Tuesday, March 10, 2009
Try it out yourself:
John Lennon - Imagine
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
His post is framed around a speech he'll be giving soon to a group of teachers who recently earned National Board certification. To help them chart their professional paths, Bill offers his own definition of what it means to be a teacher leader, a definition developed over "the better part of the past 12 years stumbling through the professional dark." The short version first:
Teacher leaders are practicing educators who are committed to driving
And the expanded version (emphases mine):
For me, teacher leadership started by simply engaging my colleagues
in meaningful conversations about teaching and learning. I figured that it was impossible to drive change unless we had some real transparency around what it was that we were doing with students.
Teacher leadership probably also means supporting new colleagues, don't you
think? No matter how good university education programs are, nothing can really prepare you for this gig! Driving change means lending a hand to the teachers on
our hallway who need us the most.
And I reckon that driving change requires a deep and meaningful understanding of current practices, too. Teacher
leaders, then, are constantly researching and reading about effective
instruction. They've got an almost unsettling fear of stagnation!
Driving change also requires a willingness to raise your
voice a bit. Teacher leaders are always willing to speak up
in faculty and team meetings to lend guidance or expertise.
They're presenting at conferences and finding new ways to use
digital tools like blogs and wikis to share ideas and resources with the world.
But most importantly, driving change means having a steadfast
belief that reform rests in our hands. Teacher leaders don't stand around patiently waiting for others to take action. Instead, they're always acting.
You can take those points to the bank. Better yet, take them back to your school.
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
But it's easy for learning communities to become stalled at the stage of
collegial discussions about improving teaching practice. What spurs
communities to progress beyond talk to collective action that brings change
- a preexisting supportive culture
- time to meet
- satisfying processes
- voluntary participation
- support from principals
- a cadre of trained facilitators
As you work with teachers in your school, how might these six conditions guide your planning?
Also, be sure to give a close reading to Bill Ferriter's article, Learning with Blogs and Wikis. Three passages popped out from the first section as being useful to teacher leaders (the second section, devoted to practical advice on getting started with blogs and wikis, will feel like more familiar ground but definitely still worth a read). Bill opens with a quote from Richard Elmore, professor of educational leadership at Harvard, about how school structures straightjacket adult learning:
As expectations for increased student performance mount and the measurement and publication of evidence about performance becomes part of the public discourse
about schools, there are few portals through which new knowledge about teaching
and learning can enter schools; few structures or processes in which teachers
and administrators can assimilate, adapt, and polish new ideas and practices;
and few sources of assistance for those who are struggling to understand the
connection between the academic performance of their students and the practices
in which they engage.
Then he offers two counterpoints updating Elmore's view, two ways in which times and tools are changing. First this:
Times have changed in two significant ways, however, since Elmore began
describing the hostile learning environments that have often held schools back.
First, there's a new emphasis on the importance of collaborative learning among
members of close-knit teams in schools. School leaders are beginning to believe
in the human capacity of their faculties and are structuring opportunities for
teachers to reflect on instruction together. These joint efforts are targeted
and specific, increasing educators' motivation and engagement.
Second, digital tools now help fulfill Elmore's desire for fresh "portals
through which new knowledge about teaching and learning can enter schools."
Specifically, thousands of accomplished educators are now writing blogs about
teaching and learning, bringing transparency to both the art and the science of
their practice. In every content area and grade level and in schools of varying
sizes and from different geographic locations, educators are actively reflecting
on instruction, challenging assumptions, questioning policies, offering advice,
designing solutions, and learning together. And all this collective knowledge is
readily available for free.
Bill also reflects on teaching and leadership at his excellent blog, The Tempered Radical. Visit him there for more keen insights.
Friday, January 23, 2009
This year's report identifies mobile computing devices, cloud computing, geo-tagging, the personal web, and semantic applications as technologies most likely to have a great impact in the coming years.
Do yourself a favor and take a few minutes and browse this and past Horizon Report documents:
The Horizon Report 2009
The Horizon Report 2008
The Horizon Report 2007
The Horizon Report 2006
The Horizon Report 2005
The Horizon Report 2004
Pre-conference activities started yesterday. Formal sessions run throughout the day Saturday and Sunday; most will be streamed live, with additional notes and resources archived and accessible later through the conference wiki. Much in these presentations will be worth sinking your teeth into, whether you find them provocative, reinforcing, challenging, bewildering, or eureka-moment inspiring.
More about EduCon 2.1:
EduCon 2.1 is both a conversation and a conference.
And it is not a technology conference. It is an education conference. It is, hopefully, an innovation conference where we can come together, both in person and virtually, to discuss the future of schools. Every session will be an opportunity to discuss and debate ideas -- from the very practical to the big dreams.
Guiding Principles of EduCon 2.1
1) Our schools must be inquiry-driven, thoughtful and empowering for all members
2) Our schools must be about co-creating -- together with our students -- the 21st Century Citizen
3) Technology must serve pedagogy, not the other way around.
4) Technology must enable students to research, create, communicate and collaborate
5) Learning can -- and must -- be networked.