Thursday, August 30, 2007

Administrator 2.0

It was a rush, to put it lightly.

Wednesday, I had the opportunity to present some ideas on school change, leadership, social networking, and ongoing district projects to our whole team of administrators from the K-12 buildings. I had been waiting for this.

The wiki (private for now) I created for it doesn't really do it justice because of the discussion that took place in the breaks, or the people who stopped me afterward and pushed the topics further, or asked for more time on these the projects we saw. I didn't hit the nail squarely, as I explained to my wife, as I feel that I didn't really address the need for them to be reading administrator blogs or teacher blogs, nor did I show them how their teachers can fully utilize some of the new tools we have added to district machines, but, hey, I only had 2.5 hours.

Here was the agenda:

  1. Overview and Purpose
  2. What skills are our students going to need to compete in a changing workplace environment?
  3. Does our pedagogy prepare them for that workplace?
  4. When you meet with teachers, what can you offer by means of improvement of instruction or preparation through technology?
  5. What meaningful experiences are teachers in your building, your district and beyond engaged in with their students?
  6. What are some tools I can use to become more productive and save time while performing tasks that are essential to my job?
I really adhered to Scott's post from while ago and tried to focus on issues that they currently deal with, and how to make them more productive. One of the issue that stood out from my contact with teachers over the past year was lack of specific direction coming from post-observation meetings. When told to incorporate technology, what did that mean? When told to differentiate instruction, how did they do that? During my presentation, I tried to give examples of specific methods they could incorporate into their written evaluations.

There has been a recent spate of posts about meetings like this (see Bach, Chris, and Barbara), where the presenters were asked to accomplish a lot in a small amount of time. Reflecting on it, I truly love the moment where you know you've prepared, and you are so ready that you are inviting dissension that leads to discussion.

Anyone else out there doing anything similar?


Dean Shareski said...

We've been at this for a couple of years. There are a number of administrators who are on the road to change along with their teachers.
This year we plan to provide a monthly session ala TED talks which stimulate discussion and action around change.

Barbara said...

Thanks for the mention! Your approach, dealing with real time issues, is what drives change. The agenda is great and I hope as you have hinted at some point the wiki will be public. We have started a blog to scribe our PD and faculty meetings which is also currently private. It has a lot of nitty gritty business stuff and so I need to think about how to et a public record of our 2.0 discussions and PD.
In the interest of not reinventing the wheel are you willing to post the information you used for the first point on your agenda. It seems we all spend a fair amount of time (or maybe it is me) pulling together resources.
PS If you have a second any reaction to our new mission? The faculty will be interested in ow it resounds with the community at large.

Bach said...


Thanks for the mention. (Great pic by the way.)

A comment-- in looking at your essential questions you posed for the workshop, it seems as if you make the assumption that the primary purpose of school is to prepare students for work. It is not surprising, look at our language of schools: homeWORK, "Do your WORK", "WORK hard to succeed", etc. (Would it be better if we used the word "Play"? I play on my computer when I want to learn new things. I work when I have to meet a deadline or complete an assigned project. (I like the sound of "home-play.)

Granted a strong purpose of K-12 is to ready students for the world of work which as you well know, includes 21st century learning skills. However, isn't a component of school socialization; creating participating members of democratic society; and just becoming a well-rounded literate individual?

Have a great labor day and start to your school year.


Patrick Higgins said...

Thanks to all for some great comments.

That idea had been thrown around by a few people over the last couple of months, but I would be psyched to see you pull it off.

I just posted a quick reflection to your "Perspectives" entry. As for making things available, I think I will do that right after I finish this comment. There is just one page where they commented on a few questions that I think should remain private. I need to build some relationships here first.


Great quasi-contrarian post. You and I, and the multitude of other tech coordinators and teachers who would be called early adopters (or continuous adopters depending on how long you've been at it) occupy a unique position in this school change equation. We play the role of initiator of change for both teachers and admins, but we also have the obligation to portray that change as something that is a natural outgrowth of what they, the teachers or admins, are already doing.

In this light, when I began to put things together, I couched the presentation in terms that the admins would understand. Being from the same state as me, those terms are dictated by state mandates such as the ASK series or national mandates such as NCLB.

I advocate play relentlessly, but why not do it in terms that still jive with what the participants think is of the utmost importance-student performance.

Sue Waters said...

Hi Patrick

I came across your blog through Diane who recommended it in her list for BlogDay, and can I say I am glad she did. I am working on a project on elearning leadership and love your list of points. Will come back and have a closer look.

Would add you in to my Twitter account but having a bit of problem with connecting to Twitter at the moment. Some might say that is a good thing :).


Patrick Higgins said...

Thanks, Sue!

I'll be sure to look for the work you create.