Pillar 3: Re-envisioning learning spaces and environments: Creating real-world spaces in which to learn and practice
Pedagogical innovation requires an innovation in the space where learning takes place. If the space doesn’t match the desired learning pedagogy, then it will hinder student learning outcomes. Research shows us that students need choice, naturalness, and appropriate levels of stimulation, among other characteristics, to maximize learning opportunities.
A digitally enhanced practice such as Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), blended learning, flipped classrooms, makerspaces, and virtual learning has no impact on its own. It becomes relevant and useful only when it’s tied to clear and understandable learning objectives.
To build efficacy, ask which characteristics and dynamics embody innovative learning spaces and environments? Which skills sets are essential to us and what type of learning spaces foster growth of those skills?
Pillar 4: Communication: Engaging all stakeholders in two-way communication
Static, one-way methods such as newsletters, email, and websites no longer suffice. Leaders can now give all audiences relevant information in real time through free social-media tools and simple implementation strategies. This blended approach results in more transparency, exposure, dialogue, and message amplification.
Pillar 5: Public relations: If we don’t tell our story, someone else will
We can create our own positive public relations platforms using free social-media tools that allow us to control the content. As storyteller-in-chief, you can focus on student and staff accomplishments and the daily awesomeness of your schools. When you do, you narrate the story of our own creation as well as develop a needed level of transparency in an age of negative rhetoric toward education.
Addressing efficacy in this pillar means asking which positive messages have the potential to impact your school? Which strategic messaging campaigns can help you communicate those messages? And, how will you measure the impacts?
Pillar 6: Branding: Key to the identity of your school
Coupled with communication and public relations is the idea of branding. In fact, branding is the inevitable result of a strong communications and public relations combination. Businesses have long understood the value of branding and its impact on current and potential consumers; now schools are in the position to message and build identity through branding. Instead of focusing on selling a product or service, you’re focused on sharing a positive narrative about education. This builds powerful relationships with all stakeholders and cultivates the idea of educating the whole child instead of the child-as-data-point mentality and approach.
Pillar 7: Opportunity: If it doesn’t knock, build a door
The digital world allows us to open doors like never before. Opinions, talk, and ideas alone will not do the trick, especially those not connected to research and evidence. You’re in control of what you learn and what you know.
With a sustained focus on the other six pillars, the paradigm shift here will naturally result. When you view your practices within the framework of opportunities, scalable paradigm shifts occur and holistic improvements become the norm, not the exception.
Putting the pillars into practice
Taking advantage of our digital moment is the imperative. You’ve got to understand the impacts of recent developments such as ubiquitous connectivity, open-source technology, mobile devices, and personalization–what they mean for learners and educators. Cultivating and modeling the mindset, behaviors, and skills that can change school culture through tech integration is essential to this leadership. In the end, the success of all of this is about making sure that everything you’re doing is measurable and that there’s an identifiable return on everything you’re doing in the classroom.
For more information or to get in touch with me, please contact me through the International Center for Leadership in Education website.
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