Posts Tagged ‘Collaboration’

EDCT 6433: Participation in an Online Educational Community –Blog

Participation in an Online Educational Community –Blog

During this EDTC 6433 Teaching with Technology course, taught by Professor David Wicks, the new experience of using Google+ as a regular means of participating in an online community of educators has opened my eyes to seeing new opportunities for personal and professional growth. As much as I hate to admit to this, I am a person who is rarely even on a social networking site such as Facebook (perhaps twice a year) the extent of my participation in an online educational community has been limited to interacting within the Blackboard setting for classes for my master’s in C&I program. Honestly, I rarely even text. Now, it is like I have been introduced to traveling on the “freeway” as opposed to taking the “beaten path of the backroads”. Although I  must say I have felt a significant degree of stress in the process of adjusting to the high speed and seemingly endless options of on-ramps and off-ramps, I have begun to feel more comfortable with navigating my way forward.

One of the greatest benefits of this online community interaction has been to engage in the weekly Google+ Hangouts” presented and/or facilitated by Professor Wicks. I fact, if I am not mistaken, I took part in each and every hangout. The two-way interaction with other classmates and our professor and the advantage of seeing the “live screen traversing” has been invaluable to me. I anticipate that in my final capstone class next quarter as I finish up my degree, I may use the connections established with others in this community as well as others such as Schoology (an online educational community joined recently along with a few other teachers in school) to assist me in the preparation of  my SPU C & I Portfolio, my current participation  in my school’s pilot group for the new teacher’s evaluation  process, and most of all–my teaching.

On a slightly different note, but related to engaging with educators around technology, I have recently been selected to become of trainer in my district on the new IEP software, Goalview. This is a web-based management tool to create IEP and track student progress and is currently in use nationwide. Our first “training of trainers” was today and I am enjoying the opportunity to be among the first to learn to use this new tool.

Here is a clip (below) noting one instance of my participation in Google+ Hangouts within EDTC 6433:

 Laurie James

Feb 21, 2013 (edited)  –

Hangout

–  Limited (locked)

EDTC 6433 Week 8 Thursday Night Live Hangout

3 people hung out with you

Only you can see this post


Thanks +Laurie James for participating in today’s session. If you enjoy seeing technology teachers struggle with technology then you should watch today’s session. 🙂  Digital Storytelling Workshop Part 3 of 4.

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Capstone–Standards 06 & 07 Meta-Reflection: Communication and Collaboration

Standards 06 & 07 Meta-Reflection: Communication and Collaboration

Standard 06 Communication: Communicates regularly and effectively with colleagues, parents, and students through a variety of mediums.

Standard 07 Collaboration: Cooperates with other professionals to bridge gaps between schools and community and between departments/disciplines within schools.

Initial reflection during C & I Orientation:

In my role as a special education teacher “Communication” (with a capital C) is as necessary as breathing. In my nearly thirty years of teaching, I would have to say that communication continues to be the number one requirement for my job—and I always strive to keep it my priority. I find that most often, extra attention devoted to maintaining regular and effective communication with students, parents and colleagues—whether in person, by phone, via email, US mail, etc.—is well worth the time and energy.

Every IEP meeting is an example of the collaborative process at work. This process in designed to bring together the perspectives of the student, family, special educator, general educator(s) and the district–as well as any necessary outside agencies. In addition to the required annual IEP and triennial evaluation, I must facilitate any coordination and collaboration between any and all of the above noted members of the IEP Team—as needed. Beyond the specific realm of the IEP process, I am required to be an active participant of my special education team, professional learning community, POD team, and leadership team.

Reflection following EDU 6600 Communication and Collaboration:  Parents, Colleagues, and Community

Teacher Leadership—Past, Present, and Future~       Laurie James’  MetaReflection 12/8/11

As I reflect on the challenging endeavors I have engaged in throughout the Collaboration and Communication course during Autumn Quarter 2011, at Seattle Pacific University–words that come to mind are “victorious, energized, and committed.”  The victory had been personal, the energy–contagious, and the commitment is to those about me.

Near the beginning of the term when asked to respond to the following question: What are my strengths in terms of leading from my classroom and in my school? My initial response was, “I believe that among my greatest strengths as a leader in both my classroom and my school are; my dedication and strong personal commitment to students and education, my organizational skills, and my natural ability to work successfully with a wide range of people.”

At the end of the quarter, as I reflected, I still saw my strengths as noted above, however, noticed throughout the course, that a definite strength of mine is striving to bring a sense of integration from the “compartments” of my life. This is a relatively new strength that has emerged, I believe, as a survival skill in response to the ongoing demands of a busy schedule, as well as a response to grief and loss issues related to the deaths of various family members in the last few years. In this realm, I am victorious. Charlotte Danielson, in her article entitled, The Many Faces of Leadership, writes: “Effective teacher leaders are open-minded and respectful of others’ views. They display optimism and enthusiasm, confidence and decisiveness. They persevere and do not permit setbacks to derail an important initiative they are pursuing” (2011, p. 16).

My current endeavors in graduate school blend nicely with our district’s emphasis on supporting each teacher and school to actively participate in Professional Learning Communities. I am encouraged to realize that the dove-tailing of similar projects are supported by the research and readings in this particular course and are noted as “job-embedded” projects. In a wonderful way, this allows me to view myself and my profession in a truly more “integrated” fashion and deepens my appreciation for the rich benefits of both facets of my life.

Danielson cites Michael Fullan as saying, “The litmus test of all leadership is whether it mobilizes people’s commitment to putting their energy into actions designed to improve things. It is individual commitment, but above all it is collective mobilization” (2007, p. 16).

Although in times past, I strongly considered pursuing administrator’s credentials (and was often encouraged to do so), I am more comfortable and have a sense of peace with continuing my involvement as a member of my school’s leadership team and curriculum leader’s team—based on my role as curriculum leader for the special education department. Both positions allow me to provide direct input into discussions and the development of our school’s improvement plan. In past years special education in our district has traveled on sort of parallel but separate tracks with regard to school improvement. My goal has been to bring these two worlds together so that we can speak the same terminology and validate and incorporate the best of both perspectives into a stronger and more focused stated purpose for the future.

As written in An Introduction to Teacher Leadership, also by Danielson: “Teacher leaders see themselves, first as teachers; while they are not interested in becoming administrators, they are looking to extend their influence….Teacher leaders are “more” than teachers, yet different from administrators” (2007, p.1).

As cited within Angelle & DeHart’s article entitled, Teacher Perceptions of Teacher Leadership: Examining Differences by Experience, Degree, and Position:

Empowering teachers to share in school-wide decision making enhances teacher leadership throughout the school. The more teachers who are part of decision making, the greater the participation and commitment to carry out the goals of the organization (Barth, 2001).

My role as a special education teacher has always involved interacting with general education teachers and I have designed a number of systems over the years and have adapted these to incorporate new technologies as they have become available. In this course, the development of one of my required exhibits has prompted me to create a new system for tracking student progress and expand it to track teacher collaboration. My experience is similar to what authors Herzog and Abernathy refer to in their article entitled, Inch by Inch, Row by Row: Growing Capacity for Teacher Leadership (as cited by Hilty):

Both formal and informal leaders have often risen to their positions without any training in leadership skills. They learned on the job, through trial and error. Intuitive leaders can be effective, but they could be more successful with leadership training in facilitating group problem solving, team building, effecting school change, and curriculum development (p. 190).

Now that I have nearly completed my third quarter of my graduate work, and at times feel a little weary—my colleagues, who are now well acquainted with the “new and improved” alterations to our PLC work (based on my input from graduate courses!) are now–more than ever–“cheering me on”. More important, I believe that together, we have discovered the truth of what Zepeda states: “…relationships with others, builds cohesion and this ‘connective leadership’ is what will help to bind people and their values to the work they do in the process of working with one another” (p.23).

I believe that teacher leadership involves having us as individual teachers putting our lives into action—being living examples of modeling “best practices” as we interact with students, colleagues and community members.

Resources

Angelle, P., & DeHart, C.. (2011, June). Teacher Perceptions of Teacher Leadership: Examining Differences by Experience, Degree, and Position. National Association of Secondary School Principals. NASSP Bulletin, 95(2), 141-160.  Retrieved December 8, 2011, from Research Library. (Document ID: 2461069711).

Danielson, C. (2007). The Many Faces of Leadership. Educational Leadership, 65(1), 14-19.

Danielson, C. (2010). Evaluations That Help Teachers Learn. Educational Leadership, 68(4), 35-39.

Hilty, E. (2011) Teacher Leadership: The “new” foundations of teacher education. New York: Peter Lang.

Zepeda, S. (2008). Professional Development: What Works. New York: Eye on Education.Readings.

Artifacts for Standards 6 and 7 are listed below and the background for their selection is explained within the following blogs, written and posted throughout this course, Autumn Quarter, 2011:

Exhibit 1: Educator Learning: Tracking Student Progress

Exhibit 1, Artifact 3–email to KHS faculty

Exhibit1, Artifact 2– COLLABORATION SHEET-1

Exhibit 1, Artifact 1–SMART Goals 2011-12

Exhibit 2: Educator Learning: Power Standards/Common Formative Assessments

Exhibit 2, Artifact 1 — KHS SE 11-12 Self eval

Exhibit 2, Artifact 2 — KHS Secondary Progress Report

Exhibit 3: Community Involvement: Parent Communication

Exhibit 4: Community Involvement: Self Advocacy and Post-School Outcome

James, L. G. (2011). EDU 6600 Communication and Collaboration, Seattle Pacific University. Module 1 Reflection: Introduction and Self-Assessment. Retrieved from https://lpettengilljames.wordpress.com/2011/10/02/edu-6600-communication-and-collaboration-introduction-and-self-assessment/

James, L. G. (2011). EDU 6600 Communication and Collaboration, Seattle Pacific University. Module 2 Reflection: Communication and Collaboration. Retrieved from https://lpettengilljames.wordpress.com/2011/10/09/edu-6600-communication-and-collaboration/

James, L. G. (2011). EDU 6600 Communication and Collaboration, Seattle Pacific University. Module 3 Reflection: Reflections on the Richness of Teamwork. Retrieved from https://lpettengilljames.wordpress.com/2011/10/16/edu-6600-communication-and-collaboration-week-3/

James, L. G. (2011). EDU 6600 Communication and Collaboration, Seattle Pacific University. Module 4 Reflection: True Collaboration in Action—“Shoulder to Shoulder”. Retrieved from https://lpettengilljames.wordpress.com/2011/10/23/true-collaboration-in-action%E2%80%94%E2%80%9Cshoulder-to-shoulder%E2%80%9D/

James, L. G. (2011). EDU 6600 Communication and Collaboration, Seattle Pacific University. Module 5 Reflection: Endeavoring to Strive for Excellence—With Critical Support. Retrieved from https://lpettengilljames.wordpress.com/2011/10/30/endeavoring-to-strive-for-excellence-with-critical-support/

James, L. G. (2011). EDU 6600 Communication and Collaboration, Seattle Pacific University. Module 6 Reflection: Reflections on Collaboration and Peer Review. Retrieved from https://lpettengilljames.wordpress.com/2011/11/06/reflections-on-collaboration-and-peer-review/

James, L.G. (2011). EDU 6600 Communication and Collaboration, Seattle Pacific University. Module 7 Reflection: Systems Thinking and Praying for Wisdom. Retrieved from https://lpettengilljames.wordpress.com/2011/11/13/systems-thinking-and-praying-for-wisdom/

James, L. G. (2011). EDU 6600 Communication and Collaboration, Seattle Pacific University. Module 8 Reflection: Action Research, Right Before My Very Eyes. Retrieved from https://lpettengilljames.wordpress.com/2011/11/20/action-research-right-before-my-very-eyes/

James, L. G. (2011). EDU 6600 Communication and Collaboration, Seattle Pacific University. Module 9 Reflection: Growing into Leadership as a Teacher. Retrieved from https://lpettengilljames.wordpress.com/2011/12/04/growing-into-leadership-as-a-teacher/

EDU 6600 Communication and Collaboration Introduction and Self-Assessment

While reading this week’s article by Stephanie Hirsch and Shirley Hard, entitled, Building Hope, Giving Affirmation, I appreciated the focus on “the link between social justice and professional learning…” (p. 11).  Having been a teacher in the same district throughout three decades, I have experienced common situations as described by the authors– “Well intentioned teachers can be committed to great teaching, and still the beliefs, habits, and strategies they have adopted over the years may work against them”, (p. 11).  Thankfully, in the context of my interactions with others within my school and district as we work together to creatively solve problems, I can also identify with the statement, “Under the best of circumstances, school wide staff learning promotes collaboration, joint responsibility, and implementation of a compelling vision for teacher and students performance” (p. 12).  With my school now in its second year of working in Professional Learning Communities, I am looking forward to times of continued, productive work together as our staff serves the students in our care.

I also found the reading of chapter 25 in our text, Teacher Leadership, edited by Eleanor Blair Hilty, to be a bit of a “trip down memory lane” as it described the many changes in teacher leadership of the past—with particular emphasis on the last twenty years.  During my initial years as a teacher in the early 1980’s leadership was indeed “focused on the principal or the superintendent” (p. 265), however, soon gave rise to, “Opportunities for teacher leadership…in the form of career ladder and mentor teacher programs, the appointment of master and lead teachers and policies to decentralize and involve teachers in school-and district-level decision making, (p. 266).  Now, we have moved beyond the “teacher leadership initiatives of the 1980s and early 1990s…(with its definite) limitations of the teacher as ‘heroic leader’, (p. 278), to what I perceive as a much more enjoyable venture working in the context of professional learning communities.

The many of the benefits of professional learning communities are described in the article posted in Blackboard, entitled, Collaboration Skills. Of particular note and importance to me personally, was the statement, “Effective professional development provides adequate time for teachers to acquire, practice, and reflect on new concepts and skills as well as time to collaborate and interact with peers” (Abdal-Haqq, 1996). It is with gratitude that I share that this year– my district has managed to create a schedule which includes a weekly early release for all schools. So, each Wednesday afternoon, the buses arrive an hour early to take students home. During this “protected” time–each PLC group meets. Last year, before the district supported us in this manner, our high school created altered bell schedules—carving out time for two weekly student tutorials (one hour each—on Tuesday and Thursday mornings). Half of the staff provided coverage for the tutorials each Tuesday, while the other half of the staff met in PLCs. On Thursday, the staff switched roles—allowing the remaining staff to meet together in teams. We are only three weeks into the new schedule—but it already “feels” better. Personally, I am encouraged by the district support and presume others share my perspective.

Since the acquisition of my undergraduate degrees in 1981, I have taken numerous courses and workshops pertaining to my position as a high school special education teacher, however, many of my richest learning experiences have been gained through positive interactions with my colleagues. I heartily agree with Susan Scott, author of, How Conversations Can Change Educators’ and Students’ Lives, when she states, “If you want to become a great teacher, a great leader, gain the capacity to connect with students and colleagues at a deep level…” (p. 54).

I am looking forward to increasing my learning and experiences throughout the process of earning my Master’s Degree in Curriculum and Instruction at Seattle Pacific University.

References

Hilty, E.B. (2011). Exploring new approaches to teacher leadership for school improvement. In E.B. Hilty (Ed.), Teacher leadership: The “new” foundations of teacher education (pp. 265-282). New York, New York: Peter Lang.

Hirsch, S., & Hord, S. (2010). Building hope, giving affirmation: Learning communities that address social justice issues bring equity to the classroom. Journal of Staff Development, 31(4), 10-12, 14, 16-17.

Scott, S. (2009). How conversations can change educators’ and students’ lives. Journal of Staff Development, 30 (3), 53-54.

Collaboration Skills, http://www.learningforward.org/standards/collaborationskills.cfm