Monday, June 27, 2011

ISTE Day 2: How Do We Release the Potential?

21st Century School Leadership is an involved and challenging process, and so many of us realize that who are active in the profession. One initiative leads to another challenge, that leads to another failed attempt to break the structural impediments of 19th Century learning. To summarize today's sessions at ISTE2011 I can say the theme of relevance, sustainability, and replicability are necessary considerations for those of us that seek to build these systems.

A reminder, 21st Century best practices includes dynamic leadership, vision, culture of collaboration, an adapted reform process, new approaches to teaching and learning, high quality infrastructure and technology. Systems that instill in students the critical thinking skills that prepare them for college, and the world of work will achieve these rare feats of success. But, in the lyrics of the old children's song they are "petunias in onion patches".

The component structural model of 21st Century learning follows a model such as the following set of components, evidenced in model school districts in Louisiana and New York State:

1.  Setting the stage for innovation; creating a dynamic vision with appropriate stakeholders.
2.  Leadership; that uses the dynamic vision to to guide decision-making, hiring the right leaders and teachers to fulfill the vision.          
3.  Teaching and learning; aligning pedagogy with the vision, and reorganizing the physical structure of an older model of learning.
4.  Technology implementation; develop a plan for the implementation of technology
5.  Professional development; to reinforce training and support for employees
6.  Culture; establishing a true environment for collaboration, facilitation, and mentoring
7.  Partnerships; external and internal partnerships
8.  Replicability; using a within-the-budget mentality to control budget.
9.  Sustainability; creating induction programs to ensure the vision continues.

In one interesting session by Kipp Rogers, a MS Principal in Virginia, a wonderful presentation on the world of Web 2.0 activities and tools for school leaders. He is also the author of two books that focus on the use of cell phones, smart phones and other devices in the classroom. 

21st Century schools are possible and are very much needed and sought after. Here's hoping that the right people get the message.