I would say that over the years I have been quite successful in the things that I have wanted to implement and the change/s that I have aimed at facilitating in the setting I have previously worked. I can that I am proud of my achievements. I can also say that I would not of had the success if it were not for colleagues and leaders supporting my moves. If it were not for them listening, critiquing, and giving the feedback that occasionally my hairbrain schemes deserved I would have been in limbo.
When I started working in my position all those 16 weeks ago I remember to speaking to my leadership team about celebrating the small wins. Being new, unknown, untested and not having built any notion of trust whatsoever with my new staff, pushing for lack of wording what I wanted on to them was always going to be a challenge. And that I feel is an understatement.
Now within this short 16 week period I have been able to, what I would call, ignite several ‘sparks’ through the college that have driven and encouraged the change that I am wanting to see and believe we need to see. I do also need to add that I use the word ‘I’ lightly as if it was not for a number of staff at my college who also felt that these changes, that this change, was needed then I would certainly be a ‘one man band’.
“Leadership is about setting a direction. It’s about creating a vision, empowering and inspiring people to want to achieve the vision, and enabling them to do so with energy and speed through an effective strategy. In its most basic sense, leadership is about mobilizing a group of people to jump into a better future” – John Kotter: XLR8 2014
For me, my vision as part of my role is about eliciting a change that will see my setting move towards a more ‘futuristic’ educational approach. To see our instructional practices and pedagogy, student learning, and curriculum development take a more… forward thinking approach. Usually I would have said a more ’21st Century’ approach but I believe we are past that phrase and thinking in the educational space we are currently in.
Now as mentioned, these small achievements that are being made across the College have certainly sparked imagination and curiosity amongst our teaching fraternity. What has really had me up and about is that after spending the entirety of term 1 meeting and talking with staff I came to realise, and it did not take long, that for the most part the mid set is certainly there. That see and hear that want and drive to integrate technology more often for reasons that are purposeful and that drive student learning is amazing. I find and will always believe that mindset trumps skillset any day of the week!
Now what are some of these small wins that have been achieved. Well. In no particular order…
Online Learning Spaces.
Several staff have really embraced the development and creation of classroom websites and blogs. The feedback from the development of these from not only teachers and students but also parents has been huge! I will say we are still very much in the developmental stage, but this I can see is starting to have that snowballing effect across the college and will certainly take off! And is taking off! Some examples of these great online’s spaces are below!
New Pedagogies for Deep Learning Global Project
I was very excited to see that Northern Bay P-12 were involved in this great global initiative. To have also taken over as the College NPDL Lead has also been trilling as I have has the opportunity first hand to drive this project internally to see the amazing things that have come from it. If you are unfamiliar with the NPDL Global Project head to: http://www.newpedagogies.info/
EDUCATION NEEDS TO BE RADICALLY RETHOUGHT PARTLY TO STOP THE BOREDOM, BUT MOSTLY TO BLOW THE LID OFF LEARNING, WHEREBY STUDENTS AND TEACHERS AS ACTIVE PARTNERS BECOME CAPTIVATED BY EDUCATION.- Michael Fullan & Maria Langworthy in Towards a New End: Pedagogies for Deep Learning.
The work behind this project is amazing. Work that has real, and very large, positive implications for student learning. The project essentially is about students taking their learning to deeper levels than perhaps the surface style of learning most are used to. To have learning that looks beyond the basics and goes some way in preparing students for the complex world that awaits them.
Teachers have been involved in driving their own Action Research that has facilitated current curriculum content and practice to be re-thought, something of which is not easy to achieve let alone simply discussed. The four pillars of NPDL: Leveraging Digital, New Pedagogies, Learning Partnerships and Learning Environment, when all married together form the basis of one very powerful framework to drastically reform educational practice.
SWITCH Pilot Program.
This great program that I have co-lead in initiating at my College has been a huge success thus far and we are only in its infancy thus far! It is the brainchild of a Bastow of Ed. Leadership course I am involved in titled ‘Leading School Improvement’. The SWITCH program designed on a flipped classroom framework where teachers are creating their own ‘flipped learning’ style videos to ‘frontload; students prior to particular classes taking place.
parents, students and staff have so far been thrilled with the program and although the student learning data to evaluate the program is still being determined and discussed, we are very confident of its success.
I have been working closely with teachers to develop these flipped videos and the outcomes from this work has been amazing! Please check them out: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCBlDb3kNd4q7wICqFKDppKA
Playing the Coach.
I have of course within my role spent hours in classes coaching, and more so in a peer, or more informal way, staff to build their capacity to better integrate technology to support teaching and learning. This I have really enjoyed as it takes me back to a place where I guess I am most comfortable, and that being in a classroom working with students.
Truth be told I have never been a huge fan of formal coaching models. I have found that this only suits particular staff and can also often push people away, unless of course they have a buy in and want to be coached. It is though I have found that the majority of people who wish to be coached do not necessarily need it. Coaching is a double edged sword and you can cut through some pretty difficult situations and really assist staff to go from good to great. On the other hand, you can be cut yourself and find that banging you head on a wall would yield similar results!
In saying this, my time at NBC has been extremely positive and those staff I have been working with have been open, willing and driven to improve not only their own practice, but that of others also. It takes an army!
3yr Digital Learning Strategy Development.
One of the more tedious jobs I have been tasked with is the development of a 3 year digital learning / elearning plan. These I have been involved in developing several times in the past and am fairly confident in the process that I undertake.
Now the first process, and arguably the most important, is about gaining feedback. Feedback from the major players and stakeholders that will be affected by the development of this strategy. Last Wednesday I held a consultation evening and invited these major stakeholders (parents, students, college council, parents, teachers, leaders, principals, technicians, et al.) to come and discuss what and where they felt Northern Bay College’s digital learning aspirations needed to be paramount moving forward. I am will collate the feedback from this and share, however I do need to add the this night, and albeit short in nature (60mins) yielded some amazing discussion about what today’s students who will be part of tomorrow’s workforce will need moving forward.
The presentation and driving questions that were shown can be found below;