Innovation: A Mindset
Innovative educators are generally defined by their technology competency or ability to utilize new technology in engaging ways. Although facets of innovation are embedded within these practices, true innovation occurs when creativity and risk-taking collide with passion and leadership. As a future school administrator, I have reflected over the last few months on my beliefs and practices as a facilitator of learning, and how these experiences will impact my ability to be an effective and innovative school leader.
The task: Learner experiences must impact the learning design. In any content area, this must be the starting point – allowing the students to authenticate and personalize their learning. When I craft an experience for my learners, I push them to discover the real-world context and construct meaning based on their world and their life experiences. Learners connect with the outside world through unique mediums to test their theories and reconstruct similar scenarios. As an educational leader, I share these experiences in hallway conversations or when I lead professional development seminars on my campus.
Assessment: Learner autonomy is essential in designing meaningful and authentic assessment….meaningful and authentic assessments are rooted in learner buy-in and learner passion. In order to evoke their passion and capture their buy-in, I have a #PouPad ThinkTank before designing a new assessment where I meet with interested students via Twitter or during lunch to get their ideas and feedback before designing an assessment.
Space: Learner voice and choice influence our learning space. The learning environment must be responsive to the needs and wants of my students. With class sizes of 30 or more, learners are comfortable manipulating our space and movable furniture for real collaboration, mini-presentations, and class discussions.
Relationships: The educator-learner interaction is the most crucial component of any classroom. There is a deeply rooted trust in our learning environment, which helps the learner be more personally and intellectually invested in the learning tasks. As an educator, I appreciate the personal interaction with my learners through individual conferences about their standards-based progress to help them better understand their academic performance. As an educational leader, I also value collegial interaction to learn and share ideas to continue to impact learner success.
Leadership: Lead is a verb; my actions define my leadership. I am a servant leader: I believe the best medicine in easy or difficult situations is to ease and support others through service. I am an instructional leader: I develop curriculum and design learning experiences for career and technology (CTE) Spanish classes. I am a digital leader: I leverage social media and communication mediums to collaborate and grow professionally with other leaders around the world.
The reflection of this process reinforces innovation as a mindset and encourages further risk-taking in the learning and assessment design process, as well as within leadership opportunities. I am excited about what the future holds.