Posts Tagged ‘Daniel Pink’

Doesn’t everyone in education just go on vacation June 30th and then show up the Tuesday after Labour Day?

Not really. We know it is not true for basically anyone in the education system. And it is definitely not true for superintendents. If there was ever an off-season for school districts in the summer, with the growing popularity of summer learning, we are really a year-round enterprises now.  Almost 20% of our students take offerings in the summer.  In addition, there is the weird acts of both closing up one school year and simultaneously opening another – everything from staffing to finances to facility improvements.

But the speed is different.  There are fewer evening commitments and chances for down time and holidays. For me it means I get to read some books that at some point I have been given as must-reads.  This summer for me that included:

When – The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Planning by Daniel Pink

Nine Lies About Work by Marcus Buckingham and Ashley Goodall

Darkness to Light by Lamar Odom

Innovate Inside the Box by George Couros and Katie Novak (actually just finishing this one)

I have written before a bit (here) of my experience of going back to school, and that continued this summer.  I know many of my educator friends who use part of their summer to take courses.  And as hard as I found taking classes in the winter, it was actually easier than in the summer.  The lack of structure in the summer and typical routines made organizing time and assignments more challenging.  I will have more to write about the experience.  At the end of summer, I am now 1/3 of the way through my course work at the University of Kansas towards my doctorate.

And summer is not all working, reading and taking courses.  I had the pleasure of traveling along with a group of teenagers to several basketball tournaments across the United States.  And I found they had great respect for my important position as a school superintendent – nothing better describes this than these photos from a plane trip we were on from Chicago to Louisville.

And . . . .then I mostly waited for you all to come back.  It was lonely some days at the Board Office.  I know you might not believe me, so here is a little video (a preview of Opening Day for my West Vancouver friends) of how I spent my summer waiting for everyone to come back this week:

I launch into next week with our staff and the following week with our students excited and ready for a great year ahead.  I am excited about our new look for career education, the ongoing commitment to physical literacy and just the buzz that comes from the start of a school year.  Hopefully your summer has got you ready for your best year too!

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Held in the last days of August, the administrators’ meeting and conference is a key event for many districts across North America, and it is no different in West Vancouver.

So, last week we made our first effort at taking some of the aspects of an unconference to create a more participant-driven event for district principals and vice-principals. While the unconferencing allowed for more unstructured time, it also gave everyone the opportunity to make their own sense of session content.

Three videos (embedded below) were shown for morning discussions, and served as a spring-board when groups pulled their learning together for PechaKucha presentations in the afternoon.

And just what is a PechaKucha?

It is a series of 20 presentation slides, each displayed on the screen for 20 seconds (we modified it to 10 slides, for 20 seconds because of time constraints).

Along with my district colleagues, we did a run-through the day before based on these videos that were shared by Edna Sackson on her blog:

Our group found the process valuable in creating their presentations because it forced debate on the key aspects of learning.  If we debrief videos during a professional learning experience, we are rarely pushed to come up with key messages or takeaways. Definitely, the process built-in some accountability for us.  The PechaKucha format (20×20) also impressed upon us  to be succinct in our presentations.  If we went over the 20 seconds with one of our slides, we were cutting into the time of one of our own group members.

In selecting the videos, principals and vice-principals wanted material that challenged our assumptions and that linked to a number of themes we have been discussing:  inquiry, motivation, assessment and technology.

The first video we selected was the RSA Animate based on Daniel Pink’s book Drive:

The second video was the popular, and somewhat controversial Salman Khan TED Talks:

The final video was a segment from Nightline, that focussed on some of the findings from the Daniel Coyle book The Talent Code:

Thirty to 45 minutes of unstructured discussion followed each video and participants could discuss any aspect of the video with anyone. We also created a learning wall where each person wrote one key finding or idea from the video or conversation. Then, after lunch, participant groups of four to eight people put together and tried their hand at PechaKucha.

It turned out to be a very powerful way to synthesize and share our learning, and created a takeaway product that can be used for other purposes — more valuable than the binders of notes I have taken at events and have never looked at again.

As we continue to look for ways to change how we share information, and particularly how we use Powerpoint, PechaKucha is another strategy that has possibilities for both student and adult learning.

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