Monday, December 5, 2016

What Do You Want Leaders to Do With Technology?

As the PQP2 course comes to an end, our 10 day challenge wraps up with a reflection on the following question: What do you want leaders to do with technology? As I reflect on this question, I can't help but connect the following Catholic Leadership Framework pillars:

  • Setting Directions
  • Building Relationships and Developing People
  • Developing Organization to Support Desired Practices
  • Improving the Instructional Program
  • Securing Accountability

For me, technology has has allowed me to be more efficient, become a global citizen, connect with others to grow as an educator, and to reach students who seemed to be unreachable. Over the last 9 challenges I have enjoyed reflecting on how I use technology as a teacher, but more importantly, how it can be used as a leader.

I want leaders to use technology for the same reasons I stated above. We live in a time where digital is the norm. Mobile devices run rampant and access to the Internet is becoming a right rather than a privilege. Leaders need to have a general idea of what is out there and be open to how the technology can be used to assist all stakeholder in order to benefit the learning of the students entrusted in our care.

As the playing field levels out with respect to access to the Internet and relatively affordable technology, leaders who are connected and using social media to tell their stories and expand their professional learning network, for example, will be in a good position to model the ethical/effective use of technology to their students and community.

The world we live in today is much smaller than it used to be thanks to technology and the Internet. Leaders need to lead digitally as well as face-to-face. As I move into Day 11 and beyond, I believe that I will continue to use technology to grow as a professional and discover new ways to learn from others, share my learning, reach people who were once deemed unreachable, and find new ways to positively impact the the students under my care.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Evolution in Education: Building Capacity among Educators

This school year I am fortunate to be part of a core team of educators who are working on 'connecting' kids and classrooms. Part of our work involves building the capacity of teachers in our system around the use of a variety of platforms/tools to help classrooms and students connect.

The Core 6 engaged in preparation and discussion before our mini conference on Connecting Classrooms. Photo taken by Jess Weber.

Each member of the team is responsible for a particular tool. My responsibility is to assist/support teachers with the use of Twitter to share their learning (and that of their students), gain new ideas with respect to their practice, and connect with other educators and classes.

Core 6 preparing for their work with other teachers. 
As I prepared a slide presentation to help guide the people I would be working with, I made a conscious effort to reflect on the Catholic Leadership Framework as I was getting ready for these particular sessions at the mini conference.

As I reflected, I quickly realised that the work that I would be engaged in melded well with the following Leadership Framework expectations:

1) Building Relationships and Developing People
  • acknowledge and celebrate the accomplishments of individuals and teams
  • consider opinions when initiating actions that affect their work
  • build upon and respond to individuals unique needs and expertise
  • encourage teachers to reflect on what they are trying to achieve with students and how they are doing it
  • lead discussions about the relative merits of current and alternative practices
  • challenge educators to continually re-examine the extent to which their practices support the learning of all their students
  • facilitate opportunities for staff to learn from each others
  • suggest new ideas for learning
  • encourage individuals to develop and review their own goals for professional growth and the relationship of those goals to school goals and priorities
  • encourage educators to try new practices that are consistent with both their interests and school goals

Working with a group of teachers about how to use Twitter to leverage this particular tool to connect classrooms and kids. Photo taken by Jess Weber.
2) Developing the Organisation to Support Desired Practices
  • model collaboration in our work
  • foster mutual respect and trust among those involved in collaboration
  • encourage the collaborative development of group processes and outcomes
  • help develop clarity about goals and roles related to collaborative work
  • encourage a willingness to compromise among collaborators
  • foster open and fluent communication among collaborators toward building and sustaining a Catholic professional learning community
  • provide adequate and consistently available resources to support collaborative work
  • provide people with leadership opportunities and support them as they take on these opportunities

The above mentioned expectations were not the only ones that were addressed in the work I was engaged in at the mini conference but the Building Relationships and Developing People and Developing the Organisation to Support Desired Practices pillars were the two major ones.

The mini conference was a great opportunity to help move educators in a direction that will assist them with their professional learning/growth and the achievement of their students. I look forward to continuing to grow as a leader as I assist others in improving their practice.