I have had the privilege of working with schools and organizations in many places around the world through conferences, keynoting, providing workshops, and consulting on how organizations can move forward by creating innovative environments for all learners in the community. I have worked with students, parents, educators, school administration, central office administration, school trustees, as well as outside organizations, and believe all are crucial to the important work we do in schools. Through conversations, both online and face-to-face, I work before, during, and after presentations to empower participants and to build strong connections to not only the content I am discussing, but also to myself as a presenter and educator. Please feel free to look at some of the comments about my work.
I believe that through creating an open, transparent, and connected environment in our schools, we are creating learning opportunities for our students that will help them be leaders not only in their future, but also in their world today. Schools should be leading powerful change and innovation in our communities, not merely trying to catch up to our continuously evolving world.
Below is my TedX Talk done in Burnsville, Minnesota.
In my work I focus on pushing the thinking of the group, while also building upon the strengths that are already evidently there. I focus first on “the why” of the work that is being done, followed up by how and what can be done. Using this focus, I help groups move forward from simply a “literate” stage to doing “transformative” work. Focusing on working deeply with a few tools/practices as opposed to inundating groups with several tools will make rapid improvements in the way schools do their work.
Below are some of the keynotes I have given and workshops I have put together. Material is continuously updated and adjusted making it relevant to each school or organization I work with. All of them can be tailored to different audiences. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions about the work below.
Create, Innovate, and Voice (Keynote and /or Workshop)
Description: In this talk, George will highlight some of the trends that are happening in education and the world and how we create a learning environment that is engaging for students. By giving them the ability to create meaningful learning, be innovative, and empower them with a voice, we will see students succeeding long after their time in school.
The Innovator’s Mindset (Keynote and /or Workshop)
Description: Carol Dweck’s work has focused on the ideas of “fixed” and “growth” mindset, yet educators will need to go a step further with these notions to create the learning opportunities and that our students and schools deserve. Learning is not only consumption, but more importantly, it is what we create with the knowledge we have. In this talk, George will discuss the idea and characteristics of the “Innovator’s Mindset”, and how they can make a significant impact on the learning or ourselves and ultimately our students.
5 Questions You Should Ask Your Leader (Keynote and /or Workshop)
Description: The role of school or district administrator has changed dramatically and instead of people serving the leader, it is more important that it is the other way around. In this talk/workshop, I discuss five key questions that we need to be able to answer as leaders and the innovative ways that we need to look at our role as administrators.
The Networked Leader/Educator (Keynote and /or Workshop)
Description: The role of school/district administrator is essential to what happens in the classroom, yet we often are unaware of some of the amazing opportunities that social media is not only providing our students and teachers, but ourselves as well. As school administrators, we need to be the “Learning Leader” for our organization and social media gives us the opportunity to connect, openly learn, and humanize our organization. When we learn together first, only then can we effectively lead our schools to continuous improvement.
Leading Innovative Change (Keynote/Workshop)
Description: Although schools are moving forward, change is always something that many struggle with. Focusing on an innovator’s mindset and our “why”, this workshop is meant for leaders to help others within their organization not only accept change, but embrace it, to create better powerful learning opportunities for our learners. It is not focused on the “how to” of technology, but is more focused on the conversations that will help staff move forward in a way that they will be excited yet feel supported in their journey.
Learning By Design (Keynote/Workshop)
Description: We know that the role of school has change, but it is important for people to understand why it needs to change. Once that can be established, then we are more likely to embrace this change, and move forward with the learning of ourselves, and more importantly help our students move forward as well. In this talk, George will discuss the “why” of change, and then using the ISTE Nets, give examples on “how” we can make this happen.
The Myths of Technology and Learning (Keynote and /or Workshop)
Description: This keynote helps to address some of the “myths” or pushback that many organizations go through in moving technology forward in their organizations. With many powerful and personal stories of how technology can improve learning and relationships, this has been a great opportunity to help those reluctant move forward in their thinking and adopt a growth mindset.
What to look for in Today’s Classroom (Keynote and /or Workshop)
Description: The focus of the classroom has, for the better, shifted from a focus on the teacher to a focus on the learner. In this talk, I will share several elements of what we should be looking for in today’s classroom, knowing that focusing on only a few at a time, can start the move towards a transformational learning environment.
Your Digital Footprint (Keynote and /or Workshop)
Description: We all have a digital footprint, as do our schools and organizations. “Googling” ourselves makes this apparent whether we have had any say in it or not. As individuals and as organizations, what can we do to actually shape this footprint? With open sharing of our learning, a digital footprint can easily be developed for either an individual, school or organization. This is not about branding as much as it is about modelling for our students that we are learners along with them.
From Digital Citizenship to Digital Leadership (Keynote and /or Workshop)
Description: We often tell our students that what they do online can affect their future, but do we share or teach them how their online presence can also provide them opportunities that we never had as kids? There are many great examples of people and students doing things to not only improve their own opportunities, but to improve the lives of those in their school, communities, and around the world. Kids have an opportunity to make a difference and we need to focus on giving them both the opportunities and tools to make a difference in their world through the effective use of technology and social media.
Involving Parents in the Process of Learning (Keynote and /or Workshop)
Description: Parent involvement in the learning process of schools is the number one factor for student success. As schools look forward towards using social media to improve learning in their schools, many parents are fearful of what this means. Social media provides an opportunity for parents to have meaningful engagement in the learning of their child. This can greatly change the conversations not only at school, but also at home with the child. This talk provides peace of mind to parents while also engaging them in considering the unique opportunity they have to participate in their child’s learning.
When working with groups, I encourage discussing the “why” through a keynote then following up with hands-on workshops. This pushes learning forward, having participants leave with ready to use tools and educators ready to implement their new learning immediately. Examples of workshops on specific ideas and tools that I provide are:
- What is innovation in education and how do we move forward?
- Twitter for administrators/educators/parents
- Blogs as a portfolio
- Google Apps in the Classroom
- Web 2.0 Tools for learning/communication
- Creating a Digital Footprint for our Students
- Digital Literacy
- Digital Identity
- Creating Blended Learning Environments
Here is a link to my presentations which are all Creative Commons Licensed for reuse:
Here is a list of some projects I have created/been a part of:
Connected Canada (Founder/Organizer)
Connected Principals (Creator/Contributor)
Super Book of Web Tools for Educators (Contributor)
Bam Radio Network – Commentator