ULearn 16 Final Keynote: Karen Spencer

Beyond the echo chamber: The extraordinary possibilities of a networked profession
Two amazingly remarkable wahine on stage  - Chrissie Butler and Karen Spencer

It was an absolute pleasure to end ULearn16 with our inspirational Karen Spencer, now Director of Education at NetSafe, and always part of the CORE whānau. Tēnā rawa atu koe, Karen! Thanks for challenging our thinking, providing practical strategies with current research/thinking, to ensure we align theory with practice. 

Here are my notes from the final keynote: 

Professional Learning:

Professional Learning is NOT an extra thing on the plate - it IS the plate.
 in order for us to yearn to be better tomorrow; to do better for our learners.

As Fullan asserts,  we need to talk the walk.

Is the keynote obsolete, as on a key note - we all have something to say/to achieve:
# 1 - Ultimately:
teacher beliefs about their collective ability and efficacy
Realising & Reframing VALUE

1. Sense of Urgency

Consider the student who is not involved in discussion
What do you do?
335 initiatives happening across no more than 30 schools
Doesn't mean that we shouldn't
So as we go around the PLD roundabout...
Is your:

Vision dripping off the walls?

Outcomes, System, Approaches

'My World My View' - Inclusion in Aotearoa NZ here 
Inclusion is good - look for ways to innovate

2. See the story behind the data

Filtering on in schools/homes - yet Ss exposed to...
Listen to your learners
Check out: student voices on the marae here
Treat your data like a piece of art
Data and stories together - what is really going on?

3. Embrace discomfort

Holistic diverse view to ensure you are challenged

Own echo chamber - who are you listening to?

The Ladder of Inference - own bias

Last clap - Yay - someone else plays the game!

#edchatnz Devil's Advocate protocol 


Hold your ideas lightly

Link here
HARD and Deliberate 

'Keep the fear off the set' link here

Look at the evidence and research - before you test and trial - look for the strong signals

Learning we do together - IS the plate. Who we are. It is part of our DNA.
Reflect - on your why?
Potential of our Learners:

"education doesn't change the world, education changes people, and people change the world" Paulo Freire


"Two important days - the day you were born, and the day you found out why!"  Mark Twain

  • Seek diversity - systematically
  • Ask - not assume - ways that work for people
  • Reflect their identity language communicate who needs to be with them
  • Access - closed captions
  • We need to make it work for everyone (inclusive)
  • if you are scared, you don't learn.
  • Ask our students, communities
  • Provide safe spaces for learning

Further Resources:

You may wish to:

  • read the CORE Education blog reflection post here or Karen's blog here
  • Watch the live recording here:

  • look at the fabulous reflection graphics here:


ULearn Breakout 3: Transforming Middle Leaders

Creating Communities of Leaders (CoL) Online

Following on from our positive response at FLANZ, formerly DEANZ (see post here), Martin (Unitec Institute of Technology) and I, along with Lachie, also at CORE Education, offered a specific workshop for middle leaders to prototype some of the potential content for our proposed online Empower Middle Leadership course being offered early next year. 

The role of Middle Leaders

Middle leaders have challenging yet rewarding positions in schools/kura. They have a “pivotal part to play in helping their schools pursue their goals and achieve their objectives...Influential positions...to drive curriculum, change and innovation” (Ministry of Education, 2012).

In the latest PPTA News, December 2016 (here), there was an interesting debate: 'Middle Management - is climbing the ladder worth it?'. Both sides are presented, from Erin and Anna's perspectives. Ultimately, the role demands are forever increasing, yet those who are leading from the middle have the potential to directly influence teaching and learning, and improve learner outcomes.

Further reading
  •  'The role of middle leaders in New Zealand secondary schools: Expectations and challenges' (Bassett, 2016) Waikato Journal of Education here

NZ treats and Fast Feedback from our pre ULearn survey
Prior to ULearn, we surveyed our participants to find out more about their experience, challenges, appraisal experiences and leadership development. You might like to read the summary here.

Middle Leadership Workshop:
Interactive workshop focusing specifically on middle leaders

Thanks for the feedback Charlotte!

Overall, the workshop was well received, both in concept and content. There is an identified need for leadership development and meaningful appraisal for our middle leaders. In the absence of a national middle leadership programme, the onus falls on schools to develop and appraise their middle leaders.  

The Empower Middle Leadership online course will provide the opportunity for middle and senior leaders to develop their leadership capacity as they lead from the middle. Underpinned by a middle leader inquiry, leaders will focus on their own context, whilst building a strong Community of Leaders (CoLs) across schools. This may springboard middle leaders into further postgraduate studies, as prior learning will be recognised through Unitec Institute of Technology.

If you wish to learn more, or would like to be kept up to date, click here to register your interest. But wait - there's more! Keep scrolling below ad register to participate in our research project focusing on middle leaders in Aotearoa NZ. 

Middle Leadership Research Project 2017 

In Term 1, 2017,  Martin Bassett, Carol Cardno, Josephine Howse, Arun Deo from Unitec Institute of Technology, and Joanne Robson, from CORE Educationare undertaking a research project focusing on middle-level instructional leadership. The purpose of the study is to investigate the expectations held of middle-level leaders as direct instructional leaders who carry out tasks involving day-to-day interactions with colleagues. We also want to find out about how confident they feel about performing the range of tasks.

Currently, there is very little information available about this topic in a New Zealand context. If you are a middle leader in Aotearoa NZ, your participation will provide valuable new knowledge which could strengthen practice.

Please click here to register your name and email contact. Alternatively, copy and paste the URL link into your internet browser: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/MILrecruit. Also, share this with as many middle leaders across all sectors of schools/kura.

Tēnā rawa atu koe! 
Thank you

ULearn16 Keynote 3: Michael Fullan & Leadership

Time of Whole System Change - Transform Learning & Leading

Hearing Michael Fullan was an absolute privilege. Here are my very rough notes, plus links to the video, a coherent reflection from our CORE Education blog, alongside the reflection graphics. 

We need to Change Mindsets:
Exploit disruption
including: New Pedagogies for Deep Learning

  • A Global Innovation Partnership
  • A number of countries - 7 countries clusters of schools
  • California (only State in US) and Ontario

Watch the Keynote here:
Read the CORE Education blog reflection by Rebecca Sweeney here
Also, the reflection graphics here:
Updated blog: http://core-ed.org/events/ulearn/ulearn16-keynote-summaries/ 
Humans innately are:

  • wired to connect enhance or destroy
  • wired to create do we build on it or destroy it? working hard - passion struggled and continued
  • wired to help humanity
Identify the lies and then ask what can we do about it?

Deep Learning and equity - started with 'good for all', those students who were under served, congruent with native values - building trust relationships with all students high expectations efficacy provides support systems. Whole System Change.
Strategies such as the review of UK Literacy / Numeracy were negative
don't obsess with targets, the FOCUS - 4 -5 years (UK literacy/numeracy project)
Instead: Capacity building - individually and collectively

Strategies required that raise the bar and close the gap:
Accountability alone doesn't. We need:
- internal accountability (Coherence)
- securing good standards  (insufficient)
- system culture (promising success)

Leadership from the Middle

Breakthrough Leadership: 

1. respect and reject the status quo (not either . or
2. be an expert and an apprentice
3. experiment and commit

The new reality
- social media - ubiquitous
- they weaken hierarchies  - lateral far more powerful
- distribution of power
 - connection is the new power
Young most connected, and least committed to the status quo - can't wait to do something different

The above conditions cause learners to outrun leaders and researchers

New job description required as leader, to help learners to run better, to produce better citizens for tomorrow, today

Education as the Societal Change Agent

The Glue of the 6 Cs - 6 Cs 
character, citizenship, collaboration, communication, creative critical thinking

Deep Learning Framework - exploit the framework - learn from each other

Shifts in pedagogical practices increased professionalism
Rather than avoiding change in PLD - new leadership for Deep Learning

Case Study (view here)
8 Lessons

  • score of educators  are ready for change liberate them in purposeful partnerships
  • Culture of learning is foundation
  • Practice embedded collective inquiry 
  • new leadership and ongoing support and challenge
  • Students are radical agents of change
  • pedagogy is the driver, tech is the accelerator (culture is the run way)
  • deep learning incorporates whānau community partnership part of the solution
  • system change is bubbling up within large districts and beyond


Getting Beyond Better (text) Roger Martin / Sally Osberg
Ramo - The seventh Sense (text)

  • Jai Mehta's 'Deeper Learning: Ten Ways you can die with deep learning' blog is a recommended read.
  • Excellent resources/further information about New Pedagogies for Deep Learning here
  • 'Leadership from the Middle' - article here

Fullan's Wero:

Two way partnership:
 - we must exploit the mutual learning and take advantage of Mindsets
Senior Leaders: Liberate and cultivate the middle

Check out CORE Education for your Professional Learning needs...