PROCESS POST: Starting to put the pieces together…

How might a school (and education, at large) become more agile, more adaptable on a larger scale and shorter time frame?

What if we explored recipes that combined ingredients of Collins’ Good to Great (the flywheel effect, “who” before “what,” and the hedgehog concept), Design Thinking and the Japanese concept of “kaizen” (continuous improvement through…Discovery, Interpretation, Ideation, Experimentation, Evolution), and Manuel Lima’s power of networks, which is closely related to Friedman’s flattened world?

Could we re-imagine and re-purpose so that school becomes more of a quickly evolving ecosystem that better integrates learners with real-time, real-life, contextual learning and a developing citizen skill-content set that readies learners for the present and future more than for a past that is rapidly fading?

To move from the industrial age to the information age to the creativity age, must we synergize processes that can better develop creational momentum?

[“A piece of ‘why,'” A piece of ‘what,'” and A piece of ‘how'” are strands of a series on why school needs to change, what about school needs to change, and how schools might navigate the change.]

Tracking Time to Learn from Our Patterns – a Lesson from My New World

At my new company, we track our time. I imagine many companies track how time is spent. For me, in these two weeks, during an 8-9 hour day, I probably spend 3 minutes total going through the exercise of tracking my time. So, it’s easy. The software we use makes it easy. There are pre-poulated pull-down menus and sub-menus. There are wonderfully granular levels of such activity as “research.” There are text fields so that I can add commentary, too. Then, I can look at reports of how I am spending my time. Of course, my coaches can also view how I spend my time, and I totally and completely trust them to do so.

What if we teachers tracked our time like this? Recently, at lunch with a colleague, I mentioned how surprised I was to learn that I am loving my self-tracking of time. Because I have spent 20 years in schools, and because I love to integrate most of what I am learning with school life, I could imagine us teachers tracking our time. I could imagine content-oriented pull-down menus and sub-menus. I could imagine skill-oriented pull-down menus and sub-menus. I could imagine methodology and pedagogy menus and sub-menus. I could imagine running a report after two weeks and seeing for myself, “Wow. I spent 78% of my teaching time this week lecturing. Is that a good thing? How might I re-balance my methodology and approaches given my SMART goal and desired outcome for the year?”

Of course, I also imagined students tracking their time. In the spirit of making education “more pull, than push,” I would love for a student to share with me in an individual conference how he or she had spent his/her learning time during the week or two-week period. I could imagine doing this with advisees, so that I could discover with them how they are exploring their interests and spending time in their structured school-learning environments. I could imagine seeing the cross-polinations and synergies among class-content time recordings and self-directed time recordings.

In many ways, I see my time tracking as related to the tips shared in an article that a colleague sent to me about 11 secrets of leadership. My time tracking allows me to record reality in short bits, and then I can study my time to be more proactive about how I structure my days to further leadership and learning.

Time is a valuable resource. In fact, time may be the most valuable resource. I am thrilled to have a better handle on how I spend my time so that I can be purposeful, intentional, and strategic about making the most of my opportunities to create impact and to make a difference.

How are you spending your time…your time learning…your time teaching…your time working?

[Interestingly, after talking about this with my friend at lunch, he sent me a link to Lesson Note, a digital tool for tracking class activity, particularly as it relates to “lesson study,” an action research collaboration in learning communities for which I am a strong and dedicated advocate. However, the kind of time tracking that I am sharing above is very different and only distantly related to Lesson Note tracking. The type of time tracking I am discussing feels more self-initiated and self-directed. Of course, Lesson Note could be used in very positive and powerful ways, too, if a team decided to employ such a digital resource to advance their work and understanding about their teaching.]

Out of the mouths of babes…or stationary bike trainers #GreatQuotes

Watching stage 15 of the Tour de France tonight, I heard the following on a stationary trainer commercial:

Change is uncomfortable. But for those who strive for continuous improvement, change is a necessity.

Love it! Wish a professional educator had said it and received the quotation credit. Thankful to teachers in all shapes and sizes…even a stationary trainer!

CHANGEd: What if schools adopted the “work in progress” mindset? 60-60-60 #33

[Today I give my 60+ words to Tara. I’d rather you spend your time reading her post, instead of mine. Tara, I am very proud of you!]

CHANGEd: What if…60-60-60 Project Explained

CHANGEd: What if we used version software designation to signal purposeful growth? 60-60-60 #14

One of many reasons I feel drawn to Unboundary involves their intentional practice of using version software designation to signal purposeful growth in the company. As the world and surrounds change, Unboundary adapts and evolves. Currently, the team designates itself “Unboundary 6.5.” More than just the suffixing of a number, the process under-girding this practice promises attention to change – kaizen – as a constant. Culture is transformed when a community knows that the version number should change…will change. What if schools used version software designation to signal such purposeful change?

Related post: “JH 2.11

CHANGEd: What if…60-60-60 Project Explained