A Principal's Reflections

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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.

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

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.

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.

5 Costly Inventory Management Mistakes Schools Should Avoid

If your school is like most, inventory and/or asset management plays a critical role in daily operations.

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.

Improving Instruction in a Digital World

A Principal's Reflections

The Rigor and Relevance Framework —an action ­oriented continuum that describes putting knowledge to use—gives teachers and administrators a way to develop both instruction and assessment while providing students with a way a way to project learning goals. Grounded in rigor and relevance, instruction and learning with digital tools are limitless. This is the foundation of uncommon learning.

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 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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Join SETDA: Affiliate Memberships Now Accepted

SETDA's Affiliate program connects non-profit education membership organizations with state leaders. SETDA's mission is to build the capacity of education leaders to improve learning through technology policy & practice. Benefits include: SETDA conferences, webinars and news feeds.

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?

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.

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.

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).

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.

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.

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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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.

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.

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 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.

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!

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 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.

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.

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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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.

Disruptive Innovation

A Principal's Reflections

Education is ripe for disruptive change leading to innovative practices that improve learning outcomes for our students. What might have worked in the past will not necessarily have the same impact today, as the world has changed dramatically in a short period of time. Let’s take a walk down memory lane to see firsthand some powerful examples of disruptive innovation in action. Think differently.

The Blogging Hurdle

A Principal's Reflections

“ If you’re not blogging, you’re selling yourself short; you’re selling your school short. ” - Eric Sheninger During my typical digital leadership keynote or workshop, I consistently talk about the importance of blogging in relation to the pillars of communication, public relations, branding, and professional growth. When I ask attendees how many of them blog, usually ten or less hands go up.

A Title Doesn't Make You a Leader

A Principal's Reflections

I pondered just sending out the title of this post as a tweet – short, sweet (well not so much), and to the point. Instead of just throwing out a sound bite into the social media abyss a detailed explanation is in order. Now here’s why. As of late I have been working with a greater number of teachers across the country on digital leadership and learning. Leadership is about action, not position.

Uncommon Learning

A Principal's Reflections

The world today is changing at a fast pace. We are seeing advances in technology at a frenetic rate, which is having a powerful impact on our learners. It is not that our students are actually learning differently per se, but the environment in which they are learning is dramatically different. culture needs to be built first where an initial shared vision is created around these focus areas.

The Philosophy Behind Maker Success

A Principal's Reflections

For many students school has become an irritating experience grounded in boring lessons and learning activities. national focus on standardized testing and accountability has only made the experience worse for kids who only crave relevance, meaning, and value out of the hours of time spent in classrooms each school year. They desperately need an outlet during the long school day.

Change Needed Today to Prepare for Tomorrow

A Principal's Reflections

There is always a great deal of talk about what schools need to do now. The problem though is that most of the talk is not followed with action. Then there are those who want to act, but do not have the adequate support to do so. Herein lies the issue with all the change talk, rhetoric, and opinions. Hence, I come back to the need to support schools and educators in this endeavor.