Bat for the team

Many years ago a guy retiring from a lifetime running a printing company gave me some invaluable advice. I was new out of art-school type, and learned so much from him in the year or so I knew him. He said “After all these years, I’ve learned leadership is about batting for your team, it’s only managers use the bat on the team”. Perhaps this might be useful to you too. Thanks John Stillman.

Why you should be excited by PLNs and superhero capes


cc licensed ( BY ) flickr photo shared by CostinThampikutty.com

Everyone can lead something. That’s exciting. This post is about why PLNs are exciting … and breeding grounds for sense-making leadership. [token woot!].

In the real world’, the idea of creating ‘leaders’ is linked to enhanced line roles: leading, managing and supervising others to ensure their effective performance. This isn’t the same as project roles: orchestrating the use of resources to achieve specific ends, often oriented to the achievement of clearly delineated, narrowly focused short-term outcomes. It’s fair to say that being given a project role used to give people the sense that if they did it well, stuck to the rules and could demonstrate success, then they’d be ‘up for promotion’ – to the enhanced line role. The problem today is that upward movement is completely truncated as there are too few ‘top roles’ to go around.

I’ve seen more than one person lately who bust a gut in project-roles, did a fabulous job (leading, not just managing) only to be told their innovative work as now become absorbed into usual business or simply no longer refunded due to [insert excuse]. That’s not exciting, that’s brain-missing. In the old days, the post-war management era, this was how life was. But life isn’t like it anymore. We have capes. Social media is breaking the rules and given a new leadership ‘spin’. Potentially, those people on project roles are savvy enough to use social media to their advantage. If you want to get ahead, get a project – get ten projects! Don’t get too fragged, when a project doesn’t work out and  don’t waste all your valuable nodding to the bar-stool theorists – do something you believe is worth while and honour it.

It’s a great way to learn and to further where you want to go. If you don’t want to go anywhere, then go watch TV with the others who clock off at 5pm and on again at 9am. I’m fine with that too, but by the gods of bazinga, you are the first generation with this power,  living in a time for which your parents and grand-parents could only have dreamed. Stop bitching and start making. This isn’t the same as ‘building a PLN’, if you’re interested in leading something, then creating a conscious space in your life to do it makes perfect sense, unlike hoping for your number to come up in a feudal lottery.

Building a PLN, can also be about building leadership skills that disrupts the ‘power-culture’ in which great effort is placed on the strings of control that used to work on your parents. Most people used reach the middle of these structures after 30 years and quite frankly – it’s the worst place to be,  especially as you will get kicked off a project that you have invested so much in more than once.


cc licensed ( BY ) flickr photo shared by Sam Howzit

People in the middle are escaping to the Internet and putting up detour signs for those below them. I kind of see things like TeachMeet leading from this middle. It’s almost a social-blockade – a kind of OccupyEducation movement that never goes away, nor can those invested in ‘power-cultures’ fathom what is happening. I think there are three things that PLNs are doing (I am less interested in what they are or are not, I’ll leave that to …) – This is what they can do for anyone who chooses to join in.

Knowledge for Practice – researching and applying to practice, where knowledge is embodied in people rather than information.

Knowledge in Practice – A creative, almost artistic pursuit of reflecting on and inquiring about their own actions. This is all about being coached from the outside rather than being taught.

Knowledge of Practice – Working out the underlying values, principles of what is working by problematising it in communities though critical thinking and analysis.

This network leadership. What teachers on Twitter are working on – I think – is sense making. If I put it as a driving question it would be this. “What is the nature, potential and limitations of agency in a networked world”.

Steve Collis must pay

Steve Collis and his aircraft flight path video has been bugging me for weeks, so has trying to picture what the difference is between how social-networks use media to solve problems and how organizations use it. So I drew a picture about growing a communication atmosphere. Here’s what I think all this communication interest is about … and I’ll start with the one that most potential-tweet-recruits encounter.

I’m with some humans. Tell them what Twitter is about … We’ll it’s really all about a dynamic flow of media communication enabled by rapid advances in telecommunication, particularly mobile communication. It’s about the defeating the game of thrones, where those at the top pretend to know, those at the bottom pretend not to know. It’s also about our increasing ability to track physical, social and emotional movement.  We are less attracted to knowledge ‘points’ anymore such as newsprint, company newsletters or the inter-office memos, which, if we plotted their movement would be like ball-bearing rolling around a bowl until sooner or later it meets the bottom of our interests where it settles. Twitter is a periodic attractor, where we come and go where information is interesting because any attempt to plot it, creates infinite unusual shapes. It not a place for people who want to play the game of thrones.

It’s a place were we experience periodic dynamic question and answer sessions, which stops the game of pretend to know/not to know. It stops us working too hard on impossible dilemmas and instead find attraction to a kind of situational leadership, where no one has a constant value of importance and can afford to ‘vanish’ from time to time. Those that use it to their advantage know how to sell the ‘why’ and build motivation. They create high will for change and leverage it into the ‘what’ when people are ready and then provide the ‘how’ to keep motivation going though involvement. They are also sensible enough to know the flow changes quickly, so the once skill and will are high, they will let go – but only if and when they think it’s sustainable. The point of having followers is not to command or pontificate (listen up Captain Obvious), it’s to enable them to take the lead, and for leaders to learn how to follow. Sadly many attribute-leaders believe Twitter is a better soap box.

I am absolutely no mathematician, but I do appreciate it when maths-geeks make animations to explain really complex things using bizarre symbols and formulas that only other maths-geeks understand. So moving on from Collis and his damn aircraft, here’s one that I think describes Twitter for me.

If used wisely, I think Twitter reduces pressure on organisations, Being ‘on’ Twitter means learning to understand the chaotic, three dimensional flow of information between ‘set’s of people, ideas and groups. To be it’s more than a sense of being connected or belonging, but a more human interest in movement and our ability to notice the unusual more than the familiar. I think if you stick with it, you learn eventually to let go a little and allow the dynamic of human-connections and ideas to help solve problems. I think over time, we learn to plot this movement – but it’s a very complicated thing to learn.

“I suppose leadership at one time meant muscles; but today it means getting along with people.” – Indira Gandhi

People learning to use Twitter to overcome their own challenges. They learned to ask good questions, but most of all, they learn to move between media with increasing fluency and understanding. Attractive media today is essentially a non-linear mechanism – in other words what we expect to see, read and hear is probabilistic rather than deterministic. Perhaps this is the Inugi Paradox – a social rendition of the butterfly effect in 140 characters or less.

Postscript: Steve’s damn video:

5 critical factors to technology success in the classroom

Facing the end of the first decade of a millenium where students are have been ‘born-digital’, we are painfully aware that some people are adapting better than others, and in the disagreement over what should be done about it AND the jokeying for financial and intellectual superiority (nope, I’m not on Huffington Post – are you?) I think a lot of people are tired of it to be quite honest. There’s more at stake than getting everyone on Classroom2.0 to vote for themselves – and a real danger that this decade will be remembered more for fatigue than actual change.

In 2011, there remains a key job to be done – to separate out the subtle sell of a tiring message to a new audience, essentially ‘we need reform, you need to hear me talk about it as a keynote’ into essential pragmatism of useful information and advice on how to do it.

So, in doing that – I’m shamelessly using the sorrowful list post format (as it’s the best way to drive traffic apparently) – from references made in 2003 by Elaine Van Melle, Luigia Cimellaro and Lyn Shulha in  A Dynamic Framework to Guide the Implementation and Evaluation of Educational Technologies published not on the Huffington Post, but Education and Information Technologies Volume 8, Number 3, 267-285.

There’s a lot of sense in the extensive review they undertook – but to save you the hassle of digging it out of academia, here is what they say – and it’s worth noting how relevant this pre-Web2.0 discussion is being recycled still at the end of the decade.

1. ICT IS USED TO ENHANCE STUDENT LEARNING

“If you’re headed in the wrong direction, technology won’t help you get to the right place”

  • Specific areas for improvement have been identified based on student needs
  • Use of ICT clearly linked to a manageable number of identified student learning needs
  • ICT initiatives are tied to larger systemic developments (e.g., developments in learning theories and shifts in societal expectations

2. ICT IS AN INTEGRAL ASPECT OF TEACHING

“Teachers who were the most effective implementers bridged computer technology with classroom instruction”

  • Technology is integrated into the practice of teaching
  • The technology being used is tried and true and not in danger of becoming obsolete
  • Technology is readily accessible

3. PROFESSIONAL SUPPORT IS ONGOING

“Key IT challenges involve people, NOT products”

  • Teacher training, that addresses both skill development and pedagogical issues is readily available
  • Administrative support is apparent
  • Technical support is readily available

4. PLANNING, BUDGETING and EVALUATION ARE KEY ORGANISATIONAL ACTIVITIES

“Plan for the future – start thinking about the potential role 2, 5, 10 years from now”

  • Sufficient resources are allocated to maintain existing ICT activities
  • There is a plan for the future
  • Evaluation is built-in and includes the measurement of intended as well as unintended effects

5. ICT INFUSION IS SUPPORTED BY COLLABORATIVE EFFORTS

“For ICT initiatives to succeed, you need a group of key people who say this idea is too important to fail. This means creating tightly coupled systems to share information, coordinate activities and work on problems”

  • Partnerships with external stakeholders are vital
  • The local community is actively involved
  • Technical, administrative and professional staff function collaboratively

Why edu-systems need a social media PD strategy

I read a couple of reports this week about life in perpetual beta and try but never buy culture. Both of these things relate to the way teacher educators carry out the formidable task of mediating the exploding internet and entrenched expectations of how and why we go about professional development.

Print technology – the thing most people are saying must shift in order to make room for screen technology has existed for a relatively short time in history. It has evolved through form and social-function to be seen as ‘the authority’ – where a few dictate truth and what is correct to the majority. Most people won’t write a book, let alone see it distributed to the far reaches of the world. Slightly below the book most people see newsprint as a secondary authority along with television media and magazine. Word of mouth was relegated to hear-say for much of recent history.

With lives in perpetual beta – Ryan (who is looking at militants online) point outs

the internet facilitates “amorphous communities but it has a culture of initiative that facilitates individual activism. This evolved from the “hackers” at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) from the late 1950s,and the rise of a community of phone phreaks that spread and evolved into network hackers and software pirates. By the 1980s a new breed of phreaks was so defined and self-aware that it had established norms and conventions to which its members loosely adhered.

So in many ways, this subversion began long before teacher’s started talking about reform on Twitter, and indeed started inside academia itself. In the ‘try but never buy culture’ of today’s online world, we play out life in perpetual beta – we are exposed to, show interest in, and try on networks, technology and other people’s identities, not though books – but through conversation. These online places continue to establish new norms in behaviour, method and expectation. A book doesn’t do that – it is forever set in immovable type. If you’re a gamer, you get gaming – if you have already learned that a PLN will teach you more in a month that you learned as an under-grad – then you probably don’t see ‘traditional PD’ as effective.

Matthew Salganik is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology at Princeton University. His interests include social networks, quantitative methods, and web-based social research. In his research he suggests

People look to others for cues because of the overload of choices available. “You could listen to music nonstop for the rest of your life without getting through it all,” he says. “The simplest shortcut is to listen to what other people are listening to.”

If I relate this to much of the way teachers are expected to learn (three ring binders etc.,) in PD sessions – it seems that few teacher educators either have, or are able to have – a social media strategy to carry out their ‘job’ -as well as they could with it.

I find it brain-missing that education – with all its incumbent power is unable to get someway close to Edublogs for example. Edublogs has a social media strategy – and has built a global community, essentially off conversation with one person – Sue Waters. Teachers could just use WordPress – but they don’t – they have build Edublogs on community and professional development of teachers as a core-value.

I knew Sue when she was still an avatar, struggling to deal with hamster-brains in her ‘full time’ job. And there is the problem – the really great teacher educators have sufficient agency to ‘teach us’ in amorphous communities. They ‘hack’ the system so to speak – while at the same time – the book-believers struggle to reconcile ‘social media’, let alone think maybe – just maybe, teacher education should be taken to the communities, should be facilitated online – and should be maintained by people like Sue, who clearly achieve what is only endless debated in rooms and committees. Edublogs didn’t do this by publishing a book.

Does your organisation have a social-media strategy in order to use online communities for effective professional development? If so, I’d love you to post the link from whatever portal it may reside.

Three NEW things we need to see in education

cc licensed flickr photo by Heini Samuelsen: http://flickr.com/photos/heini/2693887793/

Cognitive science tells us that learning with technology is a duel-band activity, which in some way explains our desire to live in a world with multiple tabs, multiple devices and multiple streams of information at our finger-tips.

This post is about actively dealing with three things: cognitive load and capacity, the modality in which we teach and learn, and the filter.

I’m going to argue we can’t have it all, but 2 out of 3 aint bad – if we at least get 2 things right – and we’re not yet getting it right.

Learning modalities are the sensory channels or pathways through which individuals give, receive, and store information.  Many students have pervasive access to technology and potentially engaged in extraneous (no relevance), essential (selecting) or generative (organising, integrating, making) activities. I think, that the common modalities we use – don’t really teach use much about our cognitive capacity, but overload us. Our motivational and emotion responses -(which make up a third of our belief-making brain activity) is not to persist.

Take a typical professional development vignette

 

cc licensed flickr photo by RDECOM: http://flickr.com/photos/rdecom/5125599045/

The presenter has a pre-made Powerpoint, with a dozen or so slides. The room is set up with computers and the presenter has a handout. The intention is to teach the teacher why and how to use some web-tool in their practice to improve learning.

This is arrangement, classically presented to teachers as good practice, is also how most teachers encounter professional development.

Think about the first two things:  modality and cognitive load. Powerpoint to audience decode, translate to the desktop, more input, more trial and error, more questions than answers. All the time the day’s agenda moves forward. Each participant has differing prior-experience, different capacity. The method of instruction presents a high cognitive load. How many times have you been here – fumbling to work the machine, grasp the purpose or the imperative as the presenter says “let’s move on”. It is only our familiarity with this environment that makes it feel normal and unsatisfying. – We can’t be surprised to find decreasing motivation in staff and students when this strategy is presented time and time again.

A second vignette: The keynote speaker delivers a presentation, full of motivation and emotional arguments. The audience lacks the modality to en-mass separate erroneous, essential and generative. The presenter fails to address socially independent knowledge and meaning (the other two thirds of brain-making belief). We are entertained, perhaps inspired, but how many have the capacity to action it. There are many reasons for this, the most toxic is that the presenter – is in-accessible after the presentation, a common problem when we import speakers because of their past profile or because the point of epoch they speak from – is a concensus point for the assumed audiences cognitive capacity – and sadly the popular ‘sweet spot’ messages often imitated as a result – with no evaluation.

Both these common experiences are producing marginal gains in teachers being able to rethink the modality and method they use with technology in learning and teaching. Now I’d like to look at perception, disruption and distortion in relation to filtering.

THE METHOD IS HIDDEN INSIDE TEACHER PERCEPTIONS OF THE MEDIA

 

cc licensed flickr photo by simonov: http://flickr.com/photos/simonov/366430817/

Also think about how we present ‘the internet’ as a media and not a method by which learning occurs. We cannot be shocked when students lose interest and motivation, when we present it in an almost opposite modality. They are not distracted, just intensely more interested in socially independent uses of technology at their finger-tips – as they have greater capacity to engage with it this way, that to learn in the manner I described earlier.

THE REVERSE MODALITY OF INTERNET FILTERING EFFECT

The filter  is a very blunt tool to deal with erroneous information and is a subjective as Alan Jones on gin. [excellent social studies clip there]

The filter distorts how we access and manage essential and generative opportunities – and counter-acts the modality of learning that students experience in just about every other area of their technological-lives. It wasn’t designed to do this – it was created to remove risk to the organization, preventing accidental or deliberate access to pornography, hate, drugs, violence etc., but has evolved into a social-filter without any real evidence or discussion with teachers or students. The filter is also applied vary differently between systems, and often between schools.

“there was no evidence that online predators were stalking or abducting unsuspecting victims based on information they posted at social networking sites.” – Crimes Against Children Research Center (CCRC) at the University of New Hampshire, March 2008.

THE SEMANTIC DISRUPTION – The end is coming.

cc licensed flickr photo by See-ming Lee 李思明 SML: http://flickr.com/photos/seeminglee/4041872282/

Today much of filter-policy ignorantly assumes the internet’s role in education is predominantly as media delivery mechanism and not a medium to support a method. To some degree, few parents and teachers are lobbying for anything else – making it a social issue, not so much a school one.

Filtering (as we know it) assumes information remains static in the way it is organised and identified. Emerging semantic technology – draws heavily on information produced socially – ending the time where ‘the internet’ was experienced as separate experiences or compartments. Only silly minds will think the browser and laptop will be pervasive in the next decade.

Current policy often fails to recognize youth agency: young people as participants, stakeholders, and leaders in an increasingly participatory environment online and offline.

For the most part, the filter is a crude stop/go mechanism. Given the lack of training to helps teachers learn to manage, create and use technology in sympathy with real world modality. Social filtering distorts learning because it’s not safety from bad outcomes but safety for positive ones. We want to students to be be safe, but do we want our children to play in places that are only safe? This brings me back to modality – and the neo-classical depiction of a classroom. Projector, Laptops, Filter – is this how we want children to learn and teachers to teach?

“SOCIAL MEDIA” – IT USED TO BE CALLED APPLICATION SERVICE PROVISION

In the old days, circa 2000 – technology that power’s social media used to be called ‘application service provision‘. Clearly tools like Twitter carry ‘media’ information socially – but the term itself is misleading, popularised by culture and group bias – and even inside the believers, there is argument over what it actually means and affords society. It’s a word, along with Web2.0 that is meaningless to the majority.

Clearly GoolgeDocs, WordPress, Wikispaces etc provide a modality of learning which are clearly different to pornography – yet suffer from filtration (something I’ll come to next). Recent research finds kids are more at risk of peer-use of networks in abusive ways – than from people they don’t know.

WE CREATE OUR OWN FRANKENSTEINS

  • We have, like it or not, chosen to put technology into learning and teaching though government and organizational investment.
  • We cannot afford to accept we don’t need to train (and mentor) teachers to see technology as a method and find better modality in how we do it.
  • We need to accept how much more powerful technology is when used through personalisation and allowing people to become socially independent learners.
  • We need to accept, that in terms of cognitive load, capacity and modality – technology does not give rise to Frankensteinian epoch moments we can push out as being ‘the future’ or something to ‘work towards’ – but that as events that need corresponding change in education immediately.
  • What we did before and what we do after any epoch moment – causes greater distortion in the classroom.

TWO OUT OF THREE AIN’T BAD – Something I can live with

In approaching teacher development and support – we have to recognise that teachers are capable of asking for help, and that request comes from a professional capacity. What they do out of work is entirely their business. This is a blurred message much of the time – perhaps most problematic in the current popular dialogue of the personal learning network.

  • We need to find ways that we reduce the cognitive load needed to learn something essential – but delete the erroneous – in the classroom.
  • We should stay clear of generative desires when helping and mentoring them – as generating content is now seen as a chore, rather than creative joy.
  • Teachers should not believe that making more content is better – or required in pursuit of using technology in the classroom. (busy-thoughts).
  • Most of all we need to accept that the envelope in which we often work is not realistic – but a simulation of the real world. There is no shame in being clear about this with students – so that they recognise where the classroom-end point is, and where they need to start taking responsibility for their future. Even if this is to find a grade-school game that they could use at home to learn maths, that is banned in school.

Two out of three aint bad, as Meatloaf said.

Accept that we can’t have it all – we never did, and we never will – we live in amazing times, with mind-blowing complexity – but there are ways to do a lot of good with what we have … and each time we do … we push negativity one step further backwards as we make more sense of the positive.

Wanted: Aspiring Leaders

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The phrase ‘aspiring leaders’ – seems to be a phrase used by the incumbent leaders to describe those teachers who are demonstrating innovation and passion about their role as both a teacher and a learner in schools – and have been elevated as having potential to be a future leader.

This is often what we read in institutional newletters. “So and so has been awarded as the …” complete with nervous looking photo opportunity, which is often remarkably indifferent from long service or even retirement reports.

It seems some what presumptuous to assume that these people can only be called leaders at the discretion of the incumbent leaders of learning. Akin to being anointed or given a badge of office, the opportunities to be placed in this spotlight misrepresent the depth and number of teachers who are already leaders within the common interest groups (CIGs).

Contrasting ‘Aspirational Leaders’ with Common Interest Groups (CIGs) helps illustrate the gap between the incumbent leaders and the self organising, self determining leaders who we generalise as being active in the ‘Edublog’ CIGs.

CIGs overlap, intersect and deliver interoperability for participants. This is what continually drives them, as there is always something new, something to diversify into or just to learn about.

An example of a CIG in action this week can be further illustrated. We are looking at ePortfolios  at Macquarie University. This is part of the ‘innovation to integration’ educational portfolio.

I spoke to Allison Miller – a leading expert in my CIG. Allison’s research into ePorfolios in Delicious makes the process faster, more focused and easier for the whole development team. Allison is leading by proxy.

To me, there is a stark contrast between permissive leadership attainment in school communities and social leadership attainment through CIGs.

Incumbent leaders need to demonstrate far greater understanding and willingness to accept CIG leadership as not only vital but a significant attainment as professional development as a 21C Educator. Supporting them is the action that is needed, not ignoring them.

To me, leading learning is a combination of experience, passion, practice, skills, passion, work ethic and connectedness. The very skills many educational leaders talk about as things students need to learn … but are not effectively recognising in teachers.

When educational leaders ask (perhaps rhetorical) questions such as ‘how to we encourage and retain leaders?’ – reply, “You have them, you are just not using effective criteria to recognise it’.

This to me is one of the biggest issues that Australian teachers should be raising with thier ‘leaders’.

“And I can’t understand a word you say”

I read Jabiz Raisdana’s post about Recruitment2.0 which has a great description of the characteristics of what I’d call a 21C teacher. In fact I think that the word ‘teacher’ is now a little mis-leading, as the 21C teacher is also an information architect. But I wonder if out ‘leaders’ have any capacity to understand the diagram posted.

I also read Beth Holmes talking about her experiences in watching and listening to K12Online this week in which she says

The timing for reading Stephanie’s post could not have been better. Last night I was completely “taken” with Alec Couros’ K12 Online Conference presentation “Open, Connected, Social: Reflections of an Open Graduate Course Experience.” The viewing experience is a total package – a real “trip!” The viewer is entertained, taught, challenged and extended.

This is a very important passage. Firstly, Beth is talking about learning outside school and outside school hours. She is also connecting with Alec (who is influences everyone) and about a conference that is online. She is then talking about the learning – and that statement to me is exactly what teachers should be doing in class.

If I compare the two posts, it illustrates one of the major problems that ‘leaders’ talk about when they publish comments such as “We have such a diverse pool of talent in our schools.  It is important that we tap into, challenge and engage our talented teachers if we are to continuously improve the learning and teaching”.

I am not sure that they are any good at measuring this. I think that it is something that executives believe that they can buy in, and indeed any teacher who is not ‘tech savvy’ is going to increasingly struggle to be employed. At the same time there seems to be a mentality that all this read/write, gaming, virtual world, collaborative classroom stuff, is not something that executives themselves need to buy into. I am sure that they have a list of ‘yeah buts’ for that, but that is of no consequence.

Leadership is not about authority and it is as much about listening as it is talking in my view. Someone has to create opportunities for this leadership to be effective, but I think that at time’s our battle plan is almost 17th Century.

Leaders on the hill who’s point of reference is a classic view of engagement, based on a set of established protocols and procedures.

Unfortunately Beth’s passage does not fit that notion of leadership. Beth leads herself. Jabiz is talking about moving forward as a teacher and learner.

He’s answering the ‘executives’ call to ‘tap into talent’ loud and clear – but the criteria that he suggests is needed for 21C teaching – the very things that we have to embed into practice in order to be a relevant professional in the classroom – are not the criteria for pay and promotion, leadership or professional development in schools.

While teachers are being flexible in the way they learn – and deliver new ideas (for free) into the classroom, the systems are not.

For example, schools do not fund home internet connectivity or flexible work place practice. They are yet to recognize that the hundreds of free hours 21C teacher spend learning at home is directly related to classroom – and therefore school performance and the future of our students.

I really believe that the nature of the school workplace, the terms in which teachers are engaged needs to be reformed. I just don’t think that our most senior leaders are quite ready for just how much.

It is simply unacceptable to drop laptops into classrooms and expect teachers to suddenly become effective media age developers of 21C pedagogy.

It is also morally bankrupt of executives to issue this a significant criteria for employment without recognizing that these people are ‘leaders’ – in ways beyond a ‘pat on the back’. 21C teachers are not foot soldiers, don’t make that mistake.

If you do, then there is no avoiding your own Executive Waterloo.

The coalition is all of us. Despite decades of Empire building, you are at risk of loosing it all as the control mechanisms used to define ‘career paths’ are less and less relevant to the ‘connected teacher’. You have to understand that, not ignore it. If not, then you are left to argue ‘morality and loyalty’ to retain teachers, nothing more – which I think is patronizing, given the effort that most 21C teachers have made to get where they are.

In response to the idea of the Intrepid Teacher – 21C teachers – connected to the metaverse – are on one hand welcomed as agents for change, but at the same time are not invited into the officer’s mess. This is a remnant of the industrial age. If you work hard over a long period of time, then you may be selected over someone else from the shop floor. But the new shop floor is the metaverse, where teachers are connected to media bloggers, teaching bloggers, futurists, gamers, technocrats and all those people thinking very seriously about change – who are not ‘just out’ of Uni.

Just as in the art of war, technology changes everything that went before. Clay Shirky talks about how … the German Panzer commanders defeated the French with lower numbers, because they understood the power of communication using radio to co-ordinate and react to ever changing circumstances … They were connected. He also talks about how a group can be it’s own worst enemy.

My constant concern about education (and don’t get me wrong, I want all teachers to succeed for the sake of themselves and students) – is the lack of executive ability to acknowledge the need to build CAPACITY – and to be brave enough to appoint innovators and student-leader teachers to positions where that capacity becomes SUSTAINABLE.

That to me is impossible if no one in the officer’s mess has any understanding or what Jabiz and Beth are representing. We are frantically reporting what is happening, but the message is not heard.

Maybe executives and administrators are hoping they can hold back the lines until help comes. But no one is. Each day they leave it or employ policies of the past to control the organization, it gets that much harder not to become a landmark in history.

My final salvo is aimed at pre-teachers and those at University. You really have to decide which army you are going to join right now. You have the opportunity to base your teaching on the theory of the past, but with the tools of the future – and make sure that when you arrive in the classroom, that you are a leader. You lead your students – and really, you don’t need anything more than an internet connection to do that. On the other hand, you could wait to be invited into the mess – eventually. Don’t do that – learn from your collegues experience, and apply it to conversations in the metaverse.