About boadams1

Learner. Husband. Dad. Chief Learning and Innovation Officer at Mount Vernon Presbyterian School in Atlanta, GA. Have worked in transformation design, educational innovation, and school leadership for 20+ years.

#MustRead Shares (weekly)

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

#MustRead Shares (weekly)

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

#MustRead Shares (weekly)

  • A beautiful and provocative reflection and lesson on “The Gift of Storytelling” http://wp.me/p6Kre4-z via @alex12emm #MVIFI #DEEPdt

    tags: storytelling #MustRead

  • tags: real-world realworldlearning problem_based_learning #MustRead idiploma

  • HT @TeachersGuild

    tags: schooldesign School Change teachers_guild TrueSchool #MustRead educators teachers innovation schoolreform

    • No policymaker or president is as powerful as a teacher when it comes to shaping the student experience.
    • No policymaker or president is as powerful as a teacher when it comes to shaping the student experience.
    • With your unique knowledge of student needs and school challenges, you have the potential to create powerful new solutions and lead change.
    • We support educators in this process to go from idea to impact, but we do not prescribe the solution — you are the source of ideas and leadership for transformative solutions.
    • We believe the best ideas for the present and future of education will come from educators
  • tags: essentialism healthyliving #MustRead family

  • HT Allison Toller

    tags: simplicity essentialism #MustRead assessment

    • Of course there’s a struggle to regain control of your own attention, to set priorities about what you will think about, to see fewer things but to see them more deeply.
    • an exercise in identity discovery, an exercise in realizing and then prioritizing your current tastes and beliefs. People who do that may instinctively be seeking higher forms of pruning: being impeccable with your words, parsimonious but strong with your commitments, disciplined about your time, selective about your friendships, moving generally from fragmentation toward unity of purpose. There’s an enviable emotional tranquillity at the end of that road.
  • The group that brought the education leaders together is Convergence: Center for Policy Resolution. Since its founding in 2009, it has been quietly connecting people with different priorities, beliefs and political leanings to build trust and foster relationships, so they can find pathways for cooperative action.

    tags: collaboration schoolreform #MustRead

    • Significantly, participants all came to align behind a single vision statement — and now they are actively communicating and advancing that vision nationwide through their organizations and networks. They host meetings with educational networks, superintendents, principals, teachers and philanthropists, reach out to libraries, museums and after-school programs, and identify and connect pioneers in learner-centered education.
    • Convergence staff and facilitators work to create a “safe space,” maintaining a strict neutrality and ensuring that everyone feels heard, says Fersh. It’s important that participants “feel they’re not in a place that’s already cooked or leaning toward any solutions.”
    • Convergence staff members look continually for opportunities to forge connections among participants. They begin meetings with “connecting” questions — for example: “When did you know that education was of great importance to you?” — that are designed to reveal people’s values and experiences, rather than highlight their disagreements. The objective is not to sweep differences under the rug, but to build rapport that a group needs to grapple effectively with its differences.
    • Another key is to identify a frame that energizes everybody, but is not so broad that it is meaningless. “For us the gold standard is that the dialogue has to lead to action,” said Fersh. To do that, he said, there are intermediate goals: “Can you get people to the table and sustain their presence? Can you find agreements that are worth fighting for? And can you keep people together to keep working over time to make sure something happens?”
    • In the end, she said, people converged on the notion that they had to do far more than tinker around the edges of a broken system held over from a bygone industrial age. “There was a lot of conversation that the current system is ill designed to create 21st century outcomes for students,” said Young. “But there wasn’t alignment around what a new system could look like. People really wanted to be part of that conversation.”
  • HT @gregbamford and #TVRSE16
    @cjacksonj13 @PLACE_PDX @ChristianLong @boadams1 @cmtmalvern Great new #TVRSE16 blog post about embracing ambiguity: https://t.co/tRAOEDe81O

    tags: TVRSE16 work that matters #MustRead

  • The fact is that innovative products are sexy. Thinking made tangible is worth a 1000 words. Products demonstrate results, and, through making, the product lets you know if you got it right. Purposeful products – ones that are human centered and make an impact – are an awfully convincing demonstration that you got the process right.

    tags: PURPOSEbasedlearning PBL Failup MVIFI #MustRead

    • So what is the big #failup moment? Well…perhaps product is more important than teachers tend to let on?
    • Reflecting back, I am more and more convinced that product and process are equally important. p[-[ I don’t mean to devalue the process by any means. That is where the learning happens. But the product – the thing – the solution – is why the learning happens
    • Last semester I had quite a different “engagement curve” with my T.E.D. class major project. In meeting Alex and 3D printing a prosthetic hand, my class and I made noticeable shift from working on a project to working for a purpose
  • tags: real-world School Change school3.0 #MustRead innovation

  • HT @WillRich45

    tags: badges badging microcredentialing openbadges higher ed #MustRead

    • digital badges may sound like overshared gimmicks from the latest trendy game or social network, they have become serious commodities in the world of college credentials
    • “The vision is to create a structure of alternative credentials that students could acquire relatively quickly and inexpensively that will also be immediately useful from an employment perspective.”
    • Badges link to information that can provide employers with more details about the specific skills a student has acquired. A traditional college transcript may list only the credits earned, says Daniel Hickey, an Indiana University learning sciences professor who studies badges.
  • HT @WillRich45

    tags: Badges badging microcredentialing #MustRead

    • There will be a “discovery feed” that functions sort of like an educational version of Spotify or iTunes, Yowell says, suggesting new content or learning opportunities based on a student’s demonstrated interests and where they live
    • Students would complete the challenges and earn badges. Upon demonstrating a certain level of proficiency, a student would be given the opportunity to shadow a designer at the headquarters of Fossil. “The idea eventually being that they might be able to have an internship,” says Black. “So it’s ripe for potential to connect the right kids to real-life working experiences.”
    • Most of all though, she views badges as a means — not an end — to fostering interest-driven learning.

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Leading change demands living the change…and building agency

In a recent article on EML, Will Richardson shared that he asks the districts he works with, “Is this a school that learns?” He went on to write these provocative questions:

What does a learning school look like? What’s the culture of a school that learns? How does it happen?

Will sparked in me some significant reflection. He also spurred me to write this blog post and share how Mount Vernon is, indeed, a school that learns. Here’s one example how…

The made world is designed. Everything in it is designed. Therefore, this made world is malleable, changeable, and transformable. For if it was designed, then it can be redesigned. And we all have the ability to make these changes in our world.

This simple argument is at the heart of agency. And we in education should be about the business of inspiring and nurturing agency in our learners. The very essence of being an engaged citizen leader is realizing and understanding one’s capability – one’s agency – to be a positive change agent in the world.

For years, Mount Vernon has focused its work around inspiring and nurturing the agency of learners. We are about designing and making, in numerous and myriad forms, and we are committed to developing engaged citizen leaders who see themselves as agents of change. And we are taking our work in design and making to a next level. We are building our maker, design, and engineering programs, and this work is invigorating and exciting.

Jim Tiffin and T.J. Edwards are leading these efforts to build our maker, design, and engineering programs. Jim Tiffin is the Director of Maker and Media, and T.J. Edwards is the newly appointed Director of Design and Engineering. Together, they are a phenomenal, dynamic duo, and they are integral members of the MVIFI nucleus team. I consider myself most blessed to work alongside them.

Throughout the year, Jim, T.J., and the MVIFI team will be leading a charge to create and construct the next levels of design-and-maker-based learning at Mount Vernon. We’re fortunate to be learning from many others along the way. And we’re looking forward to sharing with many the various stories of this purposeful build that we are experiencing.

But how do you go about such change work?


Among the many lessons of change and program building is this critical mantra: The leaders must live the change.

So, if we intend to take making, design, and engineering to new levels at Mount Vernon, then we must live the change we are expecting. How exactly are we doing this?

Well, here are four ways that we are setting the conditions so that leaders at Mount Vernon can live the change that we are envisioning in maker, design, and engineering.

ONE. If we want more making in school, then we need to build our own skills and understandings as makers.

This summer, The Tinkering Studio at San Francisco’s Exploratorium and Coursera offered a MOOC (massive, open, online course) called “Tinkering Fundamentals: A Constructionist Approach to STEM Learning.” T.J. made us aware of this course, and we enrolled together as a small group. The learning was powerful and intense, and it coupled leading research in learning, brain science, and pedagogy with practical experience as participant and facilitator in maker education. For me personally, the experience was invaluable, as I was able to read and watch curated articles and videos (see two examples below) while also trying my hand at tinkering activities that I had never done while wearing these particular lenses of emerging maker facilitator. Additionally, the course materials and practices provided T.J. and me with a number of things to think through and plan together in our own programatic build with Jim.

TWO. If we want more making in school, then we need to make in leadership team meetings.

A mentor of mine once told me (actually, he said it multiple times), “Bo, as much as possible, you should DO the projects that you are expecting your learners to do.” He implored me to lead from a position of experiential understanding. So, if we believe that we are creating conditions for more sophisticated and advanced design and making to exist in our MV classrooms, then we decided to immerse our school leaders in such project work from the very beginning. Therefore, in August, at a meeting for division heads and heads of learning and innovation, we utilized the scribble bot learning that we had undertaken during coursework in the Tinkering MOOC. Here’s a quick movie trailer of that session we enjoyed together – these are the “principals” and “academic deans” of our four divisions at Mount Vernon.

THREE. If we want more making in school, then we need to make time for making in our professional learning days.

For months, we knew that we were scheduled for a professional learning day on October 9, 2015. However, in early September, we decided to reimagine that day as an internal conference, hosted by MVIFI. We named the inaugural event Collider, and we established a small list of sessions that prioritized our strategic objectives as a school. Jim and T.J. co-designed and co-facilitated “anchor sessions” (like anchor stores at a mall) for maker, design, and engineering. On purpose, we set the conditions for faculty to elect into learning experiences that would advance their knowledge, experience, and excitement around design and making. We were intentional about ensuring that building interest in and capacity for maker, design, and engineering was a part of our professional learning day, even before we had all of the details established for the overall programmatic architecture. By doing so, we were prioritizing a strategy of getting our faculty involved.

FOUR. If we want more making in school, then we need to experiment with entirely new ways of developing capacity.

At Mount Vernon, we are fortunate to live in a culture of prototyping and educational entrepreneurship. We ideate frequently about new possibilities, and we rapidly prototype these ideas into physical manifestations. On this maker, design, and engineering front, we are offering “evening maker clubs” for our faculty and staff. This is just a simple idea that we came up with – kind of like book clubs, but for tinkering. So, at the end of September, the MVIFI team prototyped a “dine and design evening,” learned from the experiment, and created a new program for getting faculty together for some food, fellowship, and fun – all centered around building creative confidence in maker, design, and engineering.

Gallery of Photos from Prototype Night for “XLR8 Makers”

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recent invitation sent to Mount vernon faculty for xlr8: makers

MVIFI XLR8 Makers Nov. 12 2015

To purposefully advance the strategic vision and practices of a school requires agency. By definition, such work is about change, and educational leaders must see themselves as change agents – designers, makers, and engineers of better and better learning architectures.

Most importantly, we educators must take seriously our opportunities and responsibilities to inspire and nurture agency in our learners – in ourselves, in our faculties and staffs, in our students, in our parents, and in our surrounding communities. And this incredible work necessarily involves integrating more making, designing, and engineering programs for the benefit and capacity building of our learners.

To do so most successfully demands that we lead by living the change ourselves.

#MustRead Shares (weekly)

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.