Learn from Your Middle – NOT Lead from the Middle

After reflecting on many presentations and discussions about the idea of “Leading from the Middle”, I decided to create a short media presentation on my current thinking in this area.  I believe the concept of “Leading from the Middle” should be renamed and branded as “Learning from Your Middle”.  As shared in the video below, I believe your middle within a school district are the people closer to the student than you.  As we serve our middles, build strong learning connections and gather information, we ultimately help them accelerate the learning of all students.

Below is a presentation I gave in May 2014 that provides further explanation on the idea of building learning connections.

Creating a Continuous Innovation Web of Connected V+ Learning

Being the Lead Digital Learner Isn’t as Hard as You Think

Key Points on Being the Lead Digital Learner

  1. There are no experts, we are all learning together.
  2. Being the lead learner in our schools, means modelling that we don’t know, yet want to learn.
  3. Our learning will make our jobs easier and learning better for all our students.
Being the lead digital learner in your classroom, school or system can seem to be an unobtainable goal for administrators and teachers, however, it’s not about reaching a goal, it’s about what you model and learn along the way.  There is a perception out there that administrators or teachers need to fully grasp all the facets of a new digital tool, program, application or website before using with their staff or students.  Every Board has a vetted Library Commons loaded with great resources and links that are a great place for students to begin their inquiry projects.  Everyone in the school community can then apply their critical thinking skills to determine if the  digital tool, program, application or website is value added, meaning it helps them reach their goal, or waste.  If we do all the learning and critical thinking for them, meaning teachers and students, they won’t develop this very important skill themselves.

Why Do We Need to Lead the Learning Now

  • Schools and Boards are ready (iPads, Wi-Fi, BYOD, GAFE…)
  • —Provides authentic innovation for your school community grounded in student learning and achievement
  • —Truly enables and encourages Differentiated Instruction and Universal Design for Learning
  • —­> Digital Capacity = ­> Influence & Autonomy
  • —Culture of critical thinking about when to use a digital/traditional learning tool and why

Focus Areas

Administration & Management

  • —The tasks administrators and educators perform as a regular part of their professional responsibilities
    • —Timetabling
    • —Emails
    • —School Based Teams & Multi-Disciplinary Teams

Student Learning & Achievement

  • —The activities administrators, educators and students lead or participate in that enable increased student learning and achievement
Focus Areas

Value Added & Waste

Shifting Time & Energy

Being the Lead Learner

  • —You cannot know or understand everything
  • —Modelling that you don’t know or understand is the most powerful action you can take to improve student learning
  • —Pick only one thing to learn this year
    • —Ask students and play
    • —Ask teachers and play
    • —Ask administrators and play

How Can We Help Each Other

  • —Sharing an idea, a form, a process or an example of something that is V+
    • —Twitter #edwrdsb
    • —Google Apps for Education (GAFE)
    • —Must be in draft form and therefore not perfect