Life Long Learners

The district in which I work is an amazing district, full of truly dedicated educators and people who really care about kids.  They want to make a difference.  And they do. Each and every day.

Last week, I blogged about the wonderful initiatives being provided to the administrators in our district: study groups, independent studies, action research, and a new Digital Exploration series.  You can read more about these initiatives in Exciting Things Are Happening.

I could almost not contain my excitement last night when I read a tweet by one of our Directors of Instruction, @ECSD36 which read,

Starting a Digital Exploration series 4 administrators. So far, 171 principals & vps have signed up. Lots of interest. #bced #sd36 #cpchat.

171!  That is amazing.  I’m not sure what the percentage of administrators that is who have signed up so far, but it is quite high (and there are still two more days to sign up).

This makes me very excited for a number of reasons.

  • It demonstrates the need for such a non-threatening, interactive opportunity for learning.
  • It demonstrates what a wonderful group of leaders we have in our district who are committed to life-long learning.
  • Once the administrators come on board then the real sustainable impact will begin to happen in schools.
  • I’m just excited by innovation, change, growth, and reflection – all of which will be rampant in our district with the implementation of this series.

While I am only one of a group of administrators who have offered to help plan and facilitate these sessions, I have already been thinking of a number of topics that could be presented at these sessions.  I think it is important to remember though, the topics must be narrow in their focus so that administrators can really explore the topic and not become too over-whelmed in the process.

So, some topics that I’ve thought about that would be great for administrators to explore include:

  • Twitter

This is a huge topic in itself, but it could be run in at least two sessions. The first session could be signing up and a brief introduction of hashtags, and other basics.  Subsequent sessions could be topics such as: Who to Follow, Tweetdeck, Chat sessions. 

  • Blogging

The why and hows of setting up a blog. We could also look at a number of great blogs that would be great to follow as administrators. We could also introduce administrators to Google Reader.

  • Web 2.0 Tools

There could be a number of sessions just on various Web2.0 tools: Prezi, Glogster, Diigo, among many others. It would be important not to put more than one Web2.0 tool in one session though, I think. Again, we don’t want to overwhelm people, but give them an opportunity to explore and become excited about technology and what it has to offer. We want to provide administrators with tools they can use in their work and tools they can introduce to their own staff.

  • iPads

This will be an important topic because many administrators will be receiving an iPad. It would be great if they could learn to use it together.  Again, with everything I have read about the iPad, this could be a topic that could be focussed on a number of times throughout the year.

There are so many different topics.  The ones I have mentioned above are only a small number of those that could actually be explored in this series.  Having said that, I think this is a series that could run over a number of YEARS not just one school year.

What would you suggest as important topics for administrators new to technology?

Published by Tia M. Dawson

There are many things that define who I am as a person. First of all, I am a mother of 3 wonderful children! I can not express how fortunate we are to have our children in our life! Secondly, I am an elementary educator who recently returned to the classroom after 12+ years as an elementary school administrator. Lastly, I am passionate about helping others, learning about abuse, helping others in abusive relationships, and helping others understand their worth.

2 thoughts on “Life Long Learners

  1. Although I applaud what you are doing and saying, the statement “Once the administrators come on board then the real sustainable impact will begin to happen in schools.” raised a question. Once your administrator sees this series, how does he share it with his staff? When a teacher goes to a session he/she comes back to the department and shares. How is the admin team sharing this information with the rest of the school. When he/she learns about IPads and it’s implications to the school, what “actions” and not reactions are done to pass it forward? I am happy that the administration team learns how to use Twitter, encourages technology in the school, and supports learning enhanced by technology, but with these session, ask the administrator to bring with him/her a teacher that will use this learning in their classroom.

    By the way, love your blogs, I’m a fan.

    1. Hi Nicole,
      Thanks for your response! I appreciate you taking the time to write such a thoughtful response. I think I should clarify what I said. While I do think that teachers can lead with technology and they do and do a wonderful job, I think that we need to get more administrators on board in terms of technology in the classrooms. It is my hope that once administrators take the risk, move out of their comfort zone and learn about technology and what it has to offer to them as administrators, then they will begin to understand how this technology can be implemented in the classrooms. It is then when it becomes more likely that the financial support that is needed to purchase new technology in the schools will begin to take place. If administrators do not understand what technology has to offer, the financial piece becomes a difficult one (I used to think the same way as many of my fellow administrators).

      I do believe that many administrators need to learn and become comfortable with technology themselves first. Taking that step with fellow administrators, in a safe environment will, hopefully, allow them to take this first important step. I would hope then that the administrators would use their new knowledge in their own practise as administrators and become models of learning for the teachers / staff in the schools. Once the administrator models some of his/her own learning, the teachers may use this information when teaching his/her own students. OR, the administrator could team-teach with a classroom teacher to demonstrate or work through new learnings together.

      I see these sessions as a first step, really. Perhaps, once the administrators gain some new knowledge around technology, and once job-action is over, then real sharing and collaboration throughout the school can happen. It is difficult right now because of job action. I am very optimistic though that it can and will happen. It is all so exciting!

      At my school, we have both myself (VP) and our Principal going to the other “Engaging the Digital Learner” series, along with 6 of our classroom teachers. THIS is also so exciting and I am so glad that the classroom teachers are participating in this worth-while series. It is imperative that the teachers are able to bring this learning into their classrooms.

      Thanks again for your comment and your compliment on my blog. It’s been fun diving into blogging.

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