Community Engagement (PLC/PLN)

  1. A culminating blog post describing your Community Engagement experience with documented evidence of ongoing, back-and-forth communication. This reflection should include your participation in your personal learning network over the course of this program as well as your continued plans for future growth. In what ways have you connected with others both within and beyond the COETAIL community (outside of the required blogging practice)? How has this participation enhanced your learning and professional development?

When exploring my community engagement I have enjoyed reading a variety of post on a great many topics.  They inspired me to look at my own learning and professional learning community.  I started to foster this within our school first, with the hope of taking this further a field, connecting with our wider community beyond my school and COETAIL.

After my starting the COETAIL course I really was made aware at how quickly the world of tech education is progressing and how we need to consider our practices, examining them closely.  I decided that I would start a tech PLC in our school, the school set time aside to allow people to join and work in on things.  I started the PLC and asked for volunteers to join me, hoping for a good cross section of the school.  The members consisted of:

  • MYP Design teacher
  • MYP/DP Individuals and Societies teacher
  • MYP/DP Individuals and Societies teacher & Personal Project coordinator
  • PYP grade 3 Intern
  • Whole school Librarian
  • PYP Grade 4 Intern
  • Director of Business
  • Whole School Technology Coordinator

We set about examining our practices and developing a new vision for the school and exploring any areas we felt were missing in the school.  The Goal of our PLC was tied to the School Development Plan and we decided that this was our overall aim:

An overall technology strategy will be developed and used to guide future technology purchasing and use.

The strategy will include:

  • Educational goals/strategy for technology
  • Communication goals/strategy for technology (with parents and among staff)
  • The implications of this on the tools we have adopted as a school (educational and office use)

Aim:

  • To create an action plan to address the need of the SDP.  
  • To ensure that all teachers at NIS are equipped to integrate technology in lessons.

It was decided that we use the Knoster Model for Change:

https://practices.learningaccelerator.org/strategies/tool-knoster-model-for-managing-complex-change

Based on this model our first move was to look at our foundation documentation and the vision for technology that we have.  I explored a lot of material highlighted to me through the Course readings and read a lot of posts by Kim Cofino.  It was great to read about her experiences in Japan and I could relate them to mine and my school.  Her blog on Developing a Technology Vision was a great starting point for our PLC.

Vision is the capacity to create and communicate a view of a desired state of affairs that induces commitment among those working in the organization.

Thomas Sergiovanni

We looked at out current vision statement (fortunately we had two people in the PLC that had helped to creaft the orignial statemnet and could givve us some insight into the thinking behind it.):

NIS uses technology to communicate, and to empower and inspire staff and students. We envision a school where learners are connected to the global community, enabling them to access and contribute to the ideas and perspectives of different people.
We believe that everyone in our community should have adequate access to reliable technology tools and support to add value to their lives, their teaching and their learning.
Students at NIS use technology for communication, collaboration and research, and develop technological literacy skills in an environment that values creativity.
Staff at NIS use a variety of technological tools for innovative instruction, effective communication, efficient collaboration, and empowering professional development.

Considering the following points we discussed our interpretation of the vision statement:

  • Key idea in the vision
  • How would you describe it to a parent?
  • How would you describe it to students?
  • How would describe it to teachers?

We also discussed what NIS needed and what we wanted tech to look like in our school, based on the following questions:

  • What do we do?
  • Who do we do it for?
  • What do we want it to look and feel like?
  • What are the non-negotiables that will guide our practice?

This sparked a lot of great discussion and here are some of the notes from our small group discussions:

After this activity it was clear that we definitely needed to readdress the current vision statement and re-write it to fit our current school.  To organise our thought and decided on aspects of our current vision that we wanted to use or at least keep the ethos of.  Each member of the PLC adopted a thinking hat and tried to look at the statement through a lens other than their own:

This process led to lots of rich discussion in the group and it was clear that we were talking about more that just the statement. We decided to ‘bus stop’ these ideas and try to refocus on the task of creating a strong vision.  Each member of the PLC prepared an elevator speech on what they thought should be included in the new vision statement and presented this to the group.

A blog by William Ferriter really helped with good questions:

Let me ask you an honest—albeit uncomfortable—question:  If I asked you to explain the rationale behind the technology choices that your school is making, could you do it?

Could you:

  • Describe the kinds of things you’d like to see students doing with technology—and more importantly, how those actions and behaviors will ensure that your students and your school are more successful than they currently are?
  • Describe the core technology expectations you have for every teacher and team in your building—not just those who are drawn to new digital spaces and behaviors already?
  • Guarantee that every teacher in your building was aware of—and invested in—the same core technology expectations that you’ve embraced?
  • Prove that the choices made when spending your technology budget are supporting your school’s mission?

These are notes from our elevator speeches:

  • Global, Citizenship, Transferable Skills, Self-awareness
  • Core technology expectations & Students understand that they are digital citizens and have a responsibility to act ethically online.
  • NIS will strive to develop a collaborative, cohesive and responsive school technology culture that employs tools with the aim of enhancing student learning and staff development. We envision a school where confident, connected learners explore the global community, enabling them to access and contribute to the ideas and perspectives of different people. We believe that staff and students should be technologically proficient so they can embrace potential opportunities and explore options.
  • Given that technology provides opportunities to global citizens in a world where information is growing at an incredible rate. Technology, in practice, should improve communication, enhance thinking skills, make instruction more effective and develop skills critical as our community strives to pursue their goals and dreams. We envision technology in a robust learning community where:
  • People engage in an inquiry-based program that promotes hands-on learning within a differentiated learning environment, where students use technology to advocate for their own educational success.
  • Teachers use technology to support learning across the curriculum, and beyond traditional barriers, as coaches, mentors, advocates and managers of information. Through ongoing professional development, teachers have access to the knowledge and skills required to integrate technology into an interdisciplinary curriculum which differentiates students’ needs, developmental levels and learning goals. Administrative tasks performed by school staff are increasingly automated online, allowing more of the school’s energy and resources to be focused on educational pursuits.
  • The school community experiences an environment where all have access to a wide range of technology, information and application tools. These systems unleash latent potential by connecting resources, including parents, the wider community, educational partners and networked resources, to further the Mission . (Revised from sources located at: http://resources.sun-associates.com/visions.html_)
  • Through the integration of technology we contribute to our school mission of inspiring and empowering our students to think creatively and critically, pursue lifelong learning, and contribute positively to the global community.
  • Fostering confident users of technology ensures that students progress from being individual learners to contributors to a network of learners who help one another,  becoming successful citizens of a global society. The uses of technology across all ages and stages ensures that there is a transformation from learning WHAT to learning HOW.
  • We value continued professional development and growth, understanding that all teachers must acquire the knowledge and skills to integrate technology into a challenging and interdisciplinary curriculum.

There were a lot of good idea around this and we looked to our Schools mission statement and vision to guide us- #NISInquire #NISInspire #NISImpact

And here we are arriving at our first draft, ready to go out to staff and students for feedback:

Through the integration of technology we contribute to our school mission of inspiring and empowering our students to think creatively and critically, pursue lifelong learning, and contribute positively to the global community.

Inquire

  • Our NIS connected community inquires into and reflects upon their own technology use and understanding.

Inspire

  • At NIS technology use inspires a dynamic, creative learning environment where our community feels free to pursue what they are passionate about within the context of our mission.

Impact

  • The NIS connected community understand that they are digital citizens and has a responsibility to engage in principled action within a global context.

This process was great and I felt that through the readings and interaction and feedback on this course I was able to guide this process in a far more informed manner.  A clear part of this process highlighted the need for a PLN within our school.  I could see the value and its power within the COETAIL community.  To this end we are in process of setting up and creating a GEG Nagoya.  This has been aided by a teacher who has a great deal of experience with Google and Educator Groups and this is an extremely exciting step forward for me and our learning community. 

 

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