You don’t have to go fast…. you just have to go!

You Don't Have to go FastNow and again, I come along a phrase that reminds me of the value and purpose of the journey…  as there is much to be learned along the way. The idea that “you don’t have to go fast, you just have to go” has been central to my action plan process and my Cohort 21 experience. This summary of my experience is confirmation that there is plenty still to do on this action plan… yet, Cohort 21 is drawing to an end.

As a review, my action plan involved the use of digital portfolios to measure the impact of reflection on student learning over time. Details of my plan and process are detailed in my earlier blog post. Here are some of the key takeaway for each of the different groups involved in my action plan.

Students: I sincerely appreciate the honest feedback that students have offered throughout this process. As identified by the grade 5-8 participants, their meaningful takeaways include their eagerness to explore how to use digital portfolios as a tool in their personal learning and reflection. Students identified that they appreciated the opportunity to explore this technology and make their portfolio personal, including their home page that is dedicated to explaining “who they are as a learner. This home page will grow and change as each student’s digital portfolio follows them throughout their middle school learning journey.  The girls also shared that they appreciated the opportunity of ownership in selecting many of their own learning artifacts as examples of their progress and mindset in different situations. The reflection process itself has been a bit more challenging, requiring students and teachers to be creative and open to a wide variety of formats in which this step can be completed. Students openly expressed that the process has value but it can be overused as a learning tool. For students (and teachers), this will be a key area of growth next year.

Teachers: First and foremost, the teaching team involved in this project has been open and engaged in the exploration of how digital portfolios can be used to explore learning and reflection in their classes. Their mindset has been central to the progress we’ve made together on this pilot program!  It is no surprise that time continues to be a factor in the successful implementation of any program, regardless of the value and impact for the student, the learning program or the school overall. This was a factor in this pilot program. Teacher takeaways from this experience also include valuing the opportunities to discuss skills that directly contribute to a growth mindset as well as individual progress in a variety of learning situations – inside and outside the classroom.

Leadership: I have been excited, eager and also exasperated at different moments throughout this action plan experience. I have learned more than is possible to summarize in this one post. Here are a few of my key takeaways. There are elements of my personal leadership, including how to organize, implement and moderate progress on a project of this size that have been key in my personal experience with this action plan. I have learned so much and grown as a leader in these areas – and I will continue to do so as this is a key element in my mindset as a life-long learner.   Second, I have found great inspiration and motivation in the mindsets that these students have displayed in their personal reflections, not to mention their willingness to explore a new tool and process together. Regardless of the stakeholder group, I think one of the key takeaways for all participants in this project is the willingness to take risks and embrace change. I will continue to explore these elements as central components of my leadership and mindset for learning and teaching.

Lastly, my takeaways from the Cohort 21 experience are a challenge to summarize.  I love that we began our experience with exposure to a tech toolkit and I’ve found a place for each of these in my own learning and teaching.  I am thankful that every Cohort member was encouraged and supported as we found our own path on the Cohort 21 journey.  My takeaways include the inspirational impact and influence that many of my Cohort peers have had on my thinking and action throughout this experience. The ability of so many of you to embrace ed-tech in your own unique and personal ways demonstrates your commitment to making a difference in the learning and teaching at your schools.  I am thankful for all of your collegial support as I explored my action plan (in all its’ evolving forms) and worked through it all to reach this point in the process.  Thanks especially to @ckirsh, @lmcbeth@ddoucet, @ehitchcock@egelleny, not to mention the awesome and unwavering enthusiasm of @gnichols and @jmedved!

I am also inspired by the impact that technology is, and will, have on the education landscape, especially in terms of the student learning experience and the face of education in the future. I look forward to exploring this further in my career, and I am look forward to exploring this landscape with this network of Cohort 21 colleagues. I know that I can reach out with my questions and ideas and I will be supported by the experience and insights from this group.  In my opinion, this is essential to professional and personal growth as an educator – and a key to the success of the Cohort 21 experience!

And, here is my action plan summary.

Cohort 21 Action Plan Report

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One comment to “You don’t have to go fast…. you just have to go!”
  1. Hey Christina,
    What a great reflective post that will help so many in similar pursuits! If you’re looking to go increasingly mobile – you could check out easy portfolio A teacher at Lakefield is using it and having good success with it. I also wondered if you’ve seen – an online badging site where you can create and assign badges. Something they could add to their portofolios perhaps?

    Thanks for all the sharing, and I really hope you continue to blog your experiences long after this Cohort 21 year has come to an end.

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