Rozanski Hall – personal photo
Last week I had the opportunity to attend an OASBO session where the main topic was succession planning. The discussion started with considering communication processes in a simply way: transmitters and receivers.
Now, move this idea to a mentor/coaching relationship between two people. We were asked to divide ourselves into groups of three to tackle the task of listing attributes you would want to have in your mentor/coach.
Image via www.socialbrite.org
I decided to see what would happen if we crowd sourced answers to this question. I popped the question out onto twitter hoping that some of my PLN would spot the request and take a moment to respond. The plan worked great as I received a number of responses during the work time allotted.
By happenstance our group was chosen to report back first. One of my colleagues reported back on our strategy. I wished I had recorded the reaction in the room as our approach was described (gasp, shock, what?, we didn’t ‘do the work’, you can’t do that). The guest presenter went with the situation as he was quite interested in our approach.
Image via: chesapeakeadd.com
Here are the PLN responses to the question: What makes a good mentor/coach?
People were impressed with the quality of thoughtful responses of the PLN generated answers. Additional responses from the session members included knowledge, flexible, sympathy, empathy and show confidence in others.
The facilitator added
All in all a great list of important qualities for a mentor or coach to have. Plus, it was a great impromptu demonstration of leveraging yourPLN.
Many thanks to PLN members @EdDoadt, @KentManning, @ispgrew, @alanacallan, @mstayica, @sheilashauf, @fryed, @jp_payeur, @heidi_hobson and @LAndriessen for taking time to respond and contribute to a great learning experience.
June is always a busy month in education, but last night a number of WRDSB staff found time to participate in a year end Twitter Chat to celebrate successes in the 13/14 school year.
I look forward to continuing the sharing of our learnings through these chats next year.
As one year closes out and a new one begins, it seems to be a natural time for reflection. With 2013 rolling into 2014, I read this insightful blog post titled The Sun Rises on a New Year by Donna Fry. Three aspects of Donna’s post really resonated with me and I believe they are worthy of some personal reflection time.
1. The acknowledgement of the importance and value of developing and interacting with your Personal Learning Network (PLN).
2. I like that Donna pointed out that even in the diverse, interactive and collaborative online world, it is possible to get comfortable with your PLN. It is important to have enough diversity in your PLN to keep your thinking challenged and fresh. To me, this is a great example of being purposeful of establishing and leveraging your PLN to support a growth mindset. We need to become more comfortable with being uncomfortable!
3. Identifying where spending your time will have great impact. This might mean balancing online and F2F times in new ways. Be thoughtful about how you nurture and influence those around you. Part of the nurturing process is bringing people into the online world in a meaningful way and helping them get enough traction to to be independent on their own learning journey.
My challenge to you: How might these ideas influence your actions this year? I would enjoy learning about your reflections on this topic, so feel free to leave a comment here or on Donna’s original post, share a comment on Twitter or consider blogging about your own thoughts.
After 2 days of being immersed in conversation about technology enabled learning, focusing on using technology to get to deeper learning, and engage the relationship aspect of the possibilities with George Couros, I was thrilled to hear how WRDSB teacher Ryan Wettlaufer is using Google Hangouts with his students.
To me, this is a perfect example of the SAMR model. Ryan has thoughtfully and skillfully created real life opportunities for his students by leveraging his personal learning network (PLN) giving his French language program a whole new meaning. I was able to connect with Ryan for an interview via Google Hangouts. Learn about Ryan’s insights in our interview.
Thank you Ryan for taking time to share your leadership and best practices, and a perfect topic for Connected Educators month.
I have been debating about writing this blog post for a while. Yesterday I shared this story with @snbeach while chatting at the PLP Booth. Today, I was sitting in an ISTE workshop listening to @web20classroom (Steven W. Anderson) talk about ISTE standards and school administrators and I heard it again. With this synchronicity, I am taking these situations as signs to write and publish the post.
The ‘it‘ I referred to was the phrase “you guys are not normal” — and now for some context.
Several weeks ago I attended a Saturday breakfast gathering with a few of our high school teacher technology leaders. Surprisingly, we talked about, well, you know, technology and a passion for transforming teaching to improve how students learn. This particular morning, the discussion focused around Google Docs, publishing, benefits of developing online texts and resources for students — 24/7 access, one stop ‘shopping’, one stop editing, no old handouts floating around, no lost papers ….. well, you get the picture. Why wouldn’t you do this? Needless to say this was a passionate discussion that stayed with me.
Later that same day I was driving in the car with my wife and she asked the magic question: So what did you talk about at breakfast? I happily recounted the story, trying to maintain the same passion level as the morning discussion. She listened intently, and then at the close of my story commented that “you guys are not normal”. WHAT????? OK, maybe I (and likely others) are not normal. I will ‘wear the T-Shirt’ but asked that the comment be justified – you know, a few bullets under the title to qualify the comment.
Here are the bullets:
I thought these were good points — and really, the same context of the ISTE workshop comment. In reflection, this conversation made me think of a few important things related to moving the educational change agenda along.
Now, if these ‘everyones’ and ‘we’s’ are teachers and tech support/coaches/trainers, then I think these points are all worthy of consideration as we continue to move the agenda forward. Food for thought for sure.
What does this mean for your PD planning? How will you be more thoughtful about supporting people in their use of technology? How will you help them become more independent?
Please share your comments and stories.
Doug —- Off the Rectord
Another great OntCL Twitter chat happened last night.
Topic: “Conquering your social media fears” – How did you? Are you doing it? Do you still have some fears?
Related article: Join In! Your PLP is waiting.
Highlights from the live conversation:
View the full Twitter Stream to check out the complete conversation and insights.
A couple of weeks ago, I received an email inviting me to participate in a set of interviews for a story about how PLP cohorts help educators learn. Having just completed an exciting year participating in the PLP program lead by @snbeach and @willrich45, I was eager to participate.
I took a bit of time to check out Converge, an online publication and located education reporter and writer @reportertanya on Twitter and Linked In, then replied to the email indicating my interest. The next couple of emails exchanged covered some background information and arranging a time to connect via skype for the interview.
On interview day, we connected via skype at the appointed time, bridging California and Ontario, and had a 45 minute video discussion about my experience in the Ontario PLP program, what I felt my key learnings were and what our Board will be doing differently as a result of participating in the PLP project.
Enjoy the published article, Global Communities Rethink Learning at the Converge website.
Last month I had the pleasure of attending at trip to Lawfield Elementary School. I wrote about some of the things I learned and observed from my visit in a earlier blog post. One of the highlights for me was meeting teacher Zoe Branigan-Pipe. We had a brief opportunity for an engaging dialogue that day about the integration of technology and social media tools into classroom activities, and since then have been following each other’s activity on Twitter.
This past week, an interesting sequence of events occurred. One of Zoe’s students wrote a blog post about a recent assessment activity in which the students were permitted to collaborate prior to submitting their answers. The student’s blog post was considering this experience from two points of view:
1. Is this cheating? Should we be approaching assessment in this way?
2. Is this collaborating?
You could tell from the blog post that the student was really struggling with ‘what felt right’, and was clearly surprised by the collaborating opportunity.
Later that evening, Zoe posted a comment on Twitter asking her educator based PLN group to have a look at the student’s blog post and provide some feedback (comments). Within a couple of hours, at least 12 people, myself included, read and posted comments on the student blog. The common theme of the posts were:
I have not had an opportunity to touch base with Zoe to find out more about the student’s reaction to the comments, but I will have an opportunity to do so within the next few days. I thought this was a great example of a teacher using their PLN group to provide real life context to a classroom situation via social networking tools. Well done!