I am on the continuum of moving between co-operation towards collaboration as defined by Nussbaaum-Beach & Hall (2012). I have been on Twitter since 2011 and a regular blogger since 2012. There is no doubt regular engagement with these two tools has opened up a whole new world of learning for me. Most especially, when I blog I learn from my own reflections as well as the comments which come back my way. I am thankful to those who take the time to comment as they are engaging and active in building upon my knowledge and, together, we co-create a way forward for my dilemma whilst at the same time prompting their thinking about matters of learning in schools.
In saying that, collaboration still only plays a ‘support role’ to my main function as educational system leader. My learnings in that job are encountered through traditional approaches of meetings and the sharing of ‘paper based’ reflections. If I was truly collaborative, I would lead learning in a more ‘connected way’, more so than the static delivery of information. 21st century educators understand that connecting, collaborating and learning is essential to their job. More so, they understand the great leverage that technology brings to their ability to do so across the world.
In relation to the ‘Five Literacies’, I am relatively well placed. As a principal, I ‘facilitated and inspired learning and creativity’ by enabling new ways of learning which included a team based planning and delivery to open space learning for 150 students across a number of subjects in Year 7 & 8. Another example was the development and resourcing of a compressed approach to a HSC course which allowed students to sit the HSC exam one year early and thus free up more time for study in their final year by way of a 9 day fortnight.
I have not yet ‘developed digital-age learning experiences’ and therefore this is my literacy of most deficiency. I consider myself satisfactory in the area of ‘Model digital-age work and learning’ though my participation in the Masters of Knowledge Networks and Digital Innovation at CSU. Furthermore, my regular use of Twitter and WordPress as ways of connecting with, and learning from, educators across the world serves me well in this area.
As principal, I communicated across a few electronic forums and encouraged others to use the school’s Social Media forums to communicate, promote and celebrate great learning. This was always supported with numerous reminders and options to engage with programs which advocated and taught safe and legal use of the digital information. Therefore, I am relatively well pleased with my commitment to ‘promote and model digital citizenship and responsibility’.
Personally, I am ‘engaged in professional growth and leadership’ by promoting and demonstrating the effective use of digital tools and resources. As a leader in a school setting, I regularly demonstrate a vision for learning which is supported by extensive use of digital technology. I participate in global communities and regularly pass on that information to personnel in my local community as a way of connecting them to a global PLN. I could use more current research in my line of work to engage colleagues with the powers of learning that come with being a connected educator.
Through my actions as a connected educator, I have developed a vision for learning which is,
“for students to become ‘self-directed learners’ through the provision of learning opportunities which provide them with greater choice of subject matter, learning methods and pace of study. Such a commitment will see students become more involved in decision‐making processes and extensively using digital technologies to collaborate and connect in order to ‘learn by doing’ with relevance to the real world.”
Such a vision requires teachers to see themselves as learners and engage in the actions of ‘connected educators’ as articulated by Nussbaaum-Beach & Hall (2012) on page 19.
Nussbaum-Beach, S., & Hall, L. R. (2012). Defining the connected educator. In The connected educator: Learning and leading in a digital age (pp. 3-24). Bloomington, IN: Solution Tree Press.