M is for Mark

“… teachers  really care about they are doing. ….. Teachers are trusted.”

” Quality in many different ways.”

“… what is important is being open and flexible. ”

“… learning through progressive inquiry..”

 

Thank you Mark for your time to talk about education in Finland, education management, and this global program for change!

 

You can follow Mark @macurcher or find out more about  21st Century Educators

Stories are Meant to be Told

Mind Mirrors started off as a small project, giving voice to agents of change, regardless of field or study. With professional commitments stretching me out, this space has been through a silence phase. However, it is Spring and so another entry is coming to open up reflections and possible discussions.

As an educator, I have worked in Europe, Asia and the Middle East. Packing, unpacking, adapting, re-adapting is an essential part of my life. Over the years, I have met many other professionals, who like me, whether growing up in different environments or working in foreign countries, have shared many of their wonderful stories with me.

My next visitor is an example of how one learns, adapts, re-adapts to changes – both in landscapes and educational management. With a vision to share and stories to tell, Mark Curcher is an exceptional case of talent, inspiration and vision.

Currently, Mark is the Director for 21st Century Educators – A Passion for Learning , an educational program offered by TAMK, in Finland.

As an educator and educational leader, Mark also has much to share as someone who has travelled the world in pursuit of the best practices for educational change.

Let me offer you a taster:

What if by Mark Curcher

From lands of sand and sun, Mark now lives in a land of trees and never ending Summer days. Join us here as we find out more about what it takes to be a successful expat, global educator and educational innovator.

Because, after all, stories are meant to be told.

THE STAVES WINTER TREES from Karni and Saul on Vimeo.

 

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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?

Passionate Creativity for Innovation

“You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.”

Maya Angelou

Do you look or do you see? Is there beauty between the twigs, leaves and drops of dew? Or a smell of dreams still to come?

Sometimes I am considered to be absent minded, scatty, living in a rainbow bubble. It’s an opinion. Opinions are many, opinions are freely available and far too often, imposed on one when one has no need for them. Having read and re-read Lewis Carroll throughout my life, I still rejoice in his words: “Sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”

And why ever not? What is life if there is no dreaming, no believing in the impossible?

Let me entice you a step further with another question: what if ideas are not shared, not communicated to another? How many impossible dreams would then come alive? In the words of G.Bernard Shaw, “If you have an apple and I have an apple and we exchange these apples then you and I will still each have one apples. But if you have an idea and I have an idea and we exchange these ideas, then each of us will have two ideas. “

For ideas and creativity to take roots, they need to be tossed to the wind, finding echoes and others who also dream, who also listen and see. Creativity needs connections to bloom and dance. For anyone who reads what is regularly required  for today,  the concept of “creativity” in every field is desired, urgently needed, filling endless columns of space, whether analogue or digital. However, being creative, indulging in creativity and innovation is risky. There are pitfalls. There are unexpected twists and turns. How creatively does one deal with them?

Creativity. Innovation. A constant cry across the universe, begging for innovative solutions and ideas.

Can creativity be a leadership trait as well? Do leaders need to be creative and innovative?

My next guest is no stranger to creativity nor innovation. Angela Dunn nourishes the challenges and passions of what it is to be creative. Angela fosters creative connections, spreading ideas, planting mind dances in a community of thinkers.

Angela Dunn is a content strategist, futurist, executive coach, and the founder of ideachat–a global salon on Twitter for ideas and creativity.  At the forefront of the curation movement, Angela is currently writing a book entitled “Curation Zen: The Key to Hidden Influence and Thought Leadership for the 21st Century“.

 She believes in the power of curation for creating content and the spread of ideas. “Curators are masters of discernment, and connecting people and patterns. Following their work is key to strategic insights. Distilling the best ideas and adding your point of view leads to thought leadership,” she says. Angela believes the talented content curators are weaving hidden influence in the new social world.

Join me here as Angela discloses and shares her personal reflections on change, creativity and innovation.

Will you be challenged? Intrigued? Or inspired?

Ira Glass on Storytelling from David Shiyang Liu on Vimeo.

Where can you find Angela Dunn?

Angela Dunn’s Curation on Scoop.iT!

Blogbrevity’s Posterous

The Realtime Report on Angela Dunn

Good Ideas Con Come from Anywhere – Advice for Medical Leaders

Consulting Work for Healthcare and Social Media

Innovators are Conversation Architects

P is for Pusa

” … passion …. energy…. joy”

“… the soul of this company (…) the energy behind the companies … ”

“… trusted by the people to change directions…”

“… my team could doubt me but …”

“… helping others. That’s what is nice!”

Thank you Pusa for your time and sharing your experiences and insights in the world of business and change!

Saffron Sands

Saffron silence surrounds me.

My world is silent, heaving with veiled winds, serendipitous serenity and glimmers of the unaccountable mirage.

My hand lets slip hot, glistering grains of sand. My fingers run through sparkling saffron grains, soft,  hot,  white sands, blazing, scorched, rough,  gold earth.  My fingers run through lightyears of time, through stories, through histories; each moment in  time a battle for survival,each grain craddling a calm within the storms yet to come.  This is what surrounds me. This is my world. This is a thread of who I am.

It is not time yet. Not time to unveil identities nor stories nor other worlds. Threads of life require time and careful weavings, lest the woven story becomes threadbare with thoughtless fictions and confounded selves.

However. Veiled shadows do speak. There are voices in the sands, in the silence, in the speed of light and heat.

My next guest is a resident of my world. He too partakes in the joys and silence of sands.

Alan Passmore is a Dubai based consultant, specializing in deployment and support of radio communications systems. Prior to that, he held numerous technical and key management positions with U.S. multinational, Motorola Inc., over a 26 year time period, leading and implementing change. In his spare time, he is a keen off roader – a pursuit which he has followed since moving to the UAE in the year 2000.

 At first, he was drawn into off-roading by friends and colleagues who invited him to join them on their desert trips, where he had the opportunity to “learn the ropes” over relatively easy terrain. As his experience grew, he began to venture into more challenging areas of the UAE, including the big dunes around the Liwa oasis; and he would now also organize his own trips, and lead groups of like minded adventurers, usually under the umbrella of his local off-roading club – ME4X4, of which he is a former Chairman.

Alan is a strong supporter of the annual Gulf News Fun Drive –  both as a member of the team planning the route, and as a marshal tasked with assisting participants in the course of the event itself.

He is also been a regular member of the sweep team on the Desert Challenge, which is one of the toughest off-road races in the world, and being the UAE equivalent to the world famous Dakar.

When asked why does he do all this stuff, Alan’s reply was that it was the sense of adventure, coupled with a love for the great outdoors and a fantastic camaraderie.

Join us here as Alan shares his secrets of  serendipitous sands.