Over the fall I have enjoyed many conversations with educators across the province through my work at WRDSB and connections through OSAPAC, OSSEMOOC and ECCO. I note the themes in these conversations, which have led me to a personal wondering.
On one hand we have Dr. Fullan’s research backed and detailed go forward comments in A Rich Seam and other recent publications. We hear messaging about changing practice, improving student learning and quality assessment strategies. Digging a little deeper leads to technology enabled learning, innovation and innovative projects, student voice/choice, student generated content/learning artifacts, reflective practice, sharing of learning (blogging etc.) … even highlighting innovations and change of practice on special provincial days to highlight the importance of change.
Hold that thought!!!
In other conversations centred on student voice/choice, the topic of gathering student data floated into the discussion. Generally speaking, it seems that data collection appears to be anchored in very traditional practices that don’t really allow for voice, choice, leveraging technology, differentiation, collaboration, creating, … you get the picture.
From this vantage point, it would seem to me that there are competing interests: student voice/choice, innovation, change of practice VS standard traditional data collection strategies.
I can’t help but wonder: If changing personal practice and innovation are truly critical shifts to be achieved in education … is it time to remove the competing juggernaut and actually focus on changing practice as a first priority?
The 2015 WRDSB learning carousel day focused on Innovative Change was a great day of learning and connecting for me. I was impressed with the quality and quantity of the sharing sessions and loved the energy in the room. As a reflection, I wanted to share a few things that resonated with me by bringing together ideas from two conversations.
Each year, we have been purposeful about initiating targeted new projects to model change, inform our collective practice and leverage opportunities to share and role model. Some of our projects from the last few years are captured in this whiteboard ‘clip’.
Along this journey, we have learned some important items or “breadcrumbs” as I like to call them, that should be applied to new projects and scaling up strategies as we move our innovative change agenda forward.
Some of our breadcrumbs include:
- learning IS messy. We need to accept this and continue to play in this space.
- co-learning between teachers, and teachers & students is a really important element. It is OK to fail.
- shifting writing from paper to digital spaces makes a difference
- student voice and choice are motivators in the learning process
- using technology as an enabler creates new possibilities to be explored in the context of the C’s and the SAMR model. Think about boundless and joyful learning.
In my view, as we look at a path forward, each of us has to own our piece of the collective through our own actions. I like the question, what is your next? Creating a culture where:
- conversations of change and identifying entry points are ongoing and natural
- we celebrate small steps forward with joy and encouragement
- the process of nudge, encourage, give/have permission and expect is openly explored
- we continue to be intentional and
- we share our experiences in open and easy to access ways
are all important elements in sustaining the synergy and energy of forward movement.
Join the move to innovative change and add to the ripple effect. Learn, connect, reflect and share.
The storify of the days twitter stream.
The ongoing twitter discussion at #wrdsbchange.
The Innovative Change blog.
I recently enjoyed a second opportunity to participate in an interview process with IT World Canada. The format is 5 on 5 — 5 questions for 5 people. View the IT strategy 5 on 5 November discussion on innovation.