My job as a technology integration specialist is to push teachers and students to change. I try to “preach” that this change is necessary and good for all involved: teachers, students, parents, heck, society as a whole. Change comes easy for some, for others….ummmm…yeah, not so much! I do think that is it imperative that I practice what I preach when it comes to innovation. George Couros has challenged us this week with this question.
“Change is an opportunity to do something amazing.” How are you embracing change to spur innovation in your own context?
The district leadership team came up with a list of seven principles that will help guide our six schools as we implement innovative teaching practices. These seven principles have been dubbed 709 Above the Line. Above the line referring to the upper rungs of the SAMR model that we have used to help guide guide teachers as they implemented 1:1 iPads into their classrooms. This phrase will hopefully permeate the district as a whole as we move forward. We have started using #709abovetheline when we post to Twitter or Facebook.
- Student Engagement: Students are engaged when they have an active commitment to challenge themselves by demonstrating ownership of their learning.
- Collaboration: Collaboration is a dynamic process whereby members (students) can have a respectful and authentic analysis of ideas toward a shared educational goal, which involves critical thinking and problem solving.
- Innovation: Innovation occurs when a teacher gives students the freedom to use their intellectual creativity to solve a problem, answer a question or determine a NEW WAY to accomplish something.
- Quality of Creation: Quality of creation is evident when the product demonstrates higher level thinking skills were used to show mastery of a skill or concept.
- Meaningful Outcomes: A product should show a student’s creativity or ingenuity while also displaying a depth of understanding of the content.
- Problem-Solving: Problem-solving should show complex, creative, logical thought by students to solve a new, authentic problem.
- Higher-Order Questioning: Higher-order questioning should require a complex response requiring students to analyze, apply, predict or synthesize information in such a way that it prompts additional conversation by the class.
I have been tasked with developing multiple professional development opportunities for each of the seven, giving me an outlet to practice what I preach. Feeling strongly that most professional development that has been offered to teachers has not been effective because it was given in sit and get sessions with the whole district in one place at the same time, my goal is to offer opportunities that teachers can pick and choose based upon their comfort level, and most importantly, their interest level. While a challenging task, developing these PD options has provided me a way to do what I am asking classrooms teacher to do…innovate! I am currently in the process of creating panel discussions with volunteer teachers to share what/why/how they are providing “above the line” experiences in their classrooms. These discussions will be provided through Google Hangouts On-Air (now YouTube Live)**. This allows for teachers to watch the event live, or because it is automatically posted to Youtube, whenever they can find the time. The hope is that teachers in our district will have more interest in hearing about the innovative practices their colleagues are using in the classroom than they might from an “outsider.” I have gotten a great response from teachers who are willing to share their classrooms with others…my job is to connect them with teachers who are willing to listen and hopefully take a chance on trying something new and innovative with their students.
**- This is a resource that you need to try! I did it a few times before IMMOOC, but I am loving seeing other ways of using it!