I have been having an incredible year of learning in my half-time role with Parkland School Division, along with speaking and consulting for other schools/districts. I have learned a lot from both positions and I feel that it is very valuable to be able to look at school cultures within your organization, while also looking at what other schools do from an outsider’s perspective.
In this work, I have realized how truly important the role of principal is in building, not only in creating a positive culture, but an innovative one. These schools continuously strive to understand the changes happening in our world to not only catch up, but to lead the way in providing amazing learning opportunities for our students. Often times, as the principal goes, so does the culture of the school. This is not to say that individual teachers can not be leading the way within the school themselves, but this goes back to the notion of “pockets of innovation” as opposed to a “culture of innovation”. It is unlikely for an entire school to be “pushing the edge” if the principal or administrative team is not helping to pave the way for their community as they learn alongside of them.
Due to the observations of the past few years, I have decided to create a visual that discusses the correlation of the school mindset on technology innovation in learning, and the alignment it has with administrator support, professional development, and the corresponding hardware/infrastructure within the school/classroom. Although what I have created is not an exact science, you will often see the overall belief of the school community align with many of these practices.
I have colour-coded the graphic so it is not confused with a rubric”, but more to show alignment between beliefs and practices. The graphic is below (first draft).
If you are interested, you can get the full graphic on Flickr, as well as access to the Google Document where it was created (thanks to Jesse McLean for helping to edit this!). Please feel free to share and use this within your own work or share any of your thoughts.