22 June 2015

My latest read has been "Digital Leadership" by Eric Sheninger (@E_Sheninger).
I am currently thinking about effective implementation of digital learning at our school. My personal belief is that technology should support and enhance learning and not be the driver. It's important to really focus on how technology actually accomplishes this. 

Technology needs to be integrated with a clear purpose. The learners need to be able to create artefacts to demonstrate their mastery, ability to apply a range of new skills, construct and build on knowledge, and to develop a sense of agency or ownership of their learning. 

Eric Sheninger states that technology can also help educators to present learning opportunities that are more relevant and contextual to our learners. He also states that digital learning can allow learners to clearly see the value in their learning. 

The key to all of this is in developing a belief/ vision that is sustainable and leads to change that is sustainable and one that allows digital learning to become an embedded component of our culture of learning. The culture needs to be one that is receptive to digital learning and allows it to thrive. There cannot be isolated pockets of excellence but a collective belief, vision and agreed practices. 

Therefore, I believe my next steps are:
  • to build a shared vision: different stakeholders need input into this including the kids, the mentors and our community. 
  • to develop a strategic plan: Sheninger suggests the following questions... Why is this change needed? How will it be implemented? What resources are needed? How will we monitor progress and evaluate on a consistent basis? What other challenges have to be overcome?
  • ensure that there is adequate access. This is something I am very mindful of at the moment while we struggle with connectivity and early infrastructural issues. Next year, we hope to become BYOD but currently, I am not sure that our connectivity is robust enough. 
  • enable ongoing professional learning - this is paramount. We have talked lots about
    thresholds that we come from and assumptions but the reality is we all need to take a breath and reassess all of our understandings about the pedagogy of integrating devices into our learning habitats. Professional development needs to be embedded into our day to day practice.
  • support the team: there is a sense of readiness at school right now and I need to respond to this by providing the right amount of support. This needs to include empowerment and autonomy, flexibility and a culture of risk taking. 
  • maintain the intent: I need to consistently monitor and give feedback on digital learning activities based on my observations, evaluations, walk throughs and the artefacts I can collate. 
  • model good use: One of my goals this term was to find ways to model some basic uses and to provide learning opportunities to mentors. Best place for this so far has been during out professional learning meetings and our weekly briefing meeting. 
  • make time for learners' voice and choice: At the end of the day, it's all about the learning. Kids need to be able to decide on which digital tools they want to use to show what they have learnt. The key is being able to assess learning and not about how to use the tool. Kids need to be able to decide on the right tool for the job. 
So what? Next term... Make myself available to support mentors by infusing technology alongside their programmes, work alongside mentors during their release time to see how they are organising their digital platform, to inspire and support teams to see the value in our learning being transparent, ubiquitous and collaborative.