Digital Learning and Leading Reflection

I have already gained so much from the first two classes of the Digital Learning and Leading program!  I have stretched myself further than I previously believed that I could or would. This is largely due to the fact that the topics in our courses are of great interest to me. I really appreciate the opportunity to reflect on the work that I engage in every day. Being in this program has given me a chance and the vision to step away from the day-to-day minutia to consider ways of inspiring innovation and change in my organization.

  • While reading Blended by Michael Horn and Heather Staker, I had a chance to consider how we might prepare teachers for discovering methods of blended learning in other ways in my district. The blended learning instruction that we have provided our district was focused a little too much on the mechanics of the LMS instead of the designing pedagogy and skillfully managing content to provide students choice regarding the time, space, path and place of their learning. Because of this program, I am able to introduce new ideas about professional learning in my district.
  • Additionally, having the opportunity to develop and innovate a project that I was already planning has been very valuable. It is causing me to consider all sorts of possibilities that I would not have previously imagined. Our 2021 STREAM Camp is sure to be a success because of the thought, planning and details centered around the innovation of hosting virtual learners. The literature review in which I researched the topics associated with a STREAM camp, brought to light the many reasons why the effort of organizing the camp will be valuable for students.
  • Discussing the SAMR, UDL and TPACK frameworks has already been worthwhile for me as well. I shared these frameworks with my colleague as we explored what our next approach for professional learning would be. He was inspired by the TPACK model, so we are currently planning and choosing our professional learning from the lens of that framework.
  • I have certainly loved the introspective topics of the Concepts in Educational Technology course! We had a chance to consider our mindset and how educators and parents can help learners develop a growth mindset. Considering my own approach to learning will continue to serve me well throughout the remainder of the program. Having the awareness to redirect my fixed mindset voice to a growth mindset view will help me to persevere when the coursework seems daunting or challenging. The research, book and many presentations by Carol Dweck that I reviewed while creating my own growth mindset plan helped me to learn about myself. It helped me understand that although I generally have a very positive outlook, I need to take a closer look at encouraging deeper effort in order to foster success in the people that I work with. This is true for myself, teachers and staff I support, students I may deal with as well as well as my personal children.
  • Also the need to truly consider the things that I believe through a learning manifesto was a very valuable exercise for me. It provided me an opportunity to use my favorite creativity tools at a deeper level. It also helped me find my voice in some respects. I am looking forward to flexing my creative muscles on similar projects as I progress through the program.
  • I certainly enjoyed the time I took to develop my list of professional learning networks. We have so many resources at our fingertips, but they won’t do us much good if we forget about them. Building that list kind of felt like a gathering of old friends, as I had a chance to revisit the sites of some brilliant educators and leaders that I have not seen for a while. Also, I discovered so many new rich resources that my classmates shared.

Getting the beginning of my e-portfolio in place has been the most fun! It is still in its early stages and I am constantly making tweaks to it as I decide what is important. The entire portfolio is an act of COVA!

  • C – As students we have had a choice of what tool to use, what projects to include, and can organize it anyway we wish. So far no one has told me that my portfolio is too purple. For that I am grateful, because purple is my color of choice.
  • O – I absolutely have ownership of the e-portfolio and I’m excited to see what it can become.
  • V – The About page, as well and the learning manifesto have my voice all over it!
  • A – Authenticity is very important to me. To me, the authenticity is evident because all of the topics featured in the portfolio relate directly to my current job.

It is my intention to maintain the e-portfolio throughout my career. I am hopeful that I will be able to continue adding relevant and meaningful content to the e-portfolio. This is definitely a concern of mine as I know there is already so much valuable information out there for educators, and time is often limited. What would it take for someone to want to visit my e-portfolio to gain some knowledge or inspiration about digital learning topics? Perhaps it will just be space to explore my thoughts and ideas through a medium other than talking.

We are experiencing the COVA approach not only with the e-portfolio, but in every assignment through this program. The entire disruptive innovation project that we will build upon throughout the program was planned using the COVA approach. This will impact my learning because the project is real and meaningful.

  • C – We have had a choice of what change we would like to see in our organization. I struggled with this idea in the beginning because I had a lot of different things that I wanted to try. I settled on STREAM camp.
  • O – I have ownership of the STREAM camp project because with inspiration and hard work of several librarians, we innovated a summer library program that needed new life!
  • V – Throughout the innovation project and others in the program, we have been able to express opinions, beliefs and create our own paths to success.
  • A – The STREAM Camp innovation project is clearly authentic because it is something that I was already preparing to organize for our district.

In addition to exploring the COVA approach, discovering our growth mindset and establishing our beliefs through a learning manifesto, we have explored ideas about failing forward. John Maxwell writes, “The difference between average people and achieving people is their perception of and response to… failure.” I am hopeful that my approach to challenges: persevering, having a positive attitude, learning from each mistake, and taking new risks, will help me to be a success in the program.

I am so grateful for the willingness of my classmates to collaborate and provide feed forward throughout the program. This program has also taught me that I have some room for development in the way of encouraging and inspiring others through writing. It’s very easy for me to connect with people in person, or even on a Zoom. Finding just the right words to write in a discussion response, and to provide meaningful feedback is more challenging for me. That might be one of my “YETs”.

The most valuable lesson I have learned so far in the program is that change, growth and innovation is gradual and ongoing. But you can’t sit around and wait for it. You have to be willing to seek the learning, dive right in, and use your voice to inspire others to dive in with you!

References:

Dweck, C. (2016). Mindset: the new psychology of success. Random House. 

Harapnuik, D. (2018, July 14). COVA [web log]. http://www.harapnuik.org/?page_id=6991. 

Horn, M. B., Staker, H., & Christensen, C. M. (2017). Blended: Using disruptive innovation to improve schools. Jossey-Bass. 

Maxwell, J. C. (2007). Failing Forward. HarperCollins Leadership. 

Rosenberg, J. (2017). TPACK.ORG. http://tpack.org/. 

Terada, Y. (2020, May 4). A Powerful Model for Understanding Good Tech Integration. Edutopia. https://www.edutopia.org/article/powerful-model-understanding-good-tech-integration.

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