My most retweeted tweet is a photograph of a quote from Kristen Swanson’s book Professional Learning in the Digital Age. The quote says:
“I wondered why somebody didn’t do something.
Then I realised, I am somebody.”
I think this captures Claire Amos’ challenge to New Zealand educators to ‘hack their classroom’ this term. I’ve written about accepting this challenge in my 100 Days of Learning log, but I thought it might be more useful to contain all the thoughts together in one ‘proper’ blogpost. So here it is.
I have an ambitious job description. I, along with my wonderful senior manager, have been charged with leading staff into adopting future focused pedagogy. We have gone BYOD with our seniors, and the rest of the school will follow soon. As I’ve outlined previously, to help us in this task staff have been given their own devices from the Board, and we have every staff meeting devoted to professional learning in this area.
(4 is high, 1 is low!)
However, the final graph is, as you can see, a little different. Staff are yet to feel that there is much discernible impact on their classroom pedagogy as a result of the professional learning we have been doing.
My reaction to this is often to swing between ‘it’s early days’ and despair. Which is why I enjoyed Anne Knock’s blogpost so much this week. And especially this graph:
because it makes sense to me that we’re still in a ‘building knowledge’ phase. Mindsets (from ‘fixed’ to ‘growth’ – see Claire Amos again for a great explanation) are shifting for some, but I think that’s still a significant minority at best. So, how to get more staff on board, to realise the potential that future focused pedagogy offers?
Build a PLN.
Niftily, this was the theme of this week’s professional learning. And thus the jump in point for my “hack buddy” Matt Nicoll and I. We decided to hack Claire’s #hackyrclass challenge to a #hackyrstaffroom one! We want to be agents of change.
The plan in progress over this week and next is to connect with a small group of our staff who are interested in building their own professional/personalised learning network. Because we can do this from two schools, we can automatically offer each ‘team’ a ready-made PLN. We are using the hashtag #edSMAC (Samuel Marden Collegiate School, St Andrew’s College) to connect on Twitter.
We’re also surveying the staff to find out what they want from the ‘build your PLN’ project so that we can personalise links, tips and suggestions for what they are wanting.
The theory behind all of this is that if staff can be convinced to look outside their own four walls of their classroom, staffroom, and school, they will be exposed to new ideas that will spark an interest. An ‘ooh, I could try that’ moment. This has the potential to snowball and then – hey presto – a revolution is formed! Not just one individual teacher to hack their class, but a group to hack multiple classes.
Change is hard. But not changing? That’s ultimately harder.