You Should Read…(September 2, 2012)

cc licensed ( BY NC SD ) flickr photo shared by gcouros

We had a fantastic week in Parkland School Division with the launch of a new mission and vision that truly tries to capture not only the work that we want to do in the future, but a lot of the work that we are doing in the future with our kids.  I love how it focuses on the idea of “learners” as opposed to simply students.  We always focus on doing what is best for kids, but if that is to truly happen, we all need to have the growth mindset and continue to grow.  Here is the Vision and Mission of our school division:

Our Vision

Parkland School Division is a place where exploration, creativity, and imagination make learning exciting and where all learners aspire to reach their dreams.

Our Mission

Our purpose is to prepare, engage and inspire our students to be their best in a quickly changing global community.

Right now, these are just words, but our focus on the division is to put words into action and make some incredible things happen.  We will also continue to focus on being an open and transparent learning organization so that others can grow along with us.  Really exciting times in our school division.

Here are some links that I have read that may be of value to you and your school.

1.  What is education for? – Interestingly enough, this is an article that is 20 years old yet I was led to it on Facebook through a mistaken attribution to a quote.  It is a must read for educators as it is focused on where education should be heading and the importance of caring for others and our world.  Here is a powerful quote from the article:

A second principle comes from the Greek concept of paideiaThe goal of education is not mastery of subject matter, but of one’s person.  Subject matter is simply the tool. Much as one would use a hammer and chisel to carve a block of marble, one uses ideas and knowledge to forge one’s own personhood. For the most part we labor under a confusion of ends and means, thinking that the goal of education is to stuff all kinds of facts, techniques, methods, and information into the student’s mind, regardless of how and with what effect it will be used. The Greeks knew better.

There are a lot of powerful messages here regarding education and I really believe it is a must read for those who care about our schools and the direction they are going.

2.  How can I sell my skills beyond a boring resume? –  We have been working on digital portfolios within Parkland School Division for the past year, and continue on this road this year (and years into the future).  Your digital footprint is extremely important and many potential employers (including myself) use Google as a way of learning more about potential candidates. Our focus within the school division is that we need to go from the point where you digital footprint could lose a job to a place where what you do online can actually create opportunities. is a great place for many educators to start to develop that online persona that they can share the places they are on the Internet as well as start taking control of their digital identity:

If you have a web presence you want to show off at all, About.Me is a good option. The service is free, looks great, and links users directly to your other social profiles or web sites where they can learn more about you. pages take moments to set up, and when you’re finished you get a short custom URL you can give out or put on a business card. You can even sign up for an email address for those contacts to use when they want to reach you.

Definitely take the time to Google yourself (very helpful link) and see what is out there about you.  Would you hire you?

3.  50 Ways to Use Twitter in the Classroom – We have many educators within Parkland School Division excited about the opportunity of using Twitter for professional development but many use it as a hybrid to not only learn openly, but also connect their classroom to the world.  There are some great ideas on this post and below are a few:

7. Connect with the community.

Partner up with local government or charitable organizations and use Twitter to reach a broad audience discussing the latest cultural or educational events in the area and encourage others in the community to attend.

8. Follow the issues.

Bring a little technology into debates by asking the class which issues they would like to follow. Subscribe to relevant hash tags and accounts from all perspectives and compile an updated resource cobbling together as much research as possible.

9. Write a story or poem.

Many writers and poets have experimented with Twitter’s 140-character format to bring new, serialized works in small chunks to attention-divided audiences. Some educators may like the idea of asking their students to apply their creative writing skills to a restrictive social media outlet.

 What ways do you use Twitter in your school that aren’t listed in the article?

I hope you have a great week! I am extremely excited about our school year and the work that we are trying to achieve in our division. Share, share, share!