I just Need to be Concise: Leadership Day 2009

NETS_A_Graphic_0609resize2I just moved to a new town and one of my new neighbors just happens to be a school administrator. I can guarantee you that he will not read this post as he sees no need for technology in his building or apparently in his life. In this post we will refer to my neighbor as Craig. Craig seems to me, very much, a bricks and mortar kind of guy.

Craig and I have talked about what I do for the Center at Rutgers. He sees me sitting on the front porch working on my laptop while my kids play in the front yard. He knows I usually have by Blackberry on me when I take the dog for walks. Craig on the other hand is very off-the-grid. I’m not even certain he owns a cell phone.

Does Craig know what is coming? Has he read the new Educational Technology Standards for Administrators? I’m thinking he hasn’t as he is extremely resistant to even talking about technology with me. It’s to the point that we just talk about our children and the neighborhood and not our jobs. This is a shame as I would love to talk shop with a neighbor. I also would like to hear more about his philosophy on teaching and learning and how it has changed since he started teaching 15 years ago. He really just seems to be one of those 8 to 3 teachers admins that we hear about (in his case 7 to 2).

2009leadershipday02_250Why do I bring this up on Leadership Day 2009? Well, recently I had a conversation with Scott McLeod about making sure that professional development is designed for the needs of the attendees and not the needs of a predetermined program.

So this is a big issue for me and I would think many others that consult or work in administrative roles. When you design an initiative or any type of sustained professional development, you set objectives. You design your program with some flexibility, as that is on of the main ingredients to success, yet you obviously have certain components in mind. Though these objectives may not be cookie-cutter, they can’t possibly fit every teacher that decides to enroll or is told to participate. But after talking with Scott, I realized that no matter how flexible I am, whatever I design for the educators I am working with, unless they are able to articulate what they need from me, I am not going to be able to help them.

So here is a short list that is going to help me design better PD. I don’t think this is anything that any of us didn’t already know. I just needed to be concise about it:

  1. This is the teachers learning environment – not the professional development providers
  2. Teachers have to take ownership of their learning
  3. Teachers have to look at technology as a learning tool rather than a social tool

If this list looks familiar to you it’s because it’s very much the same model we use for our students.

I hope this helps you in some small way. Thinking it all through has helped me. I know for Craig, he needs the upper admininstration in his district to begin modeling excellence in professional practice. Until Craig is ready accept that his district will ultimately move towards a technology-infused curriculum, he’s going to get left in the chalk dust.

Spontaneous Professional Development

I’m not quite sure where I first heard the term. It might have been back in May when I read Wes Fryer’s post about The Importance of Online detailedstatemapofnewjegm6Professional Development or in the Blogger’s Cafe at NECC when talking with Dean Shareski and Scott McLeod about how to encourage teachers to reach out to their network’s for information and assistance.

I rather like the term though. It speaks to me. Isn’t this what Twitter is to so many of us? I know what you are thinking. “Lisa is blogging about Twitter again?” Well, I was on a Google kick for a while and now it looks as if my focus has shifted to professional development as for the next three Tuesdays I will be keynoting for the New Jersey Education Association‘s (NJEA) Technology Institutes. Obviously all the presentations will focus on educational technology.

July 7, 2009 – Spontaneous Professional Development (through Twitter)

July 14, 2009 – Portability and Powerful Learning Tools

July 21, 2009 – The 21st Century Classroom and the Networked Student

I’ve set aside a section on my wiki for the slide decks and resources I’ll be sharing and I will be embedding the UStreams there as well. I’ve established #NJEA as the Twitter hashtag already as last night I asked Twitterers to share some resources with the NJEA attendees using #NJEA.

Please consider joining the UStream on any or all of these Tuesday mornings at 9:15AM EST. I truly feel these New Jersey educators would benefit from your take on spontaneous professional development and how you’ve benefited from your personal learning network through Twitter. Tweet a link using the #NJEA hashtag, leave a comment here, join us in the UStream.

Thanks for your support. –Lisa

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The Networked Student

Edubloggercon yesterday was amazing, to say the least. Reconnecting with folks I hadn’t seen face-to-face in almost a year was wonderful and making first-time connections was priceless as well. You can see everything from the day including pictures, the Twitter feed and blog posts about the event by visiting the official Edubloggercon wiki.

If you haven’t seen the video that Wendy Drexler published about the Networked Student, please view it now. It’s excellent and was the catalyst for her session yesterday at Edubloggercon.

I’m still trying to wrap my brain around this concept of the Networked Student. It’s crystal clear in my head. But as I prepare for my presentations for NJEA this July, I’d like to be sure that I can express what is seems clear to me in a way that will make sense to classroom teachers. I’ll be talking with educators about shaping their classrooms and working with their students in our changing educational environment. We’ll be talking about 21st classrooms and what they look like. Perhaps we should begin with what a 21st century student looks like.

According to the video, the networked (or 21st Century student) should…

  • build their knowledge base
  • continually reflect
  • be portable
  • have access
  • share out

Keep in mind, if at this point you still have not watched the video, that it’s five minutes long and I just summarized it in five bullet points. So we could spend an hour talking about each of the points in the list. One of the points that we spent time discussing in the session yesterday was the fourth – having access. Is this wireless? Is this bandwidth? Is this two computers in the classroom versus a laptop cart on each floor in the building versus a 1:1 initiative? Don’t even get me started on the 1:1 initiatives (tablets versus netbooks versus Macs versus PCs).

So here are my take-aways  from the session:

  • students must have access in order for this to work
  • teachers must allow for self-directed learning. This is their learning environment – not ours.
  • students must be able to have some amount of power as this is NOT a passive learning environment – they must take ownership for their learning
  • it’s going to be messy – tough to organize – especially the first time

I think that we all know that change is hard. We also know that unless we commit to making change, it won’t happen. The fact is that there is uncertainty as to what jobs are coming down the pike. We don’t know what we are preparing our students for. So we need to create a model that they can carry into their adult lives.
I’m working on putting together some short video clips on what educators are doing in their 21st Century Learning classrooms. I talked with a college student, April, yesterday about how she felt that her high school, which she classified as a 21st Century Learning school, helped better prepare her for college. I almost jumped out of my chair in excitement when she explained to me how. If you want to know how, then — Please DM me on Twitter or find me at NECC and allow me to ask you a few questions about your classroom to share with educators in NJ. I’ll have my Digital Flip camera with me. Thanks in advance.

My Plan for a Pocket Clone at NECC09

No Foolin’

She'll be my Pocket Clone during NECC09
She'll be my Pocket Clone during NECC09

This will be my solution. I have been talking with many folks in my personal learning network lately about how to stay on top of things and have been mentioning that I am interested in the concept of cloning. Well…this is my temporary solution.

Don’t judge me.

Think of her as my version of Flat Stanley. I may send her to sessions with a few of my friends and ask that she be photographed so that I know she was there and then view the UStream later so that it was as if I was there soaking up the knowledge myself.

I may keep her in my laptop bag as a backup in case I have over committed myself. I may ask her to hold up my end of the conversation. I’ll just let everyone know that I’m feeling a little tired and quiet ahead of time (like right now).

The point is that we could all use a little help. I’m looking forward to being an observer, a participant, an assistant this go around. I leave tomorrow morning and arrive in DC by mid-afternoon. As I spend my time at NECC and Edubloggercon, these are the things I’ll be thinking about:

July 7, 14 and 21     Keynote for the NJEA Technology Institutes, Stockton University, NJ

July 15 and 16          Google Workshop for Educators, CMSCE, Rutgers University

July 28                       Edubloggercon East, Boston, MA

July 29-31                 Building Learning Communities 2009 (BLC09)

August 5                     Google Teacher Academy, Boulder, CO

What will I take away from the time I spend face-to-face with so many from my PLN in Washington? How will I use what I learn to enrich what I share with other educators over the next few months and beyond? What can I share with them? What can I share with you?

But, please, don’t forget my Pocket Clone.

Professional Development Meme 2009

Clif's Avatar 2008
Clif's Avatar 2008

My first face-to-face meeting with Clif was as the Bogger’s Cafe at NECC08. He was easy to spot. I saw the skin on his laptop and immediately recognized the person that I had been communicating with for many months on Twitter with. I rather enjoyed those first few minutes — connecting a voice with the written word — attaching facial expressions with observations longer than 140 characters.

Clif happened also to be the last person that I saw at the Austin airport before I caught my flight back to New Jersey last June. I’ve since shared some time with one of his graduate classes, shared bookmarks, Tweets and perhaps even some Plurks with him. But I have not seen him face-to face since last June and I am very much looking forward to chatting with him at NECC09.

About a month ago, Clif tagged me in this PD Meme and I promised him that though I didn’t have time to write about it then, I would eventually have a chance to write out my summer goals and tag others to do so as well. I certainly don’t want to arrive in our Nation’s Capitol without having fulfilled my promise to my friend Clif.

Directions:

Summer can be a great time for professional development. It is an opportunity to learn more about a topic, read a particular work or the works of a particular author, beef up an existing unit of instruction, advance one’s technical skills, work on that advanced degree or certification, pick up a new hobby, and finish many of the other items on our ever-growing To Do Lists. Let’s make Summer 2009 a time when we actually get to accomplish a few of those things and enjoy the thrill of marking them off our lists.

Rules: (NOTE: You do NOT have to wait to be tagged to participate in this meme.)

1. Pick 1-3 professional development goals and commit to achieving them this summer.
2. For the purposes of this activity the end of summer will be Labor Day (09/07/09).
3. Post the above directions along with your 1-3 goals on your blog.
4. Title your post Professional Development Meme 2009 and link back/trackback to http://clifmims.com/blog/archives/2447.
5. Use the following tag/ keyword/ category on your post: pdmeme09
6. Tag 5-8 others to participate in the meme.
7. Achieve your goals and “develop professionally.”
8. Commit to sharing your results on your blog during early or mid-September.

My Goals:

1. Complete the last two video podcasts for the grant project I have remaining and submit them to the funding partners.
2. Record audio and or video of summer PD and upload to the CMSCE Rutgers iTunes U account for archiving.
3. Continue building the UDL4ALL Ning – add resources, build community, cultivate conversations.
4. Add to my iTouch the Future series of posts.

I tag:

Lucy Gray
David Truss
John Pederson
Liz Davis
Christy Tvarok Green