Future Forces of Education

Parts of my duties this year have been as a contributing member of our Chinook’s Edge School Division Guiding Coalition. Close to 40 individuals, representing many roles across the district, have committed to work together to collaboratively create a vision for the future of learning in CESD. Although the process is a long one – projected at 12 to 18 months – it was quickly apparent that the passion and trust each individual brought to the table would make for great discussion, debate and eventually vision, for our students.  (Come take a look – http://cesdvisioning.wikispaces.com)

By the end of the second meeting, the majority of participants had tears describing why they felt this process an important aspect of their work and relating to why they applied to take part . The synergy in that group of individuals is amazing. Whether you are a teacher, parent, student, EA, finance, caretaker, IT, trustee, community member, maintenance, transportation or central office, your voice is heard and data collected taken as important as anyone else’s.

At our meeting this past week we started with discussion around, ”What do you believe are local, national and global issues affecting the future of education?”.  To help discussion we split the group up into seven teams and had each one start by focusing on a section of information from Knowledge Works Foundation and the Institute for the Future – Map 2006-2016. http://resources.knowledgeworks.org/map/map.aspx

Throughout this discussion I wondered what others would think who were not necessarily part of Chinook’s Edge SD. Did the drivers, issues and trends we see resonate with others? It’s because of this that I ask you the following questions.

Do the drivers of change themed by the Knowledge Works Foundation resonate with you and your situation?

What local, national and global trends and issues do you believe are affecting the future of education?

What worries/excites you about the issues and trends that resonate with you?

I look forward to your responses and continuing this local conversation globally.

Distributed Learning PD

I have been thinking a lot over the last year about distributed learning models for PD. The version of DL PD I have either been part of or offered included a cohort model where they were face-to-face days, Elluminate meetings and online Moodle expectations. Not often at the end of the cohort have I felt – yah, that was a great example of DL PD! Why?

I often feel as if I have to put carrots and tidbits online to ‘force’ people to go online and contribute. How do I set this up better? What are the participants currencies that will get them to go online and contribute? How do I set it up so that it is okay to go online, knowing you can’t hurt anything, and see it as an important part of learning? Am I expecting too much?

I often hear I don’t have time, so how do we show the importance of online learning? I often talk to my participants about the need to learn how to stop doing things. Online learning doesn’t need to be seen as an add on (which it might be with the PD) rather a different way of doing what we already do – learn.

This journey we are currently on is probably an example of the most effective DL model of PD I have been part of. What I am trying to figure out is how can I use successful pieces of this model into my own PD offered.

~ Are the people here already comfortable, or wanting to be online contributors and learners?

~ Does it take a year? Maybe my timelines are too short

~ Incorporating different levels of leadership (community leaders, fellows, coaches, etc.) is something I could look at – i.e. integrating rotating roles into my PD communities to build leadership capacity differently than I have before.

What are your thoughts? What have you found to be successful, or maybe more importantly, what didn’t work for you?

I’m looking forward to this discussion. 🙂

Margo Nygard – Googled!

Margo Nygard – Googled!

Ever googled yourself and wonder when you participated in the events your name suddenly appears? Ever wondered when ‘googled’ became a verb (officially mid-2006 in case you’re wondering http://goo.gl/dWvW). It took Google 0.13 seconds to come up with 1460 instances in which my name appears. Of the hits,  I truly wonder how many this Margo Nygard is legitimately a part of.

According to Google ~ Things I know:

  • Apparently I am on Twitter – a lot (guess my husband was right)
  • My Zoominfo, Pipl & LinkedIn profile is fairly accurate’
  • I did attend high school in Olds, earned by BEd in Calgary and my MA from Royal Roads University
  • I am an active member of Facebook
  • I belong to classroom 2.0
  • I do work for and provide professional development in Chinook’s Edge School Division
  • I do work for and provide professional development for Central Alberta Regional Consortium & the province of Alberta
  • I am part of LearnCentral.org
  • I am a proud member of PLP
  • I have a public google profile
  • I have signed more than one online condolences guest book
  • I participated in the K-12 Alberta DL online forum
  • I have presented at CASS (College of Alberta School Superintendents) Curriculum Symposiums
  • I use ISTE Learning
  • Created and participate in various open wikis

According to Google ~ Things I DID NOT know:

  • I am not married to Alvin Hill
  • I did not pass away Thursday, August 12, 2010 at the Kavanaugh House on 56th Street after a long battle with Leukemia (although she sounds like a lovely lady)
  • There were so many other talented people with my name!

When I think of my social networks I try to use the name SCORGO or GALVINSMOM. This firsmt name was derived by using the first three letters of my husband’s name (Scott) and last three letters of mine (Margo). The second name is self explanatory. After talking with members of my team, I decided to try and search Scorgo & Galvinsmom. After changing my language preference to english I was faced with 24, 316 results.

  • I belong to Snapr, Flickr & Manyeyes
  • I’m on BigOven – I take recipes rather than contribute them
  • I have a YouTube Subscription/Channel
  • My husband and I have both used Scorgo for various purposes online

After viewing this list I would like to become more purposeful in creating my digital footprint. I recently bought a journal (paper I know) that is black with a simple saying in white on the front. “Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself” (Unknown). I am going to take the opportunities provided through PLP to do just that – create myself and my online identity. One day I will be speaking alongside Sheryl & Will sharing my ‘youcantoo’ story. People will google me :).

My PLP Journey…which started before it began

My PLP journey started by accident.

In March 2009 one of our school administrators sat beside me and guided me through signing up for a Twitter account. I wasn’t sure why I was signing up for twitter, nor what the point of it was. After my account sign up was completed, we went through people I should follow such as– teachers in our division, Alec Couros, David Warlick, George Siemens and Will Richardson. Later that year a local conference was looking for experts to present and through twitter I was able to contract Alec and Will. Twitter had become my go to tool.

Following these schools of thought on twitter and through various blogs and research papers, the changes to education and 60,000ft views that were being discussed intrigued, invited, and inspired new passions in me.  After listening to Will Richardson’s keynotes at Leading and Learning Conference in Red Deer, Alberta I knew that we needed to have him help push us forward by asking the hard questions and working with us to go beyond the talk and into action. We tentatively booked Will on the spot and confirmed through his office the next week.

It was in the excitement of one of my event detail emails to Will that I ended with saying “Looking forward to being a part of your PLP”. In my mind that was something that he created wherever he went, not realizing there was a whole other world involved. He soon sent an email back that said “Are you going to be a part of that too? Great!”. I now had no idea what was going on, but knew I’d better get investigating. I attended one of the PLP information webinars with Sheryl and Will and when they asked me if I would work on creating an Alberta PLP cohort and provided specifics, I ran to my supervisors office (with great excitement) and told her what they were asking. With both of us jumping up and down I said yes, we will make it work.

After many phone calls, many emails, many meetings, much help and much persuasion our Alberta/Saskatchewan PLP Cohort is only days away. It is the talk of my world and is always on my priority list for the day. Our senior administrators are in full support and all would like to be a first-hand part of the journey, but because of board meeting on our first face-to-face day all participating in Olds isn’t possible. I| am looking for a way our superintendent and board members can say hello and welcome our guests and for our teachers and guest to be able to say hello back. There are no VC capabilities in the room we will be in so I know that is out. What other real time web 2.0 tools can we use? Skype? Elluminate?

What would you recommend?

Your input is greatly appreciated. Thanks for taking the time to read this.

Middle of August Already?

It happens every year.

In June I fill boxes and suitcases up with the work I wished I had time for during the year but will definitely get to in the summer. The next thing I know it’s the middle of August and although I have thought of work constantly, I have not opened a box or suitcase. Why is it that we spend the school year counting down the days until summer and then spend the summer thinking about what we need to do for work starting again in a few short weeks?

So today is my last day of holidays as I have committed myself to a course before school starts.  Although I enjoy sleeping in, playing with my son, eating, drinking and doing what I want when I want, the things that excite me about summer ending and school starting are the same things that excited me over 20 years ago.

  1. Clean and Shiny desk – depends if I left it this way and how much has been stored on it over the last few weeks
  2. New Stationery – I’ve purchased pens, covers, books, and various other schools supplies as if I had a list from my teacher
  3. Learning New Things – ways to deliver PD online and face-to-face, Web 2.0 tools, Alberta PLP
  4. Building Relationships – with new people and old
  5. Fresh Start – new schedules, new initiatives, new learning

With this in mind maybe its time to start thinking about how to do things differently….well, some things.