Thursday, April 6, 2017

EdLeader21 Reflections 4C's Conference

Last week I had the opportunity to participate in a district learning experience at the EdLeader21 4C's professional learning day.

Critical Thinking        Collaboration
Communication           Creativity
EdLeader21, according to their website, is a national network of school and district leaders focused on integrating the 4C's (critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and creativity) into education.

Along with the discussion of the 4C's was a push for all districts to develop a "Profile of a Graduate". A new website was shared and some table discussion ensued.  Luckily for our district, we had already spent some time as a district with the community to discuss the Profile and created a draft.

Draft SESD Profile of a Graduate
 Much of the morning discussion had to do with the ideas of Creativity and Innovation.  What are the similarities and differences between "creativity" and "innovation"?  Do we want our kids to be creative? Do we want our kids to be innovative?  Do we want both?
"Creativity- Origional ideas that have value."
"Innovation- New ideas into practice" 

Looking at the rubrics there was a distinct difference in suggested activities and outcomes as students progress through a K-12 system.  Younger students would be encouraged to be more creative with an understanding of how viable the creation is whereas the older students had much less creative encouragement and more about perceived value to others.  These discussions tied right into a recent learning opportunity for the Innovation Lab at the Lincoln IU12.  The York Innovation Lab was developed for local teachers using the Stanford Design School as a model to encourage pockets of innovation in York county.  According to their website
"The helps people develop their creative abilities. It’s a place, a community, and a mindset."
South Eastern School District has been focused on Mindset, Innovation and growth in technology as part of the mission to, "Provide progressive education to strengthen the Global Community."  This year students in grade 3-12 received a Chromebook as part of their school materials and supplies.  Teachers have been working to incorporate technology according to the SAMR model.  While some teachers are focused on substitution of tasks from analog to digital others are redefining learning experiences for students using the vast resources provided through the daily use of technology.  It is my hope that through initiatives such as the York Innovation Lab and EdLeader21 we continue to provide the opportunity for teachers to take risks and challenge students to achieve more than we would have expected before the technology existed.    

"What can I do to break down the barriors and support the teachers and students to learn together?"
I attended both EdLeader21 and York Innovation Lab with our district Assistant Superintendent, Anna Bickford.  We spoke about the both the information presented and how the information was presented and our wheels started turning.  What if we conducted a professional learning experience that looked more like a design thinking, innovative, EdLeader21ish professional development day to model the risk-taking we would like to see from more of our teachers.  We would expect creative, innovative and more than one acceptable answer to any question that we asked.  I suggested that given the time and the topic we could model that type of learning with our teachers who have not had the experience learning that way in order for them to transfer that learning to their classrooms.
"I was not told, No."
So be on the lookout for a new professional learning experience next year in lieu of a traditional PD day.  Take a risk, try something new and learn with and from each other.  Share your experiences and seek out others' learning.  Being connected is one way to break barriers.

Thursday, March 16, 2017


Nothing to do on a Snow Day?  A number of teachers, administrators, and some students joined together over Twitter to have a virtual conversation on a Snow Day.  The #SNOWDAYCHAT was a success!

I was sitting at my desk on Monday afternoon with all the news about the 1-2 feet of snow we would be getting in the next day or so and I thought what can I do to connect people from their homes and have a conversation or share ideas about education.  Twitter chats are nothing new but I have not ever organized one or participated in one with my school community.  I started by brainstorming a few questions and threw them on a google slide.

Next, I went to Tweetdeck and scheduled some tweets.  I had planned for about 5 minutes between questions and for the whole chat to last about 30 minutes.  At 11:30 people began to introduce themselves and the conversation started with Question 1.  People replied to questions with (A1) or replied to specific users.  Some people just watched the chat and liked some of the posts.  Others began side conversations about snow day decisions for tomorrow.  All in all, I would have liked to extend the conversation a little longer as some people were just warming up when my "Thank you for participating" slide appeared.  It was an excellent learning opportunity for me and something I would definitely want to do again.

What to follow what we talked about on our #SNOWDAYCHAT (see Storify below).  Want to participate in a Twitter Chat, see a list compiled here.  Want to host your own, reach out to me and I would love to talk about my experience or read some other blogs about their experiences.  You do not have to be at school to learn on a SNOWDAY!

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Digital Learning Day Hangout Conversation

Today at South Eastern School District we had the opportunity to participate in a Digital Learning Hangout conversation with representatives from each of our district buildings.  Below are the slides that we used to drive our conversation.


Thank you to Mrs. Smith, Mr. Schiefen, Mr. Marks, Mr. Diehl, Mrs. Spangenberger, Mrs. Coleman, and Mr. Snyder.  

Along with the conversation, we broadcasted live to YouTube so anyone in the district or parents at home or work could watch and see their kids speaking about Digital Learning.

Digital Learning Day: With so many new types of digital devices, educational software and mobile apps continuously developed, it’s hard to keep up with the latest and greatest advancements in educational technology. In some classrooms and out-of-school programs across the country, educators are doing some pretty amazing things with technology. Yet, these pockets of innovation are confined to a small number of schools and communities. Digital Learning Day was started as a way to actively spread innovative practices and ensure that all youth have access to high-quality digital learning opportunities no matter where they live.Started in 2012, Digital Learning Day has provided a powerful venue for education leaders to highlight great teaching practice and showcase innovative teachers, leaders, and instructional technology programs that are improving student outcomes. This grassroots effort blossomed into a massive nationwide celebration as teachers realized that Digital Learning Day is not about technology, it’s about learning. It’s not about laying off teachers for laptops, it’s about enhancing the role of the teacher in America’s classrooms. Digital Learning Day promotes the effective use of modern day tools afforded to every other industry to improve the learning experience in K-12 public schools 
Found on Digital Learning Day website  2.23.2017

At South Eastern School District, under the leadership of Dr. Rona Kaufmann, we have embarked on a Digital Learning path toward more student-centered, voice and choice, creative, individualized student learning and creating.  We are not there and don't claim to be.  This process is lead by teachers in the classrooms taking risks and students pushing the teachers to do more and try more.  As you will hear in the video, we are on the continuum and moving in the right direction.  The School Board and Administration continue to support and promote innovative ideas and our teachers and students continue to impress.  I look forward to what is next for South Eastern School District as far as Digital Learning and how we do school.

Thank you to Mrs. Smith, Mr. Schiefen, Mr. Marks, Mr. Diehl, Mrs. Spangenberger, Mrs. Coleman, and Mr. Snyder.  
Found on the Digital Learning Day Website Map of Activities

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