During the past semester, I started a new graduate program: the Innovative Instructional Leadership Certificate. The program was first imagined by Byron's Tech Director, Jen Hegna (@jenhegna), last fall. Through some incredible will and a lot of supporters, she managed to convince Winona State University, and by extension the entire Minnesota State College and University system, to approve a new program that prepares innovative educators. Eight months later, Jen had her first cohort. With the lack of time for Winona to advertise the program, and the awesome tuition support of our school district, our nine-student group is all from Byron.
The first course focused on Blended Learning. We explored multiple models of blended while creating our own materials. Thanks to my math department and earlier experience with Jen in Byron, I came in with some prior experience in blended. As my primary course project, I focused on rebuilding my worst Statistics unit of the year. Our final project was an open-ended Pecha Kucha-style presentation (20 slides, 20 seconds each). I talked about feedback loops in learning and my vision for the future of remixed content playlists in an open-ended school environment.
The second course, Connected Educator Connected Classroom, began last week. This blog post is intended as an introduction to the blitz of posts that will appear over the next three months related to the class. The course is very flexible by design, setup in a way that will expect all of us to push forward in journey to be effectively connected professionals and to bring our students with us. I know the tools of social media and have a sizable network of awesome educators, but I still lack the buy-in that would send me in head first. I enter this class as a fairly knowledgeable skeptic, but I look forward to expanding my own perspective as I learn from an incredible professor (@jenhegna) who practices what she preaches and a cohort of other Byron educators who blow me away with their interactions in their own networks.