Sunday, April 30, 2017

Innovative Instructional Leadership: Reimagine PD Reflection

Innovative Instructional Leadership: Reimagine PD Reflection


Professional development is an integral part in the world of education.  As a member of the Winona State University Byron Cohort, I was part developing an event which showcases an innovative approach towards a 21st century style professional development initiative through the process of design-thinking.  As students continue adopt innovative methods of learning, teachers need to do the same.


The invitation for the event went out to districts in the South Eastern MN area.  We wanted be that impacted change in their buildings and  districts.  This included teachers, administration, staff, and collegiate professors.  All were welcome as change-agents in their professional development environments.

Moving forward I think that design-thinking in an education setting is something that everyone should here.  While there are challenges implementing new ways of doing professional development, there are opportunities of building a better and more innovative culture for student learning.

What?  Reimagine PD Website

Design thinking is a process that gets down to what is at the core of challenges and wants when attempting to find solutions.  The first part of the event is a "get to know you," followed by attendees going through the design thinking process, and then ending with the sharing of prototypes.

The big challenge will be to provide the positive outcome desired in a short amount of time in a deeply engaged environment.  Sometimes I find that the best ideas come out of people just chatting in a structured environment.  My hope is that attendees will connect with other professionals and use those connections in the future to better professional development on the home-front.


Structured engagement and an open mind will bring together results.  A benefit to design thinking is that the people involved in the activity must develop a prototype.  A prototype is a tangible item that you can hold, feel, and hopefully use to spark more ideas of implementation.  It's not always about the end product, most often it is about the journey that led you there.


In a 21st Century learning environment we often as education professionals engage in professional development through 19th century methods... ...the "sit and get."

Check out this article by Tim Walker...

No More ‘Sit and Get’: Rebooting Teacher Professional Development

When we comes down to it, we do what we do because if we're not engaged in growth we are in the status quo which eventually becomes obsolete and leads to failure.  It's time to rejuvenate our professional development experience.


We as educators need to take advantage of every opportunity we have to become better at engaging our students in learning.  We need to take full advantage of the resources at our fingertips and beyond.  We need to look beyond the way things have been done and ask ourselves... there a better way?

Innovative Instructional Leadership: Final Course Reflection

Innovative Instructional Leadership: Final Course Reflection

The following course reflection aligns with my E-Portfolio for my Innovative Instructional Leadership Course (link below)

Flickr Photo by Lori Greig, "this is far from over".
Downloaded from on July 20, 2014

Which artifact are you most proud of? Why?

The artifact that I am most proud of is the Reimagine PD Event. I am part of a group that is making a clear and innovative change to how pd is done in an educational institution. So often people just accept the status quo. We are actually putting ourselves out there and saying that yes! it can be different!

What artifact could you have improved the most? How?

The empathy artifact is something that I could have improved upon. I think that empathy interviews take time and while I completed the assignment, I wish that I could have spent more time diving into understanding why our students, teachers, and admin feel the way they feel about professional development. It's a topic that needs a deeper understanding as in the past people have more often accepted it for what it is. Now we are needing to make a connection with how professional development aligns with what we do in the classroom.

What was your biggest challenge in this course? Why? 

My biggest challenge was understanding the objectives of the group. When working as an individual, we are easily able to see our objectives and build a clear path to achieve them. When working with a group, there must be constant communication to make sure paths and objectives are clearly stated. A lot of work goes into the task of achievement and it's important that the work aligns with what is to be accomplished.

Were you able to overcome that challenge? How?

The challenge was overcome at times and looked past at others. As the cohort developed the Reimagine PD experience, we shifted methods of implementation and overall presentation. Much of this was due to limited time and involving a new professional development committee. Moving forward I would work to outline clearer and more concise objectives on a weekly basis prior to implementing a project such as this. 

What skills did you learn that will benefit you the most as an educator, as a leader?

I learned countless skills in this course which will help me to become a better leader. The most important is my ability to dig deeper into the issue prior to finding a solution. This directly aligns with the design-thinking process. While it seems and time redundant, at the end of the process we discover the importance of each step. It is important to take the time to focus on the process, not just the end result.