Thursday 23 July 2020
Recently I had to design a half day PD session for my school. The age and size of people might be different but there are a lot of similarities and characteristics of professional practice that I believe we are naturally able to do as teachers. It is important to remember that we are not there to lecture, we are facilitators of knowledge. No one wants to go and listen to someone ramble on for 2 hours. Our role can be seen as an attentive listener and "co-learner". As a leader I know that I don't know it all and it is important for those around me to see that I to am vulnerable, looking for answers but not afraid to say so! My continued learning journey will be by learning from others around me, from my own teachers/principals/mentors and from my students and staff. I know that I am surrounded by really articulate and knowledgeable people at my school. I am excited to move forward as a tech leader within my school and work in partnership with this crew! Recently, I have been reading the works of Amy Edmondson and some excerpts from her book "The Fearless Organization". I think it is helpful to look at each of these zones when planning any leadership opportunities.
As I continue this learning journey through my IICT Specialist AQ I am reminded the role of "leader" encompasses many hats. I am a leader in my classroom first and I am working towards being a leader with not only my current staff but potential newbies to school. It wasn't that long ago that I was a new teacher. So much to learn in what felt like so little time. I was constantly amazed at the wonderful work that was being done in the classrooms around me and the knowledge and creativity of my fellow teachers. I was fortunate enough that I had a wonderful mentor. In his "spare" time he was a Sergeant in the Reserves of the Canadian Forces and he had a true passion for Science and all this tech. What a score for me. He was patient and kind and shared resources and much needed guidance. Over this Distance Learning period I have been thrown into more digital tools that I ever thought I would utilize or to be honest, enjoy using. I am thankful that I had such a mentor to plant that seed so that when the time came I was open and willing to dive in and explore a different way of teaching and learning. I really believe that it important to share with and support those around us, whether it be our students, our fellow teachers or our parents.
Sunday 5 July 2020
Well, I wasn't sure I was going to do this course this summer. I decided to do my Part 2 during Distance Learning thinking I would have the time....lesson learned! My rationale was that I wanted to complete what I had started and in fairness I was still in that frame of mind of developing programs and activities online for my students next year. Next year....is not really in the distance future as much. It is right around the corner and we are going to have to be ready for anything. Leadership is about being informed, intuitive and flexible enough to take on what might come in the future. For me, I am looking forward to continuing to be creative. I have been more creative in these last few months than I have in a long time. To be honest it has been so tiring but invigorating at the same time (does that even make sense?). I am looking forward to further developing the resources and strategies from IICT Part 1 & 2 to create a solid leadership path in my IICT - Specialist.
Friday 19 June 2020
Recently I read an article "Qualities of a Good Leader by Lisa Mills. One of first pointed to the difference between a "manager" and a "leader". She said "Managers do it right and Leaders do the right thing". I think sometimes we assume that anyone in a management role is a Leader. This is simply not true. Anyone can follow the rules and follow policy. A true Leader however, thinks about the people he is working with and makes decisions based on his/her informed knowledge and understanding. The article pointed to 6 key values of good leadership. Leaders know their limits. They recognize that they are not the experts in all and recognize leadership and expertise within their own teams for support. On the flip side they can identify and support weaknesses in their team an offer support an mentorship. All of this creates a positive and supportive climate for working and learning. The type of environment we would all like to work in.
Sunday 7 June 2020
I follow a lot of great educators on Twitter. In fact I would say that is where I get most of my new ideas for my classroom and especially during Distance Learning. One of my favourites is Alice Keeler. She is a Google Certified teacher and she has helped so much with anything Google related. Lots of tips that I had not even thought of. She "gets" our limited time and has lots of ideas of how to streamline feedback, assessment etc. Check her out: https://alicekeeler.com/
Friday 29 May 2020
Over the past months, technology has been a friend and a foe. The days have been long stretching way into the night with researching, designing implementing lessons/activities to keep my little ones learning and engaged. Within my own classroom this is seemed to be seamless but remotely I feel challenged. I am one of the fortunate ones as during this remote period I have engaged in useful and immediately relevant PD. Which to be frank is not always the case with PD. I am taking my Part 2 of Integration of Information and Computer Technology in Instruction (signed up for my Specialist at the end of June!), and our board has provided free access to a variety of webinars through Ed Tech Canada. I feel like I am getting there....things are not as ominous as they once were. I am gaining a different perspective of tools that I had used in the past but not in my classroom. One such tool is Google Forms. I was used to using and completing these forms during PD sessions, community surveys and hockey meetings. After participating in an Ed Tech Webinar, I realize that these forms can be utilized within my primary classroom. To be honest I had never thought of using pictures as a choice option within Google Forms. I have now used them twice within my remote program and the kids love them. The second tool is Jamboard. I have only used it once with my class so far but I can see endless possibilities. I was introduced to this tool within my IICT course and during an EdTech Webinar. My students are doing presentations next week for their final plants and animals projects so I am looking forward to using it for peer feedback. Below you will find some other examples for using Jamboard, not only for feedback but in math etc, to record student understanding. https://jamboard.google.com/d/1RbNvRMCrRJB6pn1iSrejqkXnuujaJiWnvtWIohouZSM/viewer
Friday 8 May 2020
Technology is a ladder that you climb not a pond that you jump into. Well these last few weeks have been a whirl of information. School return extensions, Ministry and Board messaging about the use of "asynchronus" and "synchronus" learning, (and no, the message has not been consistent) and of course the resources and learning within my IICT Part 2 course. It really is easy to become overwhelmed, especially in this climate of "emergency remote learning". We are planning and delivering content in a way that is new for many of us. One thing that has been constant is my concern for equity for all of my learners. In some ways this way of teaching has highlighted issues that perhaps I was not versed in. Types of jobs my parents have, families caring for elderly people, families with significant health issues within the home,lack of comfort and accessibility to tech and internet. I have been privy to a vast amount of ideas surround apps/programs which I am so thankful for. The SAMR model however, was one bit of learning that I feel will guide me on this tech integration journey. It really demonstrated to me how I have been using tech within my classroom (really more of just a substitution tool) rather than something could truly enhance my students learning. What's surprising though is how simple modifications of use can make such an long lasting impact on understanding.