voxer group of technology director leaders in my state.
      • Influence leaders within our district and outside our district to become connected.
      • Blog at least 2 times about my progress of improving my leadership
    • What will success look like?
      • This is a little tough – I would guess my blog posts would help measure this.  Maybe do a presentation about leadership with another group?

Achieve my desires

Goal without a plan is a wish - quote/pic

Image Credit by blog.gneo.co

  • Become a better writer/blogger.  I am sure my high school teacher would smile to see this as a desirable goal – but I have learned a lot through my own reflections.  I would say I think about writing/blogging at least 3-4 a week, but wind up writing an average of monthly if lucky.  My blogs are terribly long and I find it takes me days to create them.
  • Goal: Reflect and improve writing through more frequent blogs. Work on efficiency of writing.
    • PLN Action Steps:
    • Read Write more in 2016 by A.J. Juliani
    • Find other blogs/bloggers who share insight on improving blogging practices. Curate and share those with my PLN.
    • Blog weekly and schedule time for it.
    • Quit worrying about telling the whole story.  Increase opportunities to blog about ideas in the works, challenges I face – not just things I have done.
    • When appropriate- consider blogging and directing to people to my blog for answers vs district emails.
  • What will success look like?: 
    • 4 blogs per month!
  • Influence/improve teacher preparation programs.  It wasn’t too long ago I went on a college visit with my son.  We did a tour of the college’s education building and I was troubled by what I saw.  Lecture halls with students in rows.  Sage on the stage. I want to learn how regional universities are preparing our teachers for today’s classrooms.  Can I help them improve their programs?
    • Goal: Expand my PLN in the area of higher ed preparation.
      • PLN Action Steps:
      • Find/follow/interact with cutting edge teacher prep programs (and leaders/professors)
      • Expand my PLN in the area of Higher Ed.  Lurk, learn, and participate in conversations with leaders pushing the envelope in higher education.  Right now I have a voxer group with a few members. Be more active in this group and find more people to add to this group.
      • Find online opportunities to interact with to be teachers in undergraduate programs.
    • What will success look like?
      • My dream – facilitate f2f conversation with institute about  ideas. Present to either A. teachers candidates ro B. Profs in teacher prep program.
  • Understand social media analytics for myself and district . It’s one thing to have followers and follow people. Its another to have people engage and influence “your brand”.
    • Goal: Expand understanding of social media analytics.
      • PLN Action Steps:
      • Learn about Twitter and Facebook Analytics and best practices to improve engagement and relevance to education.
      • Share learning in a future blog post and with district administrators.
      • Can analytics tell me how can I become better at giving back to my PLN?
    • What will success look like?
      • Measure Improvement within my own personal analytics (engagement – not just followers) and FB analytics of our district FB page.
Golden rule of PLN

Image Credit – http://www.slideshare.net/learntel/the-value-of-a-professional-learning-network-pln By Carol Skyring

 

Connected

This past week my grad students (in course Connected Educator, Connected Classroom) began blogging and self assessing their current connectedness.  I decided it was a good time for me to do my own reflection and current practice with my personal learning network.

A brief PLN history.  It’s ironic, I stumbled on an old blog post of mine called My Reflection on Blogs from 2009 that  was an assignment during MY Grad program from the University of Wisconsin Stout – eLearning graduate certificate program.  In the post, I talk about my thoughts of blogs – and how boring mine was, how I appreciated blogs with opinions and a strong author’s voice.  Still true today.   But what I absolutely loved – was a concept map I created of where my PLN was at that moment.

Jen Hegna - PLN - Year 2009Jen Hegna – PLN – Jan. 2009

 

Social networks and wiki’s were a big deal for me back then.  I was lurker, learner, contributor of these types of networks had created and facilitated these types of networks for my school and groups I was associated with.  I also subscribed to discussion boards that would be delivered to my email.  The H-NetEdtech board was my favorite and would have new content delivered nearly every day.  I had a few blogs I subscribed to and learned from on a regular basis as well as podcasts. I had an iPod, but it was not wireless  – to download new content the iPod needed to be tethered to a computer. I had a SMART phone – but I believe it was sort of Palm Pilot that was cool (at the time) because I could have my calendar on it (again, after a tethered sync) and email!  Whoo HOO! While I felt I had an established PLN.  My future desires was to work with Twitter and Second Life to support my learning.

Second Life never really panned out for me. It was something I was investigating during my masters degree.  It was cool, you could meet and chat face to face with people and you could go visiting and building other destinations.  (Reminds me a lot of minecraft today)

Twitter on the other would become a significant part of my learning. I decided to search for my very first tweet.  Not the most clever tweet now was it?  But that tweet would become the first of 15, 400 tweets (as of Jan 26 – around midnight!)  Sometime late fall of 2009 or early 2010 – I received my first TRUE Smart phone.  I believe it was a Motorola Droid (of some sort).  This changed things and mobile learning became an essential part of my growth!

My First Tweet

My First Tweet

Snapshot of Twitter

Snapshot of Twitter – 1/26/15

My PLN today.

Twitter. Twitter is my primary learning tool of choice.  What was once a wish, is now my reality.  I have gone through all the phases of twitter use and today, twitter is just what I do.  Participating and moderating in Twitter chats has really created new learning connections for me.  My top – most favorite chat is #mnlead on Sunday nights at 7pm CST.  I also enjoy #plearnchat on Mondays and lurk and learn from a ton of other hashtags that fill my tweetdeck columns. Some of my favorites today – #makered, #pblchat, #sblchat, #leadwithgiants, #sunchat, #divergED, #tosachat, #satchat, #designthinking.  (there are many more!)  Frequency of use – I use twitter every day, multiple times a day but mostly at night and on weekends. I use it to learn and have conversations with other people on learning journeys. I use it to share ideas and share great things  I see in my district.  Its a regular part of my routine.

Social Networks. Nings and wiki’s have been replaced by Facebook and Google+ Communities.  I do have a Facebook account BUT I use it primarily for personal use.  Recently, I have been joining groups on FB.  Some of my favorites – TTOG (teachers throw out grades)  Hack Learning, and my newest group BreakoutEdu.  I also “LIKE” pages like Edutopia, Teachthought, and Mindshift because I enjoy a little “sprinkling” of PD on my personal wall about educational innovations.  Google+ communities is used less frequently but  there is great potential in connecting. I also like how it integrates with Google Apps and Gmail.  I have created a few Google communities but haven’t been the best facilitator. It really shouldn’t be about me – it should be about the group – but sometimes we need people to keep the convo going.  I probably should try to bring some life back to them.  Frequency of use – I use Facebook every day – usually early morning and at night because of the personal connections to family/friends. Google communities are used sporadically several times per week.

Video Conferencing.  I don’t remember the last time I used Skype (literally – I think it has been at least 2 years).  My new video platforms of choice – Google Hangouts (GHO) and Periscope.   I also love Google Hangouts on Air as a way to stream video live and it records to Youtube.  Here is a recent hangout I did with Kim Hurd (@khurdhorst) in taking a tour of her classroom!  We had approximately 9 people watching it live and asking questions.  I think the best part of this tool is that it archives to YouTube so I can share it out, review it later.  Something I wish Periscope would do as the streams only last for 24 hours. So- you have to remember to save your videos to your camera after recording – and then upload them to YouTube later.  I was playing around with my phone – there may be a setting within my Google Backup that will allow me to save periscope videos to my Google Account.  Fingers crossed.  Frequency of use – I use both google hangouts and periscope on a weekly basis.  I have weekly team meetings using GHO. I do watch several periscopes a week (just because I am notified via my phone).  But actually facilitating a GHO or publishing a periscope – is probably a couple times per month.

Blogs. Reading and subscribing to Blogs that make me think are  daily routine for me.  I use Feedly to track all of my content.  The majority of my content consists of educational leadership and edtech with a sprinkling of entrepreneurs and business blogs.   For the blogs I REALLY like – I will subscribe via email just because I am in my email – much more frequently than feedly.  Blogs that I read that spark my interest will usually get tweeted out to my pln.  Frequency of use – Nightly/Weekends.  As for writing blogs – this is sporadic and is a big area in which I want to improve.

Voxer. One of my newest PLN favorites is Voxer.  I will admit – I didn’t like it at first and took some time for me to get use to. Twitter is transparent and open.  You can jump in and out of conversations with other folks and its totally OK.  Voxer – is a little less open but allows people to get deeper with conversations.   I believe this can improve the relationships of the participants.  My first voxer group was MN Educators on Voxer and it took me some time to figure out the communication norms.  From what I understand – in my short 7 mos of true PLN voxer experiences – conversations may change from time to time – but everyone tends to discuss and contribute to the same topic.  Its very awkward when people randomly come into the conversation with topics outside of the scope of the convo.  I have been that random person – and its helpful to listen/read the past posts to know the topic at hand.  Check out these other Voxer Norms via Tammy Neil (@TG_Neil) Frequency of use – Daily, multiple times a day.  Mostly before and after work on my 25 minute commute.

I still am connected to a couple of email groups, I subscribe to Youtube content, have a LinkedIn account, and do follow great people and pin great things on Pinterest. From time to time – I will even pick up the old telephone or meet my PLN at a f2f conference or edcamp!  If I had to guess – all in all I spend an average of 7-12 hours each week on my professional growth.  Some weeks less – some weeks more.  Sometimes its a couple of minutes – other times it hours (like writing this blog post over the course of 3 days).  I am not saying that this is a good amount of time and effort spent on learning –  but some time towards my growth is going to be better than no time towards my growth.

While this is where I am today – I certainly have hopeful goals of where I want to be.  But that – is for a future post!

PLN Image

Image Credit – Lifelonglearners.com

Influence and Personalized Gamified PD

Over the break I decided to take some time and read Influencer: The new science of leading change.

In the book, the authors share 3 keys to influence change.

  • Focus and measure – have crystal clear goals AND good frequent measures
  • Find vital behaviors – Don’t spend time and effort on wrong behaviors – instead draw out underused behaviors, risk takers, positive deviants and culture busters!
  • Engage all 6 sources of influence (Image below).

Throughout this book I did quite a bit of self-reflection on my role in influencing and achieving our district’s strategic plan and  technology plan.

One support program, that kept crossing my mind, was a new program created this year called BearsPD.  It is personalized, gamified, and has a social twist.  While it is still in its infancy, it is having having an effect on learning in my district.  We have had over 50% of our teachers participate thus far.   It provides choice and voice in learning through 4 tracks – iPad Playdates, Google Apps for Education, Innovation, and Creative Pedagogies.  Teachers can earn badges and points for their participation in a program.  These points will then go into a drawing for prizes (up to $2000 classroom innovation shopping spree).

The following badges have been aligned to our district’s vision  – Learn. Share. Innovate. Inspire.

  • Level 1 – Learn Badge – 1 pt – Attend a session. (just show up)
  • Level 2 – Share Badge – 3pt – Share what you know (share teacher evidence)
  • Level 3 – Innovate Badge – Integrate into the classroom (share student evidence)
  • Level 4 – Inspire Badge  – Teach others about what you have done (through presentation, blogging, ect)

You can learn more about the program by reviewing the following slide deck.

So how does this relate to influence?  In the book, the authors share that you need to target SEVERAL (not just one) of the 6 keys of influence.  The following are ways  BearsPD aligns to these keys.

Personal Motivation.  In the book, the authors share 4 tactics to make them “love what they hate”.  1) Choice 2) Create direct experiences 3) Tell Stories 4) Make it a game.  In this program, teachers have complete choice of what they want to learn and how far they want to take the learning.  We have also gamified it to add a little “friendly competition”.

Please note – We track everything via Google Apps for Education (Google Forms/Sheets). A BIG thank you @kmgriswold1 for helping us set this up. We are using  addons like Autocrat and FormMule as well as a whole ton of formulas I never knew existed until now!  I hope to gain better skills in advanced use of Google Apps as it is an incredibly powerful tool and very VERY efficient when setup correctly.

Personal Ability.  While this program is about improving the personal abilities of our staff, participants can also request follow up from our coaches.  Most sessions are short (1/2 hour to 1hour) and frequent – at least monthly.  I wish I could do more – but my schedule just will not allow for it!

Please Note – In the book, the authors also mention feedback – specifically “Provide immediate feedback around a clear standard” (p.128).  This leads me to wonder if future revisions of this program should include 1 track that educators focus on all year long to give better feedback.  We are going to work on perfecting this with our Google Apps rollout and basic competencies.

Building Graph

Example of social influence by building

Social Motivation. We have a leaderboard that tracks and counts the badges of individuals as well as the badges by building and by PLC/Grade level.  Once per month, teachers are emailed their progress reports.  On the progress report it has their personal progress (points/badges earned) as well as the number of  points of the district leader, the points of the building leader, and the points of each team.  Also, when a participant submit digital evidence and it is approved, the participant and principal are emailed their approval with the digital evidence.  Eventually I would love to tweet these or have a newsletter with the ideas to have it be even more social.

Please note: the conversations we have with teachers are  growth mindset oriented.  We know that things will not work all the time. That is OK.  The more we can model this at a social level – the better! Also, the book highlights to engage your opinion leaders to help with social motivation.  Opinion leaders are not always the lead innovators.  The idea of this program is based on meeting the skill of each individual participant. We want all to have a great learning experience!

Social Ability. The final badge – Inspire –  encourages sharing.  Through blogging, presentations, staff sessions –  participants can share what they have learned.  At some point, I hope to have more staff lead sessions within this program.  (time is an issue)  It is incredibly powerful to have educators model their learning in front of their peers.

Structural Motivation.   Dan Pink is the master of motivation and has shared that true motivation goes beyond carrots and sticks. (reward and punishment) Instead, what people want is purpose, mastery, and autonomy.  When PD does not have these 3 criteria are it tends to fail miserably.  No voice. No choice. One time sit and get. No follow up. No follow thru. No direction of what’s next.  In this program, rewards are given (through badging and points) by recognizing the behavior we want to see.  Show up – 1pt. Try it yourself 3pts. Integrate it in the classroom 5pts.  Share your results/learning with others (Inspire) 7pts.

Worth a watch – Dan Pink: Drive – the surprising truth of what motivates us. (10:47)

Structural Ability.  This is the area where system improvements could be made.  Right now, this program is voluntary.  The way it works, is I clear my calendar for the day and hangout in a building.  Teachers can drop in before/after school or during their preps/lunch.  If I only had more time – this could be so much better.   The other thing we have not done yet – is flip some of this learning.  That is something I DO have control of.  Finding the best way to do this is and have the time in developing is something I aim to do by the end of the year.  This would be a great way to model blended learning!

And a little more.  One benefit I did not see coming was establishing (or re-establishing) relationships with our staff.  Right now, much of the iPad playdates are lead by me and our continuous improvement coaches.  While sessions only last around 1/2 hour – 1 hour, I have had the opportunity to have great conversations with teachers. These conversations are leading to opportunities for me to learn/observe awesome things in the classroom.  Visibility, trust, and building relationships – also great influential qualities I aim to improve over the year!

Day 1: Connected Educator, Connected Classroom

Today was the first f2f day of Connected Educator, Connected Classroom.  This is course 2 of a series of 5 graduate level courses in our new Innovative Instructional Leadership Program with Winona State University.  We meet 3 days (beginning, middle, and end – for 4 hours) f2f and the rest of the time is spent online.

PLN pic

Connected Educator Sketchnote – via @sylviaducksworth

There are 5 big goals in this course:

  • I am a connected
  • My classroom is connected
  • I influence others to connect
  • I am an active/contributing member in this cohort
  • My evidence and reflections prove I have met course objectives (ePortfolio)

I will admit.  I am very excited about this course.  Excited first because I can’t wait to see what the products, processes, and opportunities these educators in our class create, implement, analyze, and reflect on.  I have seen the amazing work of these educators – and you can too by clicking on their ePortfolios.  (Check out their Blended Learning Artifacts)

2015-16 Innovative Instructional Leadership Cohort!

Another reason for excitement with this course is that I am doing my own innovating as course facilitator.

#1 – I have eliminated grades in this course.   Yes. Grades.  I was inspired to try this after learning a few of our teachers in my district were going down this path.  I have been reading the books and blogs by @markbarnes19, and @mrssackstein, AND lurking, learning and participating in #TTOG (teacher throw out grades) groups via Facebook and Twitter.  Instead, the course is chalk full of self assessment where students maintain their own progress reports.  (see template here)  Most activities are on a 5 points scale.  Below is an example of a generic scale.  When my students submit their work, I will provide them feedback.  If we agree on the score, we are golden!  If not, we may need to have a short conference to discuss.  At the end, when all work is completed and evaluated – we will have a f2f conference to discuss their final grade.  This is the grade that will be posted to the college.  Please note – I was up front about this with my S’s as we discussed how learning would be assessed.

Generic Scale

#2  Besides a few scheduled twitter chats, this course is completely open! Teachers can go in and out of each module. They can work ahead or catch up.  They can revise all they want – to produce the best learning products to get the best results!  My students can also propose new activities/evidences if they have another idea – even better than mine.  I do have a few deadlines – just to check for progress as some of the projects are significant and will need quite a bit of pre-planning before implementation.  For instance, they need to develop a personal growth plan to create/expand their PLN.  They need to create a lesson plan to implement a global learning experience in their classroom.  They also will create an action plan to influence others (colleagues) to become connected.  Once plans are created and self assessed, they are put into action and implemented, evidence is collected, analyzed, and reflected on their ePortfolios.

Speaking of evidence – Below are 2 samples I shared during our f2f session today to showcase evidence of the “journey”.  To me, the journey is just as important (if not more) than the result.  I assured my students, if you do not get the result you want, that is OK!  What did you learn? What can you do better next time?

Evidence via @DonWettrick – the metacognition in this video is incredible!

Evidence via principal @dellwein – 8th grade middle school students doing live collaboration with students from Norway using padlet.

Both of these examples were found via my PLN (twitter or periscope) and serve as excellent samples of students during the learning journey.  I do want end products too – but the journey is just as important!

One of the things my students will have to do (under the target – I am connected) is create a blog to use for or I should say AS learning.  I have a few prompts for them to respond to, as well as providing flexibility in topics.  As promised, I also will be modeling the use of reflection through blogs and hope to blog just as many times as my students.  ( I need this anyways as its one of my professional new year’s resolutions!)

PS – the PechaFlickr icebreaker was so much fun!  http://pechaflickr.net/

Petcha Flickr Activity

Petcha Flickr Activity – an impromptu way of story telling and getting the creative juices flowing!