HCPS’s Path to 21st Century-ish Stuff in 5 minutes

In case you’re feeling masochistic, here’s my 5 minute Ignite style presentation on Henrico’s path to 21st century skills.1

You can see the other 5 min presentations here. It’s an interesting national look at what people are trying to do. I’m always interesting in how these things overlap.


1 Yes, I plan to transition to awkward PPT based comedy in the near future.

Comments on this post

  1. Trip Kirkpatrick said on November 9, 2011 at 8:46 am

    The embedded vid halts for me at 0’59” and refuses to go any farther, but it plays just fine on YT itself.

  2. Tom said on November 9, 2011 at 3:07 pm

    Strange but probably for the best. 🙂

  3. Tim Stahmer said on November 10, 2011 at 9:04 pm

    Very nicely done. We’ve been trying to do something similar but, as you noted, it’s a big job to reach every school, much less every teacher. I’d like to drop the “21st century skills” label but it seems to be a useful shorthand.

    • Tom said on November 10, 2011 at 9:16 pm

      I don’t think our current method is sustainable. We’ll have to start integrating it into the schools soon, which is not a bad thing but will require a different kind of hard work.

      I’m not a fan of the term either. It does seem to work better than saying “let’s focus on decent teaching that students enjoy using the nearly magical tools we have available to us.”

  4. Ben said on November 30, 2011 at 10:55 pm

    I don’t think any method is sustainable. Apple (yes, have to bring them up) even admits as much in the leadership training they provide to district leadership teams. Focusing on your movers and shakers is going to pay off handsomely on a scale large enough to be noticeable, but research and experience has shown again and again that your NFWs (No Frackin’ Way people), are never going to change, or at the very most show minimal growth.

    In reading Good to Great, and seeing the fallout of some of those companies after the book was published (Circuit City being one), it’s evident that you can’t maintain excellence forever based on pure will alone. Once the driving force, in this case your leadership team, stumbles, the rest of the organization begins to stumble as well.

    That’s not to say you can’t make a good try of it, but like everything in life, cycles happen……just have to make the best of the highs when you can.

  5. Tom said on November 30, 2011 at 11:05 pm

    I think that comment really just meant we can’t keep offering this service externally because I only have so many people and adding 50 or so elementary schools this year has been somewhat taxing.

    It also wasn’t meant to go on externally for forever in this form and I didn’t want to portray this particular method as the final answer for anyone else.

    With regard to sustainability in general, I think if you’re convincing people and inspiring them to change their beliefs that’s sustainable. We don’t do that in education very often. So when you lose the driving force people revert back nearly instantaneously because they never really changed anything to begin with. I’m hoping we can do better than that but I also realize just how hard that is.

    • Ben said on November 30, 2011 at 11:43 pm

      But that driving force is seen as one of the crucial elements in the “Good to Great” model. Among all of the various factors that drive an organization along, it seems having that crucial leadership structure is key, without it you just don’t have that transformative experience. Once that leadership structure is gone, I’m willing to bet things will still go back…….you simply can’t do the things we need to in education without the constant push/cheerleading/reflection from above. You might be able to change a few teachers, but systemically, it’s just not going to happen unless you’re seriously willing to let people go, and make difficult decisions.

      Don’t get me wrong, if anyone can do it, it’s you and Henrico, you guys are the poster child for all things awesome with education in a lot of edu-circles.

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