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Co-Founder & CEO
Powerful Learning Practice, LLC
21st Century Collaborative, LLC
“The Connected Educator: Learning
and Leading in a Digital Age”
Follow me on Twitter
• THE CONNECTED EDUCATOR
Get close to someone
Twitter hashtag #sd36learn
1. Introduce yourselves and what
2. What have you been thinking
about lately in terms of
change in your school/district?
What is becoming clearer?
3. If you could change one thing
to you since we
Just admit it…
You are an agent of
Now. Always. And now
you have the tools to
leverage your ideas.
An effective change
agent is someone
who isn’t afraid to
What will change in education because
of your being here tonight?
Will you go back and …
Make a stand for?
Create an awareness of?
We have a choice: A choice to be powerful or pitiful. A
choice to allow ourselves to become victims of all that is
wrong in education or activists. Activists who set their own
course. Who resist the urge to quit prematurely. DIY change
agents who choose to be powerful learners on behalf of the
children they serve.
Mantra for tonight…
We are stronger together than apart.
None of us is as smart, creative, or
productive as all of us.
Are you Ready for Learning and
Leading in the 21st Century?
It isn’t just “coming”… it has arrived! And schools
who aren’t redefining themselves, risk becoming
irrelevant in preparing students for the future.
The world is changing….
ButI do not need to convince this group that schools
have to change.
That there is a need for a culture shift.
I do not need to convince you of the why.
Let’s remind each other.
What is the justification for change in practice
and culture for schools today?
1.The world is changing.
2.The context has shifted
3.We have amazing tools that
enable us to
connected, collaborate and
4.Schools are remaining just about
We are in the midst of seeing education transform from a
book-based, linear system with a focus on individual
achievement to an web-based, divergent system with a
focus on community building.
We have to change school culture…
Our teacher fell
-- change behaviors
-- experience success
-- creates faith
-- creates hope
-- changes beliefs, values, dispositions
Which takes LEADERSHIP
(this is where you come in)
• Believe in standardization
of the process
• Fiercely protects the
• Manipulate resources to
get the job done
• Focus is on tools and
• Expect compliance and
• Safe- Tried- True
change as a way of
solving problems and innovating
• Ask what if– builds on
strengths and what people know
and can do
• Focus on what can happen if
people (learners) know what to
do with tools for self directed
• Build thick leadership density
• Take risks and expect criticism
In Phillip Schlechty's book
Leading for Learning: How to Transform Schools into
He makes a case for transformation of schools.
Reform- installing innovations that will work
within the context of the existing culture and
structure of schools. It usually means changing
procedures, processes, and technologies with the
intent of improving performance of existing
Transformation- is intended to make it possible to do
things that have never been done by the organization
undergoing the transformation.
It involves repositioning and
reorienting action by putting an
organization into a new business
or adopting radically different
means of doing the work
Transformation includes altering the
beliefs, values, meanings- the culture- in which programs are
embedded, as well as changing the current system of
rules, roles, and relationship- social structure-so that the
innovations needed will be supported.
So as we develop our change agent vision
for learning -- How do you see it- should you
be a reformer or
a transformer and why?
Make your case for using
one or the other as a
change strategy in your
needs to change.
We know this.
----Do it Yourself PD
A revolution in technology
has transformed the way we
can find each
other, interact, and
collaborate to create
knowledge as connected
What are connected learners?
Learners who collaborate online; learners who use
social media to connect with others around the
globe; learners who engage in conversations in safe
online spaces; learners who bring what they learn
online back to their classrooms, schools, and
districts. They are DIY, self-directed learners.
Status Quo-- Things are working well most of the time.
Something happens that creates a sense of urgency to change.
A desire to learn something new. You are presented with evidence that makes
you feel something. It touches you in some way.
- a disturbing look at a problem
- a hopeful glimpse of the future
- a sobering self reflection
You see it. You feel it and you are moved to change or act or learn
One of three things happen:
1. Complacency - You are moved but fail act - telling yourself or others, "Everything
2. False urgency - You are busy, working-working-working and never reflect or
move yourself to action. You talk and it scratches the itch.
3. True urgency or passion- You are clearly focused on making real progress every
single day. Urgent behavior is driven by a belief that the world contains great
opportunities and great hazards. It inspires a gut-level determination to move, and
• Letting go of control
• Willing to unlearn & relearn
• Mindset of discovery
• Reversed mentorship
• Co-learning and co-creating
• Messy, ground zero, risk taking
Maybe a first change
step could be
your own Manifesto
practice in your school.
What strong assertions
do you and others who
serve there feel
(believe) about the
Be a learner first--educator second
It's all about asking hard questions and then listening deeply
• A connected learner isn’t afraid to admit that they don’t know the answer
to a question or problem, and willingly invite others into a dialogue to
explore, discuss, debate, or generate more questions. (@barb_english)
• Asking our questions out in the open in connected ways @lisaneale
• I believe that being a connected learner leads to more questions than
answers and that is good. I also believe that connected learners have to
learn to take risks - exposing your learning and thoughts can be challenging
• Lurkers become learners. Learners become contributors. @sjhayes8
Wonder is both a sense of awe
and capacity for contemplation.
Wonderment begins with
curiosity but then goes deeper
beyond the surface to a place of
possibility. A place we look for
patterns and testing of ideas we
had closed to our more
Wonder is to leave aside our
assumptions, peel away our
biases, and to willing explore
aspects and angles we wouldn't
have seen before.
It also helps to ask yourself questions like:
1) Why am I planning to do this?
2) How will I initiate this change?
3) Who can I connect with online in my network that can help me?
4) How will I measure my progress? Or how will I know if I am learning?
5) Am I using various social media tools for different purposes?
Networks are very “me”
purpose pick and
choose who is in your
network to learn from
Learning with networks
happens through BOTH
social and cognitive
Connected Learning has the potential to
takes us deeper
“The interconnected, interactive nature of
social learning exponentially amplifies the
rate at which critical content can be shared
and questions can be answered.”
Cathy Davidson, professor at Duke
From: Collaborative Learning for the
Digital Age in The Chronicle of Higher
Connected sometimes trumps F2F
with deep learning…
Via Marc Andreessen’s blog, the findings of researchers as related by
Frans Johansson in The Medici Effect:
Diversity of thought
Allows for Greater Innovation
Frans Johansson explores one simple yet profound insight about
innovation: in the intersection of different fields, disciplines and
cultures, there’s an abundance of extraordinary new ideas to be
Photo Credit: http://flic.kr/p/8vn7B5
ability of social tools
provides the possibility
for a more
tribe from which to
connect, leverage and
• Collaboration and teamwork allow us control our environment
• Reciprocal and trusting relationships create effective
•Social validation and social identity maintain emotional
engagement and enhance attachment to our mates and our
• Competence contributes to the survival of our group and our
sense of security and safety . ~ P. Rutledge
The Secret to Change … to a Connected School
• Humans have a natural
propensity to tribe.
• Social learning is a part of
• We all have basic needsincluding the need to belong
• Collaborative Inquiry
produces a higher level of
cognition and more joy
Photo Credit: http://newdriven.wordpress.com/2013/04/08/how-to-leverage-the-power-of-the-tribe/
Developing Your Tribe
A group of people connected to one
another, connected to a leader, connected
to an idea
Need two things:
1) Shared interest (mission)
2) A way to communicate
Personal Learning Networks (building of your tribe)
Are you mobilizing and contextualizing what you are
learning? Can I find you and learn from you?
It’s out of networks that community falls. ~ Nancy
1. Local community: Purposeful, face-to-face
connections among members of a committed group—a
professional learning community (PLC)
• THE CONNECTED EDUCATOR
2. Global network: Individually chosen, online
connections with a diverse collection of people and
resources from around the world—a personal learning
3. Bounded community: A committed, collective, and
often global group of individuals who have overlapping
interests and recognize a need for connections that go
deeper than the personal learning network or the
professional learning community can provide—a
community of practice or inquiry (CoP)
Often organized for Do-it-yourself
• THE CONNECTED EDUCATOR
To collaborate in
subject area or
grade leverl teams
For individuals to
gather info for
construction and to
bring back info to
interests and goals.
Individual, face to
face, and online
Collective, face to
face, or online
Community is the New Professional Development
Cochran-Smith and Lytle (1999a) describe three ways of knowing and constructing
Knowledge for Practice is often reflected in traditional PD efforts when a trainer shares
with teachers information produced by educational researchers. This knowledge
presumes a commonly accepted degree of correctness about what is being shared. The
learner is typically passive in this kind of "sit and get" experience. This kind of knowledge
is difficult for teachers to transfer to classrooms without support and follow through.
After a workshop, much of what was useful gets lost in the daily grind, pressures and
isolation of teaching.
Knowledge in Practice recognizes the importance of teacher experience and practical
knowledge in improving classroom practice. As a teacher tests out new strategies and
assimilates them into teaching routines they construct knowledge in practice. They learn
by doing. This knowledge is strengthened when teachers reflect and share with one
another lessons learned during specific teaching sessions and describe the tacit
knowledge embedded in their experiences.
Community is the New Professional Development
Knowledge of Practice believes that systematic inquiry where teachers create
knowledge as they focus on raising questions about and systematically studying
their own classroom teaching practices collaboratively, allows educators to
construct knowledge of practice in ways that move beyond the basics of
classroom practice to a more systemic view of learning.
I believe that by attending to the development of knowledge for, in and of
practice, we can enhance professional growth that leads to real change.
Cochran-Smith, M., & Lytle, S.L. (1999a). Relationships of knowledge and
practice: Teaching learning in communities. Review of Research in
Education, 24, 249-305.
Passive, active, and reflective knowledge building in local
(PLC), global (CoP) and contextual (PLN) learning spaces.
Dispositions and Values
Commitment to understanding asking Dedication to the
Explores ideas and
concepts, rethinking, revising, and
Shares and contributes
continuously repacks and
urges to finish prematurely
Engages in strength-based approaches
and appreciative inquiry
Co-learner, Co-leader, Co-creator
Self directed, open minded
Willingness to leaving one's comfort
Commits to deep reflection
zone to experiment with new strategies
and taking on new responsibilities
Transparent in thinking
Values and engages in a culture of
is community, really?
Very “we” oriented. We do not choose who is part of our
community. We make a commitment to grow together and
improve at the art and science of teaching and learning. It is
more collegial than congenial. It is more collaborative than
The New Third Place?
“All great societies provide informal meeting places, like
the Forum in ancient Rome or a contemporary
English pub. But since World War II, America has
ceased doing so. The neighborhood tavern hasn't
followed the middle class out to the suburbs...” -- Ray
A Community of Practice is a network of individuals with common
problems or interests who get together to explore ways of
working, identify common solutions, and share good practice and
• puts you in touch with like-minded colleagues and peers
• allows you to share your experiences and learn from others
• allows you to collaborate and achieve common outcomes
• accelerates your learning
• Improves student achievement
• validates and builds on existing knowledge and good practice
• provides the opportunity to innovate and create new ideas
“ Do you know what who you know knows?” H. Rheingold
Critical friends: Form a professional learning team who come together
voluntarily at least once a month. Have members commit to improving
their practice through collaborative learning. Use protocols to examine
each other’s teaching or leadership activities and share both warm and
cool feedback in respectful ways.
Curriculum review or mapping groups: Meet regularly in teams to
review what team members are teaching, to reflect together on the
impact of assumptions that underlie the curriculum, and to make
collaborative decisions. Teams often study lesson plans together.
Action research groups: Do active, collaborative research focused
on improvement around a possibility or problem in a
classroom, school, district, or state.
Book study groups: Collaboratively read and discuss a book in an
Case studies: Analyze in detail specific situations and their
relationship to current thinking and pedagogy. Write, discuss, and
reflect on cases using a 21st century lens to produce collaborative
reflection and improve practice.
Instructional rounds: Adopt a process through which
educators develop a shared practice of observing each
other, analyzing learning and teaching from a research
perspective, and sharing expertise.
Connected coaching: Assign a connected coach to
individuals on teams who will discuss and share teaching
practices in order to promote collegiality and help educators
think about how the new literacies inform current teaching
Connected Learning Communities provide the personal
learning environment (PLE) to do the nudging
"Imagine an organization with an employee who can accurately see the
truth, understand the situation, and understand the potential outcomes of various
decisions. And now imagine that this person is able to make something happen." ~
Leverage the Tribe
Connected Communities (Tribes) are forming everywhere
• You have the tools you need at your fingertips
• Your faculty, your students, your school community– need/want
• We are all leaders…
• You were called to lead..Not manage
• Inside, Outside, Upside Down
Connected learners are more effective
Real Question is this:
Are we willing to change- to risk change- to meet the needs
of the precious folks we serve?
Can you accept that Change (with a “big” C) is sometimes a
messy process and that learning new things together is
going to require some tolerance for ambiguity.
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