Just Innovation Won’t Cut It

Just Innovation won’t cut it.

Doing what we we’ve always done won’t cut it with today’s learners. They are different and they need different skills to live and work in the 21st century. We need a new and better education for young people in our schools. Schools where timetables, homework, listen to me! still exist are now irrelevant and nothing like the world of real learning and work. We need our teachers to be better learners in different and new ways, but more importantly we as leaders must be better different learners ourselves. We need an evolution in education that is owned by learners, lead by leaders and designed in deep learning principles


Lead Learning by Doing

IMG_1123Here are some random reflections from a Bastow Course I am currently engaged in.

A Rich Seam – How New Pedagogies Find Deep Learning- really resonated with me and the work of leading learning in our schools in todays world. Our school is currently in a deep learning phase as we speak implementing and embedding our learning process. Here are some points that on reflections are drivers in our work of leading by doing….

Deep Learning Leaders:

  • recognised the need to share the leadership of learning
  • become storytellers
  • acknowledge mistakes and drive transparent, collaborative reflection
  • learn from the things that didn’t work and encourage risk
  • STOP DOING things that do not support learning
  • cultivate social capital and leadership among students, teachers, parents and the broader community
  • keep learning with and alongside students, parents and teachers
  • cultivate their cultures and building capacities in some very specific ways


As with any great learning organisation it is about process not product. It’s about Cultures, Relationships and Teams. In schools it’s about a learning community process, the capacity for teams to work and do things differently and for all leaners to be valued and given voice and choice about their learning pathways…… ‘localised recipes with ingredient about how’ (Heppell)

As leaders of “teams” in our learning communities- who owns the learning in the business of our professional learning? Are the staff we work with truly valued and given ‘real’ ownership of their learning..….I’m suggesting this is changing….and quickly …….due to social media, mobile devices, better internet access and access to learning anywhere anytime, the irrelevance of schools and other learning institutions is changing how we “certificate”………The powerful of social media for PLN and the concept of “learning anytime anywhere” for staff is now NOT a question at all. “It just Is”

Learning in an Ideal School from Simon on Vimeo.

Apple Institute 2013

Last week I had the privilege of attending the 2013 Apple Institute in Bali as part of the Apple Distinguished Educators program. As a new ADE at first I was unsure of what to expect. Having attended many conferences and study tours in the past, there were feelings of nervous anticipation about what I had got myself into. The lead up to the institute involved some course work and preparation through the participation in an iTunesU course, which on reflection was a great way to prepare for a weeks worth of professional learning and networking. On arrival in Bali we were welcomed and certainly made aware of the expectations for the week ahead. The nerves soon passed as excitement and energy built with the opening address in true Apple style. There were a number of opportunities to meet new ADEs and begin our professional learning networks. With a mixture of workshops, keynotes and personal project time, the week seemed to fly. A highlight was a workshop by Bill Frakes http://ipad.billfrakes.com/ from sports Illustrated/CNN. Bill shared his life’s work around photography and the many connections to learning and following your passions…simply amazing! For me the message was about the power of story through the use of video and pictures, and allowing students to be creative in order to make learning relevant to their lives. Bills workshop has encouraged me to investigate further forms of photography and ways this medium could be used in schools to drive innovation and creativity. As the week unfolded we were challenged to think differently from many educators with inspiring stories about how their schools and learning communities have embraced Apple technologies to enhance and make learning more powerful.

My 3 take aways from the Institute

Learning and teaching in todays world is not about technology it’s about the how of learning and the ability of individuals to rethink schooling

The power of developing relationship with like minded people can never be underestimated- all teachers should have this opportunity

Our schools and learning communities can be different in terms of size and systems but our challenges are very similar and relevant when it comes to technology integration and learning design

While the institute has now concluded, I sense the learning and networking may just be beginning to unfold. Already there is a real buzz on the twittersphere as we reflect on what just took place and the amazing community we are now part of. I look forward to the new learnings and ideas ahead as we go about our work of making our schools powerful places of learning for our communities.