Richard Wells builds upon a preview post. I have written about trees before and the way in which they each grow in their own way, depending on a multiplicity of reasons. Interestingly, Yong Zhao suggests that gardeners are in fact dictators. In part, this is what Bernard Bull touches on when explaining that how we pick the produce impacts what produce we pick. What I find intriguing about gardens is that they do not stop growing if we stop caring for them, something that I learnt when my mother died.
Replied to A Note to My Child’s Teacher by Bill Ferriter (Tempered Radical)
I guess what I am saying is that I want my kid — a kid who has never really felt appreciated by a teacher — to walk away from your room each day convinced that you care about her as a person.  If you can pull that off, you will change her life for the better — and in the end, that’s our primary responsibility as classroom teachers.
I love this post Bill. It has me thinking about my own daughter’s teachers. I was wondering though about a different response, celebrating the successes or strengths of the teachers?

When I think about the teachers my daughter has had, there are a number of things that have stood out? For me, it has been relationships and a focus on strengths.

Originally posted at Read Write Collect

Checked into Google Innovator Energizer (Sydney)
The Sydney Google Energiser event was held at Google Sydney in Darling Harbour. It was designed to give an opportunity to work with each other on the newest latest that Google for Education has to offer. What interested me was finding out where Google was moving, both in and out of education.

Dan Stratford framed the day explaining that Google’s current push is not necessarily about technology, but rather the development of cultures of change and having meaningful impact. This is all a part of Project Culture Shift, the push to encourage people to learn from failure and success in the development of solutions. It is intriguing to consider this from a policy perspective (read chapter four of Ben Williamson’s book Big Data in Education). Also the reference to ‘impact’ always seems so intertwined with the work of John Hattie and Visible Learning.

The session digging further into cultural change was facilitated by the O’Briant Group. The initial conversation was about what actually constitutes ‘culture’. It was suggested that we make our culture each and every day. Chris Betcher argued that it was:

The things that you don’t need to talk about.

We then did a few activities including using our ‘superpowers’ to frame culture of our table group.

Superpower Activity via the Obriant Group

What these two activities were designed to do was to highlight the way that culture can be developed through the way we do things and with this the stories that we tell. One of the problems is that we can talk all day, the challenge is start from a central story.

Another part of culture are our everyday rituals and routines. Through our rituals and routines we create our daily experience. For me this is pumping Disney ballads in the car while driving the girls to school each day.

Thinking about rituals and routines from an organisational perspective, some that were raised included: marking the roll (daily), staff meetings (weekly) and report writing (yearly)

Taking a different tact, the focus turned to the four foundations at the heart of change and innovation:

  • Curiosity (Wonder, Experiment, Play)
  • Agency (Own, Initiate, Problem-Solve and Create)
  • Collaboration (connect, synergise, share, cross-pollinate)
  • Risk-taking (Dream big, reach, experiment and try)

Beyond these four, it was stated that innovation cannot thrive without a foundation of psychological safety. More often than not success and failure comes back to ‘safety’.

In a team with high psychological safety, teammates feel safe to take risks around their team members. They feel confident that no one on the team will embarrass or punish anyone else for admitting a mistake, asking a question, or offering a new idea.source

Some other characteristics that support change include fallible authority where we are all ‘experts’ but we can all make mistakes. Also stepping back to give a chance for somebody else to move forward.

The day was also broken up with a range of lightening pitches, which included Emil Zankov’s wondering about the next step with Chromebooks (NAPLAN) and Michael Ha’s idea of 365 days of inspiring teachers from around the world (sign up here).

The day ended with a series of Sparktalks. I presented one on the Modern Learning Canvas:

Modern Learning Canvas
Scrap SAMR’s four steps to edtech nirvana. Don’t get lost in TPack’s tri-venn.
Create the future by telling the whole story in a clear and concise manner using the Modern Learning Canvas

I also attended presentations by Marto Shaw on Google for administrators, as well as Sheets with Jay Atwood. I never cease to come away with something from Jay’s sessions. This time it was:

  • Double click with the Ctrl key held down to fill down something like an identifier.
  • Powertools add-on to breakdown the splitting process.
  • Pivot Tables as a means of asking questions of data.
Bookmarked Every School is a Good School | It's All About Learning (
John Goh reflects on his experiences of the Singapore education system. He does so making comparisons with education in New South Wales. He touches on training, the structure of the day, doing less and lifelong learning. This provides a different perspective to Pak Tee Ng’s work.
Bookmarked AEU : Turnbull’s secret school curriculum changes leave teaching profession in the dark (
"Teachers were overwhelmed and their stress levels skyrocketed. Data about student outcomes is useful, but it should be kept in the classroom. It should not be about clicking thousands of boxes. Data needs to help us inform teaching decisions, not determine them." Correna Haythorpe
This is a reminder of the dependencies involved in the move to such things as ‘personalised Learning’. Whether it be clear progressions or concensus, much of these decisions undermine any notion of agency and again focus on ‘learnification‘.