The other day I was asked to take a look at Michael Fullan new paper called:
Great to Excellent: Launching the Next Stage of Ontario's Education Agenda.
After reading this paper I was asked to reflect and provide a description of how the school I am at is adapting to the changes in education. Specifically in regards to technology, social media and communication.
Fullan identifies the 6Cs that are necessary in education today:
- Collaboration and Teamwork
- Creativity and Imagination
- Critical Thinking and Problem Solving
Over the past number of years the way school leaders interact, lead and communicate with their school community has changed greatly. The way information is shared and distributed has evolved to keep up with what is happening in technology, learning and communication outside the walls of our schools. Not only that, we have to address how students learn in the 21st Century and how teachers open up the curriculum for the students to best meet their learning needs.
One of the challenges we all face is: How do we get these new technologies and and methods of communication to meet the 21st Century needs of our students? Here at St. Rita we are working hard to meet these challenges. The way I have decided to go about implementing these changes at St. Rita is to first know, understand and use these technologies myself.
By focusing on areas such as the 6Cs myself, I am trying to lead from the middle and modelling and encouraging the use of new technologies and ways to communicate with a wider audience. The idea is that teachers will transfer these skills, concepts and ideas into their classrooms and teaching.
Some of the thing that we have done at St. Rita are:
- St. Rita Twitter account: Used for announcements, to showcase student work and to provide resources for parents. This account is also linked to a St. Rita Facebook page so all the tweeted links go to Facebook.
- St. Rita Staff Room: A place to share information and an effort to use meeting time more effectively by not dealing with small administrative items. This allows for more discussion for school improvement at meetings.
- Using screenr.com: St. Rita Flipped Parent Announcement - This was used at the beginning of the year to be an alternative to the traditional paper announcement.
- St. Rita website: constantly updated and the first thing that parents often see. Therefore, this communication tool is the face of the school.
- Eco-Squad Blog: Our Eco-Squad has worked to create their own blog and they have been working with a school K-5 in New Jersey.
- My own blog is a good way to contribute to the educational community what I am doing. We are now in an age where we are all getting ideas from blogs, Twitter and Facebook. There is also a responsibility to share what you are doing with your Professional Learning Network (PLN): The Education of an Elementary Principal
- We are also looking at the importance of teaching students the value of creating a positive digital footprint.
Collaboration and Teamwork
- As a staff we use Google Drive for a variety of purposes. Including making class lists for the following year: Class List Template
- Surveying staff using: St. Rita Winter Wishlist - Wishlist Results
- We know have Junior students collaborating together on Google Drive with each other and with teachers to complete their work.
Creativity and Imagination
- Using Google Forms to survey the students and give teachers a gateway to different opportunities for learning opportunities: Help Mr. Slack Name His Fish and The Results
- Having students use different ways to demonstrate their learning and what we are doing at our school: Hope - YouTube Video
Critical Thinking and Problem Solving
- Making use of my Professional Learning Network (PLN) on Twitter has been very valuable to be in solving problems and accessing new and innovative ideas.
Hopefully, some of these things that we are doing here at St. Rita are going to take root in our teachers classrooms and move into their teaching practice. I believe that leading from the inside out is the best way to implement the 6Cs in our schools and that leadership in our schools is a critical part of making this work.