Professional Learning, continued

I’m at the tail end of reading Katie Martin’s Learner Centered Innovation. It’s amazing to hear so many of the same ideas and research voiced by someone new (to me), but to experience everything sort of sticking because it all lines up with the work I’ve being doing.

In the tacit space between my course work and Martin’s publication, I’m realizing that out here in the real world I should be synthesizing the professional learning I’m involved in this summer. I should be applying that learning to this created space! I want to practice and become ever more comfortable in the ecosystem where I want my learners to live.

Creating Canvas Assignments and Providing Meaningful Feedback

I feel like I am never as comfortable with Canvas as I want to be. There is so much to understand! This training with Instructional Technology coaches from our district was super informative. We walked through different ways to communicate with learners within Canvas including offering video feedback.

Inspire Creativity with Adobe Creative Cloud Express

Adobe tools allow for students’ voice and choice to communicate and think creatively while learning and applying digital skills. We explored and learned the basics of the interface through creating as well as discussing curriculum integration ideas.

Graphic Design Made Easy with Canva

While Adobe Creative Cloud is a great application for students to use, Canva has been my go-to tool for a while when it comes to creating digital content. I learned so much more in this session, including how to determine size of images regarding pixels and translating that into banners, buttons, and tile cards for Canvas. We also played around with creating slide decks with audio and video. Best one second tip: eyedropper!

My favorite thing about technology professional development opportunities is that we, as learners, always have time to PLAY! We can ask each other questions and solve problems and learn by doing.

‘A’ for Authenticity

Today I worked on my ePortfolio for the first time since completing the ADL program. It has been a strange experience, and uncomfortable. Dr.H was very intentional throughout the program on insisting that we have choice, and that our innovation plan should fit the needs of our community. At every opportunity he told us that our ePortfolio belonged to us. I can still hear him saying via Zoom…”It’s yours, make it work for you!”

Yet, honestly, I was in grad school. There was a rubric. I would receive a grade. I was earning a degree.

Today, I’m not. For the first time, It truly became completely mine. What direction will I take my innovation plan? How will everything I’ve learned fit into the the true needs of my learning community?

After that initial fear, I realized I really do have everything in place that I need. I made a few minor tweaks, revised my proposal, and am gearing up with my small team of influencers. Because I learned with the COVA approach, I can now move forward in the learning process and perpetuate choice, ownership, voice, and authenticity for more learners to come.

Contributing to Learning

In 5th grade, I finished the Little House on the Prairie series, and I remember feeling conflicted about my sadness. That was the first time I experienced the heartbreak of a literary goodbye. My teacher at the time encouraged me with the reminder that there were still so many good books to read, and that finishing Little House helped me become a better reader for them.

I experienced a similar heartbreak when I graduated from college in 1997. I muddled through weeks of not knowing who I was if I wasn’t a student. I wish I had remembered my 5th grade teacher’s advice from a decade prior, because now I see that it applies: everything I learned helped me to become a better learner.

In both heartbreaks, my solution was the same…keep reading. To quote Dr. Harapnuik, “There has never been a better time to be a learner.” I am at the end of the road for my Master’s degree, and am feeling a type of heartbreak, but I see that I am in a better position to continue in my journey because of how I have learned to see myself as a learner.

As I think about that journey ahead, I’m not sure what it will look like. I’m not sure if there is even a road! But I know how to ask the questions to get me to where I’m going. I know how to find the right people along the way. I’m not afraid to fail, and excited about all there is to learn.

I would never have thought this kind of synthesis would come out of this program. But more than digital learning, the ADL program has taught me to be prepared for an education future that doesn’t exist. I am better positioned now to be a contributor of learning for my students or anyone else that is willing to create with me a road that no one has yet taken.

Final Answers

This program has clarified pieces of visions I’ve had for a while, and given me a map on how to reach goals for my students, my school, and my district. I now have the language and leverage to conduct better conversations and execute plans that I know will help our students become the digital learners and leaders that THEY need to be for a future we can’t even yet imagine. 

Q: What has worked for you?

A: What truly does work is the COVA framework. This final discussion post and synthesis process of our entire learning is proof of that. I’ve been putting together this last piece for my ePortfolio, and as I reflect back on the choices I’ve made in this entire program, my voice is even now being shaped as in this authentic process I am realizing all I have done. 

Q: What can you improve upon?

A: Now that I have worked through a two year loop in my LC, I know that I can always plan better. Continual experience will recursively aid in better planning.

Q: What lessons have you learned?

A: I have learned so much… but the most important lesson is that I don’t have to know it all, that the whole point is THIS. That I will always be learning. The strengths I gain along the way will make my journey moving forward easier, and weaknesses will remain my teacher.

But also, I’ve learned the importance of collaboration and finding “my” people.

Q: Where are you looking to anticipate change?

A: I am asking next year to take over the GT work on our campus. I theorize that if I work with a smaller cohort, our work has a greater possibility of success. 

Q: What is the diversity measure of your network?

A: In one way, the level of intellectual diversity is limited as I am still looking for specific stakeholders that are “disruptive ready”. I understand Torres’s point here is that great leaders are able to work and experience success with a diverse set of people, which in some ways I don’t see as relevant in initiatives such as mine. ALL are welcome, and I do believe that as far as race and culture is concerned, my personal diversity measure is strong.

Q: Are you courageous enough to abandon the past?

A: Yes! Let’s do it. I’m so ready to apply the gas, but am not in that clutch position. YET.