Category Archives: Leadership Perspective

Have we lost the long game?

A highlight of my week was spending a day with Stephen Hurley for great conversation, insights, question asking, music making and of course great food!

One of our conversation stops was taking time to explore the question: “Have we lost the long game?” With our respective backgrounds, an easy place to start was the K-12 educational arena, but this question easily applies to many aspects of society. This particular week, we looked at education and health care.

On the health care front, we wondered about two particular elements: finding a better optimization of health care through remixing best strategies rather than polarizing traditional against alternative. Why is this so often viewed in a polarized one vs the other viewpoint? Why can’t it be easier to blend both approaches? Our other focus was on the idea of achieving greater personalization of services at a faster rate. What are the barriers for faster more impactful change? What are the best questions to ask re change?

In terms of education, we explored what we observe – such as the continued focus on “now”. While improving math scores, literacies etc. are important elements of learning and achievement themselves, we wondered what is being neglected while this narrow focus occupies our collective head space? In 20 years, will it matter if a jurisdictions math scores are up one or two percent? Where are we at with teaching other important disciplines? Say creativity for example. Everything in the world around us is changing so quickly, how do we align a long term path of learning for each student that will addresses finding passion, creativity …

By coincidence, I happened to hear TEDx speaker Lucas Foster of WatchMojo, present a session on the Creative Business Cup at the new Idea Exchange in Cambridge on the weekend. In his presentation he made the case for recognizing the crossroads for change at the go forward/no going back stage. He emphasized the need for creativity as part of the process. He pointed out the importance of how we teach, practice, promote creativity as a core element of moving society forward. In my view, this reinforced elements of the “Have we lost the long game?” discussion.

I am looking forward to more exploration of this idea of the long game, and of course, I am looking forward to my next day with Stephen to explore the long game with deeper thinking and questioning.

~Mark

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CNIE 2017 Presentation Resource

I enjoyed the opportunity to present  The Art of Teaching in a Fast-Changing World  yesterday with  Alison Bullock  at the CNIE 2017 conference in Banff.   Our session resources are included in this post.

Video of Presentation:

~Mark

Going 1 to 1 Panel Discussion

Last week I had the privilege of attending the 2017 Educational Technology Strategy Summit to share the WRDSB “going 1:1” journey in a panel discussion presentation.

The discussion was moderated by teacher  Andrew Bieronski.  I was joined on the panel by  Ed Doadt (Principal),  Jamie Reaburn (teacher), students Tara and Brooke.

The discussion was well received, noting that there were many positive comments about the journey, the sharing of research and observations and including student voices in the session.

Have a listen: 

Session sketchnote: 

Resources:

Conference Twitter Stream:  #edutech17

~Mark

Knowledge Mobilization Context – a response

A couple of weeks ago  Donna Miller Fry  blogged about open education leadership, exploring the question: Is knowledge more rapidly mobilized through the system when leaders work openly?

Her post begins “For the purposes of my work, I am considering personal professional openness – the concept of sharing thinking and learning in open spaces, curating resources for others, engaging in open conversations in text or through broadcast technologies like podcasts, videos and YouTube Live, blogging and commenting on blogs, and participating across the educational boundaries in wider conversations across the web. Working open” means different things in different contexts …”   You can read Donna’s full blog post [here] .

In my view, this is a well written post, and as is typical of Donna, she invites further comment and discussion.  I have been mulling over my thinking on this topic since reading the post and decided to share my response as another blog post.

I fully believe in open learning, sharing and question asking,  and do my best to model this in my own practice.  My experience, and I believe that of many, is that the personal value of being a connected professional, connected learner, and engaged in global conversations is truly boundless learning.  Yet, Donna’s post has prompted me to do some deeper thinking about context of open learning and knowledge mobilization.

My thinking on this has moved to a triangulation model of open learning, conditions & culture  and purpose/focus with knowledge mobilization at the centre.

mk-triangulation

The question for me is what brings knowledge mobilization to life beyond personal growth and interest?

openness: sharing thinking, learning and questions openly – publicly in digital forums

conditions & culture: innovation and creativity – an interest and receptiveness in moving positions and growth

focus: alignment to a purpose or goal  (beyond self)

Applying knowledge mobilization strategies to system
system change is often a task faced by large organizations, including school boards.  The open learning model that Donna describes in her post I believe is a key element in change:  learning openly from others, leveraging the “global room” of the digital world,  bringing new ideas and  experiences to the table,  challenging  and adjusting thinking and landing solidly on the right place to promote, activate and execute system change.

Mobilizing knowledge through to a system requires a certain receptiveness, a level of readiness, a plan.  In my view, a culture that embraces innovation and creativity is needed or must be created to truly embrace change.  This process takes time, but is important. If this is missing, the pace of change – time needed for the process will undoubtedly be extended, perhaps less impactful or worse, not achieved at all.

Finally, meshing open learning to a culture of change, innovation and creativity then applying it to a strategic focus or goal amplifies the entire process.  The strategic focus may be drastic such as a company reinventing itself to “stay alive” in the business world, or perhaps the focus is change one or more elements in an education system. No the less, understanding the need and target for the change process must be well understood.

I believe the triangulation approach creates purpose and amplification for planned change.

Your thoughts?

~Mark
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Resources from BIT16 Presentation

This post shares the resources from the Digital Leadership presentation I did with  Ed DoadtPrincipal at Huron Heights Secondary School, Waterloo Region District School Board.

Slide Deck:

Podcast:

Digital Leadership – What Matters, session survey results

screen-shot-2016-11-13-at-11-50-26-am

We hope you will connect on Twitter for further discussion or consider leaving comments here on the blog.

~Mark
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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.

learning_is_messy

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?

~Mark
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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.

Interview

Examples of theory instructional videos

~Mark
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