Sunday, 25 March 2012

The Spirit of Innovation at our school

At the end of a long week, we were talking about the last few days when one person mentioned, "there is always something interesting going on at your school!"

I think she is right.  I would say that there is a spirit of innovation at our school,  and that spirit is manifest in so many ways.  This week we reversed our clothing, dyed our hair, dressed up as princesses and hippies, tied our hair up (even the custodian!).  We got a brand new popcorn machine, a huge movie screen and we welcomed more new students to our school.

I am noticing that we are using new technology in interesting ways.  Farmville is being used as a math activity, and the kids love it.  Next week, teachers are going to bring the iPads together in two classes so that kids will be able to use them for class activities.  Teachers are trying new types of technology like Animoto and are getting ready to transform their classroom into a Robert Munsch book!

I am sure I have missed a few things (did I mention the fairy tale story recorded on an iPad?), but I am sure you get the point, the spirit of innovation is alive and well at our school.  This spirit is essential to our school community.  The spirit for innovation creates an atmosphere of excitment where true learning can happen.

This spirit encourages students, teachers and even parents to take risks in learning.  We are all just a little more willing to move to the edge and to try new things.

This is an exciting place to be.  It is great to be challenged!

The spirit of Innovation!

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

iPad implementation at our school

I am coming up to my first year at my school. One of the projects I have been working on since I arrived is the implementation of iPads. I think after a year, I have to say it is OK to reflect on where we are. We are now at ten iPads. We have a staff of twelve, so I plan to make sure all the staff have one by the end if the year.

Not too ambitious, however the acquisition of technology is not the big thing.

The big challenge is getting everybody on board technically. This is exciting new stuff, but everyone feels a different level of comfort with using it. I know already that I have not invested enough money and time into training our teachers on how to use the iPad.

Some people are very comfortable with downloading apps and searching for cool resources to use in the classroom. Others need help opening their own account. I realize now that the human element in all of this is the key.

In the next post, I will go over the training we have already provided and will look to what we need to do to make sure we can really make the iPad a useful tool in the classroom.

Saturday, 10 March 2012

Leading and Learning on Education in the 21st century

I have been a principal for just about a year now.  In that time, I have learned a great deal.  I am certainly learning every day!  During the past year, I have focused on trying to be a good communicator.  I have also tried to soak up as much information as I could about any topic relating to education.

Twitter has become a very good friend!

I have also blogged to my staff almost every day and I have kept up a steady communication with our parents especially through Facebook.

What has been missing is a place where I can record some of my thinking on what it means to lead and especially to learn in a 21st century school.  I want a space where there can be a conversation on what is most meaningful and important right now.

This may be a conversation with multiple authors too.  My wife is a terrific grade 7 teacher who has a great deal to say about what it is like to be a teacher in a lower income neighbourhood in our community.  She has certainly guided me through a year teaching grade 6 language arts last year - a real adventure in itself!

We will see how this goes.  I hope this new blog will be helpful to some educators out there - I know it will be great to get some ideas down here!