Tag Archives: PLN

Resources for OASBO PIM course

Rozanski Hall

Rozanski Hall – personal photo

[youtube http://youtu.be/RrVgmraQ8sA]

~Mark

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Leveraging the Room

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.

crowd_source

         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.

what they said 2

          Image via: chesapeakeadd.com

Here are the PLN responses to the question:  What makes a good mentor/coach?

  • engagement
  • vision
  • empathy
  • credibility
  • respect for the people they lead
  • active listener
  • humility
  • courage
  • geniousness
  • openness
  • accessible
  • transparent (honest, no hidden agendas)
  • relationship builder

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

  • being a sounding board (note importance of just listening … (you don’t always need an answer)
  • an objective view: a fresh set of eyes and
  • accountability in process

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.

~Mark

Learning at CATC Camp Day 2

~Mark

Celebrate and Share with Twitter

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.

twitter-birds

I was struck by the richness of the discussion, and the level of openness.   You can share in the learning by reviewing the  Storified capture of the live chat  [here].

I look forward to continuing the sharing of our learnings through these chats next year.

~Mark

Sunset, Sunrise

CATCcamp_sunset

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.

~Mark

Connecting Students with Google Hangouts

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.

~Mark

What? I’m not normal?

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:

  • you (meaning us not normal types) are self sufficient
  • you don’t panic if something related to technology use does not work properly, even in front of a class or audience
  • you know how to problem solve
  • if you can’t figure it out as fast as you think you should, you have a network of people to help you
  • it is your passion, not everyone wants to invest like this

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.

  • everyone can learn how to use technology better
  • everyone can become a self sufficient user of technology
  • personal learning networks (PLNs) ARE important
  • we need to be mindful of the best entry point for using technology, and starting the learning curve of independence.
  • the learning is on a continuum
  • supporting people means thinking about gradual release of responsibility
  • empowering people is important

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.

Related Resources
Doug —- Off the Rectord

~Mark