Category Archives: Leadership Perspective

Blogging from the Start

Edu Gridlock Part 1:

I enjoyed hearing Seán Ó Grádaigh’s (@SeanOGraTek) presentation at the 2016 uLead conference.  In his presentation, Sean shares the journey of preparing pre service teachers for experiences in schools with 1:1 iPad programs.

Throughout the journey, information was gathered about individual technology skills (quite varied), attitudes towards using technology with students, building skills and capacity to use the technology more effectively and changes within these areas. Evidence collected showed significant growth in each of these area.

The interesting twist in the story was the shift to extending the use of the technology to something transformative – tools to capture and document their own (pre service teacher) lessons, experiences and reflections.  With intentional development of new ideas, the students used a variety of tools including facetime, audio (GarageBand), video (iMovie) and writing tools to capture their learnings and reflections in different formats.  iTunes U was used as a platform to share and comment within the class group.

In follow up correspondence, Seán has shared these 2 books which outline  practice:

Digital Reflection on iPad by Seán Ó Grádaigh
MGO ITE Programme by Seán Ó Grádaigh

along with this resource:  The Story of 1916 by Seán Ó Grádaigh
https://itun.es/ie/erY1bb.n

I was impressed that the journey ended with improved skills in using technology to enable better teaching and learning, that attitudes changed and that personal, and professional reflective practice was established in this manner.

In reflection, I note that the use of the Apple environment allows for seamless flow in the process of learning, documenting and sharing.  The notion of using a system that is easy to use, reliable, and has high compatibility is an important consideration in the planning and that there are other ‘device agnostic’ platforms that could accomplish this.

I wonder, what would education look like if this happened in all preservice teacher programs?  Would you change your practice and help move the mountain?

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~Mark
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Exploring K12 Gridlock

One of the interesting elements of this past school year for me was weaving together the thoughts, observations and ideas from the many conversations I enjoyed across Ontario via my PLN, both virtually and face to face.

The more I reflect on the conversations, and mull them over, I centre my thinking on the idea of educational grid lock. In many ways, it seems to me that we are in a state of increasing grid lock. There are so many opposing forces and change complexities in the K12 space, to me, many things seem, well, stuck.

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This summer I have decided to write a series of posts exploring this idea of edu gridlock, along with some questions and ideas on moving forward.

Photo credit: Flickr user samuel-leo for this creative commons licensed photo.

EduGridlock – up next: career long professional learning.

~Mark
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Learning GAFE Summit Style

On behalf of the Waterloo Region District School Board, welcome to the 4th annual Ontario GAFE Summit. In reflecting back on our 1st summit, this has been an absolutely amazing journey – still going strong with sellout participation each year.

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Before we begin, I want to extend a sincere thank you to ECI Principal Jeff Klinck and his staff for their efforts and openness to support this event. I also want to thank the many people in IT Services and the EdTech team who have contributed to the preparations for the weekend.

And, thank YOU for giving your time this weekend. Not just any weekend – a historic weekend. Why?  Last night SpaceX landed a stage one Falcon rocket on a floating drone barge.  Wow!  When I watched the recording on YouTube I couldn’t help but make a couple of connections to our Summit event today.  One – this is mathematics and problem solving at its best, and two, watching the rockets trajectory reminded me of the many conversations I have had with Donna Fry about the importance of professional learning  to fuel opportunities to change the trajectory of a student.

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I have a hope for this weekend.

My hope is that as you participate, learn, network, make new connections, discuss and trade ideas that you will  TAKE ACTION  with what you learn this weekend.  I challenge you to share and make your learning visible. Please start conversations, participate in online sharing, and blog about your experiences to support the learning of others.  Become part of the Ontario Wave of Change by keeping the ripples moving in positive directions.

Enjoy your learning experience!!!

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Watch the SpaceX webcast

~Mark
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Reflections on Innovator’s Mindset Panel 4

I enjoyed supporting the social media component of this week’s Innovator’s Mindset panel discussion.  As I listened to the panelists and monitored the Twitter stream, I jotted down phrases that resonated with me in terms of student centred thinking and important professional practice.

I framed a few questions from the discussion here:

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I thought the panelists shared some insightful professional practice elements:

Tell your story:  everyone  (students and educators)  has a story.
Reflect
Challenge Thinking as part of your regular practice
Make it Public
Model – model what you seek
We are collectively better and stronger as co-learners .

Will you take the challenge?
Will you support change and choose to model normalizing the practice of making your learning and thinking visible?

Related Resources:

Storify of panel discussion 4
Follow the Twitter stream at  #innovatorsmindet 

View the panel discussion

~Mark
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Blog Hop #4 – Musing on Measuring Innovative Practice

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Image by Alan Levine CC-BY-2.0

 Now THIS  is a great question!

I have been pondering this question from different perspectives and have decided to comment on 3:  culture, the art of teaching and the learning journey. 

Culture:  I believe organizations can have a culture of innovation.  While I am not sure about the potential of measuring this in a precise way other than a sense of the ‘level to which the culture exists’, I think there are definable traits that could be observed and documented as part of a culture of innovation.  For example, a culture of innovation would be an environment where new ideas, new thinking and building on existing ideas or remixing are encouraged. The ideas would be received in a non judgemental manner. Ideally, the culture would live throughout an organization – all schools and the education centre in a K12 context.

The Art of Teaching:  What does innovation in the classroom look like?  – certainly not a one size fits all or a cookie cutter formula. Teaching is an art where educators build relationships, safe environments, and leverage a variety of tools and strategies to craft meaningful and engaging learning spaces using a variety of tools and approaches:  inquiry, problem based, real world context, technology enabled, differentiated,  global elements, passion based, creating, communicating, designing, choice … well, you get the picture. The craft is creating  the ‘right’ recipe — something special for a particular group of students. I am not convinced that the art of teaching or engagement can be measured with precise numbers, but the existence of the elements and evidence of engagement can be observed and documented. Some of my additional thinking about engagement may be read [here].

The Journey:  It strikes me that the meaningful part of learning is what happens on the journey. It is the researching, making a plan, perseverance, mastery, creating, modifying, problem solving, reflecting, iterating, conversing, remixing, analyzing etc – the ACTUAL journey that is important.  Yet, we continue to live in a world where great emphasis is put on the end game – the final result. In this context, we complete a significant (at least reasonable) amount of data collection and analysis.  Perhaps it is this area of education that needs the greatest shift, rethinking and an exceedingly large dose of innovation.

Perhaps education is one area that really does embody that old saying:  Not everything that matters can be measured, and not everything that can be measured matters.  I cast my personal vote to leverage disruption, honing the art of teaching and focusing on changing practice.

How high will you raise the ‘change bar’?  Long live  #innovation!!!

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Additional resources:

  1.  Do the numbers get in the way?
  2.  What is innovation?
  3.  OSSEMOOC

~Mark

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Innovators Mindset Panel Discussion 3

OSSEMOOC has been running an  online book study based on the Innovator’s Mindset by George Couros.  Last week’s activity featured an online panel discussion which focused on exploring some of elements of chapters 8-12 more deeply.

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The panel discussion recording (#3):

In reviewing the twitter conversation that occurred while the panel discussion was live, I wanted to share a few perspectives that I wanted to reflect on.  Perhaps these tweets will challenge your thinking or make a new connection  that will ignite new opportunities for you too.

My Reflection Prompts: 

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Additional Resources

Check the OSSEMOOC Website for more details about the Innovator’s Mindset book club.

#InnovatorsMindset Storify of the Innovator’s Mindset chat 3

The  #InnovatorsMindset Twitter Stream

~Mark
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innovators blog hop #3 – what if

That is certainly a great list of “what if” questions to ponder (see below).  After some consideration,  I would choose “what if we promoted risk taking to our staff and students and modelled it openly as administrators”.

I landed on this selection because I believe risk taking is a necessary ingredient connected to other elements of progress including culture shift and change of practice – both key elements of educational progress in my view as nothing is gained by protecting the status quo.

Within this framework,  all of these ‘connecting notions’ come into play:  experimenting, remixing, retrying, reflecting, (rapidly) iterating, continuous improvement and continuous learning.  I think a healthy dose of open sharing is needed too.

A work and learning environment that draws on risk taking and creativity fuels engagement and satisfaction.  What are you waiting for?  Take a risk and engage!!!

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~Mark
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Related blog posts:  Paul McGuire,  Patrick Miller,  @aliringbull,  @technolandy,  Lisa Noble,  Stacey Wallwin,  Darren Lukenbill,  Tina Zita,  @KatieMTLC,  @jcasatodd,  Amit Mehrotra (@AmitMehrotra78)

Innovators Mindset: Starting School From Scratch

The world in which we exist today is complex and changing rapidly. There is more knowledge, more research and arguably more opportunity than ever before. One could put an argument forward that we are on the right path, that education is gradually shifting to a better place. Yet I wonder, are we?

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As highlighted here, the possibilities are endless and yes, the really answer is indeed likely closer to a book.

This question certainly fits my personal passion for change. My mind is flooding with thoughts and ideas:  learning is messy, differentiated, innovate, accountability, technology enabled, maker spaces, coding, literacy, numeracy, learning commons, collaborate,  real world context, problem solvers, analysis, literacies that fit the world in which our students live NOW,  pre-service teacher training, shifting culture, speed of change, differentiation, linearity (or not), global context, contributing to society  … well you get the picture.

For the purposes of this Innovator’s Mindset blog hop, I thought I would highlight a few “must changes” on my personal list.  Now waving the change wand ….

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  1. Boundless & Joyful Learning – we need a simple yet differentiated free flow to learning centred around student passion(s) rather than the current model which is tied to grades and calendar years.  Stomp out content driven learning. You can read more about my ideas on engagement and personalization of learning [here]
  2. Learning spaces – flexible, windows, filled with natural  lighting,  flexible furniture arrangements, no rows, learning commons/maker space style, student run white boards and  interesting colour schemes.  The design should focus on what you can do by bringing people together.
  3. Teachers as learning facilitators –  innovators, risk takers, technology enabled, differentiators, and digital resources and tools, no ‘walls’,  real world context (community and global)
  4. Assessment – Within the classroom perspective, we know a lot more about the importance of conversations, observations and products, frequent feedback and documenting learning – all good, but everyone must be ‘in’.  “High stakes” testing through provincial/(state), national and international assessment strategies need to change as the current model is far too linear and based on ages and grades rather than brain development and a variety of other factors.  I believe we need to reach beyond literacy and numeracy.
  5. Professional Learning – connected, self directed, self motivated learners (not sit and get), what is your next (not best) – thanks @pmillerscdsb

IM-9        Plan Act Assess Reflect (PAAR) may indeed be more powerful as Assess Reflect Plan Act  (ARPA).   I believe we need to build a lot of capacity yet in the area of open sharing.  Hallway and staff room conversations may be fantastic, but if you can’t search, access and share them then they are ideas and learnings in isolation.  More of my thoughts on this are in my blog post  Just Make It Public.

I hope some of these ideas have poked your thinking.  I invite you to comment here or connect with me on Twitter (@markwcarbone) or via  #innovatorsmindset.

~Mark

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Note: Image from: http://harrypotter.wikia.com/wiki/Wandlore

Digging into Change

This is such an exciting time to be working in education.  We are learning so much more – not just more about learning, but more about the change process and how some of the critical elements of culture, relationships, space, choice, technology, empowerment, and of course learning itself play key interactive roles in making real change.

On a recent visit to  Queensmount Sr. P.S.  I enjoyed the opportunity to have a deeper discussion about this with Principal Kristin Phillips as well as see things in action. We captured our conversation in this video.

I have personally noted a few things that really stuck with me from our  conversation will write another blog post to focus on that topic along with what I learned from the the tour.

I am wondering what part of the conversation jumped out at you?  Care to share? I invite you to leave a comment or share via Twitter:  @KristinPhillip3,  @markwcarbone.

Resources

Read Kristin’s blog: EduBits

Krisin’s thoughts on our conversation: Letting go of teacher control is not chaos

Keep sharing your learning.

~Mark
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One Word ONT 2016

I love the idea of setting a focus for a period of time to guide your thinking, actions and reflections – Considering One Word.  This  past year I choose “model” as my word.  I really believe in modelling what you seek, so this seemed like a great choice.

I have been pondering my choice for this year as I wanted build on my 2015 choice.  I finally settled on “ignite” for my 2016 word.  This year my goal is to make more connections, start more conversations, be intentional about empowering people with a goal of creating greater synergy for change.

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Ready to connect?  Catch me on twitter at  @markwcarbone  or via  about.me/markwcarbone

 

~Mark
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