Last February, we traveled to an Apple What’s Next: Implementing Research Practices event to work with the Apple team including Ruben Puentedura and Boston College researcher Damian Bebel. We designed an action research project that included two research questions:
- What are the critical factors of success for our teachers who are creating transformational learning experiences?
- What factors of success can the district foster?
Last spring we collected our first data set with interviews of 6 teachers selected based on the kinds of learning experiences they’ve been creating in their classrooms. As a result of these interviews, we identified the following 6 critical factors of success:
- social networking
- peer networking
- professional learning opportunities
- safe, risk-taking environment
- motivation – internal and external
- Personal teaching/learning philosophy
An analysis of the data confirmed the validity of the 6 factors that emerged from the initial set of interviews and a set of interesting questions was developed to assist school leaders in prioritizing the success factors based on the needs of individual buildings. Just a few of our questions around the six critical factors:
- What if students were posting/making (more) “real world” connections on social media?
- What if we flipped faculty meetings, providing teachers the opportunity to share what and how they’ve accomplished something with their students in the classroom?
- What if we encouraged more teachers, teacher leaders and administrators to present at conferences?
- What if the physical learning space was more conducive to risk-taking?
- How does administrator/peer feedback foster or deflate teacher motivation? How do we create more opportunities for administrator/peer feedback on “uncommon” thinking?
- How do we move to a system of competency-based, personalized learning?
One of our next steps is the development of Innovate Salisbury, a collaborative of teachers engaging with building leaders, district leaders, and other experts and thought leaders to help shape the vision for teaching and learning in our classrooms. The collaborative was designed to lead the way and embodies the 6 critical factors of success. The Innovate Salisbury group meets every month, collaborating with each other to develop innovative action research projects in their own classrooms and sharing back to the group and more widely on social media. Project focus areas include: personalized learning, makerspaces, design thinking, inquiry based learning and game based learning with a focus on transformational uses of technology.
Beginning with our next episode and tied to the Innovate Salisbury collaborative, we will be starting an innovative thinkers podcast series featuring many of the authors of the books we and our teachers have been reading. Look for podcasts from these thought leaders: Barbara Bray, Don Wettrick, Ewan Macintosh, Chris Lehmann, Warren Berger, AJ Juliani and others. We know that our connections with these experts will help shape our vision for teaching and learning and help our teachers develop transformational learning experiences with technology for our students. Leadership IS the fuel that ignites transformation!
Randy – Join the Conversation
Each episode we leave you with a question or two to think about…with the idea of provoking conversation. This week’s question:
- How are you supporting the critical factors of success?
- Can you identify other factors of success?
Explore additional resources:
Learn more about this project from the Season 1 – Episode 15 Podcast.
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