As a new book by Kaplan and Owings clearly demonstrates, many schools are mired in an education culture that’s a poor match for the needs of today’s K12 students. They need a culture re-boot â€“ a process explored in detail by the authors and summarized by PLP Voices reviewer Sister Geralyn Schmidt.
Like teachers, school leaders today must move beyond sit-and-get PD and take charge of their own professional growth. Elementary principal and Connected Principals contributor Lyn Hilt says Kristen Swanson’s new book, Professional Learning in the Digital Age, “provides practical, easy-to-follow steps towards becoming an effective user-generated learner.”
With every turn of the page or scroll through a Reader feed, someone, somewhere, is giving advice on what education leaders ought to be. The articles, blog posts, and books on leadership will keep on coming, because the role of leadership is ever-evolving and increasingly complex with each passing day. (And with each passing mandate.) I enjoy reading the work of leaders in fields outside of education, too. While not every lesson can be translated to the work we do with students, many can, and we should consider them.
While the author provided insights and practical ways to get started in each of the key components of this text, I found it, on the whole, to be quite lacking in encouraging school leaders to use technology to enhance teaching and learning in their organizations. It caused me to consider “instead of that/try this” ideas, which I’ve summarized here.
The professional development programs that are essential today need to focus not so much on the hardware and software — what “cool tools” we can use — but on changing how teachers view themselves as educators. Itâ€™s not just about teaching the three â€œrâ€™sâ€ and the content packaged in textbooks. Itâ€™s about preparing our students with the skills that they need for the future within a new learning ecology. In a connected world, educators have to think and teach differently. This book adopts that attitude.
Just two months ago, we launched Voices from the Learning Revolution. Nearly 30 posts later, itâ€™s time for a recap. Hereâ€™s what our teachers, librarians, IT specialists, principals, district leaders and consultants have shared so far. A special thanks to all our twitter friends and blogs like MindShift, The Answer Sheet, Connected Principals and many more for pushing some of these great ideas and insights out into the viral stream.