Are you learning “just in time”? Right now?

Photo Credit: Logo of www.edurolearning.com

I couldn’t be more thankful for my learning experience during the course “Microcredential: The Coach” with www.edurolearning.com over the last eight month. The learning was just in time (instead of just in case), meaningful und extremely relevant in the context of my work at GESS (German European School Singapore) as an Educational Technology Coach. I truly feel empowered. The school took a huge step in a new direction by creating an EdTech Plan for the coming years. The goal is to implement the ISTE Standards and to give all stakeholders of the community individualized opportunities to learn. This will enhance and transform the learning of our students. Again, I couldn’t ask for more than being part of this change.

The course and its topics as well as all social media activities of Edurolearning provided me a huge amount of resources (videos, articles, blog posts) and a deeper understanding of a variety of topics. It was always clear to me what the learning intentions are and how the connection to the ISTE Standards for Educators looks like. In the forum of each chapter we got the chance to develop our ideas and reflect about learning or action we took.

Starting and Growing your Personal Learning Network (PLN)

Photo Credit: Share via flickr.com

More than ever my PLN is most important source for my learning. The inspiration, the exchange, the collaboration, the knowledge and the experiences of the people is immense. Hashtags are the most important tool not to get lost. Twitter chats make possible to have conversations with like-minded educators. I found my role models on Twitter and I’m inspired by how they are using the tools with the goal to empower others and to give everybody a voice. Recently I thankfully took the idea of Craig Kemp (@mrkempnz) to welcome new Twitter user.

I often get the feedback from teachers that they don’t want another social media thingy. I hope to make them understand sooner or later the benefits of being out there and that it is a lot about setting priorities and the perception of yourself as a learner, life-long learner.

I feel the need to bring my use of the Twitter to the next level, meaning to give back to the community. There is way more than lurking, tweeting, retweeting. It’s about creating, collaborating, communicating and then sharing as much as possible. It’s about learning from each other and about getting encouraged so the change in education will happen.

I couldn’t agree more with my course mate Nick (@NicholasKGarvin) who said:

“The more I share, the more I become comfortable as a prosumer. The more I put myself out there, the more I grow as an educator. The more I grow, the more confident I become in my willingness to share.”

Pedagogical Approaches for the Connected Classroom

As much as I love and enjoy my position as EdTech Coach where I can initiate change through small steps and big decisions this course within the “Microcredential: The Coach” made me wonder how it would be if I was in the classroom again. I wish the learning becomes more meaningful and relevant. I wish the projects are more individualized as well as connected to their passions and interests. I wish an authentic audience is interested in their learning experiences, gives the students constructive feedback, and sharing is just the norm. I wish school world would more relate to the real world and competencies are the priority.

I believe to drive any change, educators need to experience it themselves. School can support this by creating a professional development policy which allows to become a truly life-long learner. Teachers need to get the chance to work at a school where a culture of learning is defined and lived by everybody in a very meaningful way. Their working environment should give room for individualization, collaboration, communication, curiosity and improvement. Their learning experience should be driven by their personal goals and sharing is – again – just the norm. Then a community of learners with the same interest has a chance to grow and it becomes beneficial for everybody.

With the change of mindset through seeing role models and experiencing all above mentioned  it will have an impact on students’ learning. Additionally, creating and sharing concrete examples would boost the change. During this chapter of the course I started thinking about the personal project: Connecting Grade 1 Students globally.

Reflecting about this chapter wants me to reactivate a group of different stakeholders at our school (called IT committee last year – I need a new name though). I wish we could discuss about all how learning looks like in a 1:1 environment and how we as educators have to react to the change.

I most probably won’t be a classroom teacher anymore. As a coach I see the potential to support educators and to engage in partnerships in order to take the risk and initiate the change.

Digital Citizenship in the classroom

My learning during this chapter couldn’t be more current and relevant too. The school integrated digital citizenship already in various ways but by creating and implementing the edTech plan it hopefully will have more structure.

We still need to ask ourselves:

  • What is our vision?
  • How does the implementation look like? How will it be organized?
  • How will you get buy in from your educators and staff?
  • What PD will be necessary?
  • What are necessary policies?
  • How will it be promoted and communicated to the wider community (educators, parents, students)?
  • What are the success criteria and how will it be measured?
  • How will the teachers  be hold accountable for teaching the lessons?
  • How are the councilor is involved?
  • What obstacles do you foresee in implementation? How will you overcome these obstacles?

For this course I started thinking about an action plan that will help to bring the school to the next level.

A question and challenge on another plate is – how do we get educators to experience the power of global connections by using Twitter or others social media? How do they see themselves as a (digital) citizen? I would love to see a Twitter summer challenge (inspired by #SummerLS). Anybody interested to collaborate on this? Please contact me.

Coaching: From Theory to Practice

This part of the “Microcredential: The Coach” was very intense. It addresses the questions: Why? How? Challenges? Coaching for school-wide change? Bringing coaching into school?

ISTE Standards for Coaches

It made me reflect about my current job and how I envision the work with teachers. The ISTE Standards for Coaches describe it very detailed but the reality looks different. A coach needs to get the chance to partner with teachers in order to be a committed listener, to give the coachee protected time and ask open and powerful questions. To be successful it is important to build relationships and to understand how an adult processes learning. I still have to work on finding my coaching style. But I can definitely start with stop talking. Instead listening.

The following article stuck in my mind: Cultivate Coachability with these 5 mindsets. I wish to cultivate my coaching practice by the following:

  • A relationship mindset
  • A listening mindset
  • A growth mindset
  • A accountability mindset
  • A support mindset

As a final project for this course I created a Professional Development Plan. The goal of the school is the following:

The school wants to build a collaborative, supportive and engaged community of learners who experience professional development less as an event but as a learning process. It increases the effectiveness of the educators and focuses on the improvement of student’s learning. It requires knowledgeable leaders who advocate and support the learners as well as who provides necessary resources.

It focuses on

  • Learning leaders (students and teachers) / PLCs
  • PD opportunities for teachers
  • PD through individual and peer coaching

I would love to see all this implemented but I’m also very much aware that it takes time.

Leading the Digital Shift: Technology for Leaders

My take-away of this chapter is the fact that school doesn’t only educate children anymore – it’s about the whole community who is involved, who has a voice and has to be educated. We depend on collaboration in order to meet the demand of change.

I strongly believe that a vision should be created by all stakeholders:

Leadership – From a perspective of pedagogy leadership needs to drive the initiate, the change, the innovation of learning. By being part of the development they are taking ownership and therefore they are able to communicate the believes to all staff.

Teachers – Teachers need to be involved because it will be them to live the vision in order to thrive the innovation and to enhance the learning of the students.

Parents – Parents are an important part of the community and they have a strong interest in the best education for their children. We want them to be engaged in their children’s learning and to understand why the meaningful integration of technology enhances the learning.

Students – Students need to have a voice because the world and therefore the students and their way of learning has changed. We want them to use technology in a proactive way in order to have an impact on their communities.

I strongly believe that for a successful 1:1 program all stakeholders need to be engaged in the change of teaching and learning. That probably looks different for each group but no one can be left out.

Again, I hope our EdTech plan structured by the ISTE Essential Conditions will lay the foundation for deeper discussions and learning opportunities. It’s a start.

Having a coach

Having a coach myself was very much appreciated and made the whole experience more valuable. A huge thank you to Diana (@dianabeabout) who was my coach for the last 7-8 month. I was lucky enough to meet her already  at the last Learning2 in Shanghai. She is an fantastic listener and always gave me the feeling that she values what I have to say.

The empowerment I got through coaching convinced me about the importance of establishing a coaching culture within a school.

Who is interested:

Additional reflections about the course with Diana (@dianabeabout), Kim (@mscofino) and Nick (@NicholasKGarvin): The Coach Microcredential Interview: Nick & Verena, Featuring Diana (YouTube)

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