Monday, April 28, 2014

Connecting Teaching, Learning, & Leadership

Notes from an Webinar 4/28/14
Dr. Joe Mazza
Director of Connected Teaching, Learning & Leadership
North Penn School District

Dr. Mazza just took on his position in December. He is a project manager, promoting connected teaching, learning, & leadership.

He is trying to bring Admin, Educators, Parents, Students, Community, & School Board together in a transparent way. Eighteen schools and 13,000+ students.

Dr. Mazza showed us this video to give an idea of what connected educators can do with Twitter:

Twitter in D123 from OLHD123 on Vimeo.

What does it mean to "be connected?"

  • You have taken control of your own learning
  • You have made the decision to be a public learner, swimming through social media waters using tools like Twitter, Google+, Linked In, blogs, etc.
  • You understand & embrace the fact you are role-modeling for kids with every post, tweet, blog, and digital footprint you make.
  • You try to contribute as much as you take from your Personal Learning Network (PLN)
  • You are committed to paying it forward with your connectivity, being a resource for others, and building capacity with your own learning community.
Dr. Mazza was the Lead Learner at Knapp Elementary School. (He got rid of the word principal so kids would understand better that we never stop learning!) 

5 Keys to Connected Teaching, Learning, & Leadership
  • Transparency as a cultural norm
  • Leadership that encourages innovation, edu-risk-taking, and finds ways to say "yes."
  • Evolution of policies around connectivity for all.
  • Collaborative transparency across stakeholders
  • Curation, anytime-anywhere learning opportunities, infusion of PLN-like culture of sharing among organization
  • Offline AND Online - Offline culture will be AMPLIFIED online. Develop core beliefs everyone can agree on for communication.
  • GLASS WALLS > Brick & mortar. Share your story.
  • Tweeting minutes, notes, inservice learning events with follow-up posts.
  • "The smartest person in the room IS THE ROOM." At the end of the day, it's about all the different perspectives you gain for the best interest of the kids.


  • Embracing "Lead Learner" mentality.
  • Finding ways to "say yes" to stakeholders.
  • Role modeling edu-risks, global collaboration, hashtag participation.
  • Blurring lines between local and global PLN
    • Ex: Use PLN to connect with classes all over the world for mystery Skype, etc
  • Built to protect organization or encourage innovation on the part of all stakeholders?
  • Who has a consistent seat at the policy table?
  • Seeing through the lens of students, teachers, parents, leaders. How much time does edtech leadership spend gaining perspective?
  • Student voice as a key to meeting their evolving needs.

Collaborative Transparency
  • Some 2-way communications tools: TodaysMeet, Google Aps, Evernote, Google+, Facebook, PollEverywhere, Livestreaming, Blogs, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram
  • Newest collaboration tool for Joe - Voxer
    • Voxer a tool that allows you to send audio messages, text messages, and pictures.
    • Joe demoed Voxer with educational leader friends of his. They spoke to him through his phone. It's like a walkie-talkie across the Internet!
    • He learned about Voxer from students, now uses it personally!
Anytime, Anywhere Learning for All
  • Recognizing organizational hashtags, chats for "credit"
  • Flipped faculty meetings, learning opportunities for students, staff, & community
  • School/District EdCamps & ParentCamps - go to to learn more!
  • Online Courses (e.g. Twitter 101 for Parents & Educators) 
  • Ideas: PD in the car, to start PLC/Leadership Meetings, PTA/PTO/HSA Mtgs
  • #PTchat Radio, #EdTechChat Radio, and more!
  • NP-EDcast - Joe captures the great things going on in his school district.
Project Manager for Connected Teaching, Learning & Leadership
  • Full job descriptions at
  • Dot connector
  • Capacity-builder
  • Hand-holder
  • Innovation coach
  • #nped - North Penn School District, Sharing Our Learning 24/7/365
K-12 Lead Learner Role
  • Tweet, RT, Favorite, #FF
  • Blog, podcast, vide
  • Community forums
  • Offer staff dev, webinars, eCourses, Un-conferences
  • Curation of teaching, learning, & ledership resources
  • Inform, Communicate, Solicit feedback, celebrate successes
  • Light "innovation fires"

Every Educator an Innovator - A blog post Joe has coming out soon at Edutopia
  • Maximize Today - Be More Effective & Efficient Tomorrow

Questions from the Audience:
  • How do you deal with pushback? - Pushback happens for a reason. See it as a part of the process and work through the reluctance.
  • Wondering about safety? Tools to ensure only student and parent access? - In Joe's district, they work for transparency. But they do not send out student names on social media. They do get parent permission to share student photos and work on media and are strict to respect what parents want.
  • Curation for professional learning - One of Joe's schools uses Storify to collect all of the Tweets sent out with their hashtag and then sends it to families once a week. For families without connectivity, they print it out and send it home. So no one is left out. Meet families where they are.
  • Curation for professional learning - also uses and sets it up to search for key terms related to school/district goals. This creates an overview for teachers to look at when they have time.

Final thought from Joe: Don't wait to have conversations in your schools and districts about these topics until the summer or September - start having them now!

All original work in this post by Sandy Kendell is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. Please see specifics on my re-use policy in the right-hand column of my blog before re-posting/re-using any of my blog content.