It is interesting for me to reflect on my digital leadership as we start this program. In some ways I reflect upon a series of accomplishments I have achieved in this area while often I feel as though I have so far yet to go. My biggest takeaway centers around the refinement of tools I have tried and experiences I have had that lead me to where I am today as Chief Information Officer and Director of Modern learning at an independent school with 850 students.
My journey in education began with a desire to coach. It happened that they needed a lower school computer teacher to go along with the coaching responsibilities. It was there that I started to realize the power that technology can have to engage students in the learning. After a couple years in lower school I moved on to working in the middle school where I began to work with classroom teachers to incorporate technology into their lessons. After spending a couple years I saw a need in the upper school for students to learn web design, photo manipulation and video production. I developed a digital production class from the ground up to meet that need. It was one of the busiest years of my educational career as I was a couple weeks ahead of my students in learning much of what I was teaching. I learned during the year that opening doors for students to pursue their passions was how I wanted to spend my career. One of my things I am most proud of is during my leadership these classes have expanded to 8 sections of tech classes along with digital and video production. After discovering my passion for teaching I expanded my repertoire into teaching a core academic class, Economics, utilizing what I studied in college for the first time since I graduated. During the seven years I taught these classes I continually worked with other teachers on techniques for making our students experiences more engaging and authentic. This lead to me pursuing a job in administration when the Director of Technology position opened up at my school.
During my time in administration I have had many opportunities to institute organizational change not only in infrastructure but more importantly in the opportunities for modernizing student learning. On the infrastructure side we have taken the campus wireless, implemented Google Apps for Education and redesigned our website and LMS to afford more opportunities for blended and online learning. In the last five years I have led a school-wide pedagogical shift that is currently exemplified by a group of tenets of teaching called the Oakridge Classroom Environment. This shift has been successful in allowing students to collaborate, communicate and create in an environment that is more engaging and authentic to the modern world. In recognition of this our school will be recognized as the 2016 Spotlight School at the Lausanne Learning Institute this summer.
Another aspect of leading and learning I find necessary today is the building of a personal learning network. This network can be both digital and face to face. To network in person I have presented at numerous conferences. Some of the highlights for me have been Educon 2.2, 2012 and 2013 National Independent School Conference, 2013 and 2015 Finalsite University as well as serving as Curator of TEDxYouth@ISASOakridge. On the digital side I have experimented with numerous tools including Voxer, Slack and blogging. The most valuable digital networks I have been involved with are Twitter and my Google Certified Innovators Google+ page.
As I look to the future I hope to be able to continue to be an influencer at my school as well as spend more time expanding my personal learning network. I hope to go back to blogging as a means of reflection not only for myself but also to connect with fellow educators. I hope to learn more about change management along curricular and pedagogical history to make myself more effective and efficient. I also hope to attend and present at more conferences as I have stepped back from that the last two years. I believe all of things are important to keep energized and engaged as an educational leader.
As I reflect on what I have accomplished I realize I have a lot to build upon. Looking to the future my personality trait of never being satisfied makes me hunger to be a better educator and improve the lives of students. In order to accomplish this goal I must continue to immerse myself in new technologies, techniques and experiences that will further my learning.