June 14

The year so far….part 1

This semester has been huge for me – new school, new position, new responsibilities, new classes – some of which I have not taught for ages. I think I am starting to find my feet, hopefully anyway. First lot of end of semester reports nearly under my belt…. yes I am procrastinating here, multi tasking while I think up some good comments. Anyway, time to start reflecting on what I have done and achieved so far, and start planning the way forward.

When I got the new position I was given a book to read by my sister-in-law – “The First 90 Days, Critical Success strategies for new leaders at all levels,” by Michael Watkins. (Harvard Business School Press). It had a range of strategies, although aimed at the business world, quite easy to put into any leadership role, to help new leaders find their feet and make a positive difference in their new positions. It gave strategies for promoting yourself to new colleagues, maximising your strengths, coming to grips with the new workplace and developing teams to implement your leadership goals. It was interesting as I stepped into my new position that my new boss was reflecting many of these same strategies and ideas, to promote me and my new role to the staff. A great situation to be in, feeling very supported by my upline.

Continuing on with the book reviews, the boss suggested the leadership team read (as a part of our leadership professional learning time with Perspectives Coaching)  “Leadership and Self Deception – Getting out of the box”  The Arbinger Institute. Great read for putting a lot of relational issues into perspective, and rerflecting on issues and relations in past work places, and how to change your own attitude, to be more positive with peers and those you want to lead. You know how there are always some people who you would do anything for, and others who have a different approach which doesn’t support a team wanting to get things happening. Very positive read, for both work and personal relationships.

Throughout this past 6 months I have been lucky enough to be supported by my principal and able to attend a number of very relevant and inspiring professional learning opportunities, many of which I have covered live in this blog, using the wonderful Coveritlive tools. It has been very handy having a mobile broadband dongle to keep me connected anywhere, regardless of local internet availability.

Over the term 1 break I had the opportunity to see a presentation by Stephen Downes, an inspiring speaker talking about connectivism and how this will reflect on how we teach our kids, and how we learn ourselves. It was my first Coveritlive session, and I was pleasantly suprised at how well it worked. Linking in with other Twitter users who used the same hastags made my coverage of the presentation far more powerful, as it wasn’t just me reporting, others were adding tweets, which were added directly to my session. My personal/professional learning network exploded as I met quite a few of my twitter colleagues for the first time that day, and added more.

Stephen made some great points, helped me to clarify that balance between online work and play.
One of the points he made, which I think many of us working with online and mobile technologies are guilty of, is along the lines of….
“of course log in and connect to work from home, but feel free to sleep at work”.
How many of us feel guilty about logging in to personal sites at work, or researching stuff for home? or checking work mail from home? where is the line drawn? Is there a line any more??? perhaps a little tongue in cheek, but I know in my online networks I often think to myself… wow this or that person must be connected and focussed on work the whole time. Now I also know it’s so easy these days to be surfing and playing online, when you come across a handy site, click a button and you have tweeted it to the PLN. I think as technology becomes more and more easily accessible we really need to make sure we have that healthy balance. I know my family keeps me on the straight and narrow in that regard 🙂

My kids showed me the wonderful power of connectivity when we recently got wireless broadband at home. After setting up the laptops, we had to set up all of the DSs, WII, PSP. They logged in to the wii wifi, connected with a cousin on the otherside of town, and spent an afternoon playing, laughing, sharing with their cousin via phone while all playing Mario Kart on the Wii. They also connect with friends on the DS, while surfing the net and chatting online. They don’t just “get” connectivism, they expect it.

I attended a “Master class” presented by Teaching Australia on Leading a Digital School (my coveritlive session). We were also given the book “Leading Schools in the Digital Age” by Michael Gaffney and Mal Lee, who along with Allan Shaw presented the session – slides here. It was good to see how schools have achieved success with integrating digital technologies, and become aware of some of the pitfalls, and develop strategies to avoid them. The book is becoming my well used resource for developing strategies to develop a really positive (hopefully) uptake of digital technologies across the college. Of course step one is to have a hardy infrastructure to support digital learning, and that is the challenge we are working through at the moment. The session was interesting, as the people attending were mostly in leadership positions, not eLearning positions, unlike the Stephen Downes presentation, and there was much less movement in the Twittersphere, with most people taking hand written notes.

On the 6th May I attended Greg Whitby’s “Enabling Learning in Today’s world“.  It was a slightly different slant, and once again I “covered it live”. Interesting presentation, embedding the reasons behind why we are wanting to move into a digital approach to teaching and learning. The hall was packed, interestingly enough not many laptops or mobile devices…. I started to reflect on whether I am still one of the early adopters with covering these sessions on my blog ( I like to write, it’s how I learn best, and take it in, but often lose or never refer back to my notes on paper. I can honestly say I have gone over my coveritlive sessions a few times now, and I always know where to find them :)) There are still many out there who need to be shown how to jump on the digital bandwagon, I guess that is part of my role, both in my local community and the extended one.

There is still a bit to cover, so I will do this in a couple of parts… stay tuned

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Posted June 14, 2009 by Suz Arnott in category Uncategorized

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