Monday, January 18, 2016

Innovative Instructional Leadership

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.


  1. Andy, I appreciate your skepticism.  While I hope  to  help influence your "connected" growth and buy-in... in the end, it is you that holds the key. Being open to ideas  and experiences will certainly help.  As will finding what/who you need (to help you grow and learn) while personalizing your PLN!
    As I am reflecting on our very first twitter chat of the course (tonight) - I thought a lot about influence. Bringing conversations online makes those convo's incredibly transparent.  How do transparent conversations influence those who may be watching or lurking?  Something certainly worth pondering.  

    This will be a great first post for you to go back and reflect on at the end of the course.  Fingers crossed - buy-in will not be an issue 14 weeks from now.  :)

    1. I think that the "new ideas" chats tend to happen behind closed doors. This doesn't happen with an intent to make it a secret, but the only time those chats can work f2f is in a small group without nay-sayers present. Online, many can be present without it feeling crowded. It is safer for someone who is interested to jump in after they see where an idea is going. The educator culture on Twitter is also a very positive, we-can-try-anything way of interacting, discouraging people from being negative beyond reasonable skepticism. Finally, I think inviting people outside your geographical area into those conversations brings in new ideas and new questions that make the idea stronger.