Sunday, October 12, 2014

Thinking and Learning on a Jet Plane

When I fly, as I did today to share time with the educators in the Michigan District of the LC-MS, I try to use the time productively, but use it in a different way than I would when I am on the ground. Often the time is spent reading and dreaming about what is possible or what needs to be adapted or improved. I rarely use watch media or listen to music, preferring to use the time to reflect on what has been and what might be in education.

I picked up the book How Google Works from the public library yesterday and read the first 50 or so pages on the flight. Written by Google insiders Eric Schmidt and Jonathan Rosenberg, I found opening to be very compelling, not just for the insights the volume gives us about Google, but also for the potential applications and implications the experiences of Google have for education.

Typically when I read I have a notepad or an iPad available for annotations and thoughts. These thoughts are not always fully formed, but their raw energy spurs me to greater action on behalf of students, families, and ministries. Here are some examples of what I noted:
  • Make sure my students keep a running list of things that interest them - things they have heard, new facts that sparked their curiosity, questions they have found interesting, or problems to be solved.
  • Quote to use from John Wooden: "It is what you learn after you know it all that counts."
  • Is the culture of Lights Academy (our accelerated, personalized learning experience at Lutheran High School) what I want it to be? If not, it becomes more difficult to change over time.
  • Am I clearly communicating the vision for Lights Academy, and is it truly a shared vision? Jack Welch once said, "No vision is worth the paper it is printed on unless it's communicated consistently and reinforced with rewards."
  • What would students learn if they explored workspace design in a variety of different settings? Is this a worthy challenge?
  • Be generous as a leader with the resources people need to do their work. Do my Lights Academy students have what they need to be successful?
As you can see, reading gets my mind thinking so many different directions. This is part of my own growth and learning process. While flights work this way for me, what settings really spur new thoughts and creativity for you? And how do you capture those ideas for action?

Find a place and a method for refreshing yourself with new ideas. There are so many new directions that are possible in our 21st century world. Discovery ways to embrace the new for the good of our students and families.

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