The Conversation We Need To Have With Leadership

This post is part of Scott McLeod’s Leadership Day 2014

Mission: Value Your Time

This year, many of us will spend hours in school meetings feeling demotivated, bored, unappreciated, and stressed. We will spend a lot of time resenting our colleagues and our administrators, which will impact our teaching and our students’ success. It doesn’t have to be this way. You deserve to have your time valued, because you are on a grand mission to help the world learn. We need you inspired! Unfortunately, many of our administrators do not know how to value your time or support you. Therefore, I’m sending you on a mission to have a conversation with your leadership about changing how meetings are organized at your school. By having this one positive conversation with your leadership, you can possibly avoid wasting hours attending ineffective meetings. You will also do your school, staff, and students a tremendous amount of good, since meetings will focus on collaboration with peers to problem solve issues.

Via George Couros, http://connectedprincipals.com/archives/9188

Conversations That Inspire Change

This is an important conversation and we want our leadership to listen. This means you should approach leadership with appreciation for taking the time to consider your ideas, show them real examples of how you want to transform the meetings, and present the benefits of trying your idea. You need to also do this quite quickly in the first 5 to 10 minutes of the conversation. Think of this as your TEDTalk to your leadership. Go in with a set plan, show an example provided by your Personal/ Professional/ Passionate Learning Network (PLNs) and inspire your leadership to try it out for at least one meeting. You might even offer to help organize that meeting to save your leadership time. This means you may have to coordinate with another staff member you possibly might not get along with and you might be given some guidelines that thwart your initial plans, but you can make it work. You might want to try giving your spiel to one of our incredible connected principals who could help you make a better impact with your leadership. Find a list of their blogs and Twitter handle on Cybraryman’s Administrator Page. Remember this will save you hours of boredom and stress and enhance your school atmosphere considerably.

Inspiring Professional Development

In order to be effective you need to walk in with an alternative that works for your setting. Find many ideas in our June 29th #Edchat, where many teachers gathered to discuss ways to improve faculty and department meetings. Some of the ideas shared were flipping the meetings, hosting a meeting on Twitter, backchanneling, following the Edcamp model, hosting technology and app smackdowns, inviting students to introduce technology, doing community building activities, making it more collaborative by having everyone contribute on a Google Doc, hosting the meeting in a different location around the school, letting teachers break into small groups to collaborate, and using the first 5 minutes for teachers to share something great they’re doing. Find many more examples of inspiring leaders supporting their teachers with meaningful professional development at ConnectedPrincipals.com, #CPChat, and the Principal Cast hosted by Teacher Cast.

In the meantime, you can be inspired by one of my favorite principals, Principal EL!

 

 

Challenge:

Have a meaningful conversation with leadership that can transform your school environment.

If you enjoyed these ideas, you may want to get your copy of The 30 Goals for Teachers or my $5.99 ebook, Learning to Go, which has digital/mobile activities for any device and editable/printable handouts and rubrics. Subscribe for FREE to receive regular updates!

Bookmark and Share

Read More

#Edchat Summary: Bringing Students into the Discussion to Improve Schools by @inquirebook

Guest post from @inquirebook in the #Edchat Category & other 12noon NYC summaries found on Berni Wall’s blog!

Today’s #edchat topic, How do we bring students into the discussion on how to improve the school environment? was intriguing. In the discussion, most participants pointed out that we cannot invite students to the table unless we are also prepared to work with their suggestions. A few focused on how a shift in culture needs to occur, one in which students take ownership of their own educations and learn to advocate for themselves. Some pointed out that students who are allowed to make their own choices often make bad choices, but others argued that the only way to learn how to make decisions is to make many decisions. The group generally agreed that if students are invited to offer suggestions, they should also be part of solving the problem, not just leaving adults to do the solving.

At a future #Edchat I’d be interested in discussing, What alternative models would allow the government to ensure school quality without relying on high-stakes testing?

Main Themes of the Chat

  • We need to listen to students.
  • We need to help students develop a sense of ownership in their educations.
  • To do so, we need a shift in school culture.
  • Students need to make decisions–many of them–and mistakes in order to learn to be problem solvers.
  • Digital solutions could give everyone a voice and provide students a format they understand.

Thought-Provoking Comments

With such a vibrant discussion, it’s almost impossible to do it justice in a summary, but I’ve picked out some of the comments that inspired me and made me reflect.

@TJwolfe_: First of all, let students speak!! Stop lecturing and start listening! #edchat
@tomwhitby: We cannot invite students to the table unless we are willing to accept what they have to offer. #Edchat
@inquirebook: I think we first ask students what the goals of school should be–a guiding question for their inquiry. #edchat
@TheresaShafer: Have open forums for students, not just elected student councils. #edchat
@jessievaz12: We recently asked our 6th gr stdts to brainstorm ideas on how to improve transition from 5th. Amazing what came out. #edchat
@tomwhitby: We need the leadership to accept the fact that the learning environment needs change, and opinions for that change. #Edchat
@davidwees: If our schools are to be representations of our democracy, they must be more democratic. All stakeholders need a voice. #edchat
@Aaron_Eyler: How about realizing that just because they are kids doesn’t mean their ideas aren’t better than those with degrees? #edchat
@davidwees: Students learn how to make decisions by making decisions, lots of them. #edchat
@tsocko: Put the discussion in a format that kid communicate…digital! #edchat
@inquirebook: If students take ownership of their education, it ceases to be something *done* to them. #edchat
@tomwhitby: Teaching kids HOW to learn seems more important than WHAT to learn. Involving kids in the decision process is a HOW to learn thing #Edchat
@jheil65: Hard to change the environment w/o first changing the culture. . .Create the kind of school you want and the environment will follow #edchat
@21stprincipal: Students have to believe they have a say in what happens in their school. #edchat
@tomwhitby: If kids own an idea, they are more likely to support it. Works for teachers as well. #Edchat
@shfarnsworth: We must teach our students to transform their voice into a mean for change. How to inspire/create action! Responsible Citizen #edchat
@monicaannebatac: Students must learn 2 be activists & advocates for themselves – in school & beyond. – & also listen 2 and consider other voices #edchat
@jaluribe: Participation has to start in kindergarten. Older students can be like birds in open cages. Believing they can’t fly. #edchat
@CTuckerEnglish: Including all student voices is logistically challenging. Using an online forum might allow for equity of voices in convo #edchat
@TJwolfe_: We need to make school decision making into a teachable moment for everyone! Students included. #edchat
@ShellTerrell: Getting students involved in edreform begins with a question & continues with implementation of ideas #edchat
@Aaron_Eyler: It is totally a heretical thing. Ppl in charge didnt get listened to in school so they don’t listen to kids today. #edchat #breakthecycle
@CTuckerEnglish: If we engage students in process of determining how to best improve schools, that creates buy in & accountability. #edchat

To follow the complete discussion visit the transcript here!

More Resources

As ever, there were some great links shared:

@readingrockets: What makes a school good? http://ow.ly/6gDjp
@Inga_Ros I spoke about that at the #140edu You can see my presentation here http://t.co/TIKYnXo
@edutopia: Worth a read. RT @kylepace: What Schools Can Learn Frm #Google, IDEO, & Pixar http://t.co/42W2sfz

New to Edchat?

If you have never participated in an #Edchat discussion, these take place twice a day every Tuesday on Twitter. Over 3000 educators participate in this discussion by just adding #edchat to their tweets. For tips on participating in the discussion, please check out these posts!

More Edchat

Challenge:

If you’re new to hashtag discussions, then just show up on Twitter on any Tuesday and add just a few tweets on the topic with the hashtag #edchat.

If you enjoyed this post, you may want to subscribe for FREE to receive regular updates!

What are your thoughts? Leave a comment!

______________________________________________________________________________

I’m Rob King, lead author of Inquire: a Guide to 21st Century Learning. It’s a student handbook that teaches 21st century skills, study skills, inquiry, and project-based learning. I’m also editor in chief at Sebranek, Inc., the parent company of Write Source, UpWrite Press, and Thoughtful Learning. To learn more, go to www.thoughtfullearning.com.

Bookmark and Share

Read More

#Edchat Summary: Social Media’s Impact on Professional Development for Educators by @USCTeacher

Guest post from @USCTeacher in the #Edchat Category & other 12noon NYC summaries found on Berni Wall’s blog!

Today’s #edchat topic, What effect has social media (SM) had in your development as an educator? Is SM for every educator?, was intriguing. The topic pulled in both personal reflection for participators to think about their usage of social media as an educator as well as think about social media globally as a part of their profession. What was also great about this topic is that it made participators think not only about their usage of social media, but their colleagues, giving them a broader perspective on social media in general and in the education world. Personally, social media has changed my world in regards to professional development and building a PLN – I’ve been able to connect with educators all over the world as well as watch students in the program I work for (the MAT@USC) connect and share across oceans. Social media might not be for everyone in the “first person” sense, but at a minimal, is necessary to use and develop with colleagues.

At a future #Edchat I’d be interested in discussing, How can we encourage using SM in higher-ed? — Are there benefits?

Main Themes of the Chat

  •  Social medial allows professional development amongst educators
  •  Professional development has become global and personal thanks to social media
  •  Twitter can be used as a springboard to other things – depth, collaboration, projects
  • Social media may not be for every educator, but it effects all educators
  • Teaching both students and teachers how to use social media will help us learn
  • Social media must be taught by doing

Thought-Provoking Comments

With such a vibrant discussion, it’s almost impossible to do it justice in a summary, but I’ve picked out some of the comments that inspired me and made me reflect.

1. @tomwhitby: How can we hold kids responsible for misusing SM when we refuse to teach it to them responsibly? #Edchat
2. @monicaannebatac: YES! Safe, responsible use of SM is necessary from teachers and students alike #edchat
3. @drdouggreen: You convince others what they are missing by having them sit next to you during an edchat. #edchat
4. @davidwees: SM is a tool WE can define edu reform & transform #edchat
5. @CTuckerEnglish: SM can be overwhelming 4 new user. Trick is to start slow. Find a tool that works & appreciate benefits then branch out #edchat
6. @jessievaz12: I love SM because it has awakened my passion in my prof. It makes me want 2B more progressive & find something to share w others #edchat
7. @MrMatthewRay: The world has changed rapidly – education has not. It must. SM is huge component. #edchat
8. @isteconnects: All educators should have basic understanding of social media. It’s ignorance that breeds fear of the tools #edchat
9. @teewhyare: that’s exactly what social media is intended to be: one large classroom w/ no tuition. This is my playground and class. #edchat
10. @davidwees: What would happen if every school was connected by at least 1 person through social media to every other school? #edchat
11. @courosa: i don’t know if SocMed is that which is unforgiving – it’s ppl that are. SocMed just exposes our raw humanity. #edchat
12. @timbuckteeth: we teach kids to cross street safely, must do same with SM – they’ll be using it anyway. #edchat
13. @inquirebook: I like the immediacy of Twitter. I get my breaking education news here. #edchat
14. @cybraryman1: I love the fact that when I do not know something there is always someone in my PLN who has the answer. #edchat

To follow the complete discussion visit the transcript here!

More Resources

As ever, there were some great links shared:

New to Edchat?

If you have never participated in an #Edchat discussion, these take place twice a day every Tuesday on Twitter. Over 3000 educators participate in this discussion by just adding #edchat to their tweets. For tips on participating in the discussion, please check out these posts!

More Edchat

Challenge:

If you’re new to hashtag discussions, then just show up on Twitter on any Tuesday and add just a few tweets on the topic with the hashtag #edchat.

If you enjoyed this post, you may want to subscribe for FREE to receive regular updates!

What are your thoughts? Leave a comment!

______________________________________________________________________________

Sarah Fudin currently works as a community manager for the University of Southern California’s Master of Arts in Teaching program, which provides aspiring teachers the opportunity to earn a Master’s degree and teaching credential online. Outside of work Sarah enjoys running, reading and Pinkberry frozen yogurt.

Bookmark and Share

Read More

Happy Birthday! #Edchat Turns 2!

Part of the #Edchat Category

#Edchat turns TWO this week!

Thank You

For the last 2 years #Edchat has been the birth of  conversation for over 2000 educators weekly on how to improve education worldwide! #Edchat has created real change by igniting new projects, adding more educators to the conversation, inspiring over 400 educational chats, inspiring a new school, inspiring a free online conference with over 4000 attendees, and so much more. The conversation began 2 years ago with 3 educators- (Tom Whitby (@TomWhitby), Steven Anderson (@Web20Classroom), and (@ShellTerrell))- who desired education transformation and saw the need for educational stakeholders to discuss, debate, explore, reflect, react, and act on various issues which impact education. For this reason, I would argue that #Edchat is one of the most powerful hashtags creating real change in schools.
You can engage in the movement by:

  • suggesting topics on the poll
  • voting for topics
  • engaging in the discussion
  • blogging about the conversations
  • inviting friends to the conversation
  • presenting about the educator communities that exist
  • transforming the conversation into action at your schools

In it’s two years, #Edchat has inspired, motivated, and transform educational stakeholders. We have a diverse group of student teachers, parents, students, administrators, and community leaders who participate weekly in order to collaborate on improving our education systems worldwide!

This was last year’s Wallwisher! Please continue the tradition by adding how Edchat has impacted you!

Helpful Edchat Resources!

Edchat is transformational because of you! Here are helpful resources to become more involved or to help introduce educators to Edchat!

We’d like to thank the following for their weekly dedication to Edchat:

Challenge:

Get another educator involved in the Edchat conversations which take place every Tuesday at 12pm NYC EDT and 7pm NYC EDT! Participate by engaging a few and adding #Edchat to the end of your tweet.

If you enjoyed this post, you may want to subscribe for FREE to receive regular updates!

What would you like to see from Edchat this upcoming year?

Bookmark and Share

Read More

Education Transformation Through Social Media

Part 1 of the Education Transformation Through Collaborative Voices series

ruth cohenson quote

In a recent #Edchat discussion I reflected, “There are more educators than politicians involved in education, yet politicians make the majority of education policy decisions. How do we change this dynamic?” One of the drawbacks of undergoing training as an educator is that we rarely get training in the art of spreading messages. We don’t learn how to connect with an audience, how to make our presentations/workshops memorable, or how to get a message to be viral through various media outlets. Fortunately, I started off in the business field. I went to a magnet school for 4 years that focused on business and weekly I gave presentations to persuade top business leaders to fund our school. I was a part of Toastmasters, marketing clubs/classes, and competed regularly in speech competitions. By the time I had entered college, I had already given presentations to an audience of over 500. In college I graduated with a minor in Communication and spent years studying communication theory and public speaking.

Why Educators Could Do With Some Marketing Training

This training has helped me immensely as an educator who cares about transformation, because the reality is that the media and politicians have a firm grounding in this type of training, therefore, know how to persuade their audiences into their beliefs. They may only be a few compared to educators but clearly this training and their connections provide them with the ability to be heard by audiences worldwide and implement various education policies. They spread their messages about what education reform should be, which include “firing teachers and focusing on standardized tests.” Examples of these messages include the recent Waiting for Superman documentary watched by millions, Michelle Rhee making the cover of Time, and Oprah’s various shows with John Legend and others voicing their opinions about education reform.

The Damage

Educators have seen how these policies harm children and the learning process. The typical child worldwide attends school 180 to 200 days a year. The typical child sits in a desk at least 4 hours a day and is drilled with information as the teacher lectures. Rarely do our children get to move, play, explore their interests, experiment with knowledge, or communicate what they have learned. Drilling, worksheets, and sitting in desks being silent does not motivate children to become lifelong learners. Instead, it kills their creativity and curiosity. Without a voice to question and figure out the meaning of what they have learned, students begin to lose the ability to problem solve and critical think effectively.

So How Do We Begin to Spread Our Message of Education Transformation?

As an educator who cares about transformation I believe we need to collect our voices worldwide and collaborate to impact education policy worldwide. We can do this through social media. With Youtube, Facebook, and Twitter alone we have the ability to spread a message to millions and impact an audience of millions worldwide. We have the ability to impact our world in a positive manner. In a series of posts, we will explore various ways to spread a message through various social networks in order to transform current education systems. I describe this in my Keynote that I gave for the Plymouth E-Learning Conference in April.

5 Tips to Keep in Mind When Crafting Your Message

Although we will explore how to craft our messages in the various social media outlets, there are some tips to keep in mind for spreading any type of message. These include:

  • Remember your audience- We have a tough audience, because parents, students, community leaders, administrators, and other educational stakeholders have experience in the education system. They have formed opinions based on them getting through the traditional style of education and believe often if they did it then our students should be able. Even if they should, why educate this way? When we craft our messages we have to step into their shoes, figure out the arguments and preconceived notions we have to combat.
  • Appeal to the senses- We live in a multimedia world. Our presentations should be visually appealing, drive to the point versus being littered with words, and include effects that reinforce the media. The Shift Happens videos have 20 million views and have had an impact worldwide. You will notice they are professionally done with great music, visuals, and effects.
  • Share stories- Stories and examples of what you do in your class and how students respond are powerful. Often seeing students excited about learning changes many minds.
  • Craft your message according to the medium- Remember that each social media forum has its own language. The way we impact an audience on Facebook is different than the way we send that message on Twitter. On Twitter we have hashtags but this won’t appeal to many Facebook users who do not use Twitter. Knowing the language of the medium helps us understand the best way to craft our messages. This is why I take time to lurk and observe the way people communicate on the medium.
  • Convey Your Passion- The most important tip to remember is to believe in your message and inspire others with your passion. I have seen presenters speak without any of the 4 above but had so much passion their audience was held captive. Passion impacts and transforms opinions. If you lose your passion then move onto the message you are passionate about.

I believe that when enough of the educators in social networks gather and begin to spread their messages of what education transformation looks like to the rest of the world, we will begin to see the transformation take place. We will drown out the voices of the politicians, celebrities, and media who think firing teachers and focusing on standardized tests is education reform.

What tips do you have? What do you believe education transformation should look like? How will you spread that message?

More Resources

Challenge:

Reflect on what messages you spread about education transformation. Do the messages reflect your passion? What can you do to spread your message to a wider audience?

If you enjoyed this post, you may want to subscribe for FREE to receive regular updates!

Bookmark and Share

Read More