Leadership Journey

In her blog post  Not All Who Wander are Lost, a Lesson in Leadership,  Tina Zita writes

… “It’s hard to give yourself that permission to wander, the permission to not take the standard path set out. Education seems to have a pretty clear pathway for leadership: step 1 leads to step 2 leads to step 3, the quicker the better. Like the city walls, they become a constant reminder of a common path I haven’t chosen to take yet. Sometimes wandering feels uncomfortable.” …

This analogy of clearing one’s mind, taking time to simply be and explore the non traditional path really resonates with me.

Personal growth is an individualized journey. I do not believe the journey is simply a long sequence of pre-planned, must follow steps – arguably, hoops to jump through.  Perhaps our professional learning looks (or should like) more like the diagram on the right  which is often used to describe student learning.


Taking time to clear your mind,  unclutter thinking, unlearn, explore options, different paths and new viewpoints IS the journey.

As  Donna Miller Fry  recently tweeted,

Take time to wander!  What will your personal professional learning journey look like?




Read Tina’s blog

‘messy image from  http://www.conferencesthatwork.com/index.php/learning/2012/04/learning-is-messy/

Music Ed Then, Now and Change

I really enjoyed my recent conversation with Jane Gingerich, head of music at Southwood Secondary School where we examined music education then and now, leveraging technology and change. I think you will find the perspectives interesting.


Examples of theory instructional videos


A Case for Change

As a frequent blog reader and online content curator, I am fascinated by the idea of synchronicity in reading.   One interesting example of this happened last week when I read a new blog post by Donna Miller Fry,  came across a connected reference by  Seth Godin  posted in my twitter stream (thanks PLN) and had a quote “jump out” at me in a  Flipboard  article.  I thought you might find these articles of interest and perhaps the connections will poke your thinking a bit.

In a recent post titled Emotional Uncertainty in Exponential Times, Donna Miller Fry writes:  “How do we describe and define the intense feelings we experience when we see people we care about, colleagues in our profession, working their fingers to the bone at tasks that just don’t matter anymore?  Exponential change is our reality, yet many of our institutions continue to work hard to be exceptional at what mattered yesterday.”  Read Donna’s full post at  Emotional Uncertainty in Exponential Times

In his post  Teaching Certainty,  Seth Godin writes:  
“Here’s how we’ve organized traditional schooling:  You’re certain to have these classes tomorrow.  The class will certainly … what to do when the certain thing doesn’t happen?”

In my 3rd connection, Andrew Tonner identifies a great Steve Jobs quote in his  Fox Business article  7 Steve Jobs Quotes on Business, Technology and Life.  I felt like this quote jumped out at me:



In reflecting on these 3 interconnected articles,  I wonder , in the context of education, our rapidly changing world and the importance of education being relevant,  if we have enough people  who  truly get it, that really understand innovation, how to change and the need for it and are empowered to take action to change?  I invite your comments and thinking, here by comment or via  @markwcarbone on twitter.

Thanks to Flickr user  GregHeo  for making the creative commons photo available.


2016 1:1 Kickoff

The start of this school year has an extra kick of pizzaz for me. WRDSB is launching a 1:1 Chromebook program for all grade 9 students in the system. The intent is for students to keep their chromebook for their 4 years of secondary school.

The learning space has changed: access to digital resources for all, leveraging online learning environments such as Google Classroom and Google apps noting that over 60% of WRDSB staff and students currently use this environment daily for writing, researching, collaborating, exchanging ideas, providing feedback, documenting and sharing their learning.  In many respects, moving to 1:1 is a scaling up based on the successes of the  Futures Forum  project.


Graphic from http://michaelfullan.ca/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/13599974110.pdf

On Sept. 1st, I had the opportunity to attend the grade nine orientation session at Cameron Heights CI. Principal Ray Teed estimated that over 90% of grade nine students were present.  It was great to feel the energy and excitement in the building. Here are a few highlights from the tour, lunch and chromebook pickup.

… and a nice touch at Southwood SS.


Make it a great learning year!


Voice – Have You Found Yours?

Last week I had a fantastic opportunity to hear flamenco guitarist David Sinclair perform in a quaint house setting thanks to friends Bob and Jan.  As  you might anticipate, the performance was fabulous and so great to hear in that setting.  David provided some interesting insights into the music history and style to set the context for each piece.


One  of the introductions really struck a chord with me.  As he talked about progressing as performer, David shared that one of his teachers challenged him to accomplish more:  be a great performer, but find your voice, write and perform your own music as well – leave your own legacy.

There is was: the importance of  “find your voice“.  Thanks David.

Given the number of conversations  in education about finding your voice and sharing learning openly, and a new school year just around the corner, perhaps this was a happy coincidence.  Or perhaps it was an “ignite moment”  to encourage us (educators) to take steps or continue a commitment to support open learning and sharing.


September is coming.  Are in you in? 




Creative Commons Photo Credit (blog graphic) to Flickr user  ginaballerina

DI – macro vs micro

Edu Gridlock Part 5:

What do you think when you hear the term DI or Differentiated instruction?  What is your first reaction?  I think the notion often stills up a lot of negative thinking – maybe this type of reaction – chaos envisioned.

my horrified look

The truth is, in conversations with teachers and administrators, what makes the most difference seems to be DI at the micro level.  I have heard so many accounts of small changes, choice, and flexibility playing in important role in moving learning, process, documentation of learning and/or assessment to a more effective result.  Don’t discount the impacts of “micro changes”. 

There is another angle though.  I enjoyed a great conversation with Julie Balen  this evening, where we discussed the idea of educators embracing DI “up front” at the planning stage.  Questions we explored included:

  • What lens do you look at a curriculum with?
  • Does thinking default to a fixed linear sequential mode?
  • What does it take to imagine curriculum unfolding in a new way?  — perhaps an unconventional way that may the deepen learning, feedback and assessment cycles
  • Considering the impact of approach, choice, voice and better questioning techniques
  • What actions can we take to inspire people to think differently?

I really enjoyed hearing Julie’s perspectives and experiences.  There is no one answer to these questions. The value is in taking the time to explore them, consider personal change and recognize the importance of the flexibility to adjust in an effort to  maximize each learning opportunity.   I look forward to our next conversation Julie!

Differentiation Resources: ASCD,  Learn Alberta

Julie’s  Blog

Photo credit:  Flickr user Bernice Bowling


OPC 2016 Institute Resource

Today’s post shares the resource  Donna Fry  and I prepared for our presentation at the OPC 2016 Summer Institute for Technology Enabled Learning  where we looked at compelling reason’s for change, the role of technology, using technology examples as ignite topics for discussions, setting new norms, open thinking and online course strategies.



Additional Resources:

Blog post:  A Compelling Case for Change by Donna Fry 

Dr. Tony Wagner

Most Likely to Succeed


Connect, Learn, Reflect, Share: Make a Difference Today

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