This year I have signed on to participate in the #SAVMP program, and I am looking forward to seeing how this year will turn out! One of the first assignments in this program is to write a post called “Why do I lead”/ “Why I am an educator?” What is SAVMP you might ask? It is short for School Admin Virtual Mentor Program and the organizer is George Couros. I had the pleasure of meeting George at ISTE this year, and I saw him speak at ISTE last summer as well. Actually, I hope to get him over to Norway to talk with school administrators from Norway and Sweden soon! This online mentor program has as far as I know 346 participants. One Mentor has three school leaders in their cohort. As far as I can see, the participants are mostly from the US, but also from Australia, Canada, three from the UK and one from Norway (me!)
As George explains in his first blog post, it is NOT about leaders using social media, but social media as the vehicle that will be uses to connect and share our learning, which hopefully will influence some of the things that are happening in schools that are connected during this process.Is is aimed to help leaders openly learn and share with others so that we can all improve practice and do what is best for kids. The goal is to build relationships with a few people and bounce questions and ideas off of that you have known over time.(program rationale) I am connected with schools from Illinois, Canberra Australia and Dallas Texas.
Connecting and sharing is an important part of why I lead and why I am still an educator. In our county (Akershus) there has been an initiative called “more time to lead”. It used to be that school administrators where classroom teachers as well. They are now leaning away from dividing time like that and more towards 100 % administrative responsibilities. As the head of pedagogical development, I have insisted that I keep on teaching one class every year! I think it would be impossible for me to suggest implementing technology in the classroom, if I had never tested it myself. That said I know I could have done a better job following up my teachers and encouraging them in their work. How to spend my time and what areas to priorities will always be a crucial component of leadership. Since I have participated in many conferences in different parts of the world, I know many great educators who have used technology to enhance learning! If I were to decide on two important areas for the use of technology, I would say to connect and to share! In many of the discussions we have in Norway we seem to be comparing technology vs conversations and face-to-face interactions, as well as the use of technology vs the importance of basic knowledge. In my opinion those who argue loudest against technology fail to see the advantages. They focus on the problems, distractions and how everything was easier before the computers were introduced in the classroom. I would argue that now is the greatest time to be working in schools, both at leaders and teachers. And it should be a great time to be a student as well. I guess that is why I lead and teach. I want every student to have this opportunity. To Create and share beautiful, meaningful, important works with global audiences. To connect and learn from and with authors, scientists, journalists, explorers and many others. (Will Richardson, Why School!). And if you still worry about basic knowledge, the computer is the best way to work on memorizing information, to understand connections, and to test this repeatedly until you know it!
Last year was an exciting school year for me with the completion of our book “Connected Leaders” a step-by-step guide to creating a Global Classroom. I enjoyed working with my students; it was such a thrill to see how engaged they were, and I am very proud of the product. I want to share this way of working with other educators and school leaders, and I want to see discussions with more variation and with the use of examples on how to connect, share and learn! I want more school leaders, teachers and students to be engaged online! Let’s hope this is the year it will happen!
I love your post! Your passion is evident — engaging in meaningful, online learning. I understand why you lead. It’s so powerful to engage your students in creative ways. I can’t believe that you and your students published a book. That makes leading real!
Thank you for those kind words Anthony! Writing the book with my students is one of the most fun things I’ve done!
Ann, I think it is so important for school leaders to still have a place in the classroom. Not just for modeling or trying new things, but also to keep you grounded.
Thanks Prue! Yes I believe it is important to have a place in the classroom! And fun as well!