I am trying to become a better storyteller. While some may still believe our way to a new educational model will come through government policies and proclamations, the more likely successful route is through the development and sharing of educational models for a possible future. The models we develop and share can, and will, serve as guides as we move away from the current educational reality. And, there is an appetite for evolution and transformation — almost everyone I speak with, be it student, parent, teacher or administrator, is excited about what is possible — call it 21st century learning, personalized learning, or just “learning”.
The power, then, is in the thousands of edu-bloggers sharing their stories; the stories that lay the ground work for others to seek their paths to the future. There isn’t just ‘one way’ to the possible future with education and schooling, and it is also the reason why we need so many voices, (at times, seemingly at odds with one another) to offer a range of paths toward what is possible. The next education system will not come in a binder, it will come from teachers, schools and districts embracing new opportunities to grow and create more ‘new’ stories in our schools than there are ‘old’ stories. As mentioned in my previous post, the system will become increasingly flexible at every level, and the role of education leaders will be to knit these stories and network together.
I have previously cited Dean Shareski (here) and what he describes as narrative champions. In finding ways to become a narrative champion, Dean writes about subscribing. In West Vancouver, I see this happening as more people subscribe to the Principals’ Blogs (receiving alerts as new posts are published). He describes the retelling of stories, and something I try to do on a semi-regular basis through blogging, and as we also do through the district website and other venues. Finally, he lists the recording of stories — and this is something we need to become better at — finding ways for those who do not have a public voice to share their learning, teaching and their messages more widely. I have also found Steven Johnson’s book, Where Good Ideas Come From: The Natural History of Innovation to be very influential reading with the notion that radical innovation is very accessible for those who are able to cultivate it by stitching together the ideas of many.
Here is a short animated summary of the book:
In my bid to become a better storyteller, I will be adding three more stories that will continue to weave the West Vancouver story and build paths to the future. The three different, but equally strong, presentations at the April 10th West Vancouver Board of Education meeting included Zoltan Virag sharing what he is doing with iPads in Music (click on the link to find some fabulous iPad music resources) at Irwin Park Elementary School. Then, Jody Billingsley shared (his blog post here) his presentation on the ripples of influence of Lions Bay Community School, in the school, community, and in the world, with the final story of the evening from Liz Hill, Ryan Loewen and Amelia Poitras who shared some exciting findings from their first year of using Fast ForWord at Westcot Elementary.
Some of the most important skills of the digital age, are time-tested, but the power in telling stories has not only stood the test of time, it is more important in this age than ever.