Summer Project!

Final-Logo copyAbout two years ago I suggested to my colleague, Lynn Fuini-Hetten (@lfuinihetten), that we needed to do more sharing and that we should start a podcast. After learning how to record something that sounded decent and purchasing some equipment, I was ready to go. Well, not so much! (And I’ve been harassed for the past two years!) Life and work got in the way and it just wasn’t happening. Until I decided that this was going to be THE big summer project!

Today we launch TLTalkRadio, a podcast where Lynn and I will share out and engage listeners on a whole host of topics related to education – leadership, teaching and learning. We will definitely have guests as well! (So let us know if you are interested!)

Here is our elevator pitch:

Regardless of role, we all face many of the same leadership challenges every day. To be the most effective educational leaders, we need to design a balance between managing the operational side of our roles and the creativity and vision needed to challenge the status quo. To do that, reflecting on what we have done in the past, why we have done it, and whether or not it still meets the needs of our organization is essential. Join TLTalkRadio hosts Lynn Fuini-Hetten (@lfuinihetten) and Randy Ziegenfuss (@ziegeran) weekly as they share leadership stories, feature guest interviews and inspire you to lead for the change we need in schools for the digital age.

Our 1st episode is an overview of what we want the show to develop into – our vision. In the 2nd episode we share out about the Bucks Lehigh Edusummit a conference that took place this week – how it came about, how it comes together and how it benefits the educators that participated in the two-day event.

Lynn and I want to interact with listeners so we will share out one or two questions each week designed to engage. Comments can be posted on our blog at on on Twitter using the hashtag #TLTalkRadio.

We are also looking for listener input into show topics. If you visit the site, you will notice a red button on the right to leave us a voice mail with your ideas.

And of course, we’re on Facebook, Twitter and you can subscribe to the podcast through iTunes U.

Lynn and I are very excited about this new venture! We are committed to sharing out our work and learning from others interested in the conversations. Come learn with us!

EduSummit 2014

logoI’m looking forward to sharing several presentations at this year’s Bucks-Lehigh EduSummit in Center Valley, PA (@ Southern Lehigh High School). EduSummit is a collaboration between Quakertown Community School District, Southern Lehigh School District, Salisbury Township School District, Palisades School District and the Bucks County Intermediate Unit. It’s not too late to REGISTER for this FREE professional learning opportunity taking place on Monday, August 11 and Tuesday, August 12! There will be some awesome keynote presentations and lots of educators sharing and learning from each other! This year’s hashtag for the Bucks-Lehigh EduSummit is #bles14. Follow it!

I’m excited to be a part of three presentations:

Monday, August 11

Core Six -10:50-11:45 – Room 142 – This session involves a discussion of 6 key strategies identified in the text – Core Six by SIlver, Dewing, and Perini. Learn about the six essential strategies for reaching skills embedded within the PA Core. As a collaborative group, we will brainstorm ways these strategies may be used in multiple content areas. Co-presenting with @lfuinihetten. Download the presentation (PDF). Download the Core Six Book Study Guide (PDF).

Using the SAMR Framework to Elevate Instruction – 11:50-12:45 – Room 142 – Not all technology integration is equal. Collaborate with others to learn the basics of the SAMR framework developed by Ruben Puentadura. This framework provides a common language for all teachers and administrators when discussing instructional technology integration. Co-presenting with @lfuinihetten and @wdovico You can view the session document here.

Tuesday, August 12

Generation Z…It’s Complicated… – 10:50-11:45 – Room 134 -Today’s youth are growing up in a world that is very different from the one we adults inhabited. Come and explore adults’ assumptions about Generation Z and some of the recent research. We’ll generate strategies for moving this important conversation forward back in your school and district. You can view the session document here.

Hope to see you at the Bucks-Lehigh EduSummit!

Generation Z…It’s Complicated…

generationzIn danah boyd’s recent book, It’s Complicated: the social lives of networked teens, she interrogates several myths regarding teens’ use of social media.

  • Why do teens seem strange online? (Identity)
  • Why do youth share so publicly? (privacy)
  • What makes teens obsessed with social media? (addiction)
  • Are sexual predators lurking everywhere? (danger)
  • Is social media amplifying meanness and cruelty? (bullying)
  • Can social media resolve social divisions? (inequality)
  • Are today’s youth digital natives? (literacy)

The book and conversations I’ve had in several courses I teach at Moravian College have gotten me thinking about Generation Z from a leadership perspective and how schools must change to best meet their needs. To propel my thinking even further, I recently discovered this presentation (Meet Generation Z: Forget Everything You Learned About Millennials) by the marketing firm Sparks & Honey.

If we are to make our learning institutions places of connected learning to meet the needs of Generation Z, we as leaders will need to confront some or all of the myths boyd shares in her book (depending on our varying leadership contexts).

Which of the bullets above do you find most pressing to address in your current leadership context? How are you addressing these myths, or how might you address them in the coming school year?

Resources that are worth the time to check out:

What does it mean to lead from an inquiry stance?

changeaheadLeading from an inquiry stance is grounded in the practitioner’s desire to bring about change – a change in their own practice. The need for change is uncovered as a result of an open mindset and the never-ending quest to problematize practice. Leaders who embrace an inquiry stance are relentless about seeking out ways to improve the current context in which they work. They identify problems/challenges and ask questions – of themselves and others (inquiry is collaborative, after all) to explore possible approaches, develop plans, gather data and evaluate for results. The disposition to inquiry is persistent among leaders who take an inquiry stance. Inquiry can occur at any time and in any place as a particular context requires, always driven by some sort of immediacy or need.

The process of implementing the inquiry plan is intentional and systematic. While reflection is a component of inquiry, leadership from an inquiry stance is more complex in that the process of addressing the problem is collaboratively developed and initiated around a question or series of questions. Reflection occurs throughout the intentionally planned steps in the process often leading to a “change of course” — modifications/corrections in the process. The inquiry process includes the identification of data sources, documentation of the insider perspective, and further development of questions, frameworks and changes in inquirers’ views over time. Dilemmas and recurring themes are also identified throughout the inquiry process.

In the process of inquiring, new knowledge is created that is used to address the challenge at hand. Inquiry as an organic process, while intentional and systematic, is flexible and adaptable as the data is collected, analyzed and applied to take action, resolving the problem/challenge. Throughout the process, the inquirers document the process, including new/transformed questions, new frameworks and analysis of data. Inquirers write about the process and share, as appropriate, during and after the inquiry, both internally and externally, welcoming critique. Depending on context, the results of the inquiry may lead to the uncovering of additional challenges and the need for further inquiry.

The cycle continues!

What does leading from an inquiry stance mean to you?

Would education be more valued if more educators shared their work?

The-stories-you-tellI just finished reading Austin Kleon‘s Show Your Work! 10 Ways to Share Your Creativity and Get Discovered. My interest in this book stems from the challenge I have in my own work – getting educators to understand the value of sharing their own and their students’ work. Most people reading this post are probably already sharing their work (and their students’) online, but if you’re not, or if you’re thinking about ways to make it more the norm in your school culture, I recommend this book.

The book is a very quick read that includes many ideas to provoke reflection and some memorable quotes to boot:

“I’m an artist, man,” said John Lennon. “Give me a tuba, and I’ll get you something out of it.”

I couldn’t help but share that one as I drew a connection to my previous post, What is school for? Some of Kleon’s ideas that directly relate to the current challenge of getting educators to understand the value of sharing:

“The best way to get started on the path to sharing your work is to think about what you want to learn, and make a commitment to learning it in front of others.”

It sounds a little extreme, but in this day and age, if your work isn’t online, it doesn’t exist.

To many artists, particularly those who grew up in the pre-digital era, this kind of openness and the potential vulnerability that goes along with sharing one’s process is a terrifying idea.

Don’t say you don’t have enough time. We’re all busy, but we all get 24 hours a day. People often ask me, “How do you find the time for all this?” And I answer, “I look for it.” You find time the same place you find spare change: in the nooks and crannies. You find it in the cracks between the big stuff—your commute, your lunch break, the few hours after your kids go to bed. You might have to miss an episode of your favorite TV show, you might have to miss an hour of sleep, but you can find the time if you look for it

Don’t think of your website as a self-promotion machine, think of it as a self-invention machine.”

“The problem with hoarding is you end up living off your reserves. Eventually, you’ll become stale. If you give away everything you have, you are left with nothing. This forces you to look, to be aware, to replenish. . . . Somehow the more you give away, the more comes back to you.” —Paul Arden

“Stories are such a powerful driver of emotional value that their effect on any given object’s subjective value can actually be measured objectively.”

“My work speaks for itself,” but the truth is, our work doesn’t speak for itself.”

There are more snippets I could connect to the idea of educators sharing their work, but I suggest reading the book if you are as intrigued by the topic as I am. As of today, Sunday, June 29, the Pennsylvania Legislature and Governor are haggling over a state budget which is supposed to be passed by July 1. The support for education is a bit underwhelming to say the least (as it has been for the past 3 years). While I don’t like this, I can’t help but ask myself (and we educators) two questions:

  • What responsibility should we as educators bear for the current lack of respect for education and educators?
  • Would education and educators be more respected if telling our stories/sharing would become the norm of our profession?

In the book, Kleon shares this idea: “The stories you tell about the work you do have a huge effect on how people feel and what they understand about your work, and how people feel and what they understand about your work effects how they value it.” Does this hold true for education? Is our work undervalued because the public (including legislators and the governor) haven’t made an “emotional connection” to our work? And is this because we haven’t done the best job of sharing those stories of the amazing things we do and giving the opportunity for people to make that emotional connection? It’s a theory.

What’s next?

By Randy Ziegenfuss Posted in Learning