Change Ahead

In the last couple of weeks I have been back to school…well actually, back to work – but at a new school as a Vice-Principal and it has been a trying experience for me in some ways but also a great reminder of something specific that I think I think about school and education.

Let me preface all of this with an acknowledgement that I don’t hate, or even dislike, change. On the contrary, I find it challenging and invigorating and I think we all need to enact change in some ways to avoid becoming static and bored. Some of us seek out meaningful change while others find it foisted upon them but regardless change is inevitable and how it is dealt with varies from person to person.

After much thought and deliberation the difficulty in the change I am undergoing for me stems from an error in my thinking that I think many people in leadership experience (or I hope they do and I am not alone) and that is the need to have all of the answers; if not all of the answers…some of the answers…in some case even an answer would suffice.

http://dexterhinkson.files.wordpress.com/2013/12/mr-know-it-all.jpg However, as my context changes in schools I (and anyone undergoing similar change) have to learn many things about new surroundings and the programs that are in place. This is certainly not an easy task in many cases and requires time, patience, and guidance from everyone involved.  Personally, it involves the need to be patient with myself and understand that my expectations have to be tempered as well. This has not been an easy task for me even as people around me (support staff, teachers, and students) are being super graceful and helpful.

The irony of this as I reflect on the last couple weeks is that as a teacher – one of the specific things that I valued most in the classroom was honoring the learning process and the time it took for each individual to get where she or he was going and yet I haven’t done the same for myself. Change, and learning anything is change, is not easy. Our role as teachers is to be an agent of change and this requires that we not only understand how this works for others but that we can look in the mirror and honestly allow ourselves the same freedoms required.

 Motivational Wallpaper on Success: The road to success is always

Something needs to give and I think I have some ideas…I need to be ok with the following statements:

  • “I don’t know, but I will find out and get back to you.”
  • “Can you tell me how this works?”
  • “Can you help me understand this?”
  • “I appreciate your perspective…can we figure this out together?”
  • “I have never heard of that before…tell me more?”

Anyway, time will tell how this change will play out but I recognize that I need to be patient with myself and to learn from the great people that I get to work with. I’m really excited about this new chapter and the challenges that will inevitably be involved.

If you’ve gotten this far I appreciate it – I’m not sure I would have :)…any ideas on change and leadership or are there things you value in your practice for others but struggle with yourself?…Drop a comment or shoot me an email mick.panko@rbe.sk.ca

 

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EdCampYQR…Professional Learning

Well for all of you who follow this blog closely, you know that it has been quite some time since I’ve posted anything of significance…ok, let’s call it what it is – I haven’t blogged for way too long.EdcampYQRWeb_zps2d41b120

Much has changed in my life personally and professionally since I blogged last, but, in easing back into the world of micro-blogging I’d like to talk about a professional development/learning opportunity that I have been blessed to be a part of in the last school year #EdCampYQR.

BjNKdn1CQAAH3p6.jpg_large

I have been fortunate to be part of the planning committee for the “unconference,” as EdCamps are known, which ran a division wide opportunity during the first week of school in August for teachers that brought together an amazing group of educators with a wide range of talents, experience, and interests at Campus Regina Public.   The feedback that we got was tremendously positive and many participants asked for similar future opportunities.  Based on the current academic calendar in our division there is not a lot of system-wide time that is available for large groups of people to get together for professional learning. Yet, we felt a need to maintain the momentum established by the first ever EdCamp in Regina in the fall…hence @EdCampYQR the spring edition.

The difference for this spring event is that we are running it on a Saturday morning and this is a new phenomenon for Professional Development (PD) in our neck of the woods.  I have had a few conversations around this topic and feelings are definitely split on the idea.  The one idea that I continue to go back to is that Professional Learning should be about finding ways to grow. For some people, this can be done in traditional fashions provided by, and in, the school day or calendar; for others, the chance to participate outside those parameters works better and this event is one that I am super excited about being a part of.

This is not to say that one way of achieving PD is better than the other – simply that PD needs to fit the form and function of individual wants and also fit into the lives of busy professionals.

What do you think about PD? How are you finding ways to grow and evolve as a professional? Have you been to an EdCamp…where and when was it held?

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PLC #2 @ FWJ…where can we go today?

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Sailing into the sunset…with an eye on where I have been

In the last couple of weeks I have found myself reflecting on the learning I have done this semester in #eci831. I have also found myself maintaining some of the habits I developed such as regularly checking on my twitter feeds on Tweetdeck, updating and maintaining my Delicious bookmarks, and I watched my final project again in preparation for a chance to share with some of my wife’s colleagues at her school.
I was given the opportunity to share with a PLC at a local high school about building a PLN and using Twitter to do so. I used my presentation as a jump off point to begin discussions and I was very excited about the conversations that ensued. Some very insightful questions came out of the presentation such as: how to not become overwhelmed/filter the mass of information that can result from a twitter feed, how to use hashtags to track and search for information/using tools like tweetdeck, and lastly some dialogue around actually using Twitter with students in class as a means for sharing information (I cited my friend Reenie’s work with her class as an example that evolved over time http://lorenaleibel.wordpress.com/2011/11/28/final-project-reflection/ and this seemed to be well received). I also took the time to touch on microblogging as a place to host ideas and reflections that can be shared in the twitterverse.
I am certain that being a part of the presentation at the school will help me deepen my understanding of how all of these things can work together. I have received a followup invitation already to work with the group in January and have already been percolating on where we should go next. I am thinking about a part 2.0 to the project using Tweetdeck and microblogging but I think for now I will focus on helping this PLC to transform into a PLN.
One of the group shared a neat site entitled Stumbleupon with me and I have been playing with it for a few days (anyone else using this?).
I sent out a tweet prior to the presentation asking for some responses on twitter but realized I probably need to give my PLN a bit more time to respond and may give this another shot in January.

In the meantime, I am looking forward to recharging my battery in beautiful Hawaii over the Christmas break.
Merry Christmas and God bless.
PS – 1148 blog hits – I am so pumped!
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Digital Project

Well, here it is, my digital project that I will be sharing with colleagues at work on a Professional Development Day to help them become more connected educators.

Project link: http://www.screencast.com/t/FKPsOFZ5 (this will not embed from screencast so I uploaded it to youtube as well)

As I was thinking about what would be a useful project for my staff’s use – I came to the conclusion that because we have a small staff in our building who do not often get enough opportunity to work within our PLC that they might need the chance to build a PLN on their own time that is accessible whenever they wanted it.

I have had many conversations along the way with my colleagues about where they are at and their openness to a project like this, and while I have met with some resistance – many have been very supportive and have offered feedback along the way in my planning of this project for Professional Development purposes.

I blogged a rough early draft many weeks ago but have had to rework my storyboard for the last 2/3 of the presentation. One other potential issue I thought I was going to need to tackle was the fact that Twitter has a new face. Fortunately, I had not closed my twitter feed on my computer for quite some time and I had access to the old look.

My hope is that the staff who have given me feedback along the way can help me to bridge the gap with those who feel that they do not have time or a need for an undertaking such as this.

I have really enjoyed learning about Camtasia and feel I have just begun to scratch the surface with its potential and things I can possibly use it for. I ended up buying a license once I started playing with it and wish I had discovered it before – the ability to work across many different tools simultaneously was a lot of fun and as I discover more tools I can only see the potential increasing. (This is the after picture – pure joy – after I finally got the project finished)

The beauty of this project is that it can continue to grow and evolve as necessary.

Weird but I am looking forward to writing a blog this week about my own process and owning learning. Some habits are good to develop…

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The End is the Beginning is the End

Infinity - 008/365 by Odd Bod, on Flickr
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.0 Generic License  by  Odd Bod 

Well this is it for now…below find my summary of learning (updated with better compression settings – thanks Alec) at this point for #eci831…I guess my hope is that this class will truly be rhizomatic and that it will have laid the foundation for future learning and growth.

I have learned a lot this semester but likely the most important is to honor the process and that creativity is about the journey not the destination. I have loved this class and would recommend it to any educator looking to help yourself…

The next time #eci831 comes up may be some time off with Alec taking a sabbatical but I sure hope to be there in its next life as a mentor or observer. I have relearned how much I love learning.

Summary of Learning

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Using a new Tool – ToonDoo

My first attempt at ToonDoo one of the tools suggested by the Cogdog…rough but fun haha!

 

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