Thursday, December 30, 2010

A School Strives for Transparency with a "See Through Cycle"

This piece was originally published in September, 2010.  I had only recently begun regular professional development sessions with our staff and was mulling over a variety of themes.  One such theme was "transparency".  Like many schools, I suppose, the teaching at ours is pretty insular.  I was intent on moving us to greater collaboration, but knew I was running into a culture that would not do this naturally.  The idea for a "See-through Cycle" popped into my head and produced a very popular experiment.  While I can't say that our culture has shifted dramatically, I really do think that we all are becoming more receptive to collaboration.

At MHS, we don't have school weeks, we have "cycles" -- six days per cycle. I meet with Professional Cluster Groups (PCGs) once per cycle.  As I mentioned in Collaborating in the Cloud, every staff member is scheduled into one of these groups. Consequently, when I launch an endeavor as I did this past cycle, I can truly say that it has the potential to go school-wide.

This cycle's theme was "Creating Transparency." We discussed the benefits of cracking open our lesson plans and work spaces for others to see. The object? Sharing, learning, collaborating.

* In order to promote culture change of this type, I laid out the following scheme:

* Our fourth school cycle (Sept. 27 - October 4) would be designated the See-through Cycle.

* Anyone interested in maintaining an open door policy for that period signs up on our staff wiki.

* In the spirit of the cycle, no conditional sign ups-- Just hang a "Do Not Disturb" sign for moments that do not lend themselves to guests.

* Those who did not sign-up could still visit others.

* Visits might be of any duration. They would not be prearranged.

* We will evaluate and discuss the experience the fifth cycle

Several individuals signed up immediately including the principal. I am anxious to see what happens. Whether it is popular or totally bombs, the resulting discussion will be interesting. IN either event, I will share the experience with my faithful readers. Here are the slides from this cycle's cluster groups:

P.S. You will note that much of the presentation was devoted to Evernote as well as Google Docs' interface with Moodle.

Flickr Creative Commons Photo on "Creating Transparency" slide by litopomuschiatio

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