New Years Homework; Networking, How Far Can it Go?

My Pay It Forward  homework was to share 11 random facts about myself, thanks Ron, answer the 11 questions provided and invite 11 others to answer 11 questions asked of me and to pass these on to others.  Here’s my 11 random facts, the 11 questions: Let’s see how far this networking goes

My 11 Random Facts

1. My favorite class in High School was English 12.  Mr. Cone’s vivid description of Don Quixote riding across the room with a window opening stick as a joust was unforgettable. So much so, I share this story of English Literature on a regular basis. He brought the written word to life.

2. I was in a Coca Cola Commercial in Holland in 1980 as a member of the Canadian National Team.

3. I shot a hole in one at the Belmont Golf Course in Surrey

4. I hit a kangaroo in Australia while driving in the outback, thought I had killed it only to have it leap up and run off after I had covered it up, it looked like a ghost!

5. My name was given to me after a famous Italian Singer named Claudio Villa; I wish I could sing.

6. My 1976 Fiat Spider was used in a movie scene of an old Disney movie shot in Vancouver in the early 1980’s

7. I met Francis Ford Coppula with my son Taylor and we ate lunch together at his winery and then took a photo.

8. I got to hold the Grey Cup for a day!

9. I sold 2 tickets to the 1994 World Cup Final in Pasadena, California, I regret doing this and will for the rest of my life!

10. We visit California Wine country every year as a vacation place.

11. I met my wife teaching Soccer to communities in Northern B.C.

11 Thinking Questions

1. What keeps you up at night? Worrying about the students in my school that need extra help and how to get it to them!

2. What would you consider comfort food?  Pasta with my Mom’s homemade Bolognese sauce, it got me through university!

3. What’s one thing you would change about your job?  Nothing, I love what I do!

4. What is one thing you would change about schools today? Supports for the diverse learning community

5. What is one piece of advice you would give to someone?  Find BALANCE in your life! Take care of yourself, emotionally and physically.

6. The biggest inspiration in my life is….?  My family!

7. What was the first music concert you attended?  Aldo Nova at the P.N.E. Coliseum

8. What is the first movie you attended?  Midnight Run –Capital 6 Grandville

9. Other than work, I have a passion for….?  Wine collecting sharing the experience, the history of the winery and the food that goes with it. Nothing better than conversation with  friends over a meal.

10. If you wrote a book, what would the title be?  “How to Trust and be Trusted in Building Relationships”

11. When I grow up I …… will be able to ask more questions than have answers for.

11 random questions for you

1.  What’s your biggest pet peeve? People throwing cigarette butts out of their car window or on the ground. I really, really, hate that!

2. Which teacher had the biggest effect on you? Mr. Cowell, my grade 6 teacher, who showed an interest in my fanatical love of sports. He was able to show how to harness that into learning something else! I thank him for that often!

3.  If you could talk to one famous person, living or dead, who would it be? There are many but the first person that comes to mind is Jack Nicklaus.

4. What would you ask them? In sport and life what defines you?

5. Which cartoon character is most like you? Garfield, I love that cat’s attitude!

6. What do you do on an ideal Saturday morning? Work in the garden, read a book with a cup of coffee and watch the weather change.

7. What would we find on your bedside table? A book, a box of sentimental trinkets and a photo of my family.

8. What’s your go-to book when you’re needing inspiration? “Blink” by Malcom Gladwell

9. If money were no option, where would you live? Where I live right now only I wouldn’t have a mortgage!

10. A personality who has impacted the way you think about life is…?  Stephen Covey

11.  As an educator, what do you hope to leave as your legacy? The belief that learning can be fun, meaningful & Life long

I have challenged 11 others to do their homework! If you wish to challenge yourself please do so! And  if you see me or we meet somewhere don’t forget to share something about yourself with me also! Remember It’s ALL about the RELATIONSHIPS!

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Creating the Conditions for Learning

It seems to me that culture and creativity are keys in facilitating the conditions for engaged learning. Teachers and students alike, in the ideals of 21st Century educational change, need to showcase the awareness of these concepts. Along with culture and creativity the educational skills of leadership which are showcased by leading and created through visible behaviours, much like trust (behaviours listed below) are key in building relationships which inturn supports learning.

conditionsI begin to highlight the specific ways we can affect change of teaching and learning for the 21st century in a positive way. In “Trust in Schools” Bryk & Schneider, share some conditions and stated that “school improvement research has documented that teacher’s orientation towards innovation is an important precondition for instructional improvement. Unless teachers internalize responsibility for improving student learning, better achievement remains unlikely. Similarly that urban schools must also foster greater parental involvement is well document. Without such involvement, students, students’ engagement with the school remains weak, and efforts to improve academic achievement will likely be frustrated, regardless of the actual quality of classroom teaching.” Therefore, the pre-condition to trust in school culture revolves around two big items.

  1. Orientation to innovation (creativity) – teachers and principals develop a can do attitude and internalize responsibilities to change their practice in order to advance student learning.
  2. Professional Community (relationships)– Teachers share a commitment to improving personal teaching and general school operations. The other piece examines the degree to which facilities’ work together to focus on student learning (well defined learning expectations and set standards for learning.

If these are the conditions that we focus on and work towards then we will be able to make a difference in learning for students and staff. If these happen consistently, we will all start to take ownership of the process and the success of student, school and district will happenuntitled

If we look at creativity we can also see that there are certain behaviours that once facilitated lead to the improvement of learning , meaningful learning, engagement and what Mihaly Csikszentamihalyi calls “FLOW”. The conditions for this are listed below.

Creating the conditions table

Once we , the education system, learn to tie these behaviours to Educational concepts like “Assessment for Learning” (AFL), then we can make connections to the similarities with other broad theories, bring them together and lead educators and students into a joint effort of improving learning for everyone.

Finally, Posner & Kouzes, “the Truth About Leadership” has synthesized what their research into 10 truths that are visible in good leaders and leadership. The more we embed these traits into our person the better we will be able to do our jobs of improving learning for studetns. I have taken all of the resources  discussed above and made them visible for me to create an awareness of the commonality that exists in what I call “creating the contions for learning“. I believe that by focusing on the chart below, we can make a difference for the students in their journey through our schools and learning.

 

imagesCARBSJYMWe can Create  conditions by modeling these traits so that leaders in schools and schools themselves can facilitate them. I envision  all learners having a greater opportunity and being engaged in their own learning journeys.

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Ideas & Networking! Building Innovation!

The evolution of networking people and ideas.  It’s amazing what technology will allow us to do with data!  When the lens is focused on innovation and creativity, then collaboration is powerful! Watch this and see what I mean.

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Kid Creativity; the age of imagination and design

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A Journey of Creativity

I was inspired by Phil Hanson’s simple message of how his artistic journey changed his view on being creative. Developing physical limitations through a shake his motto of “seizing the limitations”, has allowed him creative success! A truley inspiring story!

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digital connectedness

How we meet our social needs through technology is a very interesting thing. I believe that the depth of connection can be transfered through social media. As a tool for engagement it brings learning to the “dance floor” so to speak. Allowing kids to engage in their thinking with something that excites them, which is what learning should really be all about. It is our role as facilitators-educators to connect the learning to the broader applications of live and integration. Much like the conclept of INQUIRY which works within the educational setting of  classroom or school this form of engaged learning helps us deepen connections to real world concepts.

Still another way, QR CODES IN CLASSROOMS are allowing us to connect, engage and apply learning to what the real world has in store for us in the future. In the end, it is important to remember the way you ask questions is key to the way you engage learners in learning. If it has no meaning or connection to what is relavent for them in their world of social and techological connectedness, then we are slowing disengaging students who are technologically connected more and more everyday.

Ask yourself, how can I use technology in teaching to help students understand that the concepts in school are relevent, valid and applicable to learning ?

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Exit Interviews

Last week I had the opportunity to visit the local highschool and interview some students and their graduating class. Lucky for me I had the chance to speak to some students that I had worked with in elementary school. It was an honour to see how these you people had developed over the last 5-7 years ( students from three different elementary schools I worked at) and to see them as well-polished young adults was truley and intrisically motiviating thing.

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They were going to graduate , go off to university, U.B.C. and Thompson Okanagan University. Sports scholarships and Law Degree’s were the mindset of the students. Yet another student, was dumbfounded that I was there, wanting to reminice about grade 7 camp and the fun that she had there, kayaking, hiking and playing capture the flags. She was preparing to go to B.C.I.T. for film and broadcast, preparing to see the world through the eyes of a journalist.

I must admit I had goosebumps when I saw them. Each one with a uniquely different story,  connected to school and connected to me! Wow, these kids, I mean young adults are amazing. I know as time goes on , we are in good hands as our youth develop skills and resolve to keep thing going, no matter what they are.

I can’t wait to go back next year to see some other students, the passion and vision they bring to the chances of future success through hard work.

 

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Creativity; Mud Soup

Today’s menu, Mud Soup. Two little children were hunched over a little empty well on the playground. I watched them scurry back and forth to the weeds at the side of the fence, then to a puddle nearby. All the while, the conversation went on about what they should add next. Finally, one of them springs up and says “I KNOW”! ROCKS, they can be our potatoes. I slowly wandered over and asked them what they were doing. They told me they were making “mud soup”. I asked them how it was going, the reply “GREAT”! A swirl of the muddy water, and you could see the dandelions, rocks and leaves all swirl around in the little pot that they were playing in.

Would you like some Mr. B.. “absolutely,” I replied. They shared their soup with me and we had a good laugh and smile at our play. I wanted to share this with you because I see the wonder of creativity and play in all children and believe that we need to work hard to keep that spark alive in the way we teach and the way children learn. Creativitiy is something that we can all foster by challenging the status quo of the way we do things.

Remember red flower don’t need to be red, they can be purple! But mud soup has to be muddy!

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Innovation & Creativity

When we talk about creativity we also need to discuss the concept of inovation and how they not only are required of one another, but also that they serve different purposes. Innovation has its foundations in creativity, but is the step beyond that thinking, to implementation. Innovation is the collaboration and synthesis of ideas and creativity that allows sustainable change to happen. For many systems, innovation is the Key to long term growth and change for improvement. Educationally, the system of education needs to learn from the business world in such a way that, we can make meaningful change through innovation that will improve the “Teaching & Learning” for everyone in our system to improve. Below, David Weiss, author of  “Innovative Intelligence:

The Art and Practice  of Leading Sustainable Innovation in Your Organization.” Shares with us the conditions required to move creativity and innovation along in a systemic way that improves productivity and growth.

Charles Leadbeater has done some work on innovation and learning in the 21st Century. He has in his work highlighted some of the work done by Ideo and other forward thinking Creativity experts. His insight into innovation in soccer with “total football” from a club perspective at Barcelona and how this club has innovatively made strides to change the way the game of soccer is played, developing from within rather than from abroad. He also looks at education, not only the Finland Phenomenon, but Slum Schools around the world

Charles Leadbeater weaves a tight argument that innovation isn’t just for professionals anymore. Passionate amateurs, using new tools, are creating products and paradigms that companies can’t. A researcher at the London think tank Demos, Charles Leadbeater was early to notice the rise of “amateur innovation” — great ideas from outside the traditional walls, from people who suddenly have the tools to collaborate, innovate and make their expertise known.

Understanding what the differences and similarities betwee innovationa and creativity allows for informal thinking and brainstorming session to have some structures in place, to move conversations and learning to places that we may not have reached previously. My challenge is to get myself into those thinking spaces of creativity and innovation as often as possible over the next few months.

A few recent conversations with Sir Ken Robinson had also invigorated me and my thinking on the importance of creativity in education and that the business of creativity needs to be a greater focus moving forward in the way we teach and learn in the future. Our system of education (learning) is at a crucible of change and grasping for a new way of thinking will be important for everyone, not just kids, but adults who need to keep pace wth the change of our society through technological advancements, socia media and MOOC ( Massive Open Online Courses ) AND creativity and innovation play huge roles in this future.

A Conversation with Sir Ken Robinson: What is your hope for creativity in education?

A Conversation with Sir Ken Robinson: Picasso and the Plumber – Where is the True creative?

A Conversation with Sir Ken Robinson: How is Technology Transforming Education?


A Conversation with Sir Ken Robinson: Why is Creativity Important in Education?

A Conversation with Sir Ken Robinson: How do you define creativity?

Ultimately, we need to change the business of learning with a change in practice through concepts of learning about creativity, technolgy and innovation; trends of improving learning. If we do not, we are doing our youth and society a disservice of replenishing the workforce with capable employees and employers for the future. Being able to understand the differences between creativity and Innovation and using the learning through collaboration will allow all of us to better prepare our society and educational systems to adapt to 21st century needs.  That`s something you can tweet, be linkedin about or youtube, moodle and vimo share!

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The Business of Ideas

I’m revisiting an older idea that I have been thinking of writing about, but felt uncertain about discussing it, the topic is creativity. However, at this time I feel it’s time to discuss and share. At the root of creativity is convept of  IDEA , “IDEAS” and how we foster the ability for people to think about stuff. Intellectual play is a term often used as a way of thinking.

A recent “60 Minutes” episode highlighted two leaders in this area that I feel we can draw on. They are Tim Brown and David Kelley CEO and founder of Ideo a worldwide business that draws on collaboration of knowledge to create and implement ideas. David Kelley founder of this company lends a critical perspective to how we can use current data and technology to improve on the immplemenation of innovation, simple ideas making a difference in the lives of people today.

While we look at ways to improve creativity we need to understand that there is a business behind growing creativity. Not only is it the business of our workforce (education), but it is also the business of our changing society; creative thinking for sustainable innovation in our world!

It is important for us to foster creativity through collaboration, in that we can grow ideas. The way people think and play, plus exploration are two behaviours that we must continue to highlight to enhance for learning through creativity to prosper. Tim Brown, CEO of Ideo, a creativity company shares simple ideas on how to create conditions for creativity and the business of collaboration with creativity.


I really believe that we need to look at the business world for applicable ways to integrate the concepts of creativity and business of ideas into our system. For we are the vehicle by which students enter the draft lottery of our society and the jobs force.

Creating the conditions for successful integration means looking at the criteria required to facilitate the opportunity for creativity and be aware of recreating them, whenever and where ever  possible. This is much like our current focus of metacongition.

There are conditions for creativity and creating the perfect storm for this kind of thinking is ever more important in the work we do daily!

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