Saturday, December 13, 2014

Driving down the 21st Century Teaching/Learning Road


My school board is on an exciting adventure and I am happy to be part of it. Last year the WCDSB informed the community of its 21st Century Learning and Teaching Blueprint. The Blueprint provides our system with an outline of key student outcomes and the working groups that have been created to support the system (staff, students, and parents) in "Driving down the 21st Century Teaching/Learning road". 

As co-chair of the Social Media & Digital Citizenship working group I am part of an amazing team of staff members from a variety of positions in the Board. Last year we worked on identifying what needs to happen to assist our system in leveraging Social Media to benefit teaching/learning and produce responsible digital citizens. This year our task is to develop resources around the use of Social Media and to collaborate with the Religion/Family Consultant around digital citizenship connected to our Religion program.

Developing the Organization to Support Desired Practices

One of the major developments in our system to help us realize the outcomes and vision in our Blueprint involves the implementation and use of Google Apps for Education (GAFE). GAFE provides a wonderful set of tools that assist users with such things as productivity, collaboration, creativity, and critical thinking. At the school level, staff and students are learning when it is appropriate to use the tools and how to effectively use them.

As a classroom teacher with experience and knowledge using GAFE with my students I have been working on
  • educating my colleagues,
  • inviting them to develop their understanding of GAFE, 
  • supporting them on their learning journey, and 
  • encouraging them to implement the use of it in their practice
This process is a dynamic one that takes on many forms, occurs in a variety of ways, and requires differentiation based on the needs of the learner. In order to help and support my colleagues as they embark on "driving down the 21st Century Teaching/Learning road" I have 
  • facilitated 'lunch and learn' sessions, 
  • met with staff individually in formal and informal capacities,  
  • initiated Google Hangout sessions during and after school hours, and
  • have had colleagues visit my classroom to see what 21st C learning might look like
Here are a couple of artifacts around our 'lunch and learn' sessions and Google Hangout that have been facilitated.

Google Slide prepared to give staff an idea of how they can use slides in an innovative way.

Email sent to staff to bring them together to activate their GAFE accounts.

Screenshot of the Google Hangout event:

Learning Along the Way

As I reflect upon the the practices I have mentioned above, the richness of my experiences and leadership comes from working with others and learning with and from them in order to benefit our practice and the learning of our students. Part of my reflection about my leadership involves looking at the Catholic Leadership Framework and seeing how my experiences connect with the framework and what I can do to grow as a leader. As I reviewed the framework I noticed that my experiences fit within a variety of pillars in the framework. With respect to this particular blog post it was the "Developing the Organization and Supporting Desired Practices" pillar that really caught my eye. I could really identify with and the practices listed in the 'Developing collaborative cultures and distributing leadership' sub section. It is affirming to know that the work I am doing in helping move the Board's 21st Century Learning and Teaching Blueprint forward in the system and my school has me engaged in practices that have been deemed important ones for Catholic school leaders. 

As I continue reflecting on and recording my actions and thoughts about my leadership journey I look forward to spending more time with the Catholic Leadership Framework to compare/contrast my mindset and practices with those listed in the framework. I anticipate a worthwhile learning experience as I discover alignment and conflict through the lens of the framework.