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.

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