Digital Leading and Learning Synthesis

Breathe in...breathe Within the last 16 months I have accomplished something that has felt so grandiose and scary, abstract, and even unattainable. Throughout the Master of Digital Learning and Leading (DLL) program at Lamar University, I have been through an ebb and flow of growth and development, and I now leave prepared to lead innovational change throughout my educational corner of the world. 
I also recently began coaching track and field at my school and I am enjoying every moment of it. We are a small school. We don’t have a track, and we’ve just recently purchased a set of blocks. We run on a field that we share with baseball and soccer, but it’s a journey of starting where we are, using what we have, and doing what we can to lead students to achieve amazing things.
Being a coach is about many things, including this: using a platform to equip others to grow, impact others, and succeed through adversity.

In the same way, the DLL program is about growing, impacting, and succeeding through adversity to prepare educators to be leaders that can spark change and shape the future of education.

Learning and Growth:
Being a leader, as Roselinde Torres puts so well in her Ted Ed video, is about anticipating change, building relationships with others so you can grow and learn, and building the “emotional stamina” to abandon who you are or what you’ve done previously that has made you successful in the past. Through the foundation of a self-directed learning environment, I have acquired skills to become a leader of change at my school by developing an innovation plan in this program, specific to 1:1 iPad learning environments. In recognizing this, I was able to take initiative for meeting the learning goals because of the design of each course (COVA). In the DLL program, collaboration and teamwork were essential for authentic learning and development of our skills and plans. Discussion boards and weekly meetings shaped the diversity of our personal learning networks. In addition, each course presented itself with a variety of resources for us to take in and apply to our projects. It was up to me to determine what information applied to my own situation in order to synthesize authentic products. Having this eportfolio to create authentic work through choice, ownership, voice has given me multiple opportunities to share this work in the digital world, as well as with my school and administration. Because of the ownership that ePortfolios provide, every piece of work was filtered through the lens of my current experiences in the educational world, and gave me the chance to publish a variety of works that I expect to drive innovation and change.

The foundation of a constructivist approach is to develop knowledge and construct meaning through experiences. Identifying that I am primarily a constructivist at heart has helped me to develop significant learning environments that support my innovation plan, for both students and colleagues. In addition, I have developed instructional design for significant learning environments, curated resources for digital learning environments, and created a plan to assess digital learning environments in a 1:1 iPad school.

I have learned that in order to make great impact and lead organizational change, I have to strategically develop digital significant learning environments that breed and model innovation to bring a culture shift among educators and learners in my corner of the world. Understanding of policy and practice through digital citizenship only better prepares me to develop lessons and professional learning experiences that teach students and colleagues how to navigate the digital world.

Often, resistance to changes in teaching strategies or initiatives stems from a lack of support and guidance that teachers need from beginning to end. Leading organizational change is the heart of the DLL program. Successful transformation and innovation does not come without building stamina and grit. By developing effective professional learning that is active, collaborative, and ongoing, I now have the ability to lead others to dig their heels into the ground as they grow and succeed in developing their own 1:1 significant learning environments.

The baton passes from me to the next person. Just as I begin my first year as a track coach, I now have the chance to help others become skilled innovators and agents of change. Building our innovation plans in this program and gaining knowledge and support throughout each course has given me a foundation to lead others through the fast changes that technology brings to digital learning environments. It is time to lift my head, look around all corners and possible outcomes, and shape what is to come in education. This program has given me the very best tools to truly be the leader that our educational systems so desperately need and I am looking forward with my head held high in anticipation for what the future may bring!