Back to Change-Purpose

I’ve been thinking a lot about change lately. To be honest the concept of change has haunted me this year. I am grateful for the many positive experiences and kind words individuals share but still question if I am being effective in inspiring change.

Kevin Kerr shared a clip last week about our purpose in life from the Skoll World Forum. It’s a beautiful clip that has 50 different individuals reflect on their purpose in life. I dare you to watch the clip without being inspired and then reflecting on your own purpose.

As i listened to the responses, I identified with many voices. I wanted to ‘borrow’ the purposes I was hearing from the woman who mentioned:  lighting sparks…in complex and dark spaces. (@2:05) to the gentleman that mentioned the reflective question of What good is one doing to humanity?

I wonder if in education we just assume each others purpose. We all want what is best for kids, we want to help them succeed, so our purpose must be that. As I listened to the clip it was amazing to see the shock, the smiles, the passion that came through in their responses. Listening, I realized I need to take the time to ask colleagues what their purpose is. Better yet, I need to be clear of my own purpose and how it evolves over time. I wanted to be a teacher since I was 6. That first year of teaching in 2001 I probably would have told you my purpose is to teach. As time has passed I think I now understand that my purpose is to inspire a joy of learning. It is what excites me the most: the smile, confidence and pride that comes from learning something new whether 6 or 60.


The biggest moment of reflection for me came at 2.22. I was struck by a statement.

I’m thinking it’s time I have to measure how much I’ve changed the world and how much more I need to push.

he followed up later in the clip 3:56

All this effort was not changing the world in any way and I had to fix that.

No matter what role you have in education I think we can get busy with DOING that we forget to reflect on how it aligns with our purpose. What struck me most from his statement was how he used his purpose as his measuring stick of success. I can get carried away sometimes measuring my effectiveness by that of colleagues or leaders I admire or measuring my effectiveness by the list of things I have done.  As I ask myself how I have effected change I need to keep my purpose front and center as my guide.

The best reminder of the clip was at 4:50 I don’t have to do it alone.

We are not alone. What a reassuring reminder. As different as the purposes in the clip were they all came back to the good in humanity. Who would have thought you could take so much away from a 5 minute clip! In our many conversations around change in education from informal chats, to conferences to twitter I don’t think we have always taken the time to share our purpose, our visions. That shared vision is so essential if we want to move forward as a system.





Our purpose becomes our lighthouse through the rough waves of the change process. At times it reminds us we are on the right path, at others it reminds us we are off course and need to re-evaluate.





The Small Moments

It might have been the piles of snow or the dark grey mornings but this winter has seemed busier and a little too long. While whipped up in the frenzy that comes with busyness, it was wonderful to be jolted by unexpected, small moments.

Small moments including…Image

  • a free parking pass from a kind stranger
  • a week of brilliant sunrises
  • a voluntary ‘good morning’ from a middle school-er
  • a giggling child on their way down the hall (who knew attendance was so much fun)
  • coffee with a  friend
  • an encouraging tweet
  • a thank you email

It was amazing how one very small moment could help refocus an entire day.

So it got me thinking.

As a teacher leader, do I need to focus on the small moments a bit more? Name them, share them, celebrate them.

The snow may have melted and the sun returned, but I reminded of a need to focus on the small moments moving forward.







Mobile and Ubiquitous

Tonight is the final night of my MEd course this semester. We have been exploring mobile and ubiquitous computing for two months which has been a fascinating topic that has boggled my mind from wearable technology to robots to cyborg men and surveillance.
Over this time my nephews and I returned to Bell Lightbox digiplayspace. I absolutely love this exhibit and was hoping and praying my nephews didn’t think they were too cool. Luckily they jumped at the possibility to attend. There were led walls that reacted to water, robots made of digital cubes that snapped together and a bike riding oculus rift (new word for me) paper boy game.


Being immersed in technology day in and out I often forget how amazing it can be. The digi playspace is my yearly reminder of what can be, that technology does not need to come in a box and can appear seamless at times.
Last week in the course we watched the following Ted talk:

If you want to be wowed by technology, watch a robot in a music jamming session. As I watched the clip though I realized the most amazing part of the technology is not the technology but the process.
The spark of an amazing (maybe outrageous) idea, going with it, searching out learning, connecting with colleagues, testing, trying, playing.
What a gift for our learners in an ever changing world full of mobile and ubiquitous computing.

Even if I give that gift to just one child, how amazing!