I was at an education technology conference this week where Andreas Schleicher of the OECD keynoted virtually. If you haven’t had a chance to read the OECD’s Schooling Redesigned, Toward Innovative Learning Systems, I highly recommend it. Schleicher spoke abou Continue ReadingRead More »
“There is a shift in many organisations from only sharing what people know to sharing what people don’t know. Huge productivity increases! Esko Kilpi
Discourse related to ‘problems of practice’ has been circulating among administrators for some time. Approaching classroom teaching as a problem of practice to be shared with students can be equally powerful. Esko Kilpi’s observation caused me to recall how Knowledge Building Circles were evolving in my classroom before I went on secondment. Continue ReadingRead More »
I used to think adults are disadvantaged because we don’t deeply understand digital spaces that youth inhabit. Now I have a larger concern. We’re challenged by collaboration. And when the generation that is equipped with skills for creating flourishing systems and understands their place as a node within a complex network rather than a hierarchy arrives in the workplace, we are going to drive them nuts. Continue ReadingRead More »
Last fall, two of my former students and I presented at York RegionDSB’s Quest Conference: Deep Learning in a Digital World
Below are short interviews where we explain the power of Integrative Thinking, Design Thinking and Knowledge Building.
I am so proud of these very articulate young women. http://learnteachlead.ca/projects/integrative-thinking/
When I think of the many people who’ve influenced my thinking and pedagogical practice, Mary Ann Reilly stands central among them. I encountered her blog by accident – through twitter – when twitter was just becoming a thing. We were connected through Ian Chia.
Mary Ann’s artwork is breathtaking, her writing exquisite and her dedication to creating meaningful learning experiences where students have agency, beautiful.
“Mary Ann likes to make things. Especially mistakes”.
She’s one of the quiet sharers in the edu world. Someone who should be keynoting but doesn’t. She’s a resistor – who has maintained her stance in that crazed world of American edu with its high stakes testing, charter schools and abandonment of public education.
We’ve never met.
Many of you who’ve been influenced by my work, may not realize how much is owed to her. She makes me think. I am a better teacher because of her.
And for this I am grateful.
Mary Ann’s husband in dying. Her life and that of her son have been turned upside down by cancer.
The diagnosis was unexpected, late stage and has been disastrous.
Mary Ann writes. She has been processing her experiences of her husband’s dying on her blog, Between the By-Road and the Main Road I have wept many times reading it. If you ever want to know what love is or what is important in life, go there.
From this distance all that I’ve been able to offer Mary Ann are words and virtual hand-holding.
However, now there is a more concrete way to help. Her friends have started a go-fund me campaign to help pay for Devon’s education as their family savings have been wiped out by Rob’s illness.
If you have ever benefited from my blog, or been inspired by Mary Ann, I ask you to consider reaching out and contributing to Rob’s Wish
Read More »
This week I had the pleasure of travelling to Ottawa to participate in a Think Tank organized by one of Ontario’s French boards: CECCE.
It was a wonderful experience – and a humbling one. As I sat at my table I realized, to my horror, how little I actually know about Franco-Ontario. Also discomfiting was that to engage with me, my French colleagues had to speak English as I was not comfortable enough with my French to use it other than for listening and reading. We were provided with headsets and real-time translation. I can’t say that same level of accommodation would be made were they to arrive at an English board. My French colleagues would be expected to adapt to the English context and that would be seen as perfectly normal. I realize that my professional practice in a bilingual province has been, up to this point, decidedly anglo-centric. Which is a loss because my French colleagues are doing remarkable work and we have much to learn from them.
On to the Think Tank …
CECCE has been on an interesting journey and it is my hope that their story is captured in a larger way because you deserve to hear it in their own words. You are reading the story as I understand it. Please CECCE, let me know if I have misconceptions or there are inaccuracies.
A few years ago Eugénie Congi and her team began a process of transformation. They started with a simple idea: Who and what do we want our students to be when they graduate from our system? Let’s design for that. They set out to create a student exit profile. The team dug deeply into pedagogy, explored global ideas and co-constructed a vision with their educators, students and administrators.
Their work has been iterative. Teachers and students have been testing ideas and over time a coherent vision has emerged: The Transforming the Learning Experience document, which I hope at some point people outside the board have a chance to see, because it is wonderful.
What struck me were the questions they asked themselves as they worked their way through the design process. Questions like:
If this is the kind of student we wish to produce, who do our teachers have to become?
If this is what teachers need to do to facilitate the emergence of this kind of student, what should our leadership be doing?
It has been grassroots, pedagogy first and designing with the end in mind. Technology is embedded where it fits with the larger transformative purpose. It is not the driver.
The Transforming the Learning Experience document has now reached a coherent form and the Think Tank was designed to celebrate and get feedback. Eugénie asked her team, “If you could invite anyone in the world to give us feedback, who would you want to be here?” A list was generated, invitations sent and to their surprise 15 people, on short notice, accepted. When I first saw how many people were on the panel, I thought it couldn’t possibly work. But it did. Each person made a thoughtful contribution and what the organizers gained was idea diversity. Many significant ideas were presented for further exploration and thought.
Ones that stuck with me included:
“decisional capital”. How do build capacity for our communities to make good decisions? Michael Fullan
“Do we have the courage and conviction to give agency to kids for their own learning?” – Will Richardson
“Whatever level you are working at you want the level above to like what you are doing but not run what you are doing.” – M. Fullan quoting someone else – I forget who.
“When we talk of engagement, we’re not talking about enjoyment. It’s about intellectual engagement.” That work is hard. (attribution needed)
A reference was made to Vivian Robinson’s research: school leaders as learners for the biggest impact.
Lateral leadership – the research is showing that lateral connections – boards learning from boards, teachers learning from teachers, systems learning from systems … that co-construction of knowledge about learning … is powerful.
I had the pleasure of sitting beside Lucy West and look forward to longer conversations as we have much in common. Lucy challenged all of us to use our imaginations and imagine wildly. Think beyond tweaks to our schools and systems.
After the panel, we moved to tables for deeper conversations. Each table had one idea harvester who asked questions and recorded discussions and feedback. The CECCE team will take this information and re-examine their document.
The morning ended with a lunch and the opportunity for less formal conversations. I took time at that point to briefly explore the facility. The Think Tank was held in The Canadian Museum of Nature, a well-crafted blend of historic and modern architecture. Let’s hear it for investment in public goods! I look forward to spending more time in it the next time I am in Ottawa.
Thank you, my wonderful French colleagues, for inviting me to the Think Tank. It was an enriching experience. I am thrilled that a silo has been broken and look forward to building deeper connections. See you on twitter!
The focus of the entire year in my class is how to be a better thinker, collaborator and problem-solver. Students learn to use thinking tools and then constantly reflect on how their thinking abilities have improved. At the moment we are immersed in inquiry. Students are Continue ReadingRead More »
Bring IT Together has come and gone. I presented a half-day workshop on Wednesday and the closing keynote on Friday. What a fantastic experience! There were over 120 people at the workshop and for a Friday afternoon I was pleased with the attendance. Huge shout out to my PLN! You were so encouraging and it was so appreciated.
A few thank yous are needed (and further down are many links) Continue ReadingRead More »
This week we spent time considering ideas, and how to think about them.
I had circulated through the class asking, “What have you always wondered about?” and recorded their thoughts. These thoughts became the resource for our work in thinking. It is a hard thing to have one’s thought put on display before the class, so the first thing we did for this activity was detach ourselves emotionally from our ideas. The questions and wonderings now belong to the class to consider using system 2 thinking.
Part 1 Continue ReadingRead More »
It is only a few weeks until Bring IT Together, Ontario’s education technology conference.
I am thrilled to be presenting an introductory workshop on Integrative Thinking on November 4th and even more thrilled to be providing the closing keynote on November 6th. I think it’s very important that front line workers, those testing out new models of learning directly with children, have the opportunity to share our Continue ReadingRead More »