Kyle Pace

Learning is Leading

What’s your opportunity?

We’re at the start of another school year.  The beginning of a new school year is an exciting time. New faces, new initiatives, and just a lot of new in general. Schools and districts are going 1:1 (or BYOD), we’re creating makerspaces, and offering new courses on things like programming or robotics. It’s an exciting time in education; if we make it so.

It’s also a very difficult time to be in education right now. I don’t need to list the “whys” because there’s many and we all can generate our own lists that are unique to our systems and situations. We don’t need another list of negatives right now. What we need; what our students need, are opportunities. If you think just for a minute about the ways our kids can create, connect, and contribute with and to the world around them it’s really quite staggering. While this (and many other things) can be seen as big challenges, we need to be turning these challenges into opportunities.

Ask yourself:

What does this mean for my teaching practice?

What does this mean for the way my students can learn outside of class?

Where can I take my students in the world that I couldn’t before?

What new ways can my students demonstrate their learning?

What does this mean for me as a leader in my school or district?

As a leader how do I prepare teachers for this?

It all goes back to keeping ourselves in a “learner first” mindset. We owe it to ourselves and the students we serve. Challenges = new opportunities. Switch the vocabulary!

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What happens next?

We are now one week out from the 2014 ISTE Conference. There’s been quite a few pre-conference posts circulating about what to do, what not to do, and other great pieces of advice that are helpful to newbie and veteran attendees alike. This will be my seventh ISTE conference and I’m always excited to learn, reconnect, and make new connections.

Do you have a plan in place for what you’re going to do with all the new things you will learn? How are you going to take notes and organize them? How will you share them with colleagues and leaders and aren’t at the conference? Here are some suggestions:

1. Create a new notebook in Evernote. Inside that notebook you could create a new note for each session you attend.

2. Create a folder in Google Drive and create a new document for each session you attend and organize them into that folder.

3. Use Storify to aggregate all the tweets you posted during the conference.

4. Use Diigo to collect and tag any resource links you gather from sessions.

These are just a few quick examples that work well. This is something you will want to think about prior to attending. Even if you aren’t attending the conference in person, you can follow the #ISTE2014 hashtag on Twitter to get resources, ideas, and new connections for your network.

However, what I charge to you; what I challenge you to begin asking yourself now is, “What happens next?”.  Yes, before you even set foot in Atlanta we all need to ask ourselves this question. You’re going to learn in abundance; during sessions, workshops, and in the networking spaces. All of that learning without a plan of action is meaningless. I’m not just talking to classroom teachers either. Superintendents, tech directors, curriculum directors, classroom teachers, instructional coaches, and principals all need to be able to answer the question “What happens next?”.

What’s going to change in your practice? Your leadership? Your view of technology’s place in teaching and learning? We all must begin thinking about these things now, and be prepared to take action.

If you’re going to be at ISTE, please be sure to say hello. I look forward to connecting and learning with you!

“It’s the action, not the fruit of the action, that’s important. You have to do the right thing. It may not be in your power, may not be in your time, that there’ll be any fruit. But that doesn’t mean you stop doing the right thing. You may never know what results come from your action. But if you do nothing, there will be no result.” 
― Mahatma Gandhi






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