Connected Principals Posts

Will students be using their laptops primarily for taking notes in lecture?


Above is a common question I hear these days as we unfold our new 1:1 laptop program.   No, not primarily, I explain, and then launch into a slightly too-elaborated explanation of empowering our students with the digital tools they need to best implement Aristotle’s advice (yes, 4th century BCE Aristotle) of learning by doing– learning to create, to communicate, to collaborate in the most modern ways by doing all these things digitally and on-line.

I think we have a problem in education, that of the misunderstanding of the potential uses and value of digitally integrated learning, and I think the solution lies at least in part in rallying around the concept, and incredible power, of the Web 2.0.

Naming things is significant; a name might be simple, might be short, might be seen as jargon, but with a name something becomes referable, deployable, scalable that much easier.   Web 2.0 is this term, and offers this power.

Over the past few years I have had heard the term;  it was zinging around out there on the periphery of much of my very much developing thinking.  But lately it has meaningfully converged– this is the term, so simple and short a term, to capture a concept that has become so very significant to me.

And yet, I fear that still only few educators know the term and understand its implications for teaching and learning.   Eric Sheninger, who is an excellent New Jersey principal and blogger/tweeter, recently tweeted that he interviewed four different Science teaching candidates, and not a one knew what web 2.0 meant.  I think this needs to change.

The concept of Web 2.0 has been becoming more compelling to me as I think about how to frame and artic Read More Web 2.0: the key concept for organizing

First posted by Janet Avery in March, 2010 Last week our edchat topic was concerning teacher morale. There was great discussion as to how it may or may not affect…

Read More Morale is a Team Effort

I recently finished reading Milton Chen’s latest book, Education Nation: Six Leading Edges of Innovation in Our Schools. The whole premise behind Chen’s book is that the United States can…

Read More Making Innovation a Reality in Schools

My contribution to Leadership Day, 2010:

I have had the incredibly good fortune (for which I am so grateful) to be an educational leader for 13 years now, but only in the past several years have I sought to be come an educational leader– and it’s been a great ride, one I wish all my school leadership colleagues will take!  Here is a smattering of thoughts on techniques for 21st century ed leadership, with one most important message: today more than ever, leadership is about learning, and those of us who aim to lead learning must be ourselves Chief Learners in order to be Chiefs of Learning.

Focus on yourself.   You must become the change you wish to see in your schools.  Unfortunately, this can be hard if we are, as I think I was, trapped in a fixed mindset.  Carol Dweck’s book Mindset was critical to me; she explains how there are only two mindsets, fixed and growth, and many of us, students and even more so adults, are trapped in a fixed mindset.  In this, we think we are what we have been, and cannot become something different.  We think that to seek to grow, to learn, to change will demonstrate weakness, flaws, or failings.  We think that if we have not been, in our past, digitally savvy, then we cannot change ourselves.  But if we take Dweck and adopt a growth mindset, there is nothing we cannot become.

Having adopted a growth mindset and made the pledge to learn and grow, start and don’t stop learning.  Reframe your own self-image as Principal, Head or Superintendent; you are not just Chief of Learning but you are Chief Learner, you are Learner-in-Chief. Read More Learner-in-Chief: Leading in 21st century education

On July 20, 2010 I was granted an opportunity to deliver a keynote at the NYSCATE Leadership Summit in Troy, NY.  The topic of my talk was, “Leadership in the Digital…

Read More Roadblocks to Change

I was asked today what I think an administrator's role is in 21st Century Learning. Here was my response. The most important aspect of 21st century learning is getting our…

Read More An Administrator's Responsibility

The post below is a leadership philosophy that I wrote after reading the Tao of Leadership by John Heider.  The four Tao's listed below outline some traits that I feel are…

Read More Tao of Leadership

“Teacher need to be intimately involved in the conceptualization and direction of school reform…teacher knowledge needs to be an integral part of the process”  — Carol Reed A few months…

Read More Shared Decisions and Abolishing Awards

As we get closer to school, I have been thinking more about our new Buddypress/WordPress MU (Multi User) site and how it can really take our students further in their…

Read More Vision For Our School Website

Yesterday, I mentioned a few technology blogs that I feel all educators need to follow.  Today, I am going to mention a few of the bloggers who inspire me because…

Read More Bloggers Who Inspire Me Daily

As an adminstrator in school, it is essential that you define “WHY” you do things in school.  This will not only help to solidify ideas and ensure that you are…

Read More The Golden Circle

An effective teacher understands their students and creates opportunities for them to learn based on each student’s needs.  This is one way that we help each student learn based on their prior knowledge while creating opportunities for them to further their own learning.  Often though, our school professional development plans are based on a “one-size fits all” mentality that is nothing of the sort.  Now due to budget constraints that schools have, and a lack of time afforded to teachers, this is sometimes the only option that we have.  If we can help it as administrators though, we should try to differentiate the learning to help move people along based on their own learning and needs..  This is ESPECIALLY true in the area of technology integration. Read More A Technology Plan Based On Differentiated Learning

I recently wrote my thoughts on what make a “master teacher”.  Little is said though about what makes a “master principal”.  Instead of reinventing the wheel, I thought I would share an article that I use to guide my practice as a principal.  The qualities listed in this article by Cindi Rigsbee , hang above my office and I try to embody them each day.  Here are the qualities that are listed: Read More What Makes a Master Principal?