Category Archives: Digital Leadership

Mental Health as a Priority: What’s Digital Identity Got to Do With It?

Recently I have been fortunate to be asked to present at two different venues (Refresh2016 in North Bay, and the DSBONE Professional Learning Day) on the importance of understanding how digital identities impact mental health in teens, and where we as educators can find resources.

Here are the reading slides for this topic.

Learning to Podcast

Podcasts have been a primary source of professional learning for me for many years. I have always wanted to use this tool, and this week, I found two teachers in WRDSB who use podcasting regularly.

Karen Blaak uses podcast conversations with her father to set the themes for her online English 3U course.  The personal narrative and vulnerable stance appeals to students.

Carlo Fusco openly shares his process of capturing voices of the people he learns with.

Both of these talented and dedicated educators inspire me to really think about how I can more effectively use podcasting in my work.

My podcast with Carlo can be found here.

 

I look forward to listening to the podcasts with other educators I learn with here:

Jamie Reaburn Weir

Herman Kwan

 

Featured image from Carlo Fusco’s Podcast: Shift+Refresh+Me

What is an Educated Adult in 2016?

It was an incredible honour yesterday, to hear Dr. Tony Wagner speak about his work in rethinking education for today.  Being able to ask my question about how we work with a system that still defines graduates by 2-digit numbers, and ranks them individually, was enlightening and empowering.

I am a huge fan of Dr. Tony Wagner’s work.

On the plane home, I am reading (again) his book, “Most Likely to Succeed: Preparing our Kids for the Innovation Era”.  I have shared excerpts from this book before.  Today, though, I am intrigued by the ideas on p. 223.

“What does it mean to be an educated adult in the twenty-first century?”

We are entrenched in a digital economy.  Time and time again, during the TELL 2016 conference, presenters expressed their frustration with how unaware educators seem to be with how fast change is happening.

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Computers can now learn for themselves. In January 2016, a computer beat a professional GO player.  This is orders of magnitude more significant than “Deep Blue” beating Kasparov at chess, and Watson beating Ken Jennings at Jeopardy!

Driverless cars are a reality, and $20.00 per hour jobs to ride in them are old news.  Canada will be short 182000 people able to work in the digital economy by 2019 – essentially two years from now.  Robots are, right now, replacing large numbers of standardized workers.  Walmart is replacing warehouse workers with drones this fall.  We have a crisis looming. Robots are replacing every paid position that is standardized.

TELL2016 presenter Carl Bull suggested that as comfortable educators, quite able to pay our mortgages,  it is arrogant of us to ignore the reality that we have no idea how our students will achieve the same standard of living.

I deeply question why we continue to hire leaders and decision-makers in education who have no understanding of digital technologies.  I wonder why the qualification courses our leaders are required to take have little mention of the importance of technology for learning.

I wonder why digital professional portfolios are seen as an “unfair advantage” instead of a non-negotiable part of the application process for leadership positions.

This week I saw many principals presenting at TELL2016, desperately working to create the compelling case for change. 

I wonder who is listening.  

I wonder when we will finally see that the vast array of digital competencies are essential for leaders, in this public education system tasked with preparing our youth to thrive in a digital world that many education leaders cannot even imagine.

Featured image by Dean Shareski CC-BY-NC-2.0

Further references:

Innovative leadership is needed by Tom Whitby

And a Key to the Future by David Culberhouse

The Compelling Case for Change: TELL 2016

This year’s Technology Enabled Learning and Leading Symposium for Principals is wrapping up today.  Yesterday we had the opportunity to have conversations with Dr. Tony Wagner about how the current pathways for our students are no longer leading to success.

Creating that Compelling Case for Change is so critical.  We are in times of exponential change, yet for many, this change is invisible as we continue to do things as we have always done in our education system.

Earlier in the week, I had the pleasure of leading, with Mark Carbone, a group of PQP and SOQP instructors in an examination of why change is needed and how we might start considering our work in online spaces differently.

We have included the slides and some of our thinking below.

 

Featured Image: Most Likely to Succeed

For Credit or for Learning?

As we think about the needs of learners in online environments, there is one dichotomy that we often forget.

Some students take online courses because they need a credit or qualification for a life pathway, not because the want to learn.

I was first introduced to this thinking as a secondary online teacher , and I wrote about it on my old blog, School 2 Go, seven years ago .

I am returning to this dichotomy today as I think about how to differentiate the AQ I am currently teaching.  Many of my teacher candidates have yet to find consistent work in the teaching profession in Ontario even though they have a wealth of experience.  For some of them, this course is just a qualification needed to help them find work.  They are busy raising families, doing other paid work and just trying to make it in a system that is so challenging for new educators.

How do I, as an instructor, challenge their thinking and model the kind of online learning we want for our students and teachers, while respecting their need to just “get through it”? How do I remain present in their learning from a distance without becoming a burden to achieving their goals?

This will be part of my personal inquiry going forward.

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http://fryedblog.blogspot.ca/2009/06/i-didnt-take-this-course-to-learn.html

 

 

Featured image credit: Proctor Archives via Compfight cc

Are All Kids Able to Choose?

Recently, in my Primary/Junior Math AQ course, we examined process expectations in the Ontario primary/junior math curriculum document.

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Of particular interest to me was the process expectation around “selecting tools and computational strategies”.

The Ontario math curriculum document was written in 2005, five years before the first iPad was released, and two years before the first iPhone was sold.  In the 11 years since the curriculum document was written, we have seen exponential technological advancement.

The digital tools available to children in 2016 are beyond the imaginations of the writers of the current curriculum document.

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“Students need to develop the ability to select the appropriate electronic tools.”

How do they develop this ability?

As an adult, how do you develop this ability?

The ability to make that choice depends on1) the ability to understand how you learn, 2) knowing what tools are available and how they work, and 3) having access to those tools.

As educators, is it a priority for us to ensure that students learn to make good choices about what digital tools work best for them?

It isn’t about our comfort level.  We can’t wait until we are “comfortable” to make this happen.

And, we can’t teach for a world that no longer exists.

How would you rewrite the 2005 math curriculum document to ensure all students have access to the digital tools they need, and the ability to choose the best digital tools to help them learn?

 

Further reading:

It IS About the Tools

Toolbelt Theory – Ira David Socol

Featured Image shared by JingleJammer under a CC-BY-SA-2.0 Licence.

Are you Asking the Right Questions?

Yesterday, a colleague, Sean Mieghan,  posted a great little video that clearly demonstrates the importance of asking the right questions.

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“Life is Good” owners tell us that their ideas came from the questions their mother asked every day at the dinner table.  She empowered them to come up with ideas – lots of them!

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In the same way that task predicts performance, asking the different questions can change the learning. As educators, how often do we work at asking better questions?

Further reading: https://suedunlop.ca/two-essential-questions-for-reflection/

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Featured image shared under a CC-BY-2.0 licence by Alan Levine.