Tag Archives: creative leadership

The Digital Networked Lives of Our Children – #picsymposia2016

Today in Thunder Bay, close to 60 parents gave up their Saturday to learn about parent leadership in our education system.

The Ministry of Education sponsored event was an opportunity for parents to learn all about what is important in education and how to access funds to share knowledge in their boards.

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I was so impressed with the dedication to improving the education in the classrooms in their boards.  What rich discussion in the room!


Below are the slides I presented on the digital networked lives of children.  Please contact me if you have questions about the presentation.

Thank you to colleagues who shared work for this slide show:

Alec Couros

George Couros

Lisa Neale

Doug Belshaw

Aviva Dunsiger

Jamie Reaburn Weir

Tim Robinson

Canadian Education Association

Scott McLeod

Cathy Montreuil

Alan Levine

Stacey Wallwin

Karen Enders

Darla Myers

Steven Wilson

Tina Zita

Silvana Hoxha

Mark W. Carbone







Yes, Your Child Will Thrive in 2016 and Beyond

As education leaders, how do we convince our parent communities, our Trustees, our students themselves, of this (7)?

Because this really is the most important measure of accountability isn’t it? That this school, this system, is the very best place for your child to learn on this day (4), and this school and this system is innovating in every way possible to ensure your child’s gifts are uncovered, nurtured, scaffolded and unleashed.

Mary Jean Gallagher tells us that schools must be places where children can realize their “best possible, most richly-imagined future” (Jan. 17, 2014, Toronto)

As an education leader (6), what compelling arguments do you have for the innovative practices – foreign to parents who experienced the linear, industrial model of school – being used to personalize learning for their child?

We know that compelling arguments are a critical first step  for change.  Without compelling arguments (2), traditionalists will shut down, stop listening (3), move on down the same path of a system that produces a ranking of individuals, filtering those who are different out of the picture.

Do you talk to parents about how the popular narrative that “robots are taking over the world” isn’t something they can just ignore any more, that good jobs really have already disappeared offshore and to automation through robotics and 3D printers (5)?  This is why we educate our students to take advantage of the cognitive opportunities that arise when menial work becomes mechanized and digitized.

Perhaps the argument that the school system as they knew it, did not achieve positive outcomes for all children, and that disengagement (1) in secondary school is a national tragedy that must be changed, would resonate with your community.

Perhaps the democratization of the system is most important – creating a school community where all members have voice and choice that is not constrained by outdated structures like timetables and limited course selections.

How do you share what you know about innovative practice with your school community? Do you learn openly, share openly, question openly?

Sharing your compelling arguments with other leaders may be the best step you can take today to help spread system change.

Communicating effectively about the need for radical change is critical role for our education leaders.



Featured image by Tina Zita via Royan Lee CC-BY-NC-SA-2.0

References and Resources:


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From Will Richardson, We’re Trying to do the Wrong Thing Right in Schools, March 17, 2016 http://willrichardson.com/


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From Creative Public Leadership, World Innovation Summit for Education, March 2016 https://www.thersa.org/globalassets/pdfs/reports/creative-public-leadership.pdf



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From Creative Public Leadership, World Innovation Summit for Education, March 2016 https://www.thersa.org/globalassets/pdfs/reports/creative-public-leadership.pdf



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From Cathy Montreuil, address to Ontario’s new P/VPs, March 2016 https://storify.com/fryed/adm-cathymontreuil-speaks-to-new-pvps-in-onted



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From Robot-Proof, How Colleges Can Keep People Relevant in the Workplace, by Joseph Aoun: http://chronicle.com/article/Robot-Proof-How-Colleges-Can/235057


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From Creative Public Leadership, World Innovation Summit for Education, March 2016 https://www.thersa.org/globalassets/pdfs/reports/creative-public-leadership.pdf




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From The Roosevelt Institute: Creative Schools for a Thriving Economy 2015 http://rooseveltinstitute.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/Hallgarten-Creative-Schools-for-a-Thriving-Economy.pdf




Creative Public Leadership: Building a Powerful Case for Change

Early this morning, The RSA posted this report release on Twitter:

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In the report, they set out nine first steps in moving to an education system that creates the innovators needed for today’s world.

Step 1 is Building the case for change.

For those who have been in this business of change for many years, it is a struggle to understand why many leaders don’t see the urgency.

This section from page 8, the Executive Summary, explains the situation with such clarity:

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Page 8, Creative Public Leadership https://www.thersa.org/globalassets/pdfs/reports/creative-public-leadership.pdf

Over the past few years, many leaders have told me that as soon as someone starts talking about 21C, or innovation, or technology, or the 6 C’s, they tune out.  It doesn’t interest them and they don’t see the value.

For those who have heads that hurt from hitting them against the brick walls of hierarchy, remember the Randy Pausch quote:


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Creative leadership requires more than courage, more than dedication.  It requires passion and purpose, so don’t give up.

It also requires an understanding of how to carefully defend your position, to find value in your stance, and to clearly communicate that value to those who can make a difference.

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p. 59, Creative Public Leadership: https://www.thersa.org/globalassets/pdfs/reports/creative-public-leadership.pdf

Page 60 of the report suggests first steps for building that case.

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Page 60, The RSA, Creative Leadership https://www.thersa.org/globalassets/pdfs/reports/creative-public-leadership.pdf

What a great focus for our work – building a case for change.

Why is it critical to create innovators?  Why is it, that a school system designed to build a standardized work force, is not creating the conditions for learning needed for young people in a world where robotics and offshore/global competition have eliminated most manufacturing jobs?

How do we convince leaders to  prepare our kids to seize the opportunities that arise when all menial work can be done by machines?

We need creative public leaders who can build this convincing case for change – before we become completely irrelevant.

Featured image from TheRSA.org


Connecting with the Disconnected – Chris Wejr

Tom Whitby: What is an “Accomplished Administrator” in education?

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Kinds of School Leaders

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