Technology Coach as Leader

In a recent meeting of curriculum and grade level team leaders, we reflected on how well we work with each other, and with our various teams. During the conversation, it became apparent that each of us approaches the leadership role in very different ways, depending on our beliefs and our personalities. Some people are more comfortable with delegation, for example, while others prefer to take the full responsibility for completing tasks.

As a curriculum team leader, I facilitate vision activities to help determine the desired uses of IT at ISP. I also do a lot of information gathering, and sharing, and facilitate discussions and other protocols with individuals, teams, and the whole faculty of the elementary school, to help us align our vision of learning with technology, and our everyday practices in the classroom and school.

I think that it is possible to become a better leader. To that end, I am currently taking an edX course Launching Innovation in Schools. In the course introduction, Justin states, “[Leadership is] a set of functions distributed widely throughout an organization.” I’m looking forward to learning more about leadership and innovation in the course.

Launching Innovation in Schools is an open course taught by Peter Senge and Justin Reich. Although the course started last week, so you can still sign up if you’re interested.

 

Note that this post is prompted by my participation in #EdublogsClub. The challenge was to”write a post that discusses leadership, peer coaching, and/or effecting change”.

Three in One Office and Classroom Space

When I started working at ISP in August 2013, my office was in a small room in the elementary school, between the PK3 classroom and the elementary staff room. I shared the room with a library assistant/teacher assistant and a lot of books as it was the elementary school book room. It felt like we were in the basement because we had one tiny window that reminded me of a basement window. Our door led into the hallway, right opposite a door to the inner courtyard, which helped us remember that we were not in a basement, even though it felt that way.

As part of a school and department wide reorganization, I was moved to a different space. All three of the IT coaches now work in the same space. Our office is part classroom/part office, and called the Idea Lab.

My desk is the one with all the water bottles/travel mugs. The table behind it is part of the classroom furniture. I usually keep my water bottle a bit farther away from my computer, on the side cabinet.

As the elementary coach most responsible for elementary school, I generally attend meetings and support classrooms throughout the elementary school. I am usually welcomed into other people’s spaces. When I’m in my office, I’m usually doing desk work, which includes e-mail, blogging, working on presentations, preparing resources for teachers and classrooms, testing resources, conducting research, etc.

The desks for the IT Coaches are all in a line at the back of the room. It is a bit like we’re three judges, but it’s the most efficient use of the space.

My desk is at the back of the Idea Lab. The other two coaches and I have our desks all lined up to optimize our limited space. Most of the room contains moveable desks and chairs. The tables flip up, and the chairs stack, for added flexibility. A green screen is mounted at the front of the room. Along the sides, we’ve set up a laser printer, a laser cutter, and other maker space resources. The room is scheduled for classes taught by my colleagues, and available to be booked by other teaches. Sometimes, elementary classes come to the Idea Lab to work on creative projects, or middle and high school students come to work in a quiet space, or to use the resources available.

The worst part of my office is that it’s far from elmentary school. Since I moved, I have fewer spontaneous visits by teachers, and more email requests for help. I am often stopped when I walk around the elementary school, even if I have not received an email request for help.

The best part of my office is the proximity to my colleagues. This new office arrangement with all three coaches in the same place makes it easier to collaborate. We can help each other, share ideas, and plan events more easily than before. Often one of us is here to help colleagues even if the IT coach for that section is busy elsewhere. One of our collaborations is in designing the space. We identified the need for personal storage space, storage for consumables and tools, and storage for work in progress. We also determined the importance of flexibility in the space so that it could be use in many different ways. This room is still taking shape. One of our challenges is organizing all our resources, especially the robotics kits. We’re going to continue organizing the place over time to meet our needs, and the needs of each of the three sections of the school.

ES Robotics Kits: Dash, Wedo, and Lego Mindstorms NXT

 

Note that this post is written for my participation in #EdublogsClub challenge. The prompt was to “write a post that discusses your classroom or place of work”.

Blogging Journey

Invitation

This post is motivated by a prompt, as part of a blogging club that started last week. As soon as I found out about the club, I signed up (today). If you’re interested in blogging more this year, you can still join the Blogging Club, which will provide you with a weekly prompt to get you blogging regularly throughout 2017!

My Life as As a Blogger

I started my first blog while I was working in India, sometime between 2003 and 2005. I lost years of posts when I transferred the blog in 2008. I had a back up and intended to upload the posts again, and had a page of pictures for a while, but never put in the time to re-upload the old posts. For that first blog, I would tag posts either professional or personal. In 2010, I decided to host a separate professional blog. This blog was born as a result.

Over the years, I’ve continued to blog off and on, but never consistently. In some of my positions in schools, I’ve had to maintain internal (walled garden) blogs. I should have/could have cross-posted on Journey with Technology, but didn’t do that until I moved to my current school. Sometimes, my blog goes out, but I invariably resurrect it from the ashes. Usually this happens because I am inspired to share in this format by a blog post that I’ve read.

Curating/Consuming Blogs

I read many blog posts. In my must reads list are A Learning a Day, Practical Theory, User Generated Education, Seth’s Blog, Techcrunch, The Official Google Blog, Langwitches, Never Ending Search, Detoxinista, etc. I subscribe to them using Feedly, and read them in Feedly on my laptop, or Reeder 3 on my iPhone/iPad. I am subscribed to too many blogs, and have been working on removing subscriptions to the ones that add the least value to my work/self development at the moment. One of the things that I’ve been working on is to make more regular comments to blogs, or to share the content with others. I often share blog posts or the content of blog posts with colleagues that I think would benefit.

Blogging in 2017

One of my goals for 2017 is to blog more regularly. Before I found out about this challenge, I had already created a goal of blogging at least once a week. Being part of this challenge will provide me with a prompt to help me meet that goal. When I get busy, my blogging time is one of the first things to disappear from my schedule. I will reschedule it rather than deleting it from my schedule when there are conflicts this year. I’d also like to work on my blog roll, and make sure that I regularly engage with those blogs, so I will schedule that on a monthly basis as well.

The advice that I would give my younger self would be to blog regularly, and to engage with colleagues, the community of bloggers and with twitter chats for ideas to blog about.

Seth Godin and Tom Peters explains why you should blog, and what they get from blogging (H/T to Dangerously Irrelevant).

 

Note that this post is written for my participation in #EdublogsClub challenge. The prompt was to “write a post that shares your blog story”.