Sunday, 6 March 2016

Taking a drink from the waterfall

First and foremost I want to tell you I am writing this post from my phone.  I apologize for grammatical, spelling and writing errors in advance.  I just found some time to take a drink from the waterfall and I am using the closest tool I have.

I have recently just reconnected or plugged myself back in as a connected leader.  I had taken a self imposed hiatus in order to manage the multitude of things that were going on both professionally and personally in my life.

While my public connectedness had gone quite it was the strong relationships that I had made as a connected leader that helped get me through and manage the workload.    Many emails and private DMs were still there, it was just the public sharing was muted for a bit. 

I stopped keeping track of all the resources that were being shared on Twitter, I had stopped reviewing flipboard (I still miss Zite) and I let my Feedly go quiet.  There is nothing wrong with unplugging folks, it is just another way to manage the waterfall of information, ideas and workflow we all have to contend with.

Really it was more of a pause then an unplug, as I was still connected and I still reached out when I needed to and asked for some favours and help from people who are part of my PLN.

It was important that I took that break as it allowed to me to focus and prioritize what I needed to do in order to support or board and school staff along with our school's students who need so much from us.  

It is important to note that I didn't fall behind, and yes I might have missed some great resources, my PLN kept me up-to-date and aware.  Many tweeps si sent links and messages that I would pop-up to see.  It was the early connections that I made that kept me going and connected even as I disconnected my public connectedness.  

I was amazed by some tweets and DMs asking how things were because they hadn't heard from me in awhile. It's amazing how those "impersonal", electronic, virtual connections still managed to turn into something so personal and real.

While u unplugged for a bit, I didn't turn off.  I just went into a slight sleep mode.  

Now we're ready to get back at'er.  

Monday, 29 February 2016

A Must Read - The Innovator's Mindset

Simply put, this book is a must read!

Here is the short of it:

  1. #InnovatorsMindset is told in a narrative the draws readers into the learning story.
  2. This book is great for Central Admin, Principals, Teachers and Parents - everyone can be a learner!
  3. This will open the reader up to new perspectives, new ways of thinking and most importantly, new ways of learning.
  4. Not only a passionate narrative, but George lays out a solid foundation and plan to improve school culture and the learning environments in our buildings.
  5. The ideas in this book are transformational!

And the long of it:

I have read many a resource on supporting learners, assessment, leadership, 21C teaching and learning and innovation.  Many of these books, while having some valid points, lack the personal touch and narrative.  These two points are extremely important when it comes motivating staff to take action and bring about a change in learning for students.   The Innovator's Mindset by George Couros (@gcouros), has BOTH of these and easily engaged our staff.

The personal narrative the George winds throughout the book entices readers along in their learning journey throughout all of the chapters.  This narrative causes readers to reflect on their practices and asks them if they are bringing out the best in our students.  Further to this, the narrative also encourages staff to create a safe culture and to focus on building relationships where all people feel safe as they challenge their current practices and educational philosophies.

Our staff have been reading this book as we re-examine our school's vision and we craft our new direction and it meshes perfectly with what we are doing.  The discussion questions at the end of each chapter assist staff to deepen their understanding and broaden the possibilities of innovative learning opportunities.  The resource links that George provides are current, relevant and engaging and are highly suitable for professional learning opportunities.  They really help to illustrate the points that George makes and they resonate with staff.

Initially we purchased copies of this book for just our school leadership team.  Our staff were so engaged and passionate about the book, we purchased copies for everyone in our school.  We are also undertaking the revision of teaching and learning for our entire school board; and we purchased copies of The Innovators Mindset for everyone on the committee.

George's book is a must have for any organization looking to help people out of their comfort zone in order to build innovative learning environments for students.