It is important to be around people that have the right kind of attitude, being happy about what they are doing.
This past week marked the last session for the school leader Google workshops that I facilitated along with two of our school board’s Technology Resource Teachers. The sessions were established to support leaders as they begin the process of utilizing the GAFE suite in their daily work as we prepare for an upcoming Google Summit, sponsored by our school board, and ultimately to prepare for a switch to the Google platform for both staff and students.
Organizing and facilitating these sessions was a considerable undertaking and I could not have tackled the task without the support and collaboration of the Technology Resource Teachers, Ryan and Jerry. I cannot thank them enough for their work. What came out of theses sessions was a greater sense of community and collaboration amongst colleagues that are now immersed in a growing digital learning landscape. Each participant was engaged in the learning of a considerable amount of new information and processes all within a collaborative environment that allowed for open questions and risk taking. Looking back we have clearly met the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) standards of practice involving establishing a digital age learning culture and supporting excellence in professional practice. (ISTE Standards, n.d.) What remains to be undertaken is the use of these new skills within the context of our individual learning communities, essentially practice through the use of the applications.
The quote at the beginning of this entry comes from Kevin Garnett, power forward for the Minnesota Timberwolves of the National Basketball Association. Kevin has been a key player for the teams he has played for over his career because of his skills and team leadership. I chose this specific quote for two reasons. First it summarizes the atmosphere that was present during the Google sessions. Each participant was eager to learn and share from and with colleagues regardless of what level of experience each had with using the GAFE previously. School staff and board staff came together to support each other with the shared spirit of contributing to something that will have a tremendously positive impact on student learning. Through my discussions with colleagues and a feedback survey I was very pleased to find that everyone felt the same way and that they were happy to have the opportunity to work and learn alongside each other.
From the beginning there was very strong participation in the voluntary sessions. The numbers of participants continued to grow as the project unfolded and both myself and the co-facilitators were pleased to see the vast majority of principals and vice-principals attend regularly. This brings me to the second reason why I chose the Kevin Garnett quote. During the Celtics run to the playoffs in 2009, Garnett sustained a knee injury that sidelined him with the possibility of missing the playoffs. Although he was not obligated to attend, Kevin would dress for practices and join the team on the bench. Despite many warnings from his coach, Doc Rivers, Kevin couldn’t just sit and watch as his replacement was learning the system. Garnett would mimic the plays and every move the new forward was making on the court. At one point coach Rivers ended the practice early just to ensure his star player would rest his knee. To me, this mirrors the actions of my colleagues as they kept asking questions and becoming more involved in the workshops. Remember these sessions were voluntary. These school leaders could have chosen to only attend the sessions that interested them or the one session that supported their present work such as Gmail. Instead these leaders chose to attend as many sessions as possible and they were co-learning with the facilitators every step of the way when they could have easily ‘rode the bench’ on the sidelines. They worked as life-long learners eager to improve their skills and I know that each of them will continue to practice even when the season is over. I am looking forward to more learning with them as we continue towards the Google Summit in April.
Standards for Administrators. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.iste.org/standards/ISTE-standards/standards-for-administrators