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April 7, 2021

Innovating Educational Growth

The Big Tent

How do you get a three year old to obey? By making it her idea! My very opinionated, passionate, threenager is extremely strong willed. As our family was sharing our one word goals with each other, imagine my surprise when she selected the word “obey.” This has become a magic word that I pray never rubs off! Instead of the usual “Mom, why are you being mean to me?” when I correct her, her response has changed dramatically. All I have to say is, “What word are you working on?” and she says “Oh, yes! That’s right! Obey!” I will admit her response is certainly not absent of some sass and sighs, but nonetheless I am wowed by this vast improvement. The innovative idea that one word changes your life is tremendously successful because of it’s simplistic complexity. New Year’s resolutions are not new, and words have always inspired us, but this new way of thinking about a resolution has simplified and enhanced the power of the goal.

Education is in dire need of innovative growth. Tom Freston, a media mogul American businessman, defines innovation as taking two things that already exist and putting them together in a new way. I love and certainly believe in that definition. Change happens when people see and believe in the power of it, but also aren’t scared of the complexity. Instructional coaching guru Jim Knight hits the nail on the head with his idea of making things “powerful and easy.”

where innovation comes from: power and ease

Based on my experience, when you combine reflection of teaching practices with the reality of video, you will find THE most powerful opportunity for growth in education. Now, I’m not suggesting that teachers’ attitudes resemble that of a threenager, but I do know our prideful human nature and foggy perception of reality often do inhibit growth in our practice. In both circumstances, providing ownership in the idea and freedom in the choice is key for real, timely improvement.

We find power in a specific, clear, and focused goal. We find even more power in initiating that goal based on actuality, rather than an unclear, misty awareness. That’s the power of video. When using video, administrators and coaches no longer have to guess what feedback to give a teacher based only on a small snippet of daily practice. The challenge of fishing for the perfect words to promote change, free of offense, is removed. The teacher is able to use the evidence of the video, paired with her knowledge of what happens daily, to create a meaningful and powerful goal. Administrators and coaches can then focus on helping set a vigorous goal and providing support to make it as easy as possible for the teacher.

Reflection and Video equals Growth

Now, for that “easy” part: this is where Teaching Channel Teams steps in and steps up. Teams makes sharing, collaborating, and storing video professional development work not only possible, but simple. I can’t begin to recount how many hours this platform has saved me! Let’s just say I’ve come a long way from the days of recording on a flip camera and sharing video via a tiny USB drive that was constantly out of storage space. Whether you’re using the platform for individual coaching and goal setting, video teams (specific strategy-focused groups), or promoting and clarifying campus/district initiatives, Teaching Channel’s video platform Teams fits the bill. I haven’t found a professional development idea yet that hasn’t worked on the platform, due to its customizable nature.

During a recent webinar, Jim Knight shared his belief that, “Video is the most significant technological innovation in education in maybe decades.” Seeing the potential on my campus, I couldn’t agree more, and feel we’ve just hit the tip of the iceberg with video PD. I don’t know about you, but I want in on this educational innovation that’s going to not only change the world of education, but empower students to be the innovators of tomorrow. So, break out your smart phones and let’s go change the world!


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