Category Archives: Embodying Visionary Leadership

My Ultimate Word for 2011

I am a Learning Object - Empowerment through each otherphoto © 2008 Steven Parker | more info (via: Wylio)
In the past few days I have read a number of blogs discussing some type of resolution(s) for this upcoming year. Being one that really has not “set” or wrote up a number of resolutions for January 1st the blogs were all a good read and I enjoyed how some eloquently wrote up their thoughts and action plans for 2011. I do set up action plans throughout the year which keep me going. Once I reach a goal or two, then others are set or renewed…that’s how it’s worked, until I read @azjd’s blog on Courage. It was as if Jeff was speaking directly to me, “you know this is a great way for you to choose ONE WORD to inspire you throughout 2011 – I dare you to do it!”

I reread his post then went over to @gritandglory’s original blog discussing her 2010 path with her ONE WORD resolution because I was intrigued by this post. It was a novel idea to me. In education we attempt to K.I.S.S. (keep it simple silly) when learning, why not for a resolution too?

Now came my turn to think of ONE WORD for 2011. What was I going to hang my thoughts, reflections and actions onto? ONE WORD, could I really achieve and work with one instead of a few goals? Wow. With a bit of brainstorming and a look at an earlier poster that I had up on my office wall in 2010, I had found my ONE WORD or I think; it had found me. It’s not a new word, but I believe it to be a bold word; one that I can rely on to keep me grounded and engaged for the whole year.

My ONE WORD for 2011 is – EMPOWERMENT!

Fom Wikipedia, Empowerment refers to increasing the spiritual, political, social, or economic strength of individuals and communities. It often involves the empowered developing confidence in their own capacities. (I really like that statement!)

With empowerment, I plan to:

  • Gain skills and knowledge to overcome  challenges in my life.
  • Access info and resources for decision-making.
  • Consider a variety of options before making decisions.
  • Exercise assertiveness in collective decision-making.
  • Think positively when making a change.
  • Inform and influence others through communication and collaboration.
  • Understand that self-growth is never ending.
  • Increase my positive self-image.
  • Share, share, share with others.
  • Grow my PLN.
  • Challenge my assumptions and re-evaluate my thoughts, values and being.
  • Continue to promote digital, media and information literacy as a means to communicate within society.
  • Engage others to manage their learning, leading and teaching.
  • Experience and actively gather amazing memories.
  • Live life full of risks and learn from my experiences.
  • Be of service to my family, friends and colleagues.

EMPOWERMENT is my ONE WORD for 2011, what is yours?


What Matters Now

This slideshare, which I first shared with a group of administrators in our very own Supporting Leaders in Integrating Technology (SLItech), is hosted by Seth Godin and various contributors. It is chalked full of great slides that administrators and teachers can share, learn from, explore and reflect on throughout this school year. They are all free to share and so good that I copied my original SLItech blog and posted the info here as well. These slides WILL make an impact on your thoughts and actions this year. Some specific slides may even make a deeper connection! Some of my favorites include 5 (Seth Godin); 15 (Michael Hyatt); 19 (Chris Anderson); 20 (Tom Peters);  25 (Dan Pink); 50 (Chip and Dan Heath); 60 (David Weinberger); and 63 (Todd Sattersten).

Seth Godin (5) writes about our opportunity to make a difference where “people will gravitate to you. They want to engage, interact and to get you more involved.” This, in turn, allows a more deep connection. In our schools we really should work towards this, as Seth remarks, “You touch people or projects and change them for the better.”

Michael Hyatt’s (15) vision reminds us that we need to keep this in the forefront of what we do, say and share on regular basis within our school division, our schools and in our communities. Too often, “vision is the first causality” when too many other things are beckoning our time and effort.

Chris Anderson (19) is genius on “atoms.”

“Anybody with an idea and a little bit of of self-taught expertise can set assembly lines in motion in China with nothing more than some keystrokes on their laptop… they are a virtual microfactory…. the collective potential of a million garage tinkerers is now about to be unleashed on the global marketplace.  “Three guys with a laptop” used to describe a web startup, but now it describes a hardware company too.  Peer production, open source, crowdsourcing, DIY and UGC– all these digital phenomena are starting to play out.  Now the revolution gets real.”

This is the global society our students are part of, and we must challenge them, support them – be those three guys with a laptop – and respect that many of them already are, or infinitesimally close to becoming so.

Tom Peters (20) offers 19 E’s of Excellence, and it’s my favorite slide. I think I am going to post this one in my office.

I adore Dan Pink (25).  His piece is on Autonomy, an excerpt from his new book, Drive.  “After a decade of spectacular underachievement, what we need now is less management and more freedom– fewer individual automatons and more autonomous individuals.”

Chip and Dan Heath (50) write on Change.  “Stop agonizing about what’s not working. Instead, ask yourself, “What’s working well, right now, and how can I do more of it?” Classic.

David Weinberger (60) reminds us that that, “if we listen only to those who are like us, we will squander the great opportunity before us: To live together peacefully in a world of unresolved differences.”

Finally, Todd Sattersten (63) writes about one of my favorite movies – The Karate Kid. We must remember to obtain focus, to inquire and to “be present”.

Our challenge in education in the SLItech project is to integrate learning into the digital-age where students, administrators, teachers and communities are active, engaged and motivated to connect to daily.

**Please share and make comments on your favorite slides!


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Emerge Conference

For three days this August, I am having the pleasure to network with educators, politicians, administrators, an astronaut, visionary technology enthusiasts to name a few. The setting is beautiful Banff. It has welcomed us with sunny weather, a great facility (Banff Centre) and many good conversations.

Feel free to follow or even review some of the comments found on twitter with the hastag #emerge2010


* Dr. David Merrill’s keynote on Physical Blocks for Digital Play spoke about the history of technology in music, games, education, etc. Educational software over the past three decades has changed quite a bit, however this 32 year old prof still believes that the “one-point” experience (that of using a mouse to control one little cursor) is really not the most effective way of interacting with today’s digital content. If you recognize David’s name, it may be because of his infamous TED talk from a couple of years ago surrounding Siftables.


* Dr. Bob Thirsk’s keynote this morning centered around his experiences with the Canadian Space Agency and the International Space Station. He also tied these events with the knowledge, skills and attitudes required in a classroom setting and the critical role that teachers play in engaging students. Wonderful space pics of the earth!

* For the rest of the day, workshops were available to attend. As well, I presented PSD’s Journey for the first year of the Supporting Leaders in Integrating Technology Project. My topic was Digital Bootcamp for Educational Leaders. I had two glogster posters: one with an intro of where PSD sits in regards to technology integration and the other showing some of administrators/tech leaders discussing one of the NINE effective strategies. We also worked in our group and individual thoughts on a collaborative TitanPad site. As well, the magazine report on issuu was a hit – good info shared through this medium! (Now I need to review this report for its final draft and ‘polish’ over the next few days and hand it in to Ralph at Alberta Ed!!)

* iLead: Shaping Learning Communities that Fit the Needs of 21st Century Learners – Jeff Johnson. Working with leadership in ECSD. A few wonderful videos with admin, teachers and students discussing 21st century learning. As well, he used of COSN’s Learning to Change, Changing to Learn video to garner discussion with leaders. Resources such as, and BernaJean Porter and ISTE learning site info to plan for change with a specific focus for each admin.

Student-Centered Graphic Organizers: Using Technology to Organize Thinking and Represent Understanding – Danny Maas. Students are able to develop their visual literacy skills and content knowledge using various graphic organizers. Graphic org – books: The Art & Sci of Teaching, Classroom Instruction that Works. 4 types of graphic org: compare/contrast, concept mapping, cause&effect, classifying. Great graphic organizer tools – prezi,, powerpoint, edu glogster and popplet.


* Dr. Marlene Scardamalia’s keynote on Environments and Assessments for an Inclusive Knowledge Society shared some of the research she has been involved in for the past 18 months. – building of site and resources as per knowledge building and assessment. Interesting that new knowledge creation is not identified in any framework for 21st Century Skills.

* Enhancing the Capacity of Ed Leaders w/ Dale Howard  – the researcher reviewing the Supporting Leaders Theme 1 project.

*seeing what jurisdictions are doing, does this change their capacity and knowledge on technology?

Vision – promoting successful school leaders in AB

Mission – admins will recognize the potential of new and emerging tech and enable their meaningful integration in supporting teaching and learning

CASS Study 2010 on application of 21st C learning technologies

Results of initial participant survey:

Response rate – 84%

PD – 69% directly involved, 30% not

Satisfaction w/selection of PD activities – 53%, neither sat nor dissat – 43%

Satisfaction w/ sequencing of PD activities – 50%, neither sat nor dissat – 48%

Not challenging enough – 8%,

Time allotted – satisfied – 35%

Actively promoting digi citizenship – 23%

20 characteristics of tech leadership        –     50-60% vision and strategic planning, digital-aged culture,

–          60-70% modeling, evidence-based practice, policy

–          75% tech integration at local level, facilitating staff dev, promoting/modeling responsible social interaction

What does it mean to be a digital-aged leader?

Three fields of knowledge from Friesen and Lock 2010 – practitioner, new, public. Do you feel with this intense PD have you made some leaps in your knowledge?

* Richard Tapp discussed his involvement in the 1:1 ESL student program in Calgary. Shared that the ESL group was half of a class, all students in class received a laptop and resources were at their fingertips such as  iLife, iWorks, GarageBand, Audacity, Inspiration, Discovery Education, visual thesaurus, dictionary, and MS Office suite. Students liked having access to the laptops 24/7 and confidence was boosted in showing their learning in a variety of forms. His presentation found here.

* Terry Godwalt’s infectious passion for Canadian Global Education had me attend his session. Working with TIGEd, Terry showed a variety of ways that teachers can provide authentic global learning experiences through webinars, webconferences, and videoconferences. AS well, it’s free and fits with our school division priorities since it has connects high schools virtually with grad students, Four Nations classrooms, Change for Children, VC for Hope = supported by Ctr for Global Ed

* Bob Regan’s keynote right after lunch kept us engaged and laughing. His topic was on Technology in the Classroom: Going form Disengaged to Digital. He had great visuals, a good story and pertinent research to share.

Quote: “Going to school is like being on an airplane – turn off devices, sit down, stare ahead.” As well – research from Manpower ’09: While more people may be looking for jobs, they don’t have the skills needed. Some scary info: each dropout costs the nation $260,000US. There are three stages of tech: lab, classroom and then access anywhere….and now informal learning (could be a 4th stage?). In reference to PD, Bob says that it needs to be fast, fun and frequent. He showcased the Palm Breeze Cafe as an exemplar.

Will add more info from Tues – wi-fi is giving me some trouble 🙂

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