This was a follow up to Eric’s Keynote that I attended on Wednesday at Edutech and was designed to allow for a lot of the ideas he went through quickly at the Keynote to be fleshed out.
Eric was at New Milford Hight School for a couple of years and then became principal. When he started there there were many problems – including drugs to the point where the drug squad had to sweep the school twice a year. This was 5 years ago and things have changed significantly and it is testament to the shift in culture and the fact that they were focussed on results and achievement that they did this. They had the majority of the staff embrace the shift.
He told us about his obstacles which included:
- state wide testing that took up 90 days a year
- Student Growth Objectives – teachers were interviewed every year and expected to monitor learning targets, track data and at end of year demonstrate that achievement was improved.
- Principal had to observe and score teachers…….this and other factors went into cumulative scores.
- Parents who had a general view that schooling should be like what it was for them.
What they Did to Move Forward
- teachers – 5 observations a year each….in classrooms all day
- Leaders can’t be afraid of feedback.
- We need to know what teachers are doing and we need to know what support they need.
- Considered ways to give their teachers more time.
If it is important to you, you will find a way. If not, you’ll find an excuse.
Change does not have to come from someone who has the title of leader. Change comes from the example you set.
His teachers were the leaders. The No Complaining Rule” was initiated. John Gordon – Don’t complain and if you do complain have two solutions.
They were constantly asking themselves about how their school has adapted to the every changing world. We all did a Today’s Meet on how our own schools have adapted.
If you are not adapting to this landscape, you are becoming irrelevant to your primary stakeholders.
Is technology the equivalent of a digital pacifier? Is there a reason and purpose behind the use?
We watched a video of a 7 year old uploading help movies to YouTube. We were asked “what are your youngest learners doing at home?” Greatguy7. These kids are playing minecraft and using technology and gaming because they are able to solve problems and create and make. These things are inspiring kids to be self directed learners.
Schools and many educators are not changing. ………The system is at fault – we are more interested in control, compliance and rules. They either can’t climb the tree or they don’t want to climb.
Technolgy affords so many different ways for kids to show what it is they know and what is it that they are passionate about.
ASK YOURSELF: Would you like to be a student in your child’s classroom?
Would you like to be a student in your colleague’s classroom?
Would you like to be a student in your own classroom?
If we started talking to kids……we would get some answers. A lot of challenges can be met head on by working with kids and getting their thoughts and their answers.
Traditionally school works better for the adults than the kids. We need to do things differently….so it is better for the kids.
The thing that first changed for him – when a child said to him in anger: “Thanks for making a prison out of a what should be a school”. The next change: Twitter and he saw that social media could help him and put him in contact with smart people. He gradually moved from being a lurker on twitter to a learner.
“You can’t be a prophet in your own land”. Don’t ask for permission. We work for kids.
Video: Ask how are we preparing kids for this world?
3 BIG SHIFTS
LET GO OF CONTROL
WE NEED TO TRUST OUR KIDS AND TEACHERS
IT ISN’T ABOUT OUR LEARNING – ITS ABOUT THEIR LEARNING
This is how to frame your conversations…..LESS US, MORE THEM
These tools = make sure they are integrated with purpose so they make a difference to kids learning.
Why social media? it is a multi-dimensional tool. You can involve, create, discuss, promote, measure. As a school, they decided they needed to promote what they were doing. Naysayers were promoted to change..
Question: How do we initiate sustainable change leading to transformation in the digital age? what must leaders do to ensure success?
It needs to be primed for student achievement.
It’s the teaching and not just the teaching happens in the classrooms. Focus on what’s going on everywhere and at every time and also beyond the school day. This is when tech gives us the edge – extending learning beyond the walls.
THINK KNOW ACT DO four keys to college and career readiness
“If a child can’t learn the way we teach – maybe we need to change the way we teach.
BUT lots of cool tools won’t make a difference – we need a foundation and we need it embraced by every one.
WHAT DO YOU WANT YOUR STUDENTS TO BE ABLE TO DO WITH TECHNOLOGY?
WE NEED TO HAVE A GLOBAL BROAD VIEW…….WE WANT THEM TO DO ALL THOSE THINGS BUT IN WAYS THEY CAN BE CHANGE-MAKERS.
Freedom, autonomy and permission – do our teachers have this?
Technology will never be a silver bullet……it is how we leverage tech to empower kids to take control over their learning.
Eric’s tool – change.org allows children to drive change, take actions. they can connect with an audience all over the world.
The school had a few non-negotiables……
- no desks in rows…….doors open.
- a tool is worthless unless it has a connection to learning.
- What is your learning outcome? What is it that you want kids to be able to do?
PEDAGOGY IS THE DRIVER WITH TECHNOLOGY AS TEH ACCELERATOR.
Why can’t you change the assessment? Use a standards aligned rubric….ask for a list of tools….(twitter). It is NOT ABOUT THE TEACHER LEARNING THE TOOLS. It is about you knowing that the tool has the potential to allow the children to demonstrate their understanding…….
Using digital tools gives students voice, it makes them connect to the boring curriculum.
The kids had voice….they helped pick new technologies etc.
2004 and principal in 2007 – most of staff older than his parents. They had been there for 40 years.
He did something that wasn’t popular – 5 favourite teachers – who shared his vision – got them in the room – this is where I think we could go……(real change comes from teachers and kids)…gave them whatever they wanted – release, PD, hardware, the only catch was articulating how that was going to improve professional practice……those 5 succeeded more than they failed…….kids started talking, parents started talking, ….5 became 10, 10 became 20……etc.
They realised that they had to have to create evidence for the change……BYO
How did he give teachers time? Google 80/20 time – teachers were given time to learn new things.
Duties????? He cut them all in half for those teachers who could justify the use of more time………and when you deliver them time they deliver. Admin did a lot of the duties…… Teachers created a learning portfolios which were looked at in their own end of year assessment……
Another non-negotiable – every teacher – had to make interdisciplinary connections and they had to connect the concepts to the real world. Adobe Captivate, Educreations, Verso
It’s important to look at the skills you regard as important
Creativity, communication, collaboration, critical thinking, problem solving, media literacy, digital citizenship, global awareness, entreupenership.
Question; HOW DO YOU CURRENTLY MEASURE THE EFFECTIVENESS OF TECHNOLOGY INTEGRATION TO SUPPORT STUDENT LEARNING?
We need to have a VISION – PLAN FOR ACTION – A WAY OF MONITORING – FEEDBACK LOOP
- Raising the bar
- student products
- student ownership
- kids choosing the right tool
Cool Tools: edshelf, Instagrok, Today’s Meet, Poll Everywhere, padlet, trello, tozzl clipconvertercc (get clips downloaded for presentations).
Learning Spaces and Environments
School re-design that reflects the real world and enhances essential school sets
QuikBoost – laptop chargers
Hiring the people that fit into the vision. Laura was given permission and support over a budget.
Most schools put the cart before the horse…….and this is when problems happen.
vision for mobile learning. how do teachers see mobile devices, how do students……..PD before, during and after the initiative.
BYOD is not about giving students access to tools 24/7. BYOD has specific reason for how it is going to be used.
devices to conduct research. teachers stopped asking low level questions
CyberSafety – parent programs
Devices need to support learning……not drive instruction/
Digital Badges worlds of learning@New Milford High School. Badges to acknowledge the informal learning……which went into a digital portfolio. They had to demonstrate mastery ..
Digital badges in professional learning
Information your stakeholders want:
- put your colleagues in a position to embrace change.
- ownership vs control
- transparency vs secrecy
Don’t stop Believing – final song