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Tuesday March 31st at 7.30-8.15 PM!
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Digital isn't everything. The hardware gives advantages such as access to information, analysis tools, the ability to present and share information ... each of these opportunities would be nothing without the guidance and coaching of a live teacher with a pedagogically sound doctrine that seeks to grow self-directed and life-long learners.
As a leader in education you may have one shot at using your budget to demonstrate value in potential future investment in technology. Your best bet is to focus on:
1. low cost hardware with high speed, large bandwidth connection to the internet, such as tablets, Chromebooks, network printers and a small number of more capable machines for quality media editing
2. collaborative activities where investigations are planned together, roles are clearly defined, presentations are planned in advance and assessment involves an evaluation of not only the content produced but also the process used by students
3. search skills using multiple sources on multiple devices with a high level of evaluation of bias - know the truth from fiction - using sites like wikipedia where student work is open to critique on a global scale
4. use the cloud - for storage, sharing, processing large files, networking and to spend as little as possible on massive facilities.
In summary, make learning as rich as possible where the technology is supporting specific outcomes; leverage speed to give fun, effective practise at high-level skills.
My name is Emma Winder and I am a teacher from Auckland currently teaching a Year 2/3 hub at Stonefields School. Below I summarise the concept of the Educafe approach, as shown in the time-lapse video above.
These were all questions I was pondering when I came up with the idea of EduCafe.
How do we get cross sector, face to face collaboration in education? How do we discuss the really poignant issues and the big questions? How do we move beyond traditional professional development where the fount of all knowledge is at the front of the room to drawing on the collective knowledge within the room?
These were all questions Aucklander Emma Winder was pondering when she came up with the idea of EduCafe. With initial support from knowledgeable and connected colleagues, Mark Osborne and Jeff Johnstone, and sponsorship from generous supporters the event has been a real success.
EduCafe is based on the World Cafe style of discussion, which centres around a welcoming environment and small group discussion related to a poignant or provocative question. It hinges on the idea that potential answers to the problem are within the group of people and, through discussion, ideas will be crystallised, debated and potentially put into practice.
Big questions pertaining to educational improvement and current issues are discussed in depth, such as:
How do we ensure devices in our classrooms aren’t “thousand dollar pencils”? What place do devices have in the classroom? What is the pedagogy that sits behind the use of these devices to ensure they are used productively?
Feedback from participants has been positive. People value the opportunity to connect with others outside of their sector and realm of experience. They have commented on the positive experience of a healthy, robust debate and the networking opportunities. We look forward to future events and continued discussions.
For more from Emma:
Emma has expertise in the following areas:
- Future focused, 21st century teaching and learning
- e-learning – from the basics of web 2.0 tools, blogging and Tweeting to evaluating teaching practice to transform learning
- facilitating discussions around difficult questions
- creativity and being “in your element” at school
- personalisation of learning and application of assessment for learning practices
- modern learning environments in traditional, single cell classrooms
Effective leadership is extremely important in any system, but it is even more imperative in schools if we are to provide all learners with a world-class education. This education has to be relevant, meaningful, and applicable. At New Milford High School, we have been working for the past four years to transform our culture to one that is primed for student engagement, learning, and achievement. It is my hope that this book will provide a framework for other educators to begin the change process that will ultimately lead to transformation.
So how would one define digital leadership? I think it is important to first look at the concept of leadership in general. Wikipedia defines leadership as a process of social influence in which one person can enlist the aid and support of others in the accomplishment of a common task. Kevin Kruse defines it as a process of social influence, which maximizes the efforts of others, towards the achievement of a goal. Both of these definitions highlight the importance of social influence. This leads me to ascertain that social media can be an invaluable tool that educators can harness to move schools, learning, and the profession forward.
Leadership is no different today than it was years ago. The only difference is that style and focus need to change with the times if we are to accomplish the lofty task of preparing students for a dynamic world that is more social and connected as a result of technology. Leading in a way that supports the status quo, standardization, outdated practices, and misconceptions related to technology, not only does a disservice to our students, but also renders our schools and profession as irrelevant.
Digital leadership takes into account recent changes such as ubiquitous connectivity, open-source technology, mobile devices, and personalization. It represents a dramatic shift from how schools have been run and structured for over a century, as what started out as a personal use of technology has become systemic to every facet of leadership. Digital leadership can thus be defined as establishing direction, influencing others, and initiating sustainable change through the access to information, and establishing relationships in order to anticipate changes pivotal to school success in the future. It requires a dynamic combination of mindset, behaviors, and skills that are employed to change and/or enhance school culture through the assistance of technology.
The basic tenets of leadership are still valuable and needed for our schools to succeed. However, the changing times as well as society’s reliance on technology demand an evolution of leadership practices to create schools that our learners deserve, and need, to succeed in today's world. It all begins with trust. Digital leaders must give up control and trust students and teachers to use real-world tools to unleash creativity and a passion for learning. The time is now, whether you are a building level or teacher leader, to boldly move schools forward in the digital age. What have you done and/or changed to become a digital leader? Where did you begin? How have things changed since this shift?
For those looking to begin this journey or take your work to the next level, please check out my book that has just been published. I believe that the The Pillars of Digital Leadership
will provide you with a solid foundation to take enhance and improve your ability to lead meaningful change. The forward was written by Yong Zhao and the book itself has been endorsed by some of today's most prominent thought-leaders. My book can be accessed using these specific links: