Lunch & Tweet with the Commissioner
Join us for a “Lunch & Tweet” with Minnesota’s Commissioner of Education, Dr. Brenda Cassellius, on April 20th at 12:30pm CST.
Feel free to invite a colleague or fellow educator to participate. The questions we’ll be discussing are listed below. This is a great opportunity to dialogue with other educators who are committed to the success of Minnesota students.
Q1. What is working for Minnesota students? Share something great happening in your school. #MESPAmn
Q2. How are you helping all students and families connect and “belong” in your school? #MESPAmn
Q3. What is one thing you are learning, or hope to learn, to improve your leadership? #MESPAmn
Q4. What are some strategies your school is using to promote equity and close the achievement gap? #MESPAmn
Q5. Where do you see the greatest need in PreK education? #MESPAmn
Q6. Let’s talk pedagogy and innovation. How are you preparing students for their future? #MESPAmn
Join the Conversation
You’re invited to join an interactive Twitter chat about innovation in our schools. Mark your calendar for October 21st at 7:00pm CST. Ben Gilpin, Dr. Kaylen Tucker, and I will be co-moderating a National Conversation about Innovation. We want to hear your innovation “Dos & Don’ts”!
As a precursor to the chat, check out the NAESP Principal Magazine article titled, “Leadership for Tomorrow” by clicking HERE. The article features innovative insights from respected educators across the country including Rafranz Davis, Dr. Joe Mazza, Jennie Magiera, and Sarah Thomas.
If you’ve never participated in a Twitter chat feel free to reach out for support. We will tweet out a question every five minutes to the hashtags #CE15 and #NAESP. Chat participants can respond to the questions and interact with one another. Be sure to include the hashtags in your tweets as well!
For a sneak preview of the chat questions check out the flyer above. We’re looking forward to connecting!
Stop the Madness
We asked seven incredible educators to share one thing schools need to STOP doing….and we only gave them 30 seconds to respond! You’ll be surprised what they shared in this high octane episode of the #30SecondTake podcast!
Join the conversation on Twitter using hashtag #30SecondTake. Be sure to vote for one of the guest hosts from Episode 26 to return next episode to tackle a new guiding question!
Our Collective Responsibility
We have an obligation to our students to invest in digital connections. They are counting on relevance and our connectivity as educators will facilitate the systemic transformation that’s of critical importance. Isolation in education is a choice and it is NOT best for kids.
This past week I spent several hours replacing a section of lights on our family’s Christmas tree. Each burned out bulb required removal and some intricate rewiring…which necessitated a lot of searching amidst the artificial branches laden with clusters of needles and burned out bulbs.
When all was said and done, I triumphantly summoned my wife to view the grand re-lighting of our Christmas tree. As I plugged each successive string of lights back into the socket I beamed with pride. It worked…all of the lights were back on. Then my wife pointed out a blaring discrepancy. The 50+ lights I had toiled to replace were completely different than the tree’s original bulbs. How could I have missed it?!
I took a step back to confirm what she noticed immediately. I had been so immersed in the work of replacing an individual section of bulbs that I had isolated my focus on one section of the tree to the detriment of the whole.
Many analogies could be drawn here, but I equate this experience to our educational system. It is critical that we work together and take time to connect and collaborate with stakeholders working in different states and capacities. The quality of education we provide each and every student is our collective responsibility. When educators connect kids win.
A system-wide paradigm shift is desperately needed. The utility of an antiquated pedagogy and misguided assessment practices must also be reexamined. Yet for each school or state that is entrenched in the status quo, there are countless others committed to real change; high achievement, creativity, and connectivity for each and every student.
It’s not about how brilliant any one classroom or school shines. Our students deserve a system that serves them well and illuminates the path to being #FutureReady. We can’t realize a paradigm shift working in isolation.
Educators and school leaders MUST cultivate the characteristic of “connectivity” to help realize real change and relevance. Our kids are counting on us to tap into the brightest and most abundant resource available; each other.
Call to action: Commit to cultivating skills for the digital age using digital tools to collaborate. Set-up a Twitter account and leverage it for professional learning. Reflect upon the degree to which you’re providing learning experiences for students congruent with the tools and technology they are exposed to outside of school. If you’re already serving as a “connected educator,” provide support to a friend that has not connected yet.
Voxer + Augmented Reality = #Mind-Blown
I belong to a collaborative group of educators that connect on a daily basis using a mobile app called Voxer. The app allows us to converse about important educational issues, and to network as professionals. One of the powerful features of Voxer is that it allows users to share their voices (and not just 140 characters of text). We recently created T-Shirts for our group…but the fun did not stop there.
We published a collaborative video using TouchCast and linked the video to graphics on the T-Shirt using two augmented reality apps. The image below is a trigger that can be activated using the Daqri app. After you download Daqri, point your viewfinder at the state map and an interactive experience will launch! Download Daqri and see what the MN Educators are up to…we dare you!
We also used the Aurasma app to create an additional augmented reality experience. Download Aurasma and “follow” the Greenwood Elementary channel. This will allow you to interact with the T-Shirt’s main logo below. Be sure you are following our channel in order to view a video featuring more than ten teachers and principals across the Midwest.
By combining Voxer and augmented reality we were able to feature several of our group’s team-members in the video powered by TouchCast. Now that is some MAJOR app smashing!! If you happen to meet a member of the MN Educator’s Voxer group at a local conference be sure to say hi…and don’t forget to test out the augmented reality on the shirt’s logo.
**Special thanks to Brad Waid (aka @TechBradWaid on Twitter) for support creating the Daqri experience.
**Huge shout-out to Aaron Schmidt (aka @Schmiaah on Twitter) for designing the T-Shirt logo.
How might WE learn?
Educators spend a significant amount of time reflecting on pedagogy to support an engaging student learning experience, and rightfully so. How much time do school leaders spend planning and preparing to support 21st century professional learning? How might we enhance the HOWs, WHATs, and WHYs for learning in this digitally connected age?
In the next month I’ll be sharing an interactive Digital Leadership Challenge designed to support HOW we learn. The Digital Leadership Challenge article will be titled “Driven to Collaborate.” It will feature creative mini-challenges submitted by ten connected educators across the country. The article and accompanying mini-challenges is being published by the Minnesota Elementary Principal Association (#MESPAmn) and shared electronically via multiple sources including this blog.
We’ll be using a tiered system to ensure that regardless of where you are at on your Digital Leadership journey there will be accessible entry-points to learn and grow. We’ve also created a cool point-system with electronic badges that will be awarded based on the challenges you complete. I’m really excited by the inspiring variety of learning opportunities that will be outlined in the article. Please encourage your colleagues to dial in to this unique, 21st century PD opportunity.
Watch for the article the 1st week in May. Special thanks to the amazing educators that collaborated on the Digital Leadership Challenge.
Curt Rees, Elementary Principal, WI
@CurtRees on Twitter
Patrick Glynn, Elementary Principal, MN
@GallyGopher on Twitter
Jessica Johnson, Elementary Principal, WI
@PrincipalJ on Twitter
Tony Sinanis, Elementary Lead Learner, NY
Joe Sanfelippo, District Superintendent, WI
@TonySinanis & @Joesanfelippofc on Twitter
Dwight Carter, HS Principal, OH
@Dwight_Carter on Twitter
Dave Zukor, Integration Specialist, MN
@DZukor on Twitter
Rafranz Davis, Instructional Technology Specialist, TX
@RafranzDavis on Twitter
Daisy Dyer Duerr, PreK – 12 Principal, AR
@DaisyDyerDuerr on Twitter
Terri Eichholz, Teacher of K – 5 Gifted Students, TX
@TerriEichholz on Twitter
Eric Sheninger, High School Principal, NJ