Reflecting On Innovative Learning Designs

This year, my school has participated in our district’s Innovative Learning Designs inquiry project. We were awarded a grant at the end of last year which we used to equip our school with new technology such as iPads, document cameras, and Apple TV.

On Thursday, I had the opportunity to share our learning with one of our other team members Krista Stoklossa (@KStoklossa) as well as many other schools from across the district. What an inspiration! Educators in our district are doing so many amazing things: blogging, creating eBooks and ePortfolios, holding digital playgrounds as pro-d and developing digital citizenship programs. It is always so much fun to hear about what’s happening in other schools!

Below is a simple Haiku Deck we shared to summarize our school’s experience this past year.

http://www.haikudeck.com/p/RKiaonhv0C

However, the experience also allowed me to reflect on my own learning journey this past year. Here are a few key things I have learned…

1. Sharing

This has come up over and over again. From our Digital Learner Series to ILD to ConnectEd, everyone is talking about how sharing is no longer an option. How else do we learn and improve? How else do we create change? Whether you are on Twitter, blogging, offering pro-d or simply walking across the hallway to share with another classroom, you are headed in the right direction. We all want what’s best for kids but to achieve that, we need to share what is working. Thanks @shareski for giving me the kick in the butt I needed earlier this year to begin sharing. Now I can’t help myself!

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Photo Credit: tom@hk | 湯米tomhk via Compfight cc

2. Growth Mindset

Not everyone is at the same place with their learning. For many different reasons, some people make more time for learning than others or have different priorities, and that’s ok. We need to meet people where they are and help them move from their point A to their point B (thanks for the quote @gcouros!) One year ago, I think I would have shared some apps with my staff and called it a day. I did not yet feel proud of what I was doing in my own classroom. When I was, on occasion, proud, I thought that everyone should be doing the same great things or using the same amazing tools. Now I know that we can all work toward a common goal from different places and at different speeds, as long as we’re all moving forward.

3. Collaboration

This is one area that both Krista and I felt we would like to improve for next year. It’s hard to believe that I’ve only been on Twitter for a year, because I seriously could not imagine teaching without it anymore. I’ve taken a ride on the Twitter roller coaster this year ranging from lost to overwhelmed, from disconnected to obsessive compulsive. It’s been such a powerful tool in my learning. However, I think in all of my personal learning endeavors this year, I actually isolated myself from some pretty amazing staff within my own school. I know there are a lot who would say that this is a terrible thing, but I do think there is something to be said for learning and reflecting individually before we are ready to put ourselves out there. I am naturally an introvert and need a lot of time for reflection. I know that I have come a long way this year because of this critical reflection and now I will be better equipped to share openly on a regular basis without judgment in the future. I’m now excited about the thought of collaborating with my staff rather than afraid or self-conscious.

4. Inspiration

This is something that everyone needs in life, period.

Dee Reiter (@deereiter) has been a huge influence on my growth as an educator this past year. She came to us as principal last January and I have not stopped learning ever since! She has made me feel valued, respected, and supported. She has inspired me to truly be the best that I can be.

Elisa Carlson (@EMSCarlson) is someone who I have only met on a few occasions but who has inspired me not to give up on my dream of creating change. She aims to transform education, and I believe she is doing just that by supporting and empowering educators in our district and around the world.

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Photo Credit: h.koppdelaney via Compfight cc

We all need people close by to whom we can look up and who will support our “crazy” ideas. Without them, nothing seems quite as possible… We would say “yeah but” instead of “yeah and…” There a million people through whom I have found great inspiration this year and I could never thank any of them enough. The only way I see fit to share my gratitude is by seeking others who need inspiration and paying it forward. After my learning journey this past year, I feel that I am ready to start doing that.

I know the power of this past year – the inspiration, the opportunities, the confidence I’ve gained – will remain a part of me for years to come. I am forever changed as a learner, and I’m sure that without even realizing it, the Innovative Learning Designs project has a lot to do with that awesomeness.

How have you grown as a learner recently?

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4 responses to “Reflecting On Innovative Learning Designs

  1. Love this post! I love it when people put into words so eloquently what becoming a sharing connected learner can do for their practice.

    I think your quote about Twitter is exactly what I try to explain to new users, but you are able to explain it with far more eloquence then I could hope to. I’d love to share this post when helping educators get onboard with Twitter.

    It is amazing you have been able to take such huge leaps in a year, your story is an inspiration to all those just getting started on this journey. Thanks for sharing!

    Jesse

    • Thanks, Jesse! I’m still quite a new teacher so the changes have been a bit overwhelming! I wouldn’t have it any other way though… It’s been awesome.

      Feel free to use however you’d like. I’m pumped now to start sharing (and hopefully inspiring) more often!

      Beverley

  2. Thanks, Beverley! This is very well written and generous. Sometimes when we are tired we don’t feel like sharing, but it is essential. Merci! Leslie
    PS I like your pictures too!

    • Leslie,
      I have always liked sharing, but now I do believe that it is essential. It’s an exciting time in education with so much potential for change; we need to share in order to continue growing and improving! Even the act of sharing itself can carry a lot of meaning. I hope we can keep learning together! Thanks for the comment 🙂

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