Sunday, 18 May 2014

Layers of Leadership

My leadership journey has been like the layers of an onion. There was an essence of leadership potential on the outside layer of who I was when I started teaching; yet, as I have waded through two decades of teaching, the layers have been peeled back to reveal more skills than I knew I had to begin with. Some of my leadership skills have been exposed through experience and problem solving along the way, while other skills were always just below the surface. In some cases, it was the process of being challenged that made me dig down to find what was always there from the beginning. Overall, it has been a transformational experience of continuous life-long learning, mentoring from leaders in my midst, and reflection on how my actions impact the adults and children I encounter. The possibilities of what we can accomplish in our classrooms, schools, and lives are supported through continual collaboration and conversation. As Heifetz & Linsky (2002) explain,
"To lead is to live dangerously because when leadership counts, when you lead people through difficult change, you challenge what people hold dear - their daily habits, tools, loyalties, and ways of thinking - with nothing more to offer than perhaps a possibility," (as cited in Townsend & Adams, 2009, p. 61).

We are creatures of habit. Change is scary and risky. A bold and caring leader continues to foster positive relationships, protecting the work-life balance of those around him or her, while gently or not so gently nudging the clutch forward to embrace new ideas, refine old ones, and build a joint vision. A trusting relationship at the core is essential to successfully scaffold new ideas and initiatives through shared decision making and reciprocal support every day.

Townsend, D., & Adams, P. (2009). The Essential Equation: A Handbook for School Improvement. Calgary, AB: Detselig Enterprises Ltd.

Monday, 26 November 2012

The Last Post? - Blog 6

Our journey with blogging has come to an end; or has it? For this final required post for EDER 679.05, I am contemplating whether or not I will continue blogging in the future. I have definitely learned the value of blogging and the collaborative power of being part of the collective community by following blogs. I must admit, I have kind of enjoyed sharing my musings on technology and society and I have been impressed with the impact created by linking my ideas to other blogs and exploring the connections in other people’s posts.
It is interesting to note, as I have surfed around snooping at blogs, that not many blog writers are prolific. It is apparent that no one from last spring’s class of EDER 679 has continued blogging. Many of my favourite bloggers have big gaps in their posts. Once I find a voice that interests me, I am a bit deflated to see that they have not been updating.
Part of me wants to push it and see what I could create if I kept it up. Would I actually get a real following? Even after asking a few friends and family members to have a look and reply, I only have one reply outside this class. It looked kind of authentic but anyone who knows me will see that I coerced my husband. Should I invest the time for myself and see what happens? Maybe if I am not bounded by the guidelines of the class I will venture further and create something more personal or organic. (Even that sounds ridiculous!) I could remove the university heading and not link to my professional organization and include my true sense of humor to build a community, or I could stay on the professional track and focus on educational ideas to build a collective among teachers. A third option… let the dust settle and read a good novel. I might record all the URLs of our classmates and check in periodically. Time will tell how blogging has affected all of us.

Monday, 12 November 2012

The Tipping Point - Blog 5

The connection between bullying and our social identity is on my mind. The prevalence and impact of bullying has been front and centre in the media lately and I have dealt with some bullying issues on the home front, as well. In Canada, this week marks National Bullying Awareness Week. Although anti-bullying programs and awareness have been part of our collective discussions in schools and communities for many years, recent events in British Columbia have pushed the topic to the surface. In their weekly newspaper column, Craig and Marc Kielburger have commented on the importance of training bystanders to be vocal against bullies and to befriend victims. We need to remember the importance of teaching empathy and adults need to model respectful behavior towards each other. As the Kielburger brothers point out, "Cyberbullying is more difficult because it happens in a private world closed to most adults,"(Calgary Herald, 11/12/12).
As a parent, I have recently been reminded of the importance of keeping the lines of communication open in order to encourage kids to seek help and to share what is going on in their digital world. Through conversation, concerns, and checking the texting conversations of my son, I realized I needed to take action and appeal to our community of parents. I was able to search the internet and contact a parent directly about concerns I had regarding the social identity of a child. By working together, we were able to deal with an emerging situation quickly. It is essential that we collaborate as parents and teachers to establish the kind of support that children need as they manoeuvre through the business of "hanging out, messing around, and geeking out," (Thomas & Brown, 2011) on the Internet.
After watching Stuart Brown discuss the importance of fostering play in all humans in order to enrich our lives, I wonder if increasing our opportunities to engage in joyous times would combat the occurence of bullying? Bullies are typically lonely, hurting, or lacking confidence. Surely, the opportunity to experience play would replace the need to be mean.
As we embrace the new culture of learning (Thomas & Brown, 2011) we are making progress in teaching digital citizenship skills. We need to keep working hard to teach kids to be open, kind, and supportive of one another in the relationships they are building on and off-line.


Brown, S (2008). Play is more than fun. Retrieved from:

Kielburger, C. & M (2012). Make a pledge to take a stand against bullying. Calgary Herald (11/12/12).

Thomas, D., & Brown, J.S. (2011). A new culture of learning: Cultivating the imagination for a world of constant change, Seattle, WA: Create Space.

Monday, 29 October 2012

Check It Out On YouTube - Blog 4

The phenomenon of YouTube is amazing. It is hard to believe this video sharing site has only been around since 2005. YouTube has become a mainstay in our box of social networking and educational tools. It allows its users to share or watch videos on any topic imaginable. A small list from limitless possibilities includes: how to videos, social trends,inspirational videos, sports videos, political debates, educational videos, and music videos.

Humans enjoy learning through both the auditory and visual modes because they arouse our interests, motivate us, and inspire our emotions. I have searched such varied topics as how to tie a Windsor knot, how to make a perfect omelette, or how to take a screen shot on my Mac. Of course, links are essential to the success of YouTube. Part of its brilliance is the list of related links that pop up when you watch any video. By perusing these similar or connected videos, the community of followers multiplies, creating the phenomenon of ‘going viral’ that we have now adopted into our everyday vocabulary. The social impact of YouTube has been immeasurable. Music artists, such as Justin Beiber, were discovered after posting simple home videos that went viral. Other sensations, such as Gangnam Style by the Korean artist PSY, or animal voice-overs have created a stir or become a trend as people discovered the novelty of the idea and shared it with friends by word of mouth or through links posted.

YouTube has also infiltrated our need to know at home and in schools. The connection with TedTalks has led to a steady stream of informative, educational speeches by such experts as Susan Cain, Brene Brown, and Sir Ken Robinson. You Tube has extended its reach into our schools by launching extensions such as YouTubeEDU. Students love having YouTube moments at school to enjoy videos related to the curriculum. They would convince you to let them watch the stream of related videos for hours, if you let them. YouTube appears to be here to stay. I would continue to discuss the wonders of video sharing, but I need to go help my son find the answers to conjugating French pronominal verbs.

References: (accessed 10/28/12)
Image credit: (accessed 10/29/12)

Monday, 15 October 2012

The Journey of Collaboration - Blog 3

This week, I decided I would investigate how blogging might be used in the classroom. Nine or ten years ago, I tried using a classroom blog to post homework and relevant business items.
It only worked moderately well because I was not fully invested in the process and our school community had not yet embraced the idea of social networking. Through exploring different blogs and researching classroom uses of blogs, I have discovered some interesting ideas for collaboration and I have made connections I didn't expect.
Initially, I revisited my school division blog and saw a post by a colleague, Thea Morris, about her use of a classroom blog to track and describe the journey her class is currently on in a one to one project using iPads in her classroom. After receiving the technology grant for the iPads, she made a smart decision to document her students' progress on a blog that she can now use as her action research project for this year. Thea had interesting insights to share and our conversation continued as I contacted her to inquire about linking her blog to mine. She reminded me that that is precisely how bloggers support each other. We had an interesting email chat and she told me about the personal blog on organized living she also started ten months ago. With 11 000 followers already, she has definitely made an impact on the collective!
Edublogger conducted a survey entitled, "The State of Educational Blogging in 2012" from May 5-July 25, 2012. Respondents described using classroom blogs predominantly for class websites, class blogs, student blogs, professional/personal blogs, news blogs, and for collaboration and discussion. Educational bloggers, Linda Yollis (U.S.A.) and Kathleen Morris (Australia) are two teachers who moved from collaborating collectively through the comment sections of their classroom blogs to creating global collaborative projects. They explain that "effective classroom blogging and global collaboration are built around relationships," The collaboration between their classes has spawned empowering student leadership initiatives for their students.
The journey of collaboration and the ability to embark on unique and creative global collaborative projects has a reach that goes far beyond posting homework on a class blog. I have been discussing the power of local and global leadership opportunities with my 14 year old son, who is hoping to attend We Day on October, 24. He is totally pumped about attending this special event and sees himself as an "ambassador of change," within his school and the community. Starting with simple class blogs can give children the skills, confidence, and even the courage to share their own voices through personal or group blogs that have the potential for world wide impact. I am amazed at the bravery shown by Malala Yousafzai by blogging about the right of girls to be educated in Pakistan. Efforts that begin as local concerns in the classroom have the potential to have far reaching effects.

References: (accessed: 10/13/12) (accessed: 10/14/12)

Monday, 1 October 2012

Understanding the Blogging Phenomenon - Blog 2

After investigating various blogs, I am contemplating several  questions and I have started to understand some key ideas related to this social networking phenomenon. Looking back at my first post, I realize how sparse it was! After doing my blogging research, I see how powerful and useful it is for readers to include relevant links. It is amazing how you can navigate the highway of websites and blogs as you cruise along. I also gather how we use our skills of skimming and scanning to decide what to spend our time reading. Much like reading a newspaper, I scanned titles and headings to quickly decide what was applicable. As well, I understand the need to be succinct! Too many words will scare away the audience. A blog needs to be visually appealing and easily navigable. Those I found too dense or hard to figure out lost their appeal quickly. On that note, I did find several sources with tips regarding better blogging. One of the key tips in this blog post is that it is the feedback from followers and ensuing conversations that are the driving force behind the power of blogs.

How can blogging be used in the classroom or in our personal lives to build community? The reading, writing, and sharing involved is powerful. Social media such as this helps us make connections with so many people from around the world with similar interests. Even talking about blogging in real time stimulates sharing and building community. I asked my yoga friends (who come from all walks of life) if they had any ideas about good yoga blogs I might follow. Several ideas were shared in an interesting conversation and I went on to learn even more when I investigated those blogs and many others linked to them.
Is a private rant okay to share on a public stage? It depends on your employment and concern for your reputation. One blog I searched had a very facetious and raw element of judgment included. It was funny, yet not appropriate for my analysis. The author clearly didn’t care about repercussions related to work or reputation. On the other hand, the president of Hockey Calgary resigned his position after it surfaced that he had called opponents of banning body checking “morons” in a personal blog post shared months earlier. People need to remember the implications of the public domain when interacting in "the collective" (Thomas & Brown, 2011).
Sir Ken Robinson talks about education killing creativity. The interaction created through blogging is a dynamic way students and teachers can continue to support their diversity and imagination. Do I have time to incorporate this type of creativity into my hectic life? I suppose it is a matter of making time. Participating in the collective will depend upon my interest in the topic, my need to find information, or my desire to actively engage and learn something new, (Thomas and Brown, 2011).

Thomas, D., & Brown, J.S. (2011). A new culture of learning: Cultivating the imagination for a world of constant change. Seattle, WA: Create Space. (Accessed 09/25/12) (Accessed 09/28/12) (Accessed 09/28/12)

Friday, 14 September 2012

EDER 679.05 Technology & Society Blog 1

Rocky View Schools New Blog- check it out

Diana Logan
EDER 679.05
Technology & Society
Blog 1
September 14, 2012

Creating My Presence On The Internet

I feel positive about the progress I have made using various forms of technology in the past few years. Luckily, I have had several patient mentors at work to answer frequent questions and to guide the way in my journey. Where I used to panic, freeze up, or randomly pound on keys when problems arose, I can now navigate most issues on my own. I am decent at creating documents, doing research, making powerpoint presentations, managing incoming mail etc. I recently learned more tricks to spruce up a word document from a university peer this summer. Such basic things as screen shots and locking text boxes. How had I missed that in the past?

I have, however, been reluctant to get on the social networking bandwagon. I am one of the few not on facebook. I have never looked at twitter. My older son only recently started using facebook so I had to learn enough to check up on his wall and posts. My sister has been hassling me to join Linkedin. I previously had no need nor desire. Frankly, I have felt some comfort in knowing that people can't find me on the net. I haven't wanted to share the details of my life with random people or long lost acquaintances and I don't care to share my family and social life freely.

In considering this blog this week, I have investigated my school division's new blog, which initially seemed like a bit of "who's who" popularity contest to see who has posted ideas. However, reading some posts actually did give me some food for thought. Yet, I wasn't impressed with the typos! I have read some other blogs and contemplated the creation of personal learning networks (I had never heard of that before) and how I might benefit professionally from getting connected. I even broke down and joined Linkedin. I don't have much of a profile yet. I do feel a little uneasy about the almost immediate connections made with people I have emailed in the past. Within 2 minutes of signing up, I received a reply from my sister suggesting I beef up my profile. "Hey, how did you know so quickly that I signed up?" I asked. She has it open on her browser all the time.

In reading the beginning of the Thomas and Brown text, I have realized that part of the growth in my skills and/or change in my attitude towards technology comes from the ability to embrace change. "Information technology has become a participatory medium, giving rise to an environment that is constantly being changed and reshaped by the participation itself," (Thomas & Brown, 2011, p. 42).
The idea presented that the old model of education focusing on "stable" knowledge does not fit the 21st Century due to the constant changes and new information encountered helps to clarify why our schools need to keep progressing. I don't think we need to see it as a deficit that needs to be fixed as much as a development that has exciting potential.

Well, here goes the start to my online presence!

Thomas, D. & Brown, J.S. (2011). A New Culture Of Learning: Cultivating the Imagination for a World of Constant Change. Seattle, WA: Create Space.