Read it: Getting Beyond the Teacherpreneur
This article from Edutopia argues for collaborative educational innovation, and focusing on the successes of a district as a whole, rather than the individual teacher. "When we talk about innovation and entrepreneurship in education, we usually talk about individuals: the creative teacher down the hall or the principal who has a higher-than-average tolerance for risk. The term teacherpreneur—referring to someone who leads from their classroom by incubating new ideas and strategies—has become commonplace. We even hear encouragement for principals to break out of the confines of traditional policies and rules by being “cage-busting” leaders." According to the authors, Zachary Herrmann and Zora Wolfe, these individuals are the exception to the rule. By defining a school's mission broadly, using different metrics for success, and diversifying sources of insight and expertise, districts can cultivate leadership in all of their teachers. The result? A school that exists on a "culture of innovation [that] can better serve all students."
Check it out: "Getting Beyond the Teacherpreneur."
Watch it: Teachers as Learners and Students as Leaders
Kayla Delzer wants educators to "release the power" by making classrooms less teacher-centered, and more student-centered. Not only does this encourage collaborative learning, but it's made Delzer's teaching experience easier. She explains that when she incorporated a new app into her classroom, she introduced it to her students without becoming proficient in it herself. Students worked together to learn how to use the app, and explained the process to one another. While she advocates for purposeful technology, she says teachers don't have to be an expert in it's implementation. She suggests assessing technology's ability to transform teaching: if it's not transformative, skip it. Focus on project-based, rather than skill-based, experiences.
Delzer's message is clear: teachers need to embrace technology and transformation to become "champions of digital citizenship." This forward-thinking mindset and flexibility can also be applied to the types of skills we teach. Instead of grading students on their ability to memorize and repeat information, prepare students to operate in a world that values creativity, collaboration, critical thinking and grit, above all else.
Want to try the QR-code app Delzer mentioned? Visit audioBoom.com to get started, or check out Delzer's EdSurge article on "Using AudioBoom in the Classroom to Improve Reading Fluency."
Share it: Voxer
Looking for a new way to connect with other educators? Check out Voxer, a walkie-talkie app that gives teachers the opportunity to connect via text and live voice messages and photos. It's a way to create a real-time podcast-like experience, for sharing stories or asking other educators for help. It's the closest thing to actually being in the room (or on a conference call) with your PLN. We'll be taking a more in-depth look at how teachers are using Voxer later this month--get started now and share your experiences with us!
Here's a list of Voxer ed groups from around the country. Already connected with specific groups on Twitter? Check the list and see if they're also using Voxer!
Site: flickr.com [Image 1]