Activating Leadership

PRESIDENT Lincoln is reported as saying “Men moving in an official circle are apt to become official – not to say arbitrary – in their ideas, and are apter and apter with each passing day”. He was talking in relation to his social philosophy in which he valued communication with ‘ordinary’ people, not just receiving office-seekers and bureaucrats. It strikes me that despite our almost god-like technology that our current leadership seems grotesque oppositional to Lincoln’s philosophy, a man who was often called disruptive in his time.

I wonder if technology, once used to create hierarchy and singularity now needs leaders who can receive ‘ordinary’ people.  I get this feeling that we are increasingly involved in the unification of science with disciplines such as the humanities. This is activating the intrinsic human mind’s pre-programming to participate in the process of learning. The artifacts of 21st Century learning; blogs; wikis; podcasts; youtube; virtual worlds and games are conflict with mechanisms of the past – firewalls, filters, proprietary software, private networks, experts etc.,


It seems plain to me that the authors of the hidden-curriculum, those who are 21st Century teachers are seeking a much greater rallying point than some appointed bureaucrat responding to marketing, surveys and political party lines. This activates nothing, and places emphasis on the ‘cost’ and ‘opportunity’ that they are providing us, passing responsibility of professional learning principles or executive. These people are likely to make poor(er) decisions, follow the guidelines of office-seekers and ideology.

We need to activate executives and principals as collaborators with an ability to act independently for their community. Something enjoyed by Catholic and Independent Education – both of whom have the SAME duty of care as public. Yet the policies and ideologies are massively different.  Mr Whitby says is a consistent voice in the community,  Greg Black, tirelessly tries to open up conversation – we don’t see this reflected in pubic education – which loves to give itself titles that end in the world ‘Authority’. Open up, we want to come in.

How worse would a school be if it took ONE laptop out the look and re-allocated funding?

Take $5000 and throw it into pedagogy. A virtual world $2000.00 (blocked), a campus blog ($1000) blocked; pro-flicker account ($50, blocked) – for less than the software cost of one laptop – schools can activate so much more opportunity, but have been lock-stepped from it though the policy now in place, which is driven by notions of centralised governance; in a world which clearly rejecting socially. Don’t let the costs and numbers fool you – all of this investment needs activation. The DNA to do that is with online communities.

Like the naughty independent senator – there is a collabatorium manefesto won’t tow the line without negotiation. We wish to inform and be informed. In addition to infrastructure we also want pedagogy, citizenship, open resources, open learning, virtual classrooms and better policy. Its a global problem, but Australia has less people to solve it than our American cousins who are equally dissonant.

Data, transparency, and public availability of educational information are all highly desirable elements of education reform. It’s ridiculous that today a parent can find more information about choosing a new washing machine or automobile than about choosing a school, and it’s a travesty how frequently ideology trumps evidence in education policy making. Andrew Rotherham

How can they organise effective professional learning for their staff – who do they access, and how do the find these people? – This is why the back channel is important and why Twitter matters. Mark Pesce remarked to me “by any means necessary” in regard to maintaining pressure on change. To me we cannot allow the door to close in the next 6 months, as laptops find their way into schools.

DET/DER need to be far more open to alternative scenarios (and people) to actively receive advice from those who are able to help them with reform in the classroom – as well as having technocrats to interpret the operational requirements. It seems to me that though policy, action and marketing – the message, let alone the people is not yet being received.

Bureaucrats in public office have a public social duty of care to train teachers how to become active, informed online learning facilitators – not just filter out what doesn’t suit them.

For example, I want my local community to be fantastic – as that is where I live. I’m willing to help the local high school communities learn about teaching with laptops, because it matters to me, my kids and my community.  DET/DER needs to continue to expanding it’s appetite  to receiving people whom it currently sees as ‘the crowd’. This will help them recognise how in-accessible some of their current goals are unless they open up more grass roots opportunities and stop messing about with pilots.

So if you’re in 2251 postcode; give me a call – lets talk. It’s not too late – or come to the Unconference.