I started out reading Digital Leadership recently and almost immediately got up in search of a highlighter. Lots of gold nuggets, words of wisdom, research, and solid advice in this book by Eric Sheninger. The highlighter works for marking these things, but I soon was also making dog-eared pages. These pages are my fast-find, usable action step pages. I have dog-eared many – more than in reality will happen! Anyway, if you don’t read this book (which you should!), maybe these bite-size treats will give you something to chew on.
One of my favorite highlights is:
Each school is an autonomous body with distinct dynamics that make it unique. It’s the small changes over time that will eventually leave a lasting impact. Schools and educators need to be empowered to make these changes as they see fit. These are the keys to learning with technology. (p. 70)
There are so many choices and best-direction steps that many schools are using. It’s very freeing to know that what your school and my school are doing are the right steps in growing in the digital age even though our process may be different. We have different starting points, various experiences and training among staff, and a gamut of socio-economics impacting where we begin and where we go. One thing we all have in common is that we all gain a tremendous amount as we share, learn, collaborate, suggest, and refine. Start something, try something, and share something among your staff.
Learn as you go and learn together. You don’t have to know it all. Connectedness brings a flow of learning, and there are many ways for this to happen. In Ch. 8 titled Professional Growth and Development, it’s about building your Personal Learning Network (PLN) through options such as blogs, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and Edmodo. These are all are types of two-way communication which grows your knowledge further than isolated learning. Do you have someone you can seek out to help you start your path of building your PLN? If you do need a place to start, check out Common Sense Media, “Three Sizzling Ways to Expand Your Personal Learning Networks This Summer.”
My dog-eared page for action from Ch. 9 references include digital literacy and citizenship curriculum to implement in school, also found here at this Common Sense Media link. Keep in mind that digital literacy isn’t a unit of study. Rather, in my classroom last year, it was ongoing, similar to learning and using manners in that it’s discussion and practice and probably offers chances for improvement, too!
Maybe by now you’re thinking this sounds pretty good, but what about the time to learn new things? After all, we’re talking about teachers becoming transformed by digital learning for self, for students, for communication with others. Teachers are in “digital transition” and need time for discovering and learning.
Knowing this, here’s my next dog-eared page which is Appendix D: “Professional Growth Period (Autonomy, Mastery, Purpose)”, a very important and valuable example given by Eric Sheninger at his school. Teachers have continual learning time built in to semesters: 2 to 3 duty periods off per week for improving professional practice. Resources are given such as Classroom 2.0 and Educators PLN, as well as a list of face-to-face training topics such as Twitter and Blogging. This scheduling sounds miraculous to me! At the least, we have shared resources and food for thought.
My closing highlight – Your learning is vital to lead your students:
Digital leadership in its finest form: students using real-world tools to enhance learning, with the leader modeling appropriate and effective use every step of the way. (p. 187)
Good luck and best wishes as you carve out time for some of your own digital transition learning.
What’s a favorite go-to resource page or personal growth experience that’s made a difference for you?