There is but one constant in life, that is change. We must either adapt, learn, and grow with the change or be left behind in this digital world. My Innovation Plan is to incorporate the Blended Learning Model into my Graphics Design high school classes by the end of May 2017. I’ve learned in the past few weeks through numerous readings and video viewings that a true whirlwind exists in everyone’s job, everyone’s life, everyone’s mindsets. Another constant is that most people are so comfortable in their everyday whirlwind that they are hesitant to change – even if the better is a more fluent and organized manner of teaching children to become productive members of society. I’ve noticed that it is easier to teach a high school student a new concept than to teach and educated teacher a new and more effective way of reaching our student population to meet the needs of an ever-growing technological age.
I need a team that consists mostly of classroom teachers, but I will also solicit support from campus administrators and district technology personnel. Currently, I have two other CTE teachers ready and willing to start. We are waiting on additional information from the Director of Technology before we move forward.
Stage 1: Getting Clear
The blended learning team will create a clear and easy to follow Wildly Important Goal (WIG) that will grow excitement for our blended learning innovation plan. The WIG Builder Tool located on pages 133 – 135 of The 4 Disciplines of Execution by McChesney, Covey, and Huling (2012) is an excellent tool to follow when creating a WIG. Along with the other two members on board, I need to find others to influence (throughout the whirlwind of everyday happenings). We will create clear and concise lead and lag objectives that are measurable and attainable in bite-sized pieces. Further, I believe that weekly meetings are crucial to discuss what is working, give praise, find out what is not working, make clear and concise roles for team members, and hold each other accountable.
Along with the other two members on board, I need to find others to influence (throughout the whirlwind of everyday happenings). We will create clear and concise lead and lag objectives that are measurable and attainable in bite-sized pieces. Again, utilize the Lead Measure Builder tool found on pages 153 and 154 of the 4DX book. Further, I believe that weekly meetings are crucial to discuss what is working, give praise, find out what is not working, make clear and concise roles for team members, and hold each other accountable.
Stage 2: The Launch
Once the WIG is determined, the lead and lag objectives are created, weekly meetings are established with the team, then we need to create a scoreboard. The team members need to understand and be able to know how to execute their goals. I have several ideas to present to the team for a highly-visible and motivational scoreboard (preferably through the 4DX Dashboard). Due to logistics, our campus is divided into many buildings. I feel that an electronic version of this scoreboard will be more practical, but I still think a good old fashioned poster-type scoreboard can be displayed in the main building faculty lounge. My idea is to get the other teachers interested and asking questions about the scoreboard. Hopefully, this will encourage other teachers to try the blended method in their classrooms.
Stage 3: Adoption (of the new family member)
We will focus on commitments to specific goals as they are crucial at this point. This is also the stage where the team leader needs to spend time with those teachers or team members who need additional assistance or training to keep them focused. The team will offer assistance, encourage each other, and seek to find a method of maintaining momentum. Accountability needs to be a key priority to maintain the level of enthusiasm by keeping track of the scoreboard. The Scoreboard Builder Tool can be found on pages 169- 170 of the 4DX book.
Stage 4: Optimization
The team now needs to maintain the cadence of accountability. We will continue to look for patterns that are necessary to move the project forward. This is the win/win stage. Players may not be vested enough to necessarily win, but they don’t want to lose, either, or be at the bottom of the scoreboard. Again, I will offer praise and assistance as the team leader. In order to achieve our goals and milestones, I need to recognize and encourage energy and courage to the other team members. I will be looking for other teachers to contribute and make suggestions to move our plan forward and move the scoreboard upward.
Stage 5: Habits
Don’t get stuck in the rut! Look for team members who are just maintaining and motivate those members towards the WIG. Continue weekly meetings using crucial conversations and finding ways to achieve higher levels of achievement that will boost the team’s efforts and accomplishments. There will always be the over-achievers and the high-achievers, but don’t forget about those that give what they have every day just to keep themselves in the game. Encourage the “middles” to have enough self-confidence to jump into the next level of the winning game.
At the end of each stage, we need to recognize achievements with praise (possible earning “tech points for gadgets” points), hold those accountable for not attaining their goals with training and re-direction, and provide ownership by allowing the team members to guide our next goal with something that will make their everyday whirlwind job be more enjoyable and beneficial. I will empower other team members with strategies and sample lessons that have worked for me personally or that have worked for another team member. I believe in encouraging trial and error but with accountability. I will invest my time as a team leader to those who are struggling and just can’t seem to get out of the day-to-day whirlwind. While keeping in mind that not all members are willing to step out of their comfort zone to accomplish these goals, but praising them for reaching or exceeding benchmarks. I will encourage my students to watch for these behavioral changes and share their findings with me and my classes.
Finally, I must keep the focus on the WIG and work through a highly-focused plan that is manageable, very realistic, and accomplishable. Each team member needs to feel that these goals are “owned” by each person who is attempting a new way of spreading information and creating excitement in the blended learning classroom. Remember that each person needs to be in the right position at the right time amidst the whirlwind.
SUPPLEMENTING/COMPLEMENTING THE INFLUENCER MODEL AND THE 4DX
Motivation and Ability
Motivating myself is difficult enough, but motivating others seems to be easier from the outside looking in. I will continue to look for the positives to outweigh the negatives and remember that there are seasons for a reason. There’s a time to just sit back and listen, absorb, and think about solutions before offering advice. But, as an influencer, I must go the extra mile to set examples, offer assistance, provide examples, and encourage self-growth.
In order for my team members to move forward with my plan, I must seek and find the abilities that each team member possesses. I need to ensure that the right team members are in the right positions at the right time. One of my team members is very creative with Blackboard. I plan to have this member create a short presentation on the ease of homework submission in Blackboard. I think more teachers will want to incorporate blended learning once they see the record keeping and delivery system of Blackboard. Always remember the end result in mind and just move forward. Listen and provide constructive criticism and praise when needed. We all need a little praise even for the smallest of our achievements.
I need to remember to keep the end result in mind and just move forward. During our weekly team meetings, team members need to listen and provide constructive criticism and praise when needed. We all need a little praise even for the smallest of our achievements if we want to keep the momentum moving forward.
Vital behaviors that can either positively or negatively change the momentum are crucial at this stage. As the team leader, I must be willing to accept change if the outcome isn’t desirable and remain focused on the goal. I will keep the WIG in the forefront of my daily routine and don’t get caught up in the whirlwind.
I plan to use the 4DX in my Innovation Plan. And, I will also incorporate the Failure of Nerve not only in my professional life but in my daily life as well. I’ve found that when I approach each new day with creative, structured, and measurable ideas and outcomes, I grow as a teacher, a mother, a life-long learner, and a friend. My goal is to pass along the passion and information needed to produce a long line of life-long learners in my students as well as my co-workers.
Grenny, J., Patterson, K., Maxfield, D., McMillan, R., & Switzler, A. (2013). Influencer: The new science of leading change: 2nd ed. New York: McGraw-Hill Education.
Friedman, E. (2007). A failure of nerve: Leadership in the age of the quick fix. New York, NY: Church Publishing, Inc.
McChesey, C., Covey, S., & Huling, J. (2016). The 4 disciplines of execution: Achieving your wildly important goals. New York, NY: Free Press.