Category Archives: Leadership

We Need Engaged Educators

All our best strategies, plans, projects, initiatives, etc. will all come to nothing and fizzle out, if we, as educators (Yes, I am also talking about teachers AND administrators) are NOT engaged as leaders and learners.


  • are self-motivated and self-directed
  • give as much as they are taking from other educators
  • are flexible, innovative and willing to take risks
  • contribute and take an active part in a global conversation via their expertise, perspectives, shareable content and their time
  • understand that sharing is a moral imperative in a global network of educators and learners
  • are invested in their own learning

Are you engaged as a leader and learner ?



Teacher Entrepreneurship: Realizing and Understanding that the Middle Man is Gone!

Steve Hargadon invited me to participate in the Teacher Entrepreneurship Week and asked for an interview to talk about my perspective.

With a tagline for Teacher entrepreneurship: Realizing and understanding that the middle man is gone! , I was on board.

In 4 days he recorded and curated interviews with almost 40 educators.

Four evenings of interviews, broadcast live on Google Hangouts on Air / YouTube. Steve Hargadon guides us through the world of teachers as agents of creation and change.


Adam Bellow | Alice Keeler | Angela Maiers | Anne Mirtschin | Barbara Bray | Ben Wilkoff | Bernard Bull | Bill Ferriter | Chris Sloan | Curtis Bonk | Dan Meyer | David Warlick | Dean Shareski | Erin Klein | Esther Wojcicki | Gary Stager | Jon Corippo | Julie Lindsay | Karen Fasimpaur | Lee Kolbert | Lisa Nielsen | Lucy Gray | Matt Harris, Ed.D | Mike Lawrence | Nicholas Provenzano | Nicole Tucker-Smith | Paul Allison | Ramsay Musallam | Richard Byrne | Rushton Hurley | Shabbi Luthra | Shelly Sanchez Terrell | Silvia Tolisano | Steven Anderson | Suzie Boss | Sylvia Martinez | Tom Whitby | Vicki Davis | Will Richardson
See all the recordings here.


What are the Best Ways a Teacher can Demonstrate Leadership in the Classroom?

As part of C.M Rubin’s monthly series in the Huffington post: The Global Search for Education: Our Top 12 Global Teacher Blogs, this is my third contribution. This month we are answering the following prompt: What are the best ways a teacher can demonstrate leadership in the classroom?
I started to poke a little around to get a better handle on the popular notion of WHAT leadership was perceived as:
I found a definition on Google:
definition_leadership_-_Google_SearchI conducted a Google image search:
 leadership_quotes_-_Google_SearchI got hundreds of quotes and points of view WHAT leadership is by searching for the #leadership hashtag on Twitter.
_leadership_-_Twitter_Search _leadership_-_Twitter_Search2 _leadership_-_Twitter_Search3
“Leadership is action, not a position” by Donald McGannon
I also looked at the results of an image search on Google and got visuals of how the concept of  leadership might be represented. [ Oddly, the images below almost always portrait a leader who is somehow different (bigger size, different color, in a different position or pointing with a finger to something that has to be done]
leadership_-_Google_SearchTaking these popular notions, quotes, points of view and visuals into account: How does leadership look like in the classroom? What are the best ways a teacher can demonstrate leadership in the classroom?
In the classroom, as a teacher, it boils down to a “Leadership Flow” for me, not one best way or another. That flow could be accomplished with the following four components:
  1. Model
  2. Experience
  3. Share
  4. Trust

A leader in the classroom models the type of behavior and learning they want to see and encourage in their students. They are transparent in their own learning process, they do not hide mistakes or failures, their make their thinking, learning and process visible for others to reconstruct and follow. Leaders model by example  not by ” Do as I say”.

A leader in the classroom gives students the opportunities to experience the learning. Leaders in the classroom don’t skip steps because it is easier, less time consuming and possibly more convenient. By the same token, leaders are ready to experience and embrace new situations, new skills, new learning opportunities alongside their students. Leaders put themselves in the position of learners and don’t continue to only draw on experiences from another lifetime (when they were young or from a pre-technology world). Leaders encourage, value,  support and celebrate “sticking your neck out” in order to experience new paths.

A leader celebrates, highlights and shares their classroom learning community’s  accomplishments. The leader takes on the responsibility of documenting and strategically amplifying through a variety of venues. This can range from face to face in-school sharing opportunities to district, national or international conferences as well as online social network platforms (Ex. blogs, Twitter, Pinterest, Diigo)

A leader in the classroom is always working on establishing and strengthening trust as an integral component of that leadership flow. Trust is the component that “lubricates” the movement of the flow.  Leaders always seek and take advantage of opportunities to gain trust but also learn to trust their students.

4 Big Ideas Around the Connected Educator

The Connected Educator Month is around the corner. Norway, Australia, New Zealand and the USA have organized hundreds of events for educators to learn, connect and collaborate.

As I am preparing to be part of a panel on October 2, 4 pm (USA EST)/October 3rd, 9am (NZ time) and keynote in Oslo, Norway on October 21st, I am looking at 4 big ideas around the connected educator through the lens of connected professional learning.

Globally Connected Educator- Beyond Plugging In.001 I think about the isolation of a teacher within their classroom walls and how connectedness to a global network  of experts and peers could expose and add multiple perspectives to their world view and professional practice. I am amazed every time by the transformative nature of teaching and learning, when harnessing the power of a network to crowdsource authentic data, resources, connections and collaborators. Last, but not least, the idea of being able to model for our students what connected learning in an interconnected world means is a moral imperative for educators who are charged to prepare our kids for their future.

Globally Connected Educator- Beyond Plugging In.002Local Isolation as an Educator

Interesting, that when thinking about being connected, my first thoughts turn to the opposite, of being isolated as a teacher. How to break out of the loneliness one can feel as a learner, reflective practitioner and someone looking for feedback when spending most of one’s work day inside a classroom with the doors closed. Traditionally, teaching has been and is one of the most isolating professions.

  • Isolated in a physical classroom.
  • Isolated as the only Spanish teacher in the entire school building.
  • Isolated as the only member on a non existing grade level team.
  • Isolated by being surrounded with children the entire day without speaking to another adult.
  • Isolated when only hearing oneself speak when lecturing to a roomful of students, class period after class period, repeating the same lecture over and over again.

6 Ways to Avoid Feeling Isolated in the Classroom by Rebecca Alber (Edutopia)

Globally Connected Educator- Beyond Plugging In.003Being Exposed and Gaining Perspective

How can teachers open up the walls of their classroom and become connected to experience and gain perspectives from other educators  around the world? Being connected to other educators and experts gives teachers, for the first time the exposure of multiple perspectives and constant opportunities to access different points of view.

  • Opportunities from someone who does not live in one’s zip code
  • Opportunities to connect with someone of a different country, culture and language
  • Opportunities to learn from people regardless of stereotypes of age or sex
  • Opportunities to learn from newbies and experts.
  • Opportunities to see through the eyes of eye witnesses

Globally Connected Educator- Beyond Plugging In.004Take Advantage and Harness the Power of the Network

Once connections are established, trust has been given and received, the network machine has started to function. It is the moment when sending a “shout-out” into your network is not just met with silence. A shout-out is met with a response, an answer, a re-tweet, a comment, feedback, a push back, added value, etc. This goes far beyond traditional  face to face network connections though. Traditionally one expected the response from a few people.

Crowdsourcing though”is the process of obtaining needed services, ideas, or content by soliciting contributions from a large group of people, and especially from an online community”. The response could easily be co-created by fifty, hundreds or even thousands of people contributing. Part of network literacy is the understanding of and harnessing this type of network intelligence. As David Weinberger in his book “Too Big to Know” stated “The smartest person in the room is the room”. It is the exponential potential that makes being a connected educator transformational.

  • Crowdsourcing for authentic data collection
  • Crowdsourcing for multiple points of view and perspectives
  • Crowdsourcing to collect resources
  • Crowdsourcing to gather different approaches to solve problems
  • Crowdsourcing to increase efficiency
  • Crowdsourcing to assemble individual pieces to make a whole with small contributions of each individual
  • Crowdsourcing to participate in and collaborate on projects

Globally Connected Educator- Beyond Plugging In.005The Moral Imperative to Model Network Literacy and Learning for our Students in an Interconnected World.

One of the modern literacies is Network Literacy. In the Harvard Business Review, Eric Hellweg, outlines 4 key attributes to this network literacy. The capabilities to

  1. Obtain a basic understanding of network technology.
  2. Craft your network identity.
  3. Understand network intelligence.
  4. Understand network capabilities

I strongly believe that if we want globally connected students, we need to have globally connected teachers.

  • Students need teachers who model connected learning and not just talk about it.
  • Students need teachers who have experienced connected learning in order to translate and tweak that experience into their classrooms.
  • Students need connected teachers, who can connect them with an authentic global audience, peers and experts.
  • Students need teachers to model building an academic learning network.
  • Students need teachers who are adept in applying global pedagogy (approaches, strategies and techniques to facilitate learning) to their curriculum.

When you think of connected educators, what are your big ideas that surface? Connect your thoughts, come out of your isolation, share your perspective, add to a crowdsourced collection of global pedagogy examples and how you model connected learning for your students.


 Connected Educator Month New Zealand

Connected Learning: Plotting pathways, navigating mazes

Much is made of the opportunities that digital technologies offers both educators and students in terms of opening up possibilities for collaboration and learner-centred design. We must also keep our eyes open to the challenges and ask the big questions about why we design learning as we do. This session will debate the issues, gains and challenges for learning in a  digital work.

With special guests, Audrey Watters (@audreywatters/Hack Education), Silvia Tolisano (@langwitches/), Tom Barratt (@tombarrett/NoTosh) and Togi Lemanu (@TogiLemanu/CORE Education), hosted by Karen Melhuish Spencer (@virtuallykaren) and Phoebe Davies (@rukuwai).

Connected Educator Month Oslo, Norway

The Connected Educator: Beyond Plugging in Towards Global Pedagogy

With the increasingly interconnected nature of our global society and the need for a very different kind of literacy for our students, extending teaching and learning beyond the walls of our classrooms is especially vital in this digital age.
If you want globally connected students, you need globally connected teachers who are capable of communicating, collaborating and connecting to experts and peers from around the world. These educators are harnessing the power of global connections for their own learning in order to bring the world to their students.
What does collaboration, communication and connections mean in a connected world? What are the steps in becoming a globally connected educator? How do we move from being consumers to producers and contributors? How do we modernize and globalize our classroom practices while expanding our professional learning network to include colleagues from around the world?

The Brainwaves Channel with Bob Greenberg

I had the pleasure of meeting Bob Greenberg, the mind behind The Brainwaves Channel at BLC14 in Boston. Bob has been traveling the US and the world to film and connect educators who share their own thoughts, perspectives, experiences and ideas on education.

“The Brainwaves” is a video anthology. Here you will meet the thinkers, dreamers and innovators; some of the brightest minds in education. This series is meant to inspire and engage the viewer to dig deeper and learn more. In the words of Georges Melies, (The Invention of Hugo Cabret) “Now sit back, open your eyes and be prepared to dream.”

I am honored to have been asked to share my thoughts on globally connected learning along side a fantastic list of friends, colleagues and mentors in the field of education.

These short videos (about 4-10 minutes long) are thought starters for any self-directed educator and conversation starters for learning communities and professional development.

Sample Videos from the list of over 65 videos (and growing)