A Principal's Reflections

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Is Technology Being Integrated Effectively?

A Principal's Reflections

In many cases, there seems to be a tendency to water down expectations when it comes to integrating technology. During a recent presentation on digital pedagogy for deeper learning I asked attendees to discuss then share out on TodaysMeet how they were effectively integrating technology in their classroom, school, or district. Others confessed that they weren’t sure what effective use constituted.

The Potential of Virtual Reality

A Principal's Reflections

Many educators, including myself, routinely talk about the need for innovation in education. If we continue to employ the same type of thinking then we will get the same or results. We also run the risk of taking a step backwards and experiencing worse results than anticipated. Change isn’t coming; it is already on our doorstep! Thus we must begin to embrace new ideas and methodologies.

Critical Thinking in the 21st Century and Beyond

A Principal's Reflections

One of my fondest memories of school was my science teacher, Mr. South. Having attended a K-8 consolidated school in rural NJ, we knew who all the teachers were. However, Mr. South stood out. remember an elementary student seeing paper flyers with a caricature of Mr. South wearing one of his famous flannel shirts. As the years passed, he transitioned from flannel to a dress shirt, tie, and jeans.

Learning is Not Linear

A Principal's Reflections

I think, for the most part, everyone strives for success. We want to be successful in our professional as well as our personal lives. strived to be the best possible principal for my students, staff, and community. Whether I was successful is a matter of perspective. Our digital transformation, backed by evidence of improved learner outcomes, has been well documented. Are you with me?

5 Costly Inventory Management Mistakes Schools Should Avoid

Stop the Homework Insanity and Let Kids Be Kids

A Principal's Reflections

I have so many fond memories of my childhood. Growing up in a relatively rural area of Northwestern New Jersey sure had its benefits. As we returned home from school each day, my brothers and I would jump off the bus and diligently make our way about a half-mile back to our house. Life sure was good and relatively stress free. Things changed a bit once Atari and Nintendo took hold.

Relationships Are Everything

A Principal's Reflections

I recently had the honor of being a guest on Dr. Will Deyamport’s podcast called the Dr. Will Show. You can view the Google Hangout video HERE. We had a vibrant conversation on the topic of Digital Leadership with a focus on school culture, embracing change, strategic use of social media, the Model Schools Conference , and innovation. Image credit https://behappy.me

Keys for a Successful Digital Transformation

A Principal's Reflections

Nobody likes change, but the fact is that change is at our doorstep. Changes in technology are quickly beginning to force the hands of schools and districts across the world. This poses some good news for students, as transformation efforts are under way to provide authentic learning experiences that provide relevance, value, and tangible skills in an unpredictable world.

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The Process of Change

A Principal's Reflections

There is always a great deal of discussion about change in education in order to better prepare students for success. The stakes have become higher as changes in a globally connected world are far outpacing those in our schools. The proliferation of technology in the world is making it much more difficult to engage our students. The good news in all of this is that they are not insurmountable.

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Agency: Important for Students and Educators

A Principal's Reflections

There is a great deal of talk and focus on the need to improve student agency in our schools and rightfully so (see my post on this topic HERE ). Empowerment and ownership need and should be associated with learning to increase relevancy, value, meaning, and outcomes. For sustainable change and innovative practices to take hold let’s evaluate the level of educator agency in our schools.

How an #EdTech Lens Can Improve a Learning Culture

A Principal's Reflections

I remember the days when I was not a very big believer in educational technology. For one, I saw the use of tools just as a means to become more efficient at delivering instruction. Man, could I rock a PowerPoint lecture. As Chris Lehmann says, “You deliver pizzas, not instruction.” Boy, did I have it all wrong. To say I had a fixed mindset would be a gross understatement.

10 Tips to Make Learning REAL

A Principal's Reflections

Another Christmas has passed and I am continually amazed by the technologies that kids now have access to. For example, my son received a drone from my mother-in-law and has been playing with it non-stop for days now. At first, he was focused on just the basics of flying the device. After having mastered take off, landing, and balance, his focus now is on using the camera to take photos and video.

Leadership Transformed

A Principal's Reflections

For every education professional, adversity is a constant reality: lack of time, not enough resources, outdated facilities, resistant staff, and a slew of mandates/directives, to name a few. It can be difficult at times to envision and implement progressive change when you feel buried by these challenges. The human brain is wired to keep us safe, and as a result we often become averse to change.

The Need for More Play in School

A Principal's Reflections

As I kid I loved play. Countless hours were spent building forts in the woods, creating sand castles at the beach, riding bikes, playing Atari (then Nintendo, Game Boy, Sega Genesis, etc.) or just running around for no apparent reason. Kids love play and it is a central component of their social and emotional development. They love walking the neighborhood engaged in Pokemon Go. Why you ask?

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Ideas and Tools to Give Everyone a Voice

A Principal's Reflections

Whether during a class, meeting, presentation, or workshop it can be at times extremely difficult to give everyone a voice. remember as a teacher many years ago asking my students to raise their hands to respond to a question and even during Jeopardy-style review games had groups collaborate on their response. Undoubtedly this left many students out of the formative process.

10 Strategies to Improve Instructional Leadership

A Principal's Reflections

I still vividly remember my early years as an assistant principal and principal. Instructional leadership was a routine part of the job along with the budget, master schedule, curriculum development, meetings, email, phone calls, and many other duties. With the evolution of social media yet another responsibility was added to my plate in the form of digital leadership. There is no perfect lesson.

The Value of School

A Principal's Reflections

For all intents and purposes I had a great K-12 education. I got relatively good grades, stayed out of trouble, and participated in a wide range of sports and extracurricular activities. Best of all though were some of the amazing teachers and administrators I had during those years who consistently showed they cared. The system worked the way it was designed. It worked for me, or so I thought.

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5 Tips to Strengthen Your School’s Identity

A Principal's Reflections

There are many lessons we can learn from the business world and adapt in ways that align with education. Take the concept of branding. Since the advent of media organizations across the globe have worked tirelessly to build a positive brand presence that resonates with potential consumers. If this goal is met the likelihood increases that a consumer will purchase their product.

Making is a Process

A Principal's Reflections

“ No two makerspaces should be exactly alike, because no two school communities are exactly alike. Properly planning your makerspace will ensure that you uncover themes that are unique and meaningful to your school. In a time where wood shop, metal shop, and agriculture were cut for the mere reason that the content was deemed non-essential or could not be tested something had to change. PARCC).

The Challenge of Change is Not You

A Principal's Reflections

“The hardest challenge you will face is not changing yourself, but convincing or empowering your colleagues to embrace change.” – Eric Sheninger If you are reading this blog, trying out new ideas, implementing innovative strategies, or attending meaningful professional learning opportunities then chances are you embrace change. Change is hard. Tackle fears head on to alleviate concerns. Be patient.

Against the Flow Leadership

A Principal's Reflections

Change is uncomfortable for virtually everyone. I am the first person who will say that the process is not easy or absent of difficult challenges. The challenge of change becomes even more difficult when the main adversary is always right in front of us – our mindset. Our complex brains often work against our best intentions at times. This is Maslow’s hierarchy at play in a nutshell.

Educators are the True Rockstars

A Principal's Reflections

" To recruit the brightest and best, teaching needs to be a high status occupation " - Lord Adonis It is interesting how our culture works, especially here in the United States. We idolize those who entertain us such as actors, actresses, rockstars, and professional athletes to name a few. These people bring joy, and sometimes heartbreak, into our lives.

Inspiring Students: Bringing Awe Back to Learning

A Principal's Reflections

Awe might seem like just another three-letter word, but it is so much more. recent New York Times article detailed how humans can get goose bumps when we experience awe, that often-positive feeling of being in the presence of something vast that transcends our understanding of the world. It is a catalyst that can motivate people to do more good. The power of awe cannot be overstated.

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Implementing Mobile Devices With a Focus on Learning

A Principal's Reflections

The following post is a modified excerpt from Uncommon Learning. Mobile learning provides enhanced collaboration among learners, access to information, and a deeper contextualization of learning. Koole (2009) No one will deny the impact that mobile is having on the world. Over the years I have written extensively on the topic, including a chapter in my new book Uncommon Learning. 2013). mLearn, 15.

Pay Attention to Your Digital Footprint

A Principal's Reflections

“ Your digital footprint paints a portrait of who you are as an educator, leader, school, or district. Make sure it conveys your true values and work.” – Eric Sheninger In the age where billions of people have taken both their personal and professional lives online you better be cognizant of your digital footprint. you are leaving a trail that can be seen, searched, or tracked. Wrong!

Student Agency: Moving From Talk to Action

A Principal's Reflections

When I reflect back on what we were able to accomplish at New Milford High School, I am overtaken by a great sense of pride. We were able to transform the learning culture of a traditional school and in the process got results while becoming an example that others emulated. This was achieved during a time of tumultuous change as the education reform movement was just gaining steam.

The Will and Courage to Lead

A Principal's Reflections

Over the past couple of weeks I have been either keynoting conferences or facilitating workshops focusing on digital leadership and learning. relish the fact of being able to talk about creating schools that work for kids and leadership in the digital age. The main goal is to inspire current and future leaders to reflect on professional practice in order to become more effective and efficient.

Be Wary of Putting the Cart Before the Horse

A Principal's Reflections

" Unless you get instructional design right, technology can only increase the speed and certainty of failure " - William Horton As budgets expand or money becomes available at the end of a school year, the knee jerk reaction of many schools is to go all in and spend it as quickly as possible. Now don't get me wrong, I am all for schools increasing student and staff access to quality technology.

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Free Resources to Support Your Makerspace

A Principal's Reflections

The embracement of the maker movement is being seen in K-12 schools and districts across the world. As a result, makerspaces are being instituted to allow students to tinker, invent, create, and make to learn. makerspace can best be defined as a physical place where students can create real-world products/projects using real-world tools in a shared work space.

Design Empowers Learning

A Principal's Reflections

All one has to do is look around and see the amazing changes that are taking place in workspaces across the world. have always been enamored with what Google and Pixar have done to improve working conditions for their employees. Make sure you check out some of the other amazing designs that are featured in that Honkiat post. What we are seeing are some exciting changes by organizations. Zhang, J.

The Growing Potential of Micro-Credentials

A Principal's Reflections

There is a great deal of talk these days about micro-credentials and digital badging as a means to acknowledge professional learning of educators. While many organizations are trying to seize an opportunity to monetize this space for their own benefit, a pioneer in micro-credentials created a free platform for any educator to use over three years ago. Fleming felt she could make a big impact there.

The Need For Digital Literacy

A Principal's Reflections

The following post is cross-posted at edu@scholastic. With 1:1 technology initiatives and BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) programs increasingly being implemented in schools across the globe, the need for digital literacy education has become more important than ever. Although technology enables students to access more information in much less time, it does not always foster learning.

Leading With Video

A Principal's Reflections

There is no denying the power of video in society. In a 2014 Forbes article , Richard Tiland makes some significant points when it comes to video and leadership. For example: The use of video is so ubiquitous in our everyday lives; it has become part of our subconscious. We don’t even realize how much we know and learn from video—news, commercials, documentaries, even YouTube.

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L.E. A. D. E. R.

A Principal's Reflections

"The greatest leader is not necessarily the one who does the greatest things. He is the one that gets the people to do the greatest things." - Ronald Reagan Lately I have really been focused on what true leadership actually is. Many times when I come across the word leader I see the word follower attached. In my opinion, leadership is not about attracting others to follow.

It's Not a Technology Issue

A Principal's Reflections

Technology still gets a bad rap in many education circles. Perception and lack of information influence the decision making process. This ends up resulting in the formation of rules and policies that severely restrict or prohibit student use of mobile technology and social media as tools to support and/or enhance learning. In my opinion, sheer ignorance is to blame. Herein lies some irony.

Make Change Stick

A Principal's Reflections

“ When obstacles arise, you change your direction to reach your goal; you do not change your decision to get there.” – Zig Zigler Change in any organization is an arduous task at some point, especially during the initial implementation stage. One must realize that change is really hard and a commitment to see the process through is vital if the end goal is cultural transformation that sticks.

Leaders Don't Boss

A Principal's Reflections

"Leaders care about why things get done. Bosses just want things to get done. Bosses maintain order for the sake of order. Leaders introduce order for the sake of progress." - Akshay Kapur Do you work for a boss or with a leader? Are you a boss or a leader? The fact of the matter is people choose to be either a boss or a leader. This choice can have a monumental impact on any organization.

The Silo Effect

A Principal's Reflections

It is hard to debate that education is the key to the future. With each passing day new opportunities and challenges arise that will require a new generation of thinkers who can rise to the occasion. Schools must unlock the potential within our students while preparing them for a rapidly changing world. As the world changes, education and leadership must change as well. Herein lies the problem.