Co-Founder & CEO
Powerful Learning Practice, LLC
21st Century Collaborative, LLC
The Connected Educator: Learning
and Leading in a Digital Age
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• THE CONNECTED EDUCATOR
Things do not change; we change.
—Henry David Thoreau
What are you doing to contextualize and
mobilize what you are learning?
How will you leverage, how will you enable
your teachers or your students to leverage-
“In a time of
drastic change it
is the learners
who inherit the
equipped to live
in a world that
no longer exists.”
ns on the
6 Trends for the digital age
Source: David Wiley: Openness and the disaggregated
future of higher education
“We are tethered to our
always on/ always on us
and the people and
things we reach through
~ Sherry Turkle
“Think movement, positive motion, and new and
ARE YOU CHANGE SAVVY?
You can’t workshop this kind of change.
Is what you are doing now as a leader…
- teacher leader
- educational leader
- formal leader having a systemic impact?
- policy leader
- student leader
- community leader
- thought leader
Are you using the
leverage, easy to
actions to unleash
needs to change.
We know this.
Do it Yourself PD
A revolution in technology has
transformed the way we can find
each other, interact, and
collaborate to create knowledge
as connected learners.
Learners who collaborate online; learners who use
social media to connect with others around the
globe; learners who engage in conversations in safe
online spaces; learners who bring what they learn
online back to their classrooms, schools, and
Who/What are connected,
What Might Your Life as a DIY
Connected Learner Look Like?
How Does One Get Started on the Path
to Becoming a DIY, Connected Educator?
Status Quo-- Things are working well most of the time.
Something happens that creates a sense of urgency to change.
A desire to learn something new. You are presented with
evidence that makes you feel something. It touches you in some
- a disturbing look at a problem
- a hopeful glimpse of the future
- a sobering self reflection
- you hear someone like Ewan McIntosh speak
and are moved to action
One of three things happen:
1. Complacency - You are moved but fail act - telling yourself or others, "Everything
2. False urgency - You are busy, working-working-working and never reflect or
move yourself to action. You talk and it scratches the itch.
3. True urgency or passion- Urgent behavior is driven by a belief that the world
contains great opportunities and great hazards. It inspires a gut-level
determination to move, and shift, now. You are clearly focused on making real
progress every single day.
You see it. You feel it and you are moved to change or act or learn
• Letting go of control
• Willing to unlearn and relearn
• Mindset of discovery
• Reversed mentorship
• Co-learning and co-creating
• Messy, ground zero, risk taking
Dedication to the
Shares and contributes
Engages in strength-based approaches
and appreciative inquiry
Willingness to leaving one's comfort
zone to experiment with new strategies
and taking on new responsibilities
Dispositions and Values
Commitment to understanding asking
Explores ideas and concepts,
rethinking, revising, and continuously
repacks and unpacks, resisting
urges to finish prematurely
Co-learner, Co-leader, Co-creator
Self directed, open minded
Commits to deep reflection
Transparent in thinking
Values and engages in a culture of
Wonder is both a sense of awe
and capacity for contemplation.
Wonderment begins with
curiosity but then goes deeper
beyond the surface to a place of
possibility. A place we look for
patterns and testing of ideas we
had closed to our more
Wonder is to leave aside our
assumptions, peel away our
biases, and to willing explore
aspects and angles we wouldn't
have seen before.
•MCCSC on Today’s Meet
• Twitter around DIY PD
It also helps to ask yourself questions like:
1) Why am I planning to do this?
2) How will I initiate this change?
3) Who can I connect with online in my network that can help me?
4) How will I measure my progress? Or how will I know if I am learning?
developing a network. It
is a theory for the digital
age drawing upon
properties, and self
“Twitter and blogs ...
contribute an entirely
new dimension of
what it means to be a
part of a tribe. The
real power of tribes
has nothing to do
with the Internet and
everything to do with
“A tribe needs a
shared interest and a
“ Do you know what who you know knows?” H. Rheingold
• THE CONNECTED EDUCATOR
1. Local community: Purposeful, face-to-face
connections among members of a committed group—a
professional learning community (PLC)
2. Global network: Individually chosen, online
connections with a diverse collection of people and
resources from around the world—a personal learning
3. Bounded community: A committed, collective, and
often global group of individuals who have overlapping
interests and recognize a need for connections that go
deeper than the personal learning network or the
professional learning community can provide—a
community of practice or inquiry (CoP)
• THE CONNECTED EDUCATOR
Method Often organized for
Do-it-yourself Educators organize
Purpose To collaborate in
subject area or
grade leverl teams
For individuals to
gather info for
construction and to
bring back info to
interests and goals.
Individual, face to
face, and online
Collective, face to
face, or online
Personal growth Systemic
Community and Networks are the New Professional Development
Cochran-Smith and Lytle (1999a) describe three ways of knowing and
Knowledge for Practice is often reflected in traditional PD efforts when a trainer
shares information produced by researchers. This knowledge presumes a
commonly accepted degree of correctness about what is being shared. The
learner is typically passive in this kind of "sit and get" experience. This kind of
knowledge is difficult to transfer to local context without support and follow
through. After a workshop, much of what was useful gets lost in the daily
grind, pressures and isolation of doing the work.
Knowledge in Practice recognizes the importance of experience and practical
knowledge in improving practice. As you test out new strategies and assimilates
them into your routines you construct knowledge in practice. You learn by
doing. This knowledge is strengthened when teams reflect and share with one
another lessons learned during application and describe the tacit knowledge
embedded in their experiences.
Community and Networks are the new Professional Development
Knowledge of Practice believes that systematic inquiry where learners create
knowledge as they focus on raising questions about and systematically studying
their own practices collaboratively, allows participants to construct knowledge
of practice in ways that move beyond the basics of work routines to a more
systemic view of practice.
I believe that by attending to the development of knowledge for, in and of
practice, we can enhance professional growth that leads to real change.
Cochran-Smith, M., & Lytle, S.L. (1999a). Relationships of knowledge and
practice: Teaching learning in communities. Review of Research in
Education, 24, 249-305.
Passive, active, and reflective knowledge building in local
(PLC), global (CoP) and contextual (PLN) learning spaces.
Community is built through the
co-construction of knowledge
Be collaborative. Own it. Share with others.
invest in personal knowledge building so what you share with others
will be of value.
The power of connections leads to collective efficacy, collective wisdom
and long standing collective intelligence
Connected learners talk to strangers. We do not have to know the
people with whom we are co-learning, co-constructing, co-creating.
Innovation comes from wildly diverse experiences and loose
Action research groups: Do active, collaborative research focused on improvement around
a possibility or problem in a classroom, school, district, or state.
Book study groups: Collaboratively read and discuss a book in an online space.
Case studies: Analyze in detail specific situations and their relationship to current thinking
and pedagogy. Write, discuss, and reflect on cases using a 21st century lens to produce
collaborative reflection and improve practice.
Connected coaching: Assign a connected coach to individuals on teams who will discuss
and share teaching practices in order to promote collegiality and help educators think
about how the new literacies inform current teaching practices.
Critical friends: Form a professional learning team who come together voluntarily at least once
a month. Have members commit to improving their practice through collaborative learning.
Use protocols to examine each other’s teaching or leadership activities and share both warm
and cool feedback in respectful ways.
Curriculum review or mapping groups: Meet regularly in teams to review what team members
are teaching, to reflect together on the impact of assumptions that underlie the
curriculum, and to make collaborative decisions. Teams often study lesson plans together.
Instructional rounds: Adopt a process through which educators develop a shared practice of
observing each other, analyzing learning and teaching from a research perspective, and
"Imagine an organization with an employee who can accurately see the truth, understand
the situation, and understand the potential outcomes of various decisions. And now
imagine that this person is able to make something happen." ~ Seth Godin.
Real Question is this:
Are we willing to change- to risk change- to meet the needs
of the precious folks we serve?
Can you accept that Change (with a “big” C) is sometimes a
messy process and that learning new things together is
going to require some tolerance for ambiguity.
Connected learners are more effective
We have a choice: A choice to be powerful or pitiful. A choice to allow ourselves to become
victims of all that is wrong in education or activists. Activists who set their own course. Who
resist the urge to quit prematurely. DIY change agents who choose to be powerful learners on
behalf of the children they serve.
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