Date: Wednesday, April 27th, 2011
Time: 5pm Pacific / 8pm Eastern / 12am GMT (next day--international times here)
Duration: 1 hour
Location: In Elluminate. Log in at http://tr.im/futureofed. The Elluminate room will be open up to 30 minutes before the event if you want to come in early. To make sure that your computer is configured for Elluminate, please visit http://www.elluminate.com/support. Recordings of the session will be posted within a day of the event at the event page.
Background Information from the speakers: Educators face a multitude of barriers in their efforts to support contemporary learners - changing learning demographics, decreased funding, increased high-stakes everything, the most rapidly changing communications technologies since at least the 1840s, and little to no professional practice learning time. The scientific management system we use in educational leadership today tends to bring us consistently to the four failures of information learning and applied action identified by the 9/11 Commission Report: failures of management, imagination, policy, and capacity. We fail to properly use our people and resources. We fail to imagine both what is possible and what is likely. We fail to create adaptive conditions which can respond rapidly to changing circumstances. and we fail to create either the human or technological capital necessary to meet oncoming needs.
What is the cause of this cycle of failure? How can we change?
We structure everything we do in schools and departments through a 20th century scientific management model that has led to the current industrial school approach permeating all that education is today. Educators continue to work in egg crate environments, isolated from each other even though they all simultaneously need to be learners, leaders, teachers and decision-makers. The current scientific management system fails students, teachers, and administrators despite our attempts to address problems generated within the industrial school model. These problems won't disappear until we transition into a model that changes the way we manage, use policy, build capacity, and imagine differently for today and tomorrow. We know the silos of departments, schools, and classrooms work against the natural human inclination to work together to solve problems, share ideas, work for the good of the community, and nurture the next generation into the work and play of the community.
The "Age of Reason"/"Industrial Revolution" system of scientific management system accomplishes exactly what it was intended to do one hundred and thirty years ago - high dropout rates, gender-differentiated pay, widget-learning, and Theory X leadership styles. We'll challenge the old scientific management model in use today and bring forward for discussion a contemporary community-driven mindset that pushes our "what if" thinking about the topics of management, imagination, policy, and capacity. We see "what if" thinking as leading away from tiered hierarchies, isolated work, cookie cutter solutions, and dis-integrated decisions. Instead, "what if" thinking can lead to educational communities that function together to make decisions that respond to real needs within the community, gives voice to community members in new and powerful ways, and change teaching places to learning spaces. We'd like to consider with the audience how decisions are made to select and use learning tools and technologies,set-up professional learning, structure class activity and teach learners; keeping in mind that the system we use today is one we created and also have the power to change, a few voices at a time.
Pam Moran and Ira Socol bring differently diverse backgrounds to the conversation about leadership in contemporary education.
Pam, the Superintendent of the Albemarle County Public Schools in Virginia has worked in every level of K-12 education, teaching science in high school and middle school, serving as a secondary assistant principal and an elementary principal, and as adjunct faculty for the University of Virginia. She has led curricular and professional development, and now supports a 13,000 student school division covering 726 square miles.
Ira, a research and teaching assistant in the College of Education at Michigan State University, has worked in law enforcement, architecture, art and design before becoming a leader in technological services to those with special needs, working in universities, K-12 schools, businesses, and vocational rehabilitation services. His research explores both the re-design of educational institutions with Universal Design technology and the history of education and technology, research which is done and presented globally.
Though Moran’s experience as a student was continual success, and Socol struggled through school as a special needs student, both have come to understand that the system design of the American school fails far too many children, and that real change, real reform, requires both new paradigms of leadership and new understandings of the process of learning.
Moran works in leadership roles in Virginia and national organizations, Socol through Michigan’s technology leadership program and conferences around the nation. The two have combined to begin rethinking top to bottom leadership in schools, working in part from the historical viewpoint that the post-industrial, post-Gutenberg age needs to reconnect with the human leadership forms which dominated previous ages, just as many of our communication skills now must look to models which existed prior to the invention of the printing press.
The inside-out and outside-in perspectives brought by these educators are unified through interactive storytelling, co-facilitated conversations which lead to direct change actions which begin to shift schools and classrooms from traditional environments to contemporary learning spaces. They believe that educators who think, laugh, dream, create, design and build together will accomplish deep change with agility, commitment, and understanding within their own school communities, moving teachers away from the teaching wall as the dominant form of instruction, engaging learners in passion-driven, project-based learning work, and using the communications technologies of the present and future to re-write the rules of access, inclusion, and connectivity.