“A Beginner’s Mindset”. My Reflections from the Apple Leadership Summit.

January saw the annual Apple Leadership Summit return to London and was attended by school leaders across Europe. Held at Kings Place alongside BETT in the same week, the event had a great buzz surrounding technology’s place in education, across all age groups and school types.

Primary schools were well represented this year, with guest speakers from the Stephen Perce Foundation and Flitch Green Academy. Apple Distinguished Educators gave spotlights, workshops and break-out sessions throughout the day, offering real examples of how iPad enhances the lessons and objectives that we all teach. Participation was key and workshops were practical.

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As well as teacher, Apple Distinguished Educator and school spotlights, the Summit included workshops and keynotes focusing on leading change, sharing vision and project management.

“Open Minds”

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Apple are good at putting you back in the learners mindset at their events. This year the theme of the Summit was ‘Open Minds’. It can be difficult sometimes to look at projects with an open mind and adapt to changes. This is particularly true when reading about the opinion of technologies role in education and enhancing learning.

One message which stood out to me was the world that our learners are growing up in. The generation heading towards our schools now know only of a world where information is at their finger tips and content can be downloaded at the highest speeds. This does not mean that children are digital natives, and it should be schools responsibility to teach the skills necessary for using technology to enhance workflow, preparing our learners for their world of work.

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Apple signposted us to the Future Work Skills 2020, from the Institute for the Future. This report explores drivers of change such as global connectivity, smart machines and new media, considering how they are reshaping work, what we consider work is and how we consider work should be done. You can read the report in full here. It is a good start for proposing a vision for a project or school.

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“Have a Beginners Mindset”

The message that I took from the Summit was to keep a ‘beginners mindset’ during those challenging times. At the beginning of any project in school the ‘beginners mindset’ is so powerful. This is the vision and the possibilities at the start of project can be huge and motivation is at its peak. It is exciting and inspiring at the beginning of a new project.

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No matter where I am on a journey of embedding iPads in to a curriculum or enhancing teaching with iPads, there are always challenges and weeks where I stop to reflect. A ‘beginners mindset’ is needed in these weeks, to bring that motivation back and ask myself ‘why not…?

Within the Leading Change presentation, a point around creating an Island of Excellence should be avoided. Piloting or trailing within a single year group of class creates a superhero teacher on an island of excellence, which seems unreachable by others. Small steps together with a shared vision is more effective, letting the faster swimming teachers encourage the paddlers.

“Start with the why…”

At the beginning of any project, start with the why. This cements the vision and makes the purpose clear to others. Knowing ‘the why’ helps to tackle the sceptics and becomes ‘why not!’ Returning to the Future Work Skills 2020 report helped us to answer the ‘why’ questions. The Globally-Connected World driver resonates with us: “increased global interconnectivity puts diversity and adaptability at the centre of organisational operations”.

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‘Transformation is a Portfolio of Changes”

This idea is a powerful one for me. Seeing transformation as a portfolio of change means I can look back at the progress we have made towards these innovations. I now see transformation as a series of changes which are connected over time.

When working through a project, of any scale, it is so important to document the changes that have taken place. This record of small changes and the impacts they have had forms your own portfolio of transformation.

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