Thursday, August 30, 2012

Will this be the year?

As another school year begins across the country, here are questions we, as educators, need to ask ourselves.Will this be the year?
Will this be the year we utilize 21st century tools like Twitter, blogs, wikis and Google. Or will we continue to live in the last century, hindering our students progress in real world skills?
Will we incorporate the 4 C's of the 21st Century, Collaboration, Conversation, Communication and Creativity? Or will we emphasize rote memorization, lecture and standardized multiple choice tests?
Will this be the year we finally create a professional learning network of like minded educators from around the world? Or will we close the door again and be satisfied for what we learn from the teacher's lounge?
Will this be the year we transform our classroom to a student centered culture of learning? Or will we remain teacher centered, limiting the student's learning to just what we know?
Will  this be the year we actually begin teaching our children the responsible and ethical use of technology? Or will we continue to make excuses such as a lack of time, too difficult and it's not safe?
Finally, will we adopt professional learning as an integral part of our plan for success? Or will we show up, go through the motions and say wait till next year?
Hopefully this will be the year, the tipping point, where we venture out and accept the challenges of 21st century education.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Weekly Diigo Links (weekly)

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Insights for 21st century leadership

This post is my annual contribution to Scott McLeod's Leadership Day Challenge.

Through my 35 years in education, I have worked with a number of effective school leaders.(Some really ineffective ones too but that's for another post.) My current position as an ed tech consultant, allows me to work with multiple schools, teaching teachers about integrating tech into their classroom and collaborating with school leaders about the challenges they face. There are several noticeable similarities among effective 21st century leaders.
Successful 21st century leadership revolves around the four C's : Conversation, Communication, Collaboration and Creativity.
Conversation- There is no hesitancy among effective leaders to discuss educational matters that deal with what is best for the students. Leaders and teachers are able to rationalize why they do things a certain way. If the answer is" that's the way its always been done" more conversation is needed. 21st century leaders have those conversations frequently.
Communication- Effective 21st century leaders are excellent communicators. They utilize whatever means necessary to spread their vision. They blog, they tweet, they have a Facebook page. They communicate their message to their clientele whether it be parents, teachers, students or others through multiple modes and are comfortable in doing so. With poor communicators, there is sometimes a vacuum of information access which leads to misinformation. Effective leaders fill that vacuum with their own vision.
Collaboration- Effective21st century leaders not only work together with their teachers, they seek out and collaborate with like minded professionals, their peers. The smartest person in the room is the room. The best way to come up with a great idea is to sift through a dozen good ideas. There is no hesitancy to reach out to peers or teachers to solve problems. They believe in team.
Creativity- Effective 21st century leaders find a way. They think outside the box. They are not afraid to fail, reflect on their experience and move on to solving the problem. They aren't bogged down by 20th century rhetoric or policies. They seek to solve 21st century problems with unique and innovative thought from this century. They embrace innovation and in effect, stifle adequacy.
The most effective leaders have high levels of expertise with all four components. They may not have mastered the skills but they are part of the learning cycle. They are continuing to grow.
The wealth of resources currently available to leaders is mind boggling and it keeps expanding. As educators, we need to take advantage of these opportunities and cultivate a culture of effective 21st century leaders.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Mr. Gerry Kosater

There are two paths you can choose but there's always time to change the one you choose