Friday, February 12, 2016

Leading from the middle - is this the direction for education?

Toady I attended a global webinar with Michael Fullan (Canada),  Steve Munby (UK), John Hattie (Australia, and Viviane Robinson (New Zealand). The focused discussion was based on the paper written by Michael and Steve, 'Inside-out and down-side up: How leading from the middle has the power to transform education systems' (You can download a copy here! Thanks to Meg)

The essential discussion was about leadership for change and focused on middle level development of connected, networked and collaborative leaders. The reasoning? That bottom up and top down is not working in K-12 schools, therefore we need to be supporting the leader in the middle to affect this.

Some panel comments:

Michael Fullan:
  • Good collaboration reduces bad variation - A school would join a network with a goal of reducing your own variation
  • Leaders who do best participate as learners with others - when they do that they are learning a lot 
  • Need to develop a shared sense and depth of purpose about the work - by interacting on a regular basis 
  • Talking about FLAT organisation structures - organised collectively en mass - also connected autonomy 
  • Freedom in the middle to take initiative and work on agendas to improve the learning
  • Democratisation of leadership
Steve Munby:
  • Robust peer review - not about proving but about improving - challenges complacency - collective voluntary accountability 
  • To affect the three A's - Autonomy, Austerity, Accountability - the solution is 'collective autonomy' - neither bottom up or top down, voluntary but inevitable
 John Hattie
  • Visible learning - new #1 influence - critical factor is teachers’ collective efficacy 
  • System-wide school collaboration 
  • Impact - what do we mean by this - needs some external engagement 
  • Network is successful when it is not geographical - school network through UNiMelb - 26 schools - finally shared their data 
  • Notion of collective autonomy - easy to setup, tough to maintain, but failed. Each school wanted to claim the success and not share it, and each one wanted to have their own data. 
  • The research base shows TEACHER collective efficacy, not LEADERSHIP collective efficacy

As moderator Tony McKay suggested four areas of action: (in my shorthand)

  1. Need to go deeper and further for effective leadership
  2. Can we think more deeply about the network systems, structures and processes?
  3. Accountability is a network-based system deserves a lot more treatment
  4. Need to be more explicit about the theory of action
Make sure you follow #globaldialogue to track ongoing conversations

My brief response to the conversations and speakers:
  • Leadership can come from any level and needs to be encouraged from all levels - the role of the Teacherpreneur, Outlier and Learning concierge is important to consider here
  • Systemic change will not take place until teachers / leaders have more autonomy to do what they believe is best for learning. The discussion about collective autonomy is fascinating
  • Education leadership today is synonymous with the ability to network, form and manage communities, understand collaboration and enhanced learning outcomes for teachers and students
  • There is no point talking about leadership without assuming (do we all assume this now?) or at least referring to the need to be an online leader - digital fluency, networked learning, connectivist approach, online local and global collaboration - building online communities that function for better learning outcomes - these are all skills a 'leader' in education must have. This goes beyond knowing how to communicate online - it is deeper than developing a PLN and joining PLCs!
BTW - read this excellent post by Tessa Gray on Reimagining Professional Learning 2016
 - and this one by Derek Wenmoth, A new era of professional development.

Sunday, February 07, 2016

Global Education Highlights (weekly)

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Global Education Highlights (weekly)

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Flat Connections - NEW projects and Teacher courses starting in February!

Happy New year from Flat Connections!

It is almost February and I want to remind you that Flat Connections global projects AND online teacher courses start again in the next 4 weeks. Please help us spread the word about these online collaborative (and global!) learning opportunities.

Global Projects
These projects are taking applications now from across the world. Come and join Nepal, Costa Rica, New Zealand, Australia, Singapore and more!
  • K-2 Building Bridges to Tomorrow - yes! younger students can connect and collaborate as well. This global project brings teachers and students together for realtime and asynchronous exchanges and encourages collaborative learning through sharing daily life around themes and activities.
  • A Week in the Life - for students of ages 8-11 (Grades 3-6) - This project explores global issues and brings students together to share, discuss and create new meaning. The theme this year is 'Health and Well-Being'. This is an exciting global project and often the first time students independently connect with others beyond their school - great to foster online learning and digital citizenship skills!
  • Digiteen/Digitween - TWO projects - one for under 13's and the other for over 13's. Through online collaborative work students explore what it means to be a digital citizen and 21C online, connected and collaborative learner. Collaborative work leads to action projects that are shared with the world.
  • Global Youth Debates - Do you have a debate team(s) in your school? Then share this exciting project with them. Online, asynchronous, global debating! Theme this semester is 'Education' - topic coming in February!
  • Flat Connections Global Project - For students in Grades 9-12, this is a fully supported, student-driven collaboration where emerging technologies as described in the Horizon Report K-12 are explored and students collaborate to share new understandings. They also create personal multimedia to share via a final judging and awards process. This is a VERY flat project - perfect for high school students!

NEW - Connect with China Collaborative
Last semester we successfully ran a pilot of this new project and have brought it back again this semester with some updated material and approaches. The Connect with China collaborative is offered in partnership with Mandarin Pathways and provides teachers and students anywhere in the world an opportunity to connect with students, teachers and community groups within China. Global teams allow participants to not only connect but work together and build understanding and well as artefacts for sharing. Our theme this semester is 'Climate Change'.
Read the CCC blog and explore the exciting adventures from our 2015 pilot!

Teacher professional learning
TWO courses are starting in February (pending numbers). Both of these online courses are based on material found in 'Flattening Classrooms, Engaging Minds' (Lindsay & Davis, 2012) and now with updated material fro the new book 'The Global Educator' (Lindsay, 2016).
  • The Flat Connections Global Educator - for those teachers serious about learning how to bring global collaborative experiences to their classroom
  • Flat Connections Global Collaboration Primer - for those serious about finding out more to work out next steps for their own students and to share with their colleagues and school community

When learning is ‘flat’ then global becomes possible and collaborative legacies are created.

We hope to hear from you soon! Let me know if you have any questions at any time.

Julie Lindsay
Director, Flat Connections

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Global Education Highlights (weekly)

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Into the mouth of the dragon - Global collaborative learning with China

China is not a sleeping giant - these days it is a dragon that roars. Young people today need to understand more about China as a country, the Chinese culture and language, and make vital connections for future understanding. China is likely to be a part of future employment, tourism, education, and business for many.

The 'Connect with China' Collaborative successfully joined learners from Australia, the USA and China. Teachers, students and community organisations came together to learn from and with each other. Through careful selection of tools and learning design to support online collaboration participants explored the concept of 'My Community' and shared local ideas to create global outcomes. Cross-classroom teams of students researched thematic material and came together using a tool called Voicethread.

Highlights of the semester included real time linkups with China where exciting intercultural exchanges strengthened understanding between learners. One teacher in California shared at one of the regular synchronous teacher meetings that the conversation he had with his 6th grade class about the 'Great firewall of China' was illuminating and meaningful. The final online summit had classrooms from all three countries sharing their experiences in a virtual meeting room. Barriers such as language and connectivity issues melted into insignificance when participants realised they COULD in fact connect to others, and to China and communicate and share both synchronously in live sessions and asynchronously using online learning platforms.

Online global learning is imperative for all learners across the world. The Connect with China Collaborative is just one example of how meaningful exchanges lead to collaborative teamwork and ongoing construction of new knowledge. Every student at every level in every year of schooling should have a variety of online global collaborative experiences. If you are a teacher or and education leader, what are you doing to embed this into the curriculum and across the learning environment?

Explore the Connect with China 2015 pilot highlights - pictures, blog posts, co-created multimedia.

Join us in 2016 THEME - Climate Change

How is climate change impacting the world?
What is my responsibility to understand and share this impact?
How does my daily life affect climate change and how does this effect me?

All countries are invited to be part of the collaborative and make authentic connections with China.

Follow us on Twitter #ChinaConnects

Cross-posted with Connect with China Blog

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Global Education Highlights (weekly)

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Global Education Highlights (weekly)

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Sunday, January 03, 2016

Global Education Highlights (weekly)

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.