Leadership Connections in Times of Disruption

My world – a universe of connections, random, deliberate, global.  As I reflect on the connectivity I engage in and with, it does not seem unusual to me. I have spent my life living across the world, in places that no longer exist other than in memories. Bubbles of memories make up who I am.

Memories?  Love lines written across the sky. Nothing more, nothing less.

As I quietly navigate information, ideas, personalities in the cyberseas of the internet, there are others who, like me, share the same concerns, interests and dreams. Dreams of equality, dreams of creativity and innovation, transforming education into a more joyful, effective and transformational space. Our thought bubbles coincide and connections are sometimes made. At times, these connections take place silently, almost intrepidly as I read their web writings and share their inspiration with others.

Among all the debated and constantly referred to issues in education today, there are two which glare out, desperately screaming for attention: effective leadership and the need to transform education. Before one goes on, possibly agreeing with me, these two issues are not new nor only required for our current times. They have always hung over our heads, looming needs with few practical answers. What has caused the current disruptions in education is, among other factors, digital learning – from OER to MOOCs, to all the tools and platforms which enable open communication and creativity in self-expression, which is open and accessible to all. Just as the printing press caused havoc and mayhem in regard to leadership in education, just as societies began making education accessible to all, today’s digital devices have opened up deep questions on educational and social change.

My next guest is no outsider nor stranger with these issues.

George Couros is the Division Principal of Innovative Teaching and Learning for Parkland School Division. He resides at the Centre for Education working closely with the all schools in the division, as well as the Future PlanningTeam, Lead Team, Learning Services Department and Information Technology Department where he pushes the leading edge in implementing Alberta Education’s new Goal Two – Educational Transformation. George has worked with all levels of school from K-12 as a teacher, technology facilitator, and school based administrator.

He additionally co-facilitates Great Leaders, Great Teams, Great Results leadership training, is a leader on the effective use of social media to improve student learning. He is a sought after speaker on the topic of innovative student learning and engagement. George is also the creator of the Connected Principals blog site as well as the founder of Connected Canada.  His focus is to help organizations create optimal learning environments for innovation within schools.

Although George is a leader in the area of innovation, his focus is always the development of leadership and people and what is best for kids.  He uses humour as a way to connecting with all of those that he works with.  His presentations are known to be both informative and entertaining, yet creating an emotional connection that helps people move to the next level.  His mix of research, personal stories, and practical ways to implement new learning help participants feel comfortable in taking risks in their own learning.

You can learn more about George at his site georgecouros.ca.

Join us here as George reveals his reflections on leadership, connecting with others and how education is at best, a wonder of social transformation.

If you have questions on these topics, please feel welcome to leave them here.

What qualities do you think educational leaders should have? Is education for confirming a society’s leadership or for transforming societies?


S is for Stephen

From research infrastructures ,reflections on the changes in the nature of research practices, to the significance of open access and how Connectivism occurs in classrooms, Stephen Downes explains all  – and more – with clarity, enthusiasm and joyous energy.

Thank you Stephen for your time, participation – and inspirational explanations!

Connecting Snowflakes

The golden morning light poured warmly into the room. He watched her quietly as she moved,  shifting and sorting the  rhythm of the day about to unravel. Beginnings were always important to her. Each new dawn, a new revival of hope, of expectation, a welcoming of wonders on the verge.

“Did you sleep well?”, he asked. She smiled. Dreams too belonged in the sunshine as much as to the stars at night.

“You know…..each dream is as unique as a snowflake. Did you know that?”, continued the soft voice.

And so she turned away from the window and morning routine of preparation, replying with a smile.

“You are my snowflake.”

 Their eyes connected with shared understanding.

Connections. That is what one does in life – connect with others, with nature, with one’s surroundings. Even if one chooses to reject an environment,  an individual, a fact –  a theory even- there has to be the initial acknowledgement, some degree of perception and understanding, then the realization there is in fact no will  of connection, no desire to connect, no purpose in connecting.

Connections. Because the synergies of life connect.

Naturally. Digitally. Collectively.

 Now imagine the synergy of snowflake whirls, flying flocks of unique, collective knowledge – all explained in ways that one can make sense of.

My next guest needs no long introduction. He is a master in connecting, an expert with words, a specialist in collective connections.

Stephen Downes is a Senior Researcher for the National Research Council of Canada and is well known for being a strong supporter of Free Learning. Among the many publications, presentations and activities that Stephen contributes to and is involved in, his  OLDailyStephen’s Web, and Half an Hour are widely read and referred to.

Here you can find further references of his work – but please note, these are merely a very small reflection of Stephen’s contributions towards educational and social studies.

Currently running the MOOC #change11 (Change: Education, Learning and Technology) with George Siemens and Dave Cormier, Stephen is widely associated with Connectivism and change in all its shades and variations.

Join me here as Stephen discusses change in the research process, what scientific value there may be in open access,  how Connectivism is relevant to educators of all levels  – and more.

What flocks of snowflakes will Stephen release to the open?