Harvard EdCast: Transformational Leadership | Harvard Graduate School of Education

Harvard EdCast: Transformational Leadership

By Matt Weber

11/17/2011 8:00 AM
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Professor Richard Elmore provides insight into the people and programs attempting to strengthen the quality of leadership in the education sector.



About the Harvard EdCast

The Harvard EdCast is a weekly series of podcasts, available on the Harvard University iTunes U page, that features a 15-20 minute conversation with thought leaders in the field of education from across the country and around the world. Hosted by Matt Weber, the Harvard EdCast is a space for educational discourse and openness, focusing on the myriad issues and current events related to the field.

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Yes!!! We have over invested in high stakes testing and not enough in our people, in their knowledge and skills. Who will be bold enough to truly be a transformational leader?


Navigating Multiple Identities of Learners?

I am most intrigued by James Paul Gee’s notion of gamers having an arsenal of identities to choose from when playing video games. Isn’t that the case for most of us in this participatory culture of ours? We all have various identities that we carry with us. Be it mother, student, teacher, consultant, blogger, wife, daughter, etc. These are the many hats we wear, and like it or not, we cannot or should not try to be all of these identities at once. There is a time and a place, a context specific for each identity. Some may overlap, but it takes experimentation, practice to figure this out.

How do we help students with this skill? How do we encourage them to adopt a certain persona in our classrooms? How can we create an ecology that fosters positive learning relationships where certain roles should be adopted for optimum learning? How do we generate conditions that challenge students to drop whatever identity may hinder learning at the door? 

In a video game, various characters are adopted and even created depending on the skill, strength, and intellect required to vanquish a boss on that particular level. Savvy gamers continue to progress to fine tune their multiple characters, all in hopes to increase their chances of progressing in the game. “How can I find an additional weapon to be used at a later time? How can I find more money to purchase a potion to use in the future?” This type of forethought often motivates gamers. They know that in order to succeed, they must be more than the character they were at the beginning of the game. If not, they will surely perish.

So what about learners? How can we get this same sort of survival of the fittest mentality across to them? Instead of weapons or magic, how can we urge them to seek habits that will better equip them in the quest for learning? How can we promote such reverance for learning that our students feel invested enough to craft a new identity that will better serve the purpose? How do we even invite them to this type of inquiry, this sort of self-reflection?

Maybe a bigger question is do students realize the need for this? Are they willing to do this? Why or why not? 

Once again, more questions than answers, but a thought is forming. A kernal of insight is developing. Let’s see what happens.


curiosity counts – BlindSide – new video game experience without…

TBWA‘s brain booty and disruptive interestingness across creative culture and media arts.

Curated by Maria Popova, editor of Brain Pickings.

Wow!!! A video game with no graphics. How does this or does it not reflect an experience of being blind. Interesting! Thanks, Maria Popova @Brain Pickings. This also raises the question of digital fundraising.

Digital Literacy Team Homework…1

Okay, so who’s bright idea was this anyway? Okay, I’ve always wanted a personal learning network on campus where I could share some digital literacy ideas. Now, I have one, but of course, that means more work…more enjoyable work.

First, we were asked to pick our top 10 sites. This was difficult so here are some of mine in no particular order. They would change if asked again at this moment. 

Sorry…see doc.

Then, we were asked to find an article and app supporting iPads in the classroom. See my Scoop It: iPad=iLearn.

The app I chose was Toontastic. It allows users to drag, drop, animate, and narrate stories. The awesome part of it is that the story is developed using the Plot Diagram. Great for composing narratives.

Then we were charged with discussing possible publishing platforms to share our work. Of course, I chose Posterous. Just see here for help getting started with Posterous.