Building – and sustaining – innovation

With nearly 45 years of experience working in education, I find myself reflecting on exactly what it is I have achieved in that time. With each of my own kids now pursuing their own life ambitions, and now my eldest grand-kids at the age where they’re thinking about the ways they might contribute to society – there are often times we find ourselves discussing exactly what’s important in life. Generally we arrive back at the same place – we all want to have ‘made a difference’ in some way. I didn’t really think of doing anything but becoming a teacher … Continue reading Building – and sustaining – innovation

We all want trees – now!

“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.” Chinese Proverb Whether we’re talking about climate change, the health system, education or environmental issues, a common refrain in much of the current rhetoric is the urgent need for action. This sense of urgency belies the fact that what needs to be done should have been started a long time ago, but by ignoring the signs, we’re now faced with seemingly insurmountable challenges in terms of the scale and complexity of the problems that lie before us – and our children. Consider the … Continue reading We all want trees – now!

Networked Leadership

This week's announcement of funding to support the establishment of a new Centre for Educational Leadership in NZ heralds a significant change for the way we think about the leadership of our schools and educational institutions into the future. The press release states: The centre will be established by the Education Council of Aotearoa New Zealand, the newly formed professional body for teachers, and will be partially funded by the Ministry of Education which is contributing $250,000 to its set-up costs. Its initial focus will be the principals who have been selected to lead the new Communities of Learning established to … Continue reading Networked Leadership

Defining success

I was working with the staff of a local secondary school yesterday, and in the context of our discussion we shared our thinking around the question of 'what is success?' in relation to the purpose of school and schooling, and the focus on assessment that currently dominates much of the thinking in our school system and drives most of our curriculum design and delivery. We were specifically thinking about the issues raised in the NZCER publication, "Swimming out of our depth" where the authors suggest… "We need to think differently about what schools are for, about what students should learn in … Continue reading Defining success

The purpose of education

I presented a talk on leading change in a networked world to the School Leaders Network in Christchurch yesterday afternoon, focusing on the importance of understanding the emerging paradigm of the networked world and the implications for schools and school leaders.  As a timely introduction to my talk I referred to an article in the latest copy of the NZEI magazine, Educaiton Aotearoa, written by Professor Ivan Snook titled "The Purpose of Education" in which he compares two rival models of education and how these different ideologies shape our thinking and approach as educators. A key point he emphasises, around … Continue reading The purpose of education

Overcoming adversity

Many of the children in the city today cannot remember a world before the earthquakes. The presenters in this TVNZ documentary ask how this has affected their wellbeing by visiting South New Brighton School in the heart of the most affected suburbs. As someone who has visited this school, and knows the principal and some staff, I found this a very poignant and informing piece – so am sharing it here to inform and inspire others. It reveals.. the resiliance of the young people – but also their fragility. the importance of schools as a focus of community, and a … Continue reading Overcoming adversity

On being a profession…

Teachers and school leaders are being challenged to transform educational outcomes, often under difficult conditions. They are being asked to equip students with the competencies they need to become active citizens and workers in the 21st century. They need to personalize learning experiences to ensure that every student has a chance to succeed and to deal with increasing cultural diversity in their classrooms and differences in learning styles. They also need to keep up with innovations in curricula, pedagogy and the development of digital resources. The challenge is to equip all teachers, and not just some, for effective learning in … Continue reading On being a profession…

Shifting to the digital age?

This story titled Teacher Colleges Seek to Shift to Digital Age appeared in my inbox this morning, and I felt myself sighing as I read it. The story is about Clemson University in South Carolina, where faculty are introducing a number of initiatives into their pre-service teaching programmes to encourage students to make greater use of digital technologies. The article observes… Those strategies reflect a shift underway at some teacher colleges that are working to revamp their programs to improve the technology literacy of future educators—and address what many see as a major shortcoming in the profession. You'll have to … Continue reading Shifting to the digital age?

Magic Makers – Kids changing the world

Magic Makers Trailer 2014 from Melissa Jun Rowley on Vimeo. Looking for inspiration as you start the new year back at school? Here's a heads-up on a new US TV series called MAGIC MAKERS: highlighting the next generation of science and tech innovators who are addressing the world's toughest problems.  Take, for example, Jack Andraka, a 16-year-old who created an accurate, cost-effective tool for early cancer detection. He is just one of nine exceptionally smart and talented young men and women on the show. The campaign is currently live here, running through the next month. and you can check out the video to get a better … Continue reading Magic Makers – Kids changing the world

Fresh thinking…

Today is my first day back at work after a three week break with family, enjoying the sun, the surf and the opportunity to relax in an environment without internet connectivity 😉 But the lack of connectivity hasn't stopped me thinking about the year ahead and the challenges we face as educators to make what we do relevant and meaningful in the lives of the learners in our care. The quote at the top of this post is often attributed to Albert Einstein, but was first said by Henry Ford (Einstein did say it too, but differently). It's one of those … Continue reading Fresh thinking…