The School as a Learning Lab

This spring was a blur of Digital Leader Corps activity. I probably traveled 25,000 air miles in a three month time span meeting with educational leaders all over the country. As I reflected on the conversations I noticed a trend. We had successfully communicated the components of Digital Leader Corps, but really needed to emphasize the significant role of culture in the digital transition. As we begin to kick off new partnerships for the 2014-15 school year, we need to more explicitly unpack the the conditions needed to move and sustain the entire school community during a digital conversion.

The bigger message here is the whole school is a learning lab, not just the four classrooms where our teacher leaders explore new practices. The entire school is engaged in the work at some level. Our teacher leaders are just that… leaders. Leading from the classroom and sharing insights with colleagues. The principal then becomes the steward for the school learning lab. Orchestrating peer visits, asking questions, modeling and promoting a culture of risk-taking and support.  Our teacher leaders are critical to this mindset, but their work can only be leveraged in an environment that is cultivated within the context of the larger community. The school as a learning lab is as much of a mindset as it is a set of tangible actions.

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