Friday, August 15, 2014

Leadership Day 2014: Mind The Gap

I recently spoke at a conference in New Hampshire. My message was about leadership in our schools. I called it Mind The Gap because increasingly I see technology being chosen to solve a perceived problem or fill a gap. In my opinion, that gap continues to widen.
I want to focus instead on the great teaching and learning in our schools. Being cognizant of the gap is being mindful of how we use technology with a purpose. Here are a few of the questions I asked the audience:
  • Is technology a positive force in your school?
  • Do you have a set of beliefs that explain your school or classroom culture? Can you connect your work back to the beliefs? Are those beliefs visible so everyone can see them?
  • Does your school have a growth mindset?
  • Can your community of learners adapt to and embrace change?
  • Do teachers have time to learn and share learning? Is the focus on teacher practice, not technology use?
  • As technology tools change, is the work teachers and students have already done being honored? Does everyone have to start over every year?
  • When designing lessons. are teachers asking if this is the same lesson, only digital? Is your lesson transforming learning? Are you thinking about creativity and innovation?
  • Are students able to demonstrate their work in multiple ways?
  • Are students picking the right tool with purpose? 
  • Students may know how to use a device, but do they know how to learn with it?
  • Do you survey your students and use the feedback?
  • Do students participate in professional development for teachers?
  • Is student work celebrated? Do you have cheerleaders for learning in your school? Does your school have a hashtag? A YouTube channel?
As you head back to the classroom, try one new thing. Try it one class or lesson so you can work out the bugs. If it doesn't work perfectly, tweak, remix, and massage. So.... How will YOU Mind the Gap?

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