Blog Archives

Personalized PD Book is Here!

Box of Books

A fun surprise landed on my doorstep this weekend! The book I co-authored with several educators, Personalized PD: Flipping Your Professional Development, is finally here. I’m really excited to dive into the contributions of the other authors. All in all, the book features seven chapters and a plethora of vignettes written by educators I’ve looked up to for a long time. The icing on the cake is that Principal EL wrote the forward, and the afterward is by Dave Burgess. I feel like a kid in a candy store!

If you’re interested in learning more about the book or ordering a copy please go to my website HERE or click on the picture above. I’m looking forward to many conversations about empowering staff and students through personalized learning experiences. This is going to be awesome!

Feel free to contact me with questions via www.bradgustafson.com as well. Adjusting the course and trajectory of learning in this digitally-connected age is an important conversation to be had.

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Leadership for Today

When we think about leadership we often reflect upon timeless characteristics like integrity, vision, communication and servanthood (Maxwell, 1999). Each of these traits enhances a leader’s ability to deliver on a company mission, brand or promise.  However, school leaders are called to prepare students for their future and if we’re truly serving our kids we must embrace a digital leadership lens now! All the charisma and integrity in the world will not provide our students the opportunities made possible in this digital age. We must own the fact that our students are counting on us to lead with integrity while also learning to model and cultivate skills for a digital age. Digital leadership is a non-negotiable.

Did you know that nearly 70 educators from multiple states and countries have all signed up for a personalized PD experience to learn and grow as digital leaders? You can too! We’ve embarked on a year-long “Digital Leadership Challenge” using the 11 challenges below. Each challenge is comprised of three mini-challenges designed to stretch and grow your digital leadership. The challenges were created by several connected educators across the country, and based on Eric Sheninger’s book, Digital Leadership. Consider this journey a PD choose-your-own-adventure!

You can join us by signing up HERE. Begin to interact with the challenges and choose the activities that will help impact your practice. Our kids are counting on us to provide leadership for today!

Sign-up via the shared Google Drive link & feel free to tweet  questions to the hashtag #DigiLeadChal

Challenge I: A School Communication Vehicle

Created by Brad Gustafson, Elementary Principal, MN

@GustafsonBrad on Twitter

  • 1 “Badge” Point: Create a professional Twitter account and follow each of the eleven challenge submitters from this article.  Observe how they collaborate with their personal learning network (PLN).
  • 2 “Badge” Points: Create a separate school Twitter account strictly for school Tweets.  Post one Tweet about your school each week for an entire year.  Share pictures and insights about the amazing work being done in your classroom or school.

 

Challenge 2: Make Your Commute a Learning Experience

Curt Rees, Elementary Principal, WI

@CurtRees on Twitter

  • 1 “Badge” Point: Subscribe to an educational podcast.  There are many platforms to do this, but iTunes, Pod-o-matic, and Stitcher are the most popular.  I recommend these fine podcasts: EduAllstars, PrincipalCast, and Techlandia.
  • 2 “Badge” Points: Share a podcast you enjoy with your colleagues.  Find an interesting episode and then tell your staff what you learned.  Model continuous learning by letting them know what you listen to in the car or as you run.
  • 3 “Badge” Points: Record your own podcast or videocast for your school community.  It doesn’t need a lot of time or production.  Take your school newsletter and simply record yourself talking about upcoming events.  Audioboo makes it easy to record, upload, and share your voice.  YouTube Capture or TouchCast are all you need to send a video to your YouTube channel.

 

Challenge 3: A Window into your School

Patrick Glynn, Elementary Principal, MN

@GallyGopher on Twitter

  • 1 “Badge” Point: Establish a Facebook page for your school.  Create one Facebook post each week describing student learning in action…and be sure to include photographs!
  • 2 “Badge” Points: Market your Facebook page to families and collect 100 “Likes.”
  • 3 “Badge” Points: Link your classroom or school’s Facebook page to your school Twitter account using Facebook’s setting options.  This will be a huge time saver and it will offer parents a window into your school.

 

Challenge 4: Public Relations in Overdrive

Jessica Johnson, Elementary Principal, WI

@PrincipalJ on Twitter

  • 1 “Badge” Point: Start a UStream account at www.ustream.tv and explore how the site works.  Read this post or this post to get ideas about what types of school events you might broadcast.
  • 2 “Badge” Points: Use your new UStream account to broadcast a school event. Set up the channel ahead of time and add a description. Advertise that the event will be broadcasted and provide your channel’s URL so parents know how to tune in.
  • 3 “Badge” Points: Make broadcasting a regular school routine.  For example, if you want to increase engagement at PTO meetings, create a school PTO channel that will always broadcast the meetings. Then advertise this.  Share this as a tool for teachers to try with their classrooms to engage parents for special events like Readers Theater or other classroom activities.

 

Challenge 5: A 21st Century Bumper Sticker

Tony Sinanis, Elementary Lead Learner, NY

Joe Sanfelippo, District Superintendent, WI

@TonySinanis & @Joesanfelippofc on Twitter

  • 1 “Badge” Point: A twitter account is a wonderful way to tell your school’s story. Create a school or district hashtag and incorporate it into your school tweets. For example, every tweet Tony sends out about his school includes #Cantiague and when Joe tweets about his district he includes #GoCrickets! Tweet pictures of WHAT is happening in your space and explain the HOW and WHY too.
  • 2 “Badge” Points: Encourage at least four (4) colleagues to join Twitter to tell the story of their students’ learning. It is imperative that the same hashtag is used throughout your organization to ensure that the brand is understood. When more than one member of the staff begins tweeting the WHATs, HOWs and WHYs of your organization, it becomes clear to the community that the brand promise matches the brand experience.
  • 3 “Badge” Points: Provide at least one (1) new way to amplify your students’ voices so they can tell the story of their classroom or school. By doing so we are promoting critical thinking and communication skills while laying the foundation for students who will be college and career ready. Tony started doing video updates using the Touchcast app at #Cantiague. Students from each class are spotlighted every week. Give your students the microphone (or other communication tools) because they are the ones living the WHATs, HOWs, and WHYs of your learning organization. The goal of school branding is making everything about kids; that’s the perfect bumper sticker!

 

Challenge 6: Learner Engagement in the Fast Lane

Dwight Carter, HS Principal, OH

@Dwight_Carter on Twitter

  • 1 “Badge” Point: Use TodaysMeet to create an engaging back-channel (real-time online conversation alongside a primary lesson, training, or event) in a class or at a staff meeting. Allow students/staff to post questions during a presentation or text-based discussion. Use the archive of the back-channel to assess learning and plan next steps.
  • 2 “Badge” Points: Use at least three (3) monthly staff meetings as a platform for students and staff to share practical ways they integrate web 2.0 tools in the classroom to amplify student voice and increase engagement. Sample web 2.0 tools include Glogster, Edmodo, YouTube, Twitter, Skype, Polleverywhere.com, Socrative, and Facebook.
  • 3 “Badge” Points: Use a current multimedia class or create a club to develop four (4) or more student-centered videos or Public Service Announcements (PSAs) that highlight learning experiences at your school. Post them to a school YouTube channel and share the link on your school Twitter and/or Facebook page. Collaborate with a teacher who is passionate about multimedia to guide the student group. Here’s an example!

 

Challenge 7: Increasing your Social Media Mileage

Dave Zukor, Integration Specialist, MN

@DZukor on Twitter

  • 1 “Badge” Point: Your class can use Skype or Google Hangout to connect locally with another class somewhere else in your state.  Research information about classroom Mystery Skypes to learn about one engaging option.
  • 2 “Badge” Points: Have your students work collaboratively online to create a cross-state project with students from another class in the United States. Use Google Docs, Skype, or any online tool.
  • 3 “Badge” Points: Use a social media site to reach out to classrooms around the world.  Share your learning and build opportunities for your students to collaborate.  Start a classroom Twitter account, Google+, or another social media site.

 

Challenge 8: Fueling the Engine of Reflection

Rafranz Davis, Instructional Technology Specialist, TX

@RafranzDavis on Twitter

  • 1 “Badge” Point: Create a professional blog site using a blogging tool like Blogger, WordPress or Weebly. Write your first post about what you hope to gain through blogging. Share your first post using a social media tool like Twitter.
  • 2 “Badge” Points: Publish one (1) blog post per week for a month. Share reflections about the process, success and failures in your classroom or school. Share each of these posts using a social media tool like Twitter.
  • 3 “Badge” Points: Connect with blogs written by other educators. Write six (6) blog postings reflecting on other educators’ posts.  Be sure to leave a comment in the original authors’ comment sections listing the URL to your related blog reflection/response. Share each of these posts using a social media tool like Twitter.

 

Challenge 9: Interstate Professional Development

Daisy Dyer Duerr, PreK – 12 Principal, AR

@DaisyDyerDuerr on Twitter

  • 1 “Badge” Point: Join #ArkEdChat (Thursdays at 8:00 p.m. CST) or another great Educational Twitter Chat. Participate in online, on-demand, professional learning with educators across the globe through social media.
  • 2 “Badge” Points: Participate in an Educational Twitter Chat three (3) weeks in a row; consistency will help build a PLN and give you an understanding of what to expect from the chat’s moderators.  Then, introduce two colleagues or “edufriends” to the world of online Twitter Chats for Professional Development.
  • 3 “Badge” Points: Administrators: Formulate a plan allowing your teachers to use Educational Twitter Chats for Professional Development; e.g. credit for participation in existing chats or use of stand-alone chats within your school/district. Teachers: Bring an Administrator who has never participated in this type of Social Media Professional Development to an Educational Twitter Chat like #ArkEdChat (Thursdays at 8:00 p.m. CST).

 

Challenge 10: A Unique Space to Park

Terri Eichholz, Teacher of K – 5 Gifted Students, TX

@TerriEichholz on Twitter

 

Challenge 11: A Golden Opportunity for our Students

Eric Sheninger, High School Principal, NJ

@NMHS_Principal on Twitter

  • 1 “Badge” Point: Leverage your social media connections to form at least one (1) strategic partnership that benefits your school (i.e. pilot Edtech program, unique professional development opportunity, guest speaker, authentic learning experience, donation, etc.).
  • 2 “Badge” Points: Form at least two (2) strategic partnerships and write a school Twitter or Facebook post sharing the benefit to your school.
  • 3 “Badge” Points: Form at least three strategic partnerships and present at a local, state, or national conference on school initiatives.  Write a blog post, media release, or website entry sharing the benefit to your school.

 

How to Earn Badges


DigiLead Badge 2

15-29 points earn the Gearing Up Badge: Awarded to Digital Leaders for their collaborative efforts.

30-49 points earn the Road to Relevancy Badge: Awarded to Digital Leaders for outstanding efforts in collaboration and connectivity.

50-66 points earn the Spark Plug Badge: Awarded to Digital Leaders demonstrating innovation & exemplary 21st century practice while serving as agents of change.

iPop Quiz

Phone

Q. How do you know when you are more than a fair weather tech-enthusiast?

A. When the most unexpected and potentially havoc-creating tech-mishap occurs and you still LOVE it!

Most people are aware of my love of learning and appreciation for innovation.  I also enjoy experimenting with new technology—not that I am an expert by any means (keep reading for further evidence!).

I recently purchased a new iPhone 5.  Having been an avid Droid user for several years, I was reticent to make the MAC migration.  This week I began noticing that a few of my calendar appointments did not sync over from my old Droid calendar to the new iPhone for whatever reason.  After exploring potential causes (through independent research, Google, trial-and-error, and conversation with my amazing wife, etc.) I contacted our fabulous technology team for assistance.  (They are exemplary.) 

The GOOD news is that all of my syncing issues have been resolved and my calendar is fully cooperating again.  The bad news is that some of my calendar events (also known as very important meetings) were not saved on either device.  This may not seem too terribly troubling…until you consider the fact that “ninety-nine point ten percent” of the time I rely on my calendar/phone to record, remind and recount my meeting schedule.

On a lighter note, a staff member was joking about my iPhone calendar dilemma with me today by holding up her paper desktop calendar and heralding it as ultra-reliable….I laughed and asked if they made belt-clips for that model of calendar.

Technology is a really cool and useful thing, and every once in a while we just need to roll with the punches.  I think the same holds true for our amazing teachers and students; to foster a supportive learning culture, we sometimes need to embrace the notion that mishaps and tech-glitches will occur.  It’s part of the 21st century human experience…and I wouldn’t have it any other way!

Originally posted April 26, 2013

Image Credit: FotoSearch.com

Summers Oft

Every now and then somebody will ask me if I have any plans for summer vacation. In fact, I recently had one person ask me if I did anything to stay busy during the summer months…like tutoring. The truth of the matter is that summer remains a very productive and reflective time for educators. My summer days will oft include:

Student-Centric Planning: Scheduling, staffing, and planning a world class educational experience for kids consumes much of the summer. We hope to break ground on an addition next fall that will include a new gym space and four additional classrooms. Planning to “right size” our school and create a dynamic learning environment for students is an exciting priority.

Goal-Setting and Data Driven Dialogues: School and district administrators meet to review student achievement data and staff survey data. Teams of teacher-leaders are involved in a collaborative process of establishing goals for the upcoming school year. This past year our school had a focus on students’ mathematical learning, and preliminary MCAIII data is very positive. We set goals and measure our progress. Summer is an ideal time to recalibrate and revisit data.

Learning: In education, learning and change never stop. In our efforts to improve continuously we seek out innovative ways to leverage technology in a manner that will personalize learning for each and every student. Our reliance on cutting-edge technology to empower and enhance learning means that we must continue to refine our own understanding of the technology tools available. Teachers and administrators model life long learning through participation in summer classes, workshops and trainings. Project MyWay is an exciting learning initiative that will surely contribute to our own professional growth and eventually make a huge difference for students and their learning! More on this project to come….

Summer is really an exciting time of reflection, preparation and growth! We do miss the vast array of student smiles and friendly interactions with families, but continue to plan for an amazing 2012-2013 year of learning!

You can be sure I will enjoy my share of coffee and some additional family time this summer, but now you know what my summer days oft include.

Originally Posted June 15, 2012
Modifications made & some links/functionality may be missing.

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