Laura K Spencer, Ed.D.


Change, Change, Change

The shift to Common Core has not only caused a change in curriculum and instructional strategies, but it’s also impacted every department in our school district. Funding has changed; assessments have changed; technology needs have changed; report cards have changed… and the list goes on and on.
As we navigate these changes, I am looking for ways to provide positive leadership that encourage and inspire, instead of cause fear and apprehension. Here are a few links I found that inspire me to keep going!
Why Leaders Matter – Key in this article is the reminder that district leadership is moving from “protectors of the status quo to change agents.” We can’t rest on what “has always been done” or “worked for us before.” We are navigating new, and sometimes murky, waters. How we do so sets the culture for the entire district.
What Makes an Innovative School District Leader? – This video from a school district in Canada, and the article attached, hammers home the notion that we have to provide “freedom to try new things.” There is no one answer. We need to establish the vision, provide the resources, and then be willing to adjust course as we move along the journey,
Managing the Digital District – A fabulous wealth of resources. Why reinvent the wheel or go at it alone when there are curated topics already at our disposal?
What other resources have you found that help you navigate through this time of change? Please share.

A couple months back I attended an executive briefing about digital learning and our 1:1 initiative. During the briefing, we were led through a SAMR sorting activity. Eight different classroom projects were shared with us. We had to sort the projects in to the SAMR level we thought it best fit. We then had to defend our decisions. It was an enlightening experience.

Back at the district, my ed tech team decided to recreate that opportunity for our students. Using ISTEs Student Profiles for learning as a guide, eight K-8 grade scenarios were created.

On Tuesday, teachers attending the “New to Classroom iPads” professional development completed the sorting activity. It led to fabulous discussions about looking at learning from different perspectives. Teachers commented that most of the lower level activities could have easily been modified to advance in SAMR level.
With so much focus on using technology meaningfully in the classroom, activities like this one give teachers a better idea of just how to create that meaning.