Replied to Networking, PLNs and Design Thinking – Design and Play Podcast by Steve Brophy (designandplay.com.au)

Where have we been? Steve begins by sharing the behind the scenes of the new University Campus at Ivanhoe. Year 9 is traditionally recognised as the year where students provide the most challenges in terms of disengagement, behaviour, and lack of direction. But is Year 8 the new Year 9? Dean and Steve talk about how their collective schools approach this challenge.

Design thinking pops up again (it does in every episode!) and Dean reflects on his human-centred approach to learning and schooling after appearing at the Leadership Exchange. Networking is a key factor in this approach and Dean and Steve talk about their respective network development journeys. The lone genius is a myth as the greatest ideas of our time have come from people bouncing off each other. Dean proposes 5 key stages of networking from his own experience.

Stages of networking

  1. Reach out
  2. Twitter – Twitter chats, hashtags, following thought leaders. LinkedIn
  3. Blog – evolve thinking
  4. Giving more – connect with people on a deeper level and work together. Reading
  5. Outside networks – bringing ideas from outside education

The Design and Play podcast began due to a desire to do deep work together. The learning that we do within our networks needs to evolve. We also jump into design inspired archetypes to help break our assumptions about schools and leadership. Do you have a bias towards actions or do you embrace ambiguity? Finally, we discuss 1:1 programs and our questions and worries about the current state of our own programs. The wicked problem – how do we best serve our students’ needs with technology? Is our current approach enough?

Great to have you back on the airwaves Dean and Steve. I thought you both might have gotten stuck down a well.

Really interesting comments about 1:1. For me, if it is not being done right or with intent, then it is worth questioning it. Also, left thinking about PLN and the way in which it changes and morphs over time. I too have gone off Twitter a little bit. Still happy to engage, just with more purpose I guess.

Something that I was left wondering about after listening was the role of the survey. I know that we can ask questions and do quizzes (something that has come up with Gonski 2.0), but I was really intrigued by Donna Lanclos’ argument against all this.

In a recent presentation, she put out the call:

Please, let’s not profile people.

When you are asking your students and staff questions, perhaps it should not be in a survey. When you are trying to figure out how to help people, why not assume that the resources you provide should be seen as available to all, not just the ones with “identifiable need?

As much as it is easy, lean, agile, what is the cost of this efficiency and quick feedback?

Listened Taking the time to be offline by Dean Pearman from Design and Play
In our first real episode for 2018, we revisit the importance of offline time and switching off. This is always a challenge when work is something you are incredibly passionate about. How do we develop good work habits when the lines are blurred so much? We explore the third space, a concept developed by Adam Fraser designed to help people transfer better between work and space. We once again circle back on time tracking and managing our time. We explore the value of what to measure when tracking time. Steve explains his tracking of interruptions and the use of reticular activation to intentionally manage his focus and habits. We talk about the books we read and those that just couldn’t bring ourselves to read (#blurredlines). This leads to a rich discussion on real evidence of learning and design thinking as a mental model. Student centred learning features as Dean explores his school’s new Inspire Me curriculum and the removal of the curriculum safety net.
Replied to How to strive and thrive by using fuzzy goals and mental models (transformative learning)
What do you do when the end goal is not as clear? The answer is fuzzy goals
Goal setting is such an interesting topic. Smart goals seems to be a lot of people’s default. I have reflected before on the need to be open when developing pedagogical practices:

More than just SMART, the purpose of goals are to provide focus. A useful guide is the How Might We question, as it incorporate the what, the when and who in a succinct manner. In addition to this, I have found the Modern Learning Canvas useful in regards identifying particular points of innovation.

This is something Vivian Robinson touches on in Student-Centred Leadership:

When goals involve new challenges, how can you possibly know if it is achievable, if it is realistic, and how long it will take you to achieve it? In the absence of such knowledge, it may be better to set a learning goal or a broader performance goal that expresses your shared commitments and helps keep you focused.

The problem in a world driven by data and accountability, we are often uncomfortable with embracing the wicked and fussyness of the unknown.

Replied to Revealing a heavy heart and awakening through fear and dialogue (transformative learning)
I learnt that I’m not afraid of public speaking. I actually enjoy speaking in public. I’m afraid of the feeling of being judged in public. I’m afraid of letting go and not being in control.
This is a great reflection. I could not agree more about the realisation that it is about the critique, more than the actual performance. I refer to it as being comfortable in your own skin. Take for example Gary Stager. He shared his limited preparation associated with a recent TEDTalk:

I wrote the talk an hour before showtime and delivered it with no monitor or timer in front of me. I’m sure that the performance suffers, but that the message may manage to be worthwhile nonetheless. I hope you or some teenagers find it interesting.

This is in contrast to someone like Amy Burvall, who felt that the TED format, something critiqued on method as much as content, required something different:

Usually when I give keynotes, I don’t really make a script per se…I know what I’m talking about and prefer to speak naturally and let my slides, which are very visual, guide me. But TED-style talks are different…they are timed and must be precise, therefore requiring a script. Every word counts – like a poem. The trick is, you want to practice that bad boy till it’s part of you, like a tattoo, but still come off sounding like it’s the first time you’ve ever said it.

She even went to the length of creating an animated version to thoroughly prepare:

Thanks Steve for sharing. It definitely challenges me to push myself beyond my usual comfort zone.

DLTV Conference

DLTV14 Conference, Swinburne University, 25th and 26th July, 2014

Listening to the Voices In and Out of the Classroom

Here is the blurb for the session that Steve Brophy and I presented:

One of the biggest challenges in education today is how to empower everyone and give a voice to every learner, this means moving beyond listening to those who seek to be heard and finding ways to capture every voice in and out of the classroom. From collaborating on a document to using a learning response system to reflect on a unit of work, this session will look at not only how we can use various web 2.0 tools to capture the different voices in and out of the classroom, but also how these tools can be used to provoke and prompt further into ongoing dialogue. Presenting our thoughts and reflections from a wide range of settings and scenarios, both Primary and Secondary, we hope that you leave this session armed with an array of tools and ideas that will help you go and listen to some of those lost and hidden voices today.

Here are the slides from the session:

Further notes and reflections can be found here.