Learning 2 : Re-Imagine : Shift the Narrative

In October, Jeff and I attended Learning 2 Asia at Saigon South in Vietnam. It was (another) great Learning 2 experience…I was reunited with some awesome people, met lots of new ones (several that I felt like I already knew thanks to the internets), explored a new country with my husband and was pushed outside my comfort zone by Jabiz during the Re-Imagine Strand. Who could ask for anything more?

I didn’t want my Re-Imagine project to end at Learning 2, so I’ve been meaning to record it for awhile. Today I finally made the time to sit down and just do it. It got me excited all over again. I hope you’ll join me in shifting the role of tech coaches and technology instruction.

Join me to shift the narrative and explore technology through guided inquiry.

Slidedeck

Days 1-3 of #CriticalFriends Group Coaches’ Training at #AISQ8

I’ve participated in Critical Friends Groups for the last 3+ years at AIS. Thanks to Christina (now a NSRF International Facilitator!), CFG Coaches’ Training was brought to Kuwait! Sixteen educators from 4 different schools in Kuwait participated in the first 3 days of the training. One of my hopes for the 3 days was that I would go to school on Sunday morning feeling inspired, not tired. During the next 3 months we will practice facilitating protocols in our own contexts and then reconvene in March for days 4 & 5. Afterwards, we’ll officially be Critical Friends Group Coaches and be able to lead our own CFGs!

Every time I engage in #CFGwork, I learn more about myself and my profession. My biggest takeaway from this weekend was that my West-ern tendencies support me as a facilitator but I was able to channel my East & South and allow others to make meaning from participating in & facilitating CFG work. I am most grateful for the opportunity to do CFG work with colleagues outside of my school. It was enlightening and refreshing to connect & grow with other educators in Kuwait (not something we do very often!). I already can’t wait to gather with them in March to finish our training! It’s Sunday…and I’m definitely still inspired and not too tired 🙂

Here is the learning that we shared (via Twitter) during the first 3 days of our training. Below are the pictures I took to record & share my experience.

My 2016-17 Professional Service Goal

Looking back over my blog since I have left the classroom, I find that I write more posts during times that I am uninspired. While I was in the classroom, I used my blog as a reflection tool on my practice. Since then, I still use this space as a way to reflect, however when I feel inspired in my professional life I find that I spend less time reflecting here. I’m too busy doing “awesome” stuff! 😉 I want to get better at sharing & reflecting on the small stuff this year!

Today I finished my yearly professional goal. Since my goal this year is connected to online presence, I decided to share it here. This year we were challenged to include service as it is an institutional theme (along with assessment and inclusion). I knew right away what my goal would be and Dave helped me refine it yesterday. I’m excited to continue to explore how to best use social media to share the amazing learning experiences happening at AISQ8. I currently manage the official Twitter and Instagram accounts…I’m hoping that this year I will be able to help create policies and procedures that will sustain. I will be looking for support, feedback & advice as I embark on my professional service goal!

#21CLHK 2016

I attended my first 21st Century Learning Hong Kong Conference two weeks ago (I can’t believe I’ve already been back for over a week!). I attended the Being an EdTech Leader pre-conference with Matt Harris, iPhoneography Walk & Dinner with Cathy Hunt (with the special guest Avinash), Data Driven Dialogues for Coaching with Sarah Fleming, a variety of keynotes and workshops and the Women Leading Change post-conference with Stacy Stephens (the entire reason I attended the conference to begin with).

Since being back, several of my colleagues have asked how the conference was. Reintegration after amazing professional development is difficult for me. People want to know what I learned. I don’t know how to put my experience into a short soundbite. So I just defer to “It was wonderful!” But really it was more than that and more than simply the little tidbits that I picked up. It was way more about the way it made me feel.

Connected

I had the opportunity to ‘meet’ and get to know people that I already felt like I knew. Being connected gives me energy. I was honored to be able to get to know each of these international colleagues on a deeper level.  I know people say Twitter is dying but I hope that whatever comes next allows us to stay connected and create even stronger bonds when we’re thousands of miles apart. Working in international schools can feel isolating. But being connected makes you realize you’re not alone.

Affirmed

Interacting with the people I did and learning about their situations affirmed what we’re doing. We have a lot of great things happening at our school. And I have a lot of great ideas and qualities. I’m not bragging – we all have great ideas and qualities. But part of life (especially professional life) is recognizing how awesome you are. 21CLHK helped me do that.

Of course I had a lot of takeaways and learning experiences. But they all can be boiled down to those two feelings. A HUGE thank you to everyone who had even the slightest impact on my first experience in Hong Kong.

For my own memory and reflection, I Storified both #21CLHK (as much as I could) and #wlead. I also took notes and pictures throughout the conference. These are all resources I’ll come back to later when I need to feel a little more connected, affirmed and inspired 🙂

#21CLHK pt. 1

#21CLHK pt. 2

#wlead

All my notes & pictures (GDrive folder)

Resources from presenters

Consciousness & competence: I have questions

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about unconscious incompetence. It’s nothing new and there’s lots out there that you can read about consciousness and competence [Learning a New Skill is Easier Said Than Done, Consciousness & Competence, & The Four Stages of Learning among many others]. There are a variety of ways that these have been interpreted (see articles). I understand that learning is a process and we all need time and support to achieve unconscious competence.

But I have questions.

Should we be striving for becoming unconsciously competent? If you’re unconsciously competent, are you still learning? Are there skills/areas that you can never become truly competent in without continual learning and growth? Is the education sector one of those? Many US states mandate continuing education credits for educators. That could imply that the journey to competency is never ending.

For some reason it seems that unconscious incompetence is a plague in adulthood. It’s pretty common among children too but we can easily forgive them.

An ignorant mind is precisely not a spotless, empty vessel, but one that’s filled with the clutter of irrelevant or misleading life experiences, theories, facts, intuitions, strategies, algorithms, heuristics, metaphors, and hunches that regrettably have the look and feel of useful and accurate knowledge. “We Are All Confident Idiots

Truth time: I have a difficult time dealing with unconscious incompetence in adults. So I have to remember how important ruthless compassion is (thanks Danielle LaPorte!). And I’m sure there are times when I am unconsciously incompetent and I want other people to have compassion for me. But it’s just so dang difficult. Especially when you’re consciously incompetent or consciously competent and people who are less competent think they are experts. How can I support you if you can’t recognize that you need support?

How do we get out of the unconsciously incompetent black hole? And why would we? It’s pretty blissful. I’m sure there are studies out there with some hypotheses. I would love to see studies done specifically about educational technology and educators. How can I use my new found passion for instructional coaching (I’m consciously incompetent BTW) to help educators who are stuck?

While sitting on the couch with my husband last Friday I had what felt like an epiphany (and this also makes me feel quite vulnerable to put on-the-line). I entered teaching 100% incompetent. And I most definitely knew it. I came to education via an alternative route. Never in a million years did I think I would be a teacher. Pretty much my entire family was in education and I was sure that it wasn’t for me. And then Jeff and I moved to South Carolina. And I was offered a job teaching French. There weren’t many (read: any) other job prospects so I started teaching HS French in the fall of 2009. Extenuating circumstances meant that I entered the classroom in August with NO training. I had to teach the entire fall semester before I had official training through the state department. Luckily I had a great support system both at home and in the district. Last week I put two and two together…I wonder if my route to education (which was incredibly atypical) is the reason that I am able to be consciously incompetent. And if this is the case, what can be implemented to help all educators have some level of conscious incompetence? We love to talk about growth mindset. How are competency, consciousness and growth/fixed mindset intertwined? What can I do to support these teachers, to learn and grow with them instead of feeling the push back from ‘experts’? If anyone has the answer, I’d love to hear it.

Disclaimer: I know many educators who are not unconsciously incompetent. But I’d really love to find a way to help those who are.

Seriously: Read this article if you haven’t: We Are All Confident Idiots. Well-written and research-based.

Last week’s project – a gradebook screencast for staff

We switched grade reporting programs this year. We’ve moved to an online gradebook that parents & students can access 24/7. Because we decided to stay with our current provider (Rediker) in order to keep all our student data, we have had to adapt TeacherGradebook to function properly for our IB programs. Although we’ve created lots of step-by-step written instructions, teachers still struggle to understand exactly what it is that they’re doing. We decided that giving them a more conceptual understanding of the gradebook might help them going forward.

I’m sharing this because I spent a significant amount of time working on it last week. And because TechSmith is pretty great to use – simple, intuitive, quick with lots of video editing options. My one complaint is that many sites (including WordPress) don’t allow you to embed the SmartPlayer (where all the really cool features are). Our Tech Director uploaded the necessary files to our school website so that I could share the blinged out version with staff (without having to upload to ScreenCast.com). I also uploaded the boring version to our Office 365 InfoSite.

Here is the (edited) version with all the bells & whistles. It has:

  • Clickable table of contents takes you to various sections of the video.
  • Click on the video whenever you see a link to open the website in a new tab. Your mouse pointer will change to a hand whenever the video is clickable.
  • Click the ‘table of contents’ button to search the video.

The boring version is embedded below. Enjoy 🙂

[Full disclosure: I recieved Camtasia & Snagit free because I’m a Google for Education Certified Trainer. But this post has nothing to do with that – I just love working with the products. AND they’re from my home state, Pure Michigan 🙂 ]

An Inquiry into Teaching & Learning w/ Social Media

Yesterday the #AISQ8 elementary school engaged in an afternoon of professional personal learning. Based on previous feedback from staff, the leadership team asked me to facilitate a workshop on teaching and learning with social media. I used Kath Murdoch‘s Inquiry Cycle to plan the workshop and brainstormed with Christina to help refine it. I used Elena Aguilar’s Mind the Gap Framework to assist teachers in identifying their areas of success and growth (re: teaching & learning w/ social media).

Pre-assessment (we didn't have time for post)

Teachers identified their areas of success and growth.

I reached out to my PLN to help get buy-in from teachers during the Finding Out stage. There were lots of awesome responses! A HUGE thank you to everyone who took the time to contribute 🙂

We got started late and were pretty rushed in the 40 minutes we had and had to skip most of the Making Conclusions & Taking Action steps. I’m excited to have this new workshop framework for introducing teachers to social media and can’t wait to try it again! I was particularly intrigued by the discussion that the Think-Pair-Share lead to. It’s interesting to hear differing perspectives on what social media is, why we use it and how different media are used.

Update: I did not share the picture above with teachers after our workshop. So today (9 days later), I sent a follow-up email with the picture and some probing questions to get them thinking:

  • What assumptions are (still) informing your perspective about social media (in education)?
  • What have you done in the last 9 days to mind your gap?
  • What will be/has been your first small step forward?
  • If time was not an issue, how would you use social media in teaching and learning?
  • What will you do this week to mind your gap? This month? This year?
  • How would you answer these questions?

I’m not expecting responses but this gave me a chance to work on my questioning skills. I hope it gets them thinking as we head into the weekend!