Posted by & filed under EDL 820, mosomelt.

 

This week’s lesson clicked, literally.  I was feeling a bit underwhelmed by the course, unsure if it was the right fit for me.  I agree with Dylan, I felt refreshed by the format of the lesson.  Then we listened to the podcasts/videos from Bart Cote and Guy Tetrault and it confirmed that I am in the right course, that I do have something to contribute and that I can expand my learning!  I felt as though I fit in with the pedagogy that these two gentlemen have set out for their divisions.  I felt as I was not alone on a lost island, being the only person to think this way, and want the same things as these gentlemen do.

As a mature undergrad student, I felt that the way I was being taught to teach was outdated – there was a better way to reach kids.  I had been an educational assistant for a long time before embarking on my journey to becoming an educator.  I also had children of my own – and had an idea of the type of teacher I wanted to be – I wanted to teach every student in the manner that I would want my own son’s taught.  Entering into M.Ed, I met professors that I connected with.  Alec Couros has had a profound impact on my education pathway.  Throughout his courses, he and Katia have led me towards an evolution of the classroom ecosystems that I have built.  Marc Spooner taught me that being creative could happen in many forms and that students could excel once they were allowed to explore their own learning styles.

connected classroom

This week, I connected with Bart Cote and Regina Catholic School Divisions ideology of technological leaders.  The connections that he was speaking about to those that I employ with my student’s as deep learners lined up perfectly, as it should because it is by Michael Fullan.

I really appreciated the SAMR model, although I have had the opportunity to explore it in the past, Bart’s explanation of not always staying in the deep end or you will drown hit home.  Today in our classrooms, teachers are asked to perform so many tasks while staying on top of ever-evolving technology.  Some will dive right in and begin to drown – overwhelmed by trying to stay afloat, while others won’t even dip their toes in.  I like the idea of diving deep in some areas while having the luxury to swim back to shore when needed.   The graphic below is a one that I found to be nice to share with colleagues who are attempting to integrate technology into their classrooms, in either a blended learning style or just wanting to try something different.

Image result for SAMR

If you are a G-Suite use the below image is very user friendly:

Image result for SAMR

Getting kids back into the  Sandbox is what I believe is important in education.  If we are not engaging our students in their learning outcomes, what type of education are they gaining?  Are they being educated?  This simply cannot be done alone, Guy Terrault spoke about Stealing out, stealing up, 21st-century skills must be modeled by teachers in order to be effectively carried out by our students.  the “stealing out, stealing up” idea models creativity and innovation.   But I wonder if the SunWest School Division’s model doesn’t fit more like the image below.  And, how many of us are already doing this in our classrooms without realizing it?  After all, aren’t you already considered a risk taker if you are incorporating some type of student-led technology in your classroom?

Image result for 21st century skills

Posted by & filed under mosomelt.

Time to share a school-level administrative technology decision/policy/issue. It could be something you initiated, or one you had to deal with from any of the perspectives (student, teacher, parent, administrator, etc), or one you would like to make or would hate to make. You can use the elements of a play I discussed to help think through aspects of the decision:

Who are the dramatis personae? What are the scenes? What are the props? What are the conflicts and how might the plot unfold? What would you do to make it as successful as possible? Feel free to use the “side effects” language too. Who benefits? Who is disadvantaged?

The Dramatis Personae are a wide range in this case:  students, teachers, administrators, special needs support, parents, community members, and even law enforcement. Anyone and everyone is likely to have a say on the matter, from wanting access to a device to wanting them inaccessible, concerns over how they are being used, worries over insufficient devices or the cost or support.

The props are obvious too. Devices. Devices of all types. iPhones, Android, tablets, laptops. All of these tend to fall into this category. Sometimes they are devices belonging to the school. Sometimes they are devices belonging to students.

The scenes range from the classroom to the hallway to the playground to home, depending on the particular version of the issue your school is dealing with. There is no actual limit to the scenes for this particular issue. It could be two teachers in the staff lounge. It could be in the principal’s office, a student and parents dealing with a disciplinary issue. It could be in the guidance counselor’s office. It could be in a bathroom. It could be in cyberspace.

Should students have devices? This is, of course, your conflict. But what story are you telling? In some schools, device bans have been instituted to deal with concerns around cyberbullying or inappropriate device use from various “dramatis personae”:. In other schools, the debate is about the “digital divide.” And even that issue is split, with some issues being about students who may not have access to devices vs other debates being about the benefits of more limited screentime.

All of these issues are complex and, since we are still in the midst of understanding the impact our current technology is going to have on the future, it is also clear that we have no real way to determine the right answer. Devices aren’t disappearing anytime soon, though, and that means neither are these particular conflicts.

Posted by & filed under mosomelt.

Leadership, more or less?

‘Followership is a relational role in which followers have the ability to influence leaders and contribute to the improvement and attainment of the group and organizational objectives. It is primarily a hierarchically upwards influence’ (Carsten et al, 2010: 559).   

I really appreciate this quote because I have never thought of a fellowship approach before.  I also like that the leader is working towards an upwards influence, rather than a downwards influence.  To me, it feels like the leader is valuing the ideologies of those working for them.  I like the idea of a team approach.   I feel like this leader is connected to those that look up to him.  Although this quote supports the Relationship/Transformational theory of Leadership, it blows the “Great Man” theory out of the water.

Critical and Alternative Approaches to Leadership Learning and Development

One area that is being developed as an alternative view and that better appreciates context as well as emotions of becoming and being a leader is the move towards aesthetic and artistic methods of management and leadership learning and development (Gayá Wicks and Rippin, 2010; Hansen and Bathhurst, 2011; Taylor et al., 2002).

Things that make you go hmm.   I am all for creativity in the classroom, and even find myself gravitating towards the Creative Leadership Theory, but I don’t really understand this quote and will definitely need to do some more research into this.  It has piqued my interest so to speak.  I do not understand how one would deal with hard issues in an artistic method of management?  How does a communicative leader do this?   The type of leader who would be able to carry out this type of leadership effectively would have to employ Trait theory – but maybe some of the “Great Man” theory as well?  I am a bit confused on this one and would like to see it in action.  Is anyone else as confused as I am?

Avoiding Repetitive Change Syndrome

Many companies, divisions, departments, and even subunits lack organizational-change speedometers. Their tendency is to increase the speed of change until they are traveling dangerously fast.

Just like Jennifer, I feel that a lot of school staff feel this change chaos directed from the division level.  Unfortunately, a lot of the people in the division office have not been in schools for a long time (some have never been in a school – HR for example) and do not understand or remember employee burnout when asking for teachers, staff, administrators to collect more data or fill our more surveys on top of the every demanding teaching load (growing class sizes, less supports in classes, greater diversity, and planning in classes) placed on teachers. As division office leaders, they are wanting to ensure that tasks are understood, supervised, and accomplished to their requirements.  But not necessarily understanding what it is doing to their staff.  We now have lost prep time in our teaching day – 10% prep plus 4 prep days throughout the year.  One of those prep days is in the middle of final exams at the end of the year – why????? That is not helping us.  Yet, we are asked to do more.  While I do believe that our leaders are trying to make sound and timely decisions: Use good problem solving, decision making, and planning tools for the betterment of the division, I do questions how they go about doing it, and if their leadership style is appropriate.

The stupidity paradox: The power and pitfalls of functional stupidity at work.

The first aspect of stupidity is an absence of reflexivity. This happens when we stop asking questions about our assumptions. Put simply, it involves taking for granted what other people commonly think. We often fail to question dominant beliefs and expectations. We see rules, routines, and norms as completely natural: they are just how things are. Members of the organizations don’t question these deep-rooted assumptions – even if they think they are idiotic.

Ohh, so many thoughts. I feel especially in our current educational climate this may change.  Currently, we have leaders who rule in a Democratic leadership style, but we have educators and professors who are now questioning the systems and it may be time for a change.  In schools we behave as we always have, we run by a bell system (again, why?), we believe in grades to tell us how well we are doing (again, why?), and no one questions this. It is so robotic. Maybe we need this, but then again, maybe we don’t?   I really feel that this type of leadership will change, an no, it will not be welcomed with open arms, nothing ever is.  But as was noted in a previous article, change is change, it isn’t bad, but it can hurt if done wrong.

Cross-Cultural Understandings of Leadership

“…when a group or tribe needed to make important decisions, the method of arriving at that decision was through talk.  All participate.  All listened.  Decisions were arrived at when the talk had exhausted and the issue and direction for action was established.”

This is a great quote that envelops my ideology of leadership.   Summing up the Creative Leadership approach nicely.  It is what I would hope that all organizations would base their leadership approached on, although I know that is not always the case, nor could it be in some situations (emergency personnel, military, etc).  But it is how I would like to envision policies are created, put in place and ready to be carried out.   For me personally, a leader who takes not from Lakota Leadership is employing all 6 C’s that a strong leader would poses.

 

Posted by & filed under 820 Major Project, mosomelt.

Identify some aspect of educational technology in your current school or division that you would like to influence, through your leadership. It could be a policy that does not exist or that exists in a problematic way, a new professional development program or an adjustment to an existing one, infrastructure that you wish were different (or that needs to be implemented), new software or tools, technologically improved teaching and learning environments, etc. Basically, anything that requires technology leadership. This write-up will include:

  • A brief description of your current setting (where do you work or what setting are you discussing? You may choose to use a setting you know well even if you don’t work there.)

  • A probing discussion of the current state of things

  • A brief SWOT analysis of the current situation (be sure to include attention to the negative side effects that could arise from the change you propose)

  • A rough proposal for changes you would like to implement

  • A brief rationale for why you wish to embark on this change.

This first assignment is intended to scaffold with the second part of the major assignment. You will receive feedback as quickly as possible. If you decide to change your topic for the second section of the assignment, please contact one of the instructors just to let us know, so we can suggest resources or let students know if they are working on similar things and may want to get in touch. The due date for this is fairly firm, as any delays will potentially delay or disrupt the remainder of your work and we want to be able to provide you with useful feedback in a timely manner.

Posted by & filed under EDL 820, mosomelt.

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From the time I wake up to the time I walk into the school (about 1  1/2 hours), I am in introvert mode.  I do not live alone, I have grown sons (one at home, one away at school), 3 dogs and a husband, yet in the mornings I do not want to be engaging in deep conversation outside of the usual “did you have a good sleep” or “what do you feel like having for supper”, the latter being stretch sometimes.  But once I enter the doors of LHS I go through a massively rapid punctuated equilibrium large scale evolutionary pattern into an extrovert. This tends to happen in the span of walking from the side door of the school to the end of the doormat.  A total of three steps, plus stomping if it is winter time and I am trying to clear off snow from my shoes.  I feel that from that moment on, I am “ON” until the bell rings at the end of the day signifying that I can officially turn “OFF” (well, not really until I leave the building do I turn off).

While I am in “ON” mode, I am a creative individual, not necessarily in an artistic sense, but nonetheless, creative with how I approach my craft of teaching and inspiring students.  I am known as MamaCoop: the school mom, the one who kids come to when they aren’t feeling well, I manage a football team – I think I do this because I really miss my boys playing sports. In my classroom, I definitely am in the real of the creative leadership style!  This could be due to the nature of the subject that I teach = innovation to me is key in science.  I teach science at the high school level with a story, creating a vision for my students to buy into – role-playing if you will.  I want to immerse my students in real-world science.  Not just facts from a textbook, but problems that can be solved to make a difference in the world.  I have to agree with Krista, the creative leadership style allows for showing your students or colleagues a path to achieve what your final goal is.  The leader gives meaning to what is being done.  I don’t believe that failure is bad, I tell my students that they “fail forward”, we learn and move on from our mistakes.

 

 

When I am in my “ON” mode, I am truly giving my all to my students, my kids.  But when that bell rings, I can turn “OFF”.  And then I climb back into the quiet space of my vehicle and begin the descent back into the safe, quiet space of introversion.  Just as a turtle withdraws into its shell, I withdraw into myself.  Once home, I am done for the day.  Unless we need to be somewhere, I am changed and not leaving my house again until the morning.  I charge my batteries being alone, and that’s okay.  But – I am a single child, and I wonder if that has anything to do with it?   I often wonder if this happens to many teachers?  Does it happen to you?  

Before I transferred to LHS, I was a vice-principal with a small rural school in our division.  I was working alongside an administrator who had a different vision of admin than I shared.  It was then that I decided I needed to leave admin or I was going to not be true to who I was an individual in my core values and beliefs of how an administration leader was to operate.  This is not an opportunity I regret, quite the opposite, in fact, I am grateful for it as it taught me who I was at my core.  It also taught me to be true to me, no one else is going to look out for me other than myself.  A good lesson in life.

I am the current SSTS president, this is a position I am honoured to have.  In this position, I do not delegate at all.  I believe that my board each brings their own areas of expertise to our PGN and we benefit from that.  We are a creative board and lend well towards the vision that SSTS has for the province of Saskatchewan.  Just because I have the title of President does not mean that I am any better, nor do I work any harder than my board members do.  We work equally as hard, we are one.  I am just the one who designs the meetings, asks for input, attends the STF meetings alongside 2 other of my board members, and signs documents under the advise and agreement of my board.

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Three leadership approaches that piqued my interest were to use the full capabilities of your organization – isn’t this a no-brainer?  Why would we want to hold anyone back if they were doing good for the organization under the organization’s belief systems?  It has been my experience that good things are produced when you allow your employees to run with their strengths. Keeping everyone informed – I understand in schools that there is a “need to know” basis for some things (confidentially speaking), but when it comes to the safety of all in the building I feel that it is important for all to know.  There were so many times when situations could have been prevented if all staff had been aware of a change that had been occurring with the school setting.  Develop a sense of responsibility in your workers – everyone is a trained professional, let them do their jobs.  If a mistake is made, then we fail forward as a group and learn from there.  Please do not undermine what the employee has been trained to do unless it may do more damage to your system as a whole faster than you think – I have witnessed this first hand…. how to lose an entire staff on day 1…