Leading Our Way Forward Conference

This ERLC hosted conference took place on April 19-20, 2010. As part of the Supporting Leaders in Integrating Technology (SLItech) project, this event seemed a perfect opportunity for PSD#70 educational leaders to work together to discuss how our schools and school division will create learning environments to ensure our students are able to thrive in society.

The keynote speakers (Bernajean Porter, Jim Hirsch, Julie Evans and Lynell Burmark) shared a lot of information with the 500 participants, of which 40 were from our school division. Table talk was abundant. The conference focused on building instructional leadership skills, knowledge and attitudes to:
o Develop and/or enhance a vision and plan for the effective integration of learning technology into the instructional process
o Create implementation plans and approaches
o Monitor, supervise and evaluate the appropriate and effective use of learning technologies in the instructional process

A conference wiki was set up which allowed participants to follow along electronically. As well, the use of the backchannel, todaysmeet really allowed participants to share their thoughts instantaneously.

The conference concluded with two pertinent questions:
1. What are NEXT steps with your schools for Leading Our Way Forward with understandings, concepts, and tasks shared at this event?
2. What ADVICE do you have for yourselves in making your time, efforts, and visions become a reality back home for your students?

Much feedback has been given from the 90 or so tables, however what do PSD participants think? Some of our comments for the questions are:
* We need to empower our students to ASK the questions and help chart the way forward

* We need to continue our conversations about the 21st learners and consider technology as only one part of that discussion. Other parts of that plan include: critical thinking, Balanced Literacy, Staff supervision and evaluation, CSR, New Curriculum Implementation.

* Having time to work with my school based team. We need to focus on some key words so that they direct our thinking without missing any focus areas. Words such as productivity, accessibility, etc.

* It isn’t about a tech plan, it’s about a learning plan. It’s about asking the questions to everyone that’s involved. It’s about phase shifting

* More clearly identify vision and commonalities and differences. Identify talking points. Focus on key things.

* Tech is a part of our school ed plan- it is a part of all of our goals, and is a goal…

* Our advice to us…
-focus on and understand each person’s strengths and interests
-make sure teaching practices are creating “effective” student learning
-remember the importance of visual cue

* My take away was that our discussions around the 21st century learners needs to focus on a culture of Creativity, Curiosity, Innovation and I think we might need to add Collaboration and maybe some other elements. This is the big big picture. On a more focused plan our Admin is working with the SLI tech folks to consider next steps more specifically related to technology skills acquisition for staff such as SMART BOARD inservicing, e-portfolios, digital citizenship and how technology can be used in comprehensive reporting.

* Have measures of where we want students to go. We need to have some of those conversations with our staff about what they feel makes up a good technological friendly classroom.

* Regular team meetings, collaboration. Playtime with staff, embedded PD, Role Modeling and coaching to build capacity. PD with staff must be a level 3 type (transforming) activity in order for technology to be meaningful implemented classrooms. Start with the inquiry and then bring in the tech help for staff to help make it fit. We can’t teach the technology (level 1) then ask staff/students make it fit with inquiry projects.

*What do our students think? We should find opportunities to hear our students’ voices.

FINALLY, we should turn to our school communities, do a quick view on where do we place our learning and teaching? Are we in the Literacy, Adapting or Transforming phase? How do we move up a level? What will this take?

I believe this conference gave our PSD participants something to discuss, reflect and start thinking as to what our 2020 Headline could read. I continue to look forward to the ongoing discussions that this conference has started.

By slitech

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