In year two, our Digital Learning Collaborative teams look at what they’ve learned and apply it in their classrooms. Using an inquiry model, we ask the teams to evaluate what impact their use of technology is having on students. But more often than I’m comfortable with, teams balk at this point in the process. Some of them do not want to do this work. That keeps me up at night.
At the best unconference experiences, contagious leadership abounds. And isn’t this the foundation of every social networking site, every blog, and every wiki? Isn’t this the true definition of collaboration? The sum of the parts is always greater than the individual. Together, we are stronger, smarter, and more creative. Leaders who get this are not only better for it, but can lead others to create communities of excellence.
As a teacher-librarian it became obvious to me that systemic change was necessary to enable all our students to benefit from the opportunities created by technology and connectedness. Over the past year, the team I work with has been leading change in our school, working to expand our understandings about 21st century information fluency and help our students grow as digital citizens. A dedicated blogging platform, ePortfolios and information fluency certificates are helping us do that.
Technology opens the door, but it’s the support and encouragement we find in authentic learning communities that connects us. Commitment is hard. Giving up outdated but comfortable ways of doing our work is hard. We all need encouragement to stay on course. Many of us are finding that support online.
“One can readily understand the value of communication between individuals within a school building, but the sharing of goals and vision among all stakeholders within the entire school community can only truly happen through the use of social media. What a great way to market and spread the passion of teaching and learning that is unique to your learning community!” says Catholic educator and IT leader Sister Geralyn Schmidt. For school leaders in need of social media help, she recommends Communicating & Connecting with Social Media from Solution Tree.
This Easy Reference Index highlights posts 66-92 and continues our engaging mix of voices: classroom teachers, school-based leaders, district visionaries and other educators who support the deep learning practices (for students and professional educators) advocated in Powerful Learning Practice communities. Every post here has some relationship to “the Shift” — the necessary transformation of the education enterprise represented by new technologies, the Internet and the capacity for educators and students to become “connected” learners.