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North Star Community of Practice

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Attacking the Two Drop Out Rates in the Public School System - presentation made at FETC - based on graduate work at Pepperdine University & FableVision

Attacking the Two Drop Out Rates in the Public School System - presentation made at FETC - based on graduate work at Pepperdine University & FableVision


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  • 1. Attacking the Two Dropout Rates Through Online Communities of Practice Researching, Designing & Building The North Star Community of Practice An Action Research Project Presented by Paul A. Reynolds, M.A., President – FableVision Conducted as part of the Online Masters in Educational Technology at Pepperdine University
  • 2. Action Research “a cyclical process of diagnosing a change situation or a problem, planning, gathering data, taking action, and then fact-finding about the results of that action in order to plan and take further action.” (Dickens & Watkins, 1999; Lewin, 1973 as cited in Understanding Action Research , Coghlan & Brannick.)
  • 3. Appreciative Inquiry “a form of action research that attempts to create new theories/ideas/images that aide in the developmental change of a system.” (Cooperrider & Srivastva, 1987.) Rather than problem-based it is a strategy for working with groups to evaluate what is working rather than what is not.
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  • 5. How do we fix an educational system that leaves so many students AND teachers behind?
  • 6. How do create a more nourishing learning climate that fosters the full human potential in EVERYONE?
  • 7. The Challenge: The Two Drop Out Rates We are losing our “off the path” kids and innovative teachers
  • 8. Learners ARE Being Left Behind . . . - In 2003 - 3.6 million young people in U.S. (aged 16-24), had failed to earn a high school diploma. - less than half of those who graduate end up enrolling in college Source: National Center for Education Statistics Report on Educational Attainment
  • 9. Every nine seconds , a student drops out. One-third of public school students fail to graduate with their class, and nearly half of all blacks and Latinos fail to do so. American Youth Policy Forum - Whatever It Takes Report
  • 10. “ [Student drop outs] are bored, disengaged , or feel no one truly cares if they stay or go.” District Administration Magazine – January 2007 “The Drop Out Crisis”
  • 11. And it’s not just the kids … We’re also losing too many teachers
  • 12. “ 30% of the beginning teachers are leaving the profession withintheir first two years " and " sixty-two percent leaving within five years." Attrition has no boundaries – regardless of age, ethnicity, gender, grade level or subject matter.' Source: MSA Educational Leadership Program, UNC Chapel Hill
  • 13. The new teacher attrition rate is five times the rate of experienced teachers. Sources: The State Education Standards Division, and the University of Pennsylvania
  • 14. How do we fix an educational system that leaves so many students AND teachers behind?
  • 15. How do create a more nourishing learning climate that fosters the full human potential in EVERYONE?
  • 16. Appreciative Inquiry evaluate what is working rather than what is not.
  • 17. Once upon a time . . . there was a story by Peter H. Reynolds that was written as way to help people rethink what our education “system” is all about. It is an allegory about the “one-size-fits-all” path our students take . . .
  • 18. and how lost they can become if they don’t discover a new way to navigate a personally relevant learning journey.
  • 19. From a healing conversation with a teacher in Mississippi ten years ago, The North Star book was published by the company I run called FableVision.
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  • 33. The North Star by Peter. H. Reynolds http://www.thenorthstarcommunity.org Resources Section
  • 34. Where Have You Been? Where Are You Now? Where Are You Going? Where Do You WANT to Be Going?
  • 35. Where Have You Been? Where Are You Now? Where Are You Going? Where Do You WANT to Be Going?
  • 36. Where Have You Been? Where Are You Now? Where Are You Going? Where Do You WANT to Be Going?
  • 37. Where Have You Been? Where Are You Now? Where Are You Going? Where Do You WANT to Be Going?
  • 38. Our own North Star stories - Peter: Math Class - Paul: Science Class
  • 39. Since 1997, The North Star has been turned into a . . .
  • 40. a year-long, third-grade North Star Inspiration for the Classroom curriculum kit , a musical , the North Star Musical Journey Kit , an online multi-language version of the book, downloadable full-color North Star mini-posters , a North Star Guide to Technology Planning (Reynolds & Stager, 2000), a wide range of North Star online activities , and many other educator-created North Star initiatives .
  • 41. The North Star “was the first ray of light that I had been longing for in my teacher studies to bring creativity in my teaching and to my students. For four years we have been on a North Star Journey. My class is called the North Star Classroom and I work hard to keep this theme for the whole year. My students LOVE it! Thank you so much for helping teachers to push past the worksheets and see the whole child” - Educator in Georgia
  • 42. “ Why am I interested in the Chinese version [of The North Star ] you may ask? Modern day Chinese societies place a great emphasis on education, but often only in the academic area. The children grow up with lots of parental and societal pressure to follow a fixed path i.e. do well academically; rarely do they receive inspiring messages from people around them to charter their own course. There are many cases here of children committing suicide. Some of them as young as 8, who killed themselves just because they were scolded, worried about facing the parents with bad grades, or simply had nothing to look forward to in life” - Educator in Hong Kong
  • 43. “ As I work to help my students recognize their strengths, learning styles, and gifts, I start every school year out with a reading and discussion of that book ( The North Star ). Almost 200 students later, they are still loving it and learning from it...and I learn something new every time I read it” - Educator in Virginia
  • 44. I truly believe that our year with you will stay with us for our lifetime. Danny, Kayla and I accredit you and Peter for showing us our paths and inspiring us to work with children. I have you to thank for illuminating my dreams so long ago. - Angie Hartley, High School Graduate 2006, one of the original North Star Navigators
  • 45. “ I utilized The North Star Approach to Teaching in the Classroom with my fifth graders again this year with great success and positive feedback from students, parents, and administrators. It has invigorated my approach to managing the classroom and helped many of my students organize and manage their schoolwork and personal responsibilities” - Educator in California
  • 46. And that is good.
  • 47. And that is good. But is it good enough?
  • 48. The past twelve months I set out to build a web-based community of practice to scale The North Star into a global network of creative, innovative change agency . . .
  • 49. The Power of Networks + The Power of Story + The Power in Communities of Practice = The North Star Community a network of progressive educators, inspired by a transformational story, and brought together for mutual support, best practices and shared resources
  • 50. The Power of Networks + The Power of Story + The Power in Communities of Practice = The North Star Community a network of progressive educators, inspired by a transformational story, and brought together for mutual support, best practices and shared resources
  • 51. The Power of Networks + The Power of Story + The Power in Communities of Practice = The North Star Community a network of progressive educators, inspired by a transformational story, and brought together for mutual support, best practices and shared resources
  • 52. The Power of Networks + The Power of Story + The Power in Communities of Practice = The North Star Community a network of progressive educators, inspired by a transformational story, and brought together for mutual support, best practices and shared resources
  • 53. The Power of Networks + The Power of Story + The Power in Communities of Practice = The North Star Community a network of progressive educators, inspired by a transformational story, and brought together for mutual support, best practices and shared resources
  • 54. The Power of Networks + The Power of Story + The Power in Communities of Practice = The North Star Community a network of progressive educators, inspired by a transformational story, and brought together for mutual support, best practices and shared resources
  • 55. The Power of Networks + The Power of Story + The Power in Communities of Practice = The North Star Community a network of progressive educators, inspired by a transformational story, and brought together for mutual support, best practices and shared resources
  • 56. The Power of Networks + The Power of Story + The Power in Communities of Practice = The North Star Community a network of progressive educators, inspired by a transformational story, and brought together for mutual support, best practices and shared resources
  • 57. The Power of Story
  • 58. “ metaphorically rich, morally instructive narratives teach us who we are and who we are to become” - Psychologist Jerome Bruner
  • 59. “ A springboard story has an impact not so much through transferring large amounts of information, but through catalyzing understanding . It can enable listeners to visualize from a story in one context what is involved in a large-scale transformation in an analogous context . It can enable them to grasp the idea as a whole not only very simply and quickly, but also in a non-threatening way. In effect, it invites them to see analogies from their own backgrounds, their own contexts, their own fields of expertise.” Stephen Denning, The Springboard: How Storytelling Ignites Action in Knowledge-Era Organizations.
  • 60. The Power of Networks
  • 61. “ The capacity of a network to communicate with itself is truly awe inspiring; its transmission capability far surpasses any other mode of communication.
  • 62. Living systems contain their own solutions. When they are suffering in any way – from divisive relationships, from lack of information, from declining performance – the solution is always to bring the system together so that it can learn more about itself from itself.
  • 63. Somewhere in the system there are people who have already figured out how to resolve this problem. They are already practicing what others think is impossible.” - Dr. Margaret Wheatley (Leadership & the New Science)
  • 64. The Power in Communities of Practice
  • 65. “ online communities that promote a shared domain/common agenda, interactive community and shared ideas and tools of practice are proving to be highly effective agents of change in civic, corporate, institutional and educational organizations” - Etienne Wenger, et al., Cultivating Communities of Practice, 2002).
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  • 69. Research Questions Answered? Yes. ∆ FableVision embraced proposal/added ∆ Co-researchers validated my assumption - expressing interest and requesting features. ∆ FableVision designed feasible alpha prototype ∆ Co-researchers reviewed, embraced: 71% Saying they will use “weekly or more”!
  • 70. Research Questions Answered? Yes. ∆ FableVision embraced proposal/added ∆ Co-researchers validated my assumption - expressing interest and requesting features. ∆ FableVision designed feasible alpha prototype ∆ Co-researchers reviewed, embraced: 71% Saying they will use “weekly or more”!
  • 71. Research Questions Answered? Yes. ∆ FableVision embraced proposal/added ∆ Co-researchers validated my assumption - expressing interest and requesting features. ∆ FableVision designed feasible alpha prototype ∆ Co-researchers reviewed, embraced: 71% Saying they will use “weekly or more”!
  • 72. Research Questions Answered? Yes. ∆ FableVision embraced proposal/added ∆ Co-researchers validated my assumption - expressing interest and requesting features. ∆ FableVision designed feasible alpha prototype ∆ Co-researchers reviewed, embraced: 71% Saying they will use “weekly or more”!
  • 73. Research Questions Answered? Yes. ∆ FableVision embraced proposal/added ∆ Co-researchers validated my assumption - expressing interest and requesting features. ∆ FableVision designed feasible alpha prototype ∆ Co-researchers reviewed, embraced: 71% Saying they will use “weekly or more”!
  • 74. How did it change me? Gave me the power of research to validate the actions in my practice. connected me more closely with the educators we serve.
  • 75. Implications? I will be braver, more determined to scale up The North Star – and affect widespread change to challenge the current system – and foster human potential in authentic ways. This is only “The Beginning.”
  • 76. Implications? I will be braver, more determined to scale up The North Star – and affect widespread change to challenge the current system – and foster human potential in authentic ways. This is only “The Beginning.”
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