All posts by fryed

I am a Secondary School Principal in Northwestern Ontario, an Education Officer with the Ontario Ministry of Education, a proud member of OSAPAC, co-lead of OSSEMOOC, and a member of the Board of Directors of ECOO.

Searching for the Desire (to Learn)

What do we do about the educators who refuse to embrace change?

This question keeps bubbling up in conversations, on Twitter, and in blog posts, in different formats, but essentially this is it:  “How do we convince educators that they need to change their practice?”

Screen Shot 2015-05-22 at 5.59.27 AM
Shared under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial Share-alike license by Krissy Venosdale.

We have names and categories for those who resist change and cling to the status quo.

Screen Shot 2015-05-22 at 10.18.04 AM
Transforming School Culture, by Dr. Anthony Muhammad http://newfrontier21.com/store/transforming-school-culture/

But have we articulated what the “change” is leading to?

Have we co-constructed the success criteria of what this will look like when we are doing it well?

Simon Breakspear, at the 2015 Ontario Leadership Congress, challenged participants to think about what Ontario classrooms could look like three years from now.  What would we see, hear and feel as we walk into our students’ learning environment in 2018? What is our shared vision for the future of our children?

This is not a hypothetical exercise.  He wants us to set this out exactly as we expect to see it.  What are we looking for, and how will we get there?  It is only by doing this exercise that we can clearly communicate to educators what the path forward is, and what we expect to accomplish.

Screen Shot 2015-05-22 at 6.27.22 AM

Over the past 1.5 years, I have been working relentlessly, with my OSAPAC co-lead (@markwcarbone) on a project to help education leaders become adept in the use of educational technology.

Screen Shot 2015-05-06 at 10.43.44 PM

Why?

Because in Ontario we have a “renewed vision” for education,  and that vision includes using technology as an accelerator to change where, when and how learning can take place.

Screen Shot 2015-05-22 at 6.29.31 AM
Shared under a Creative Commons attribution non-commercial share-alike license by Giulia Forsythe. https://www.flickr.com/photos/gforsythe/10310176123/

And if we are actually going to see this happen in our “classrooms”, then our leaders have to have a very good understanding of what technology enabled learning and teaching looks like, sounds like, feels like for learners.

Screen Shot 2015-05-22 at 6.34.18 AM
Image shared under a Creative Commons attribution non-commercial share-alike license by Alec Couros (@courosa)

The world is changing rapidly and if our students are going to thrive, they need very different skills and abilities than the ones that worked for us.  It’s easy to forget how fast the world is changing when we are immersed in our bricks and mortar schools each day.

Are we leading and teaching for where the puck is now, or where it is going?

Screen Shot 2015-05-22 at 6.41.31 AM
Fast Company: http://www.fastcompany.com/3046277/the-new-rules-of-work/the-top-jobs-in-10-years-might-not-be-what-you-expect

So how do you provide learning for leaders to keep up with the changing role of technology in learning?

We think we understand the learning needs of leaders who are already pressed for time.  We need many different entry points.  We have to appeal to a range of styles of learning.  We need learning opportunities that do not require a lot of commitment because of the varied schedules of those in leadership roles. Small chunks of learning have to be available so they can be accessed at any time.

We looked at a way to provide very, very simple access to opportunities to learn to become a connected leader.  That simple access includes:

  • one open website with no login or password required (ossemooc.wordpress.com)
  • Screen Shot 2015-05-22 at 6.54.58 AMon that website, links to the blogs of formal and informal school and system leaders in Ontario so that this one site allows anyone access to the visible thinking of educators throughout this province.
  • on the website – a new post nearly every day, Tuesday evening open conversations,
  • on the website – a program to become connected in only 10 minutes a day
  • on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Google+, and other social media, a stream of information on learning and connected leadership

If any education leader in Ontario has the DESIRE to learn to become connected, OSSEMOOC (Awesome MOOC!) is just sitting there waiting for them to start.

It is free, open and simple with 1:1 support for anyone who WANTS to learn.

Our question is, what more can we possibly offer?

Screen Shot 2015-05-22 at 7.06.38 AM
Image shared under a Creative Commons attribution license by Alan Levine (@cogdog).

Is the missing piece the desire to learn?

This is an interesting problem, because leaders openly wonder why educators in their systems won’t embrace change.

We hear that the world is changing, the nature of education is changing, what we know about learners is changing, but some classroom educators refuse to change their practice.  How can we help them change?

Will they change if they don’t have the desire to learn?

Screen Shot 2015-05-22 at 6.25.23 AM
Shared under a creative commons attribution, non-commercial, share-alike license by Giulia Forsythe. https://www.flickr.com/photos/gforsythe/8716324040

So let’s solve this!  Why is it not a priority for leaders to become connected? What is it about this learning that leaders do not buy into?

If leaders personally reflect on why they don’t see the value in becoming connected digital leaders, why they don’t take advantage of opportunities to learn to lead in digital spaces, will it reveal some understanding about the challenges in helping resistant classroom educators change their practice?

Sometimes we refer to educators who are resistant to change as “fundamentalists”, based on the work of Muhammad, in Transforming School Culture (2009) (nicely explained here by Nicole Morden-Cormier).

What would we say about leaders who:

  • refuse to learn to use collaborative documents so that they can work asynchronously and at a distance from their colleagues?
  • don’t take the time to learn to use technology to download their own videos and make their own presentations shine, and even say “oh, I don’t do tech” (they would never say that about math!)?
  • don’t build a strong professional learning network so that they can reach out and find the experience and understanding they need to make evidence-based decisions around technology purchases, capacity-building and planning?
  • have not learned the skills needed to supervise and learn with teachers in online learning environments?
Screen Shot 2015-05-22 at 9.36.43 AM
Shared by Kaila Wyslocky (@kwyslocky) from her presentation on how she is transforming her online teaching practice, OTRK12 2015.

Are education leaders who preserve the technology status quo, “fundamentalists”?

Would we refer to leaders who refuse to make digital leadership a priority as “fundamentalists”?

Not likely, as we know that education leaders are learners.  We might say that they don’t have time, or that they have other priorities and interests.  But we see them as being learners.

Do we see resistant classroom educators as learners?  Are they only labelled as fundamentalists because they are not learning what we think they should learn?

Maybe what we need to do is find out what it is they want to learn, and start there.  Recognize that they ARE learners, and that what they are learning is valuable, and let them bring it to the table.

Find the mindset they already have – where learning is sought instead of provided – and discover what learning they are seeking, and harness this.

Screen Shot 2015-01-27 at 9.04.05 PM
Brainstorming Professional Learning

Fundamentally, our job as educators is to ensure that every single child in our care is learning.  There might be all kinds of research on what best practices are, but none of that research was done on that student in that classroom.  Only that teacher has the responsibility to ensure that child is learning, and once their repertoire of strategies is exhausted, it is that teacher’s job to connect with others to find the next best practice, to be the scientist for that child to find what will work.

The classroom educator is the researcher to find best practice for every child.

They need to know how to find out what others are doing, and how to adapt practices to each learner.

The shift is from a mindset where learning is provided, to a culture where learning is sought (David Jakes, 2015).

But since learning will only be sought where there is a DESIRE to learn, maybe that is the place we need to start.

Screen Shot 2015-01-21 at 12.37.38 PM

Learning From Afar: CanConnectEd 2015 Live Stream

The live stream for Connect 2015 can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/embed/y_ZmM7zPLyI?rel=0

I was thrilled to catch Jamie Reaburn Weir and Dan Ballentyne today.  They shared this video, which I believe is important for all to watch.  Most educators intrinsically know all of this already.  They do live it, after all.

They just don’t know how to change it.

That’s why more than just educators need to watch.  What kind of world do we want?

Is it not a national tragedy that so many students are turned off learning, and that a number determines their future learning opportunities?

How many brilliant people refuse to play the game?

I will not let an exam result decide my fate:

Dangerously Irrelevant!

Scaffolding Connected Leadership: You Can Start Here

Does it feel, sometimes, like you have been so busy working that you haven’t had time to stop and recognize how much the work has actually changed?

The world is changing quickly. Leaders in education need to figure out how to keep up.

#OSSEMOOC  gets it. This month, we are putting out little bits, or chunks, of learning to support you in getting connected.

Go here to sign up (signing up isn’t necessary, but it lets up help connect you with others as we go through the month).

Here are the screencasts we have posted so far on the OSSEMOOC site (https://ossemooc.wordpress.com)

 

Please share this information with leaders who may not see it online.

What is OSSEMOOC Anyway?

Leading in a Networked World

Using Twitter Without Logging in

 

Webpages for Professional Learning

Following Blogs by Email

It Takes Courage to Share

Like many fortunate educators in Ontario, I am starting this week on a high after the amazing learning opportunity last week at On The Rise K-12.

Many thanks to my colleagues at eLO, Sharon Korpan and Bea Meglio, who took on the challenge of leading the organization of the event. A huge round of applause to the conference committee who worked tirelessly in addition to their regular endless days to ensure everything was in place for exceptional learning opportunities: Teresa Stevenson, Stacey Wallwin, Peter Anello, Joey Bedard, Marci Brennan, Jo-Anne Bryant, Rene Cote, Lorenzo DiCerbo, Regan Dore-Anderson, Carrie Huffman, Katie Long, Christine Mills, Jennifer Paziuk, Jackie Pilon-Waller, Michael Redfearn, Tim Robinson, Allison Slack.

Special thanks to David Truss, School Leader of iHub, the winner of the 2015 Ken Spencer Award for innovation in education, who travelled from British Columbia to share with us. Dave had a beautiful way of phrasing the idea of school as blended, blurred and braided with community, and he models this meticulously through sharing ideas that are expanded more fully in his blog.

But most importantly, I want to recognize the educators who realized that their innovative work was important, and who had the courage to fill out the proposal, work with conference organizers, spend countless hours perfecting their presentation, and then arrive and share with others.

This is hard work. This is scary work.

But I think, too, that audiences have changed. As Ontario educators, we know that we have pockets of great practice. We know that our best practice is only best because it’s where we are now in our thinking. We are always considering what our next practice will be. We know that we can’t learn that unless others share, so we have become more appreciative of those who are courageous, and we understand the power of sharing.

You are what you share.

Let’s be sure we continue to nurture those with the courage to share. Let’s create the conditions that empower our innovative practitioners to spread their ideas.

Charlotte Carbone, facetiming with Dad Mark W. Carbone and sharing her experiences as a full time eLearning student in Ontario.
Charlotte Carbone, facetiming with Dad Mark W. Carbone and sharing her experiences as a full time eLearning student in Ontario.

 

What innovative practice have you seen?

How will you support that educator to share with others?

What’s your next?

#makeschooldifferent: My Five Things We Need To Stop Pretending


http://dangerouslyirrelevant.org/2015/04/we-have-to-stop-pretending.html

Scott McLeod’s blog is a source of inspiration for me.

I know by the number of times that I have shared “The Lone Wolf” by David Truss that educators are a frustrated group of professionals, advocating relentlessly to change our public school systems so they align with the learning needs of our students in a world that does not resemble the one in which the school system was originally created.

I embrace the tone of the challenge: What are five things we need to stop pretending in our schools?

We are all part of these conversations.  We know what must change. We work relentlessly, but the pace of change inside our schools can be so much slower than the pace of change outside our schools, that becoming “dangerously irrelevant” is exactly where we are in danger of heading (read Simon Breakspear as well).  It can be heartbreaking work.

I have far more than five ideas to contribute.  We all have more than five ideas to contribute.  But this is a great place to start.

Please read the entire collection and follow #makeschoolsdifferent on Twitter.  Do your part to effect change.

When it comes to education, we have to stop pretending…

1. That we know what school is for.

Until we actually ask this question, and come to some agreement on the purpose, we will continue to argue about what is best for our children.  It is NOT to give students the skills they need to find jobs that existed when they were born.  There will be far more graduates than jobs, and those traditional jobs are mostly gone.  “What is school for?” must be a constant conversation.

2. That it’s okay to determine access to future learning based on a two digit number assigned by a secondary school teacher to a graduating student.

Marks are not an indicator of ability to learn.  In fact, marks can be a detriment to learning. We pretend that the current system of determining access to university programs based on marks is acceptable.  Marks promote cheating. Check out all the youtube videos on how to convince your teacher to give you a higher mark. Marks promote classroom competition over collaboration. Marks turn school into a game of winners and losers instead of a place where learning is sought.

Let’s find a better way to encourage all students to keep learning.

3. That it’s okay for any student to be stuck and not learning.

It is not the job of a teacher to teach.  It is the job of a teacher to ensure students are learning.  Not alone – teachers have access to networks of educators and professionals to help – but learning must happen.  “He has the right to fail” is not an acceptable statement – ever*.

4. That it’s okay to bash teachers.

Stop.  The teaching profession is the most important profession in society. “Teacher bashing” is not productive. It turns great potential teachers away from the profession.  Our children need the best teachers we have to give them.  Let’s elevate the profession to a place where the best people are attracted to the profession of ensuring that the upcoming generations are able to solve the world’s biggest problems.

5. That it’s okay for only some people to have access to the internet and the world’s body of knowledge.

We need to stop pretending that all children are digital natives. Many children still have no access to the internet and the world’s best teachers, and we don’t have access to their voices.  That is not okay. What are we doing today to get access for these children and their families?  It is an enormous inequity that we need to solve.

Screen Shot 2015-04-15 at 7.41.09 AM
Please watch “The Loon Project” by clicking on this image.

I am tagging everyone in my PLN to share their thinking on the five things we need to stop pretending.

I am particularly interested, for purely selfish reasons, in the thinking of the following five people:

Ron Canuel, David Truss, Julie Balen , Mark W. Carbone, Stephen Hurley

Please share your thinking and add it to the growing body of ideas here.

My granddaughter, Chloe Patricia Avery, is two months old today.

Let’s make sure that when she starts school in September 2019,  it looks very different from the model that worked for her great grandparents.

Screen Shot 2015-03-30 at 4.36.21 PM
Chloe on her 1 month birthday.

Thank you for reading this.  What is your next?

 

 

*In the context of “earning a credit”. It is this thinking: “I taught him, he chose not to learn” that I object to, not the understanding that we learn from our failures as part of the learning process.

Resources:

The Lone Wolf: David Truss shares some inspiration with educators who are feeling like they can’t make the difference they want to.

What are the changes we want to see? #makeschooldifferent

The man who discovered the genetic link to cystic fibrosis, Dr. Lap-Chee Tsui, did not have a standardized mind. He barely made it through the school system:

http://dfryed.tumblr.com/post/116635201423/the-man-who-discovered-the-genetic-link-to-cystic

Sharing with PQP: Why Do Our Students Need Connected Leaders?

Recently, I was asked to share my thinking with PQP candidates about why connecting as leaders is so important.

I wrote about this late last year, and I have presented workshops on the topic a few times.  

This time I needed to be able to share my thinking remotely, so I created this very quick, one-take talk on why I think that being a connected leader is critical.

How does a busy leader become connected? #OSSEMOOC takes you through “getting connected” in 10 minutes a day here.  (Scroll down and check out the right side of the page for 30 days of learning).