Wednesday, 30 January 2013

6 entrepreneurial skills that can make us better educators

When we polarize the worlds of education and business, we miss what we can learn from each other. For example, there are many ways to apply an entrepreneurial approach to become a more effective educator:
1. Don’t wait for “someone else” to solve a problem. We know the issues that need solving because we live and breathe them, which means educators are in the best position to articulate and perhaps even develop solutions.  I continue to be surrounded by other educators who are true experts and have workable ideas. I value their expertise and experience as much if not more than researchers, and certainly more than most policy makers.
2. Develop an online professional learning community (PLC). Entrepreneurs recognize the importance of networking and finding out what others are learning and doing. You are not the first educator to encounter the problems you’re facing. We learn from the successes and failures of others. I rely heavily on my PLC to help me discover new resources and to keep current on ideas and policy changes, which makes me a better educator.
3. Develop relationships with mentors with different kinds of expertise.Entrepreneurs find mentors at different stages of their careers and in different fields. Too often educators only find mentors in their specific discipline. Though this makes sense on many levels, talking with others who have different perspectives can lead to more creative thinking. My high-school teachers who struggled with classroom management learned so much from observing elementary-school teachers because of their phenomenal ability to orchestrate their classrooms.
4. Test your “product” effectively and efficiently. I’ve begun thinking differently during discussions of pilots in schools, advocating for a more agile approach. It’s important to understand how the individual components of piloted programs are working. What aspect(s) of the program are what make the difference? For examples, is the new resource affecting the student outcomes or is it the collaboration built into the pilot? Discovering which components are more important allows us to focus our time and resources most effectively.  When we attempt to implement too many new programs (“features” in the business world) at once, we lose clarity in knowing what’s led to a success or failure.
Instead of rolling out a program for the whole district with a single, final evaluation at the end of the pilot, advocate testing an idea in a handful of classrooms with frequent points of data collection. Make sure to know exactly what is being tested so that the results provide the most usable feedback.
5. Think about scalability. One of the first questions asked of an entrepreneur with a good idea is how does this scale. As a nation, we’re struggling to figure out how to scale effective education so that all students receive the education they deserve. What works in one classroom/school however may not work in all classes/schools. Before implementing a strategy that works in one classroom (or one school), make sure that it works in several others before implementing it district-wide. This extra step can save significant time, money and goodwill.
6. Perhaps most importantly, maintain a curiosity about the world and remain life-long learners. Entrepreneurs tend to be intrigued by a wide range of subjects, continually reading, investigating and asking: what if? As teachers we should be passionately engaged with the world around us because it makes us better educators, especially when our cross-disciplinary knowledge aids our students in making connections. We also can’t expect our students to be intellectually curious if we don’t model this curiosity for them.
Katrina Stevens (@KatrinaStevens1)  has over 20 years experience as a district leader, professional developer, principal, adjunct professor, consultant, academic dean, department chair — and throughout all of these roles — a teacher. She has worked in public and independent schools, from elementary through higher education. Stevens publishes via herblog where she writes extensively about professional learning, educational technology and lean thinking.

Thursday, 17 January 2013

The Kaospilots

A series of courses aimed at the heart of the progressive educational reform movement.

The providers have designed three unique and powerful master classes ( with a forth coming soon for educational reform leadership & strategy ) to support and inspire educations, their teachers, students & leaders to explore alternative more participatory, action and opportunity based pedagogy.

The dates for the 'Art & craft of facilitating learning spaces', are set. It’s a training especially for teachers and lecturers to support the design of learning experience and strategies

(Download the full ED series here: )

The dates for this 3 day course are:
- 2nd - 4th April (week 14)
- 12th - 14th June (week 24)
- 28th - 30th August (week 35)
- 30th Oct - 1st November (week 44)

If you would like to register contact Simon Kavanagh -

Tuesday, 15 January 2013



New dates for submission:
- Abstract submission deadline: April 23
- Acceptance decision: April 29
- Early Registration (€150): May 3
- Late Registration (€200): May 10
- Paper
Submission deadline for: May 17

The Conference on Enabling Teachers for Entrepreneurship Education (ENTENP2013) in Initial Teacher Education (ITE) will be held at the Guarda Polytechnic Institute (GPI), in Guarda, Portugal, on the 7th and 8th of June 2013.

ENTENP 2013 is addressed to all practitioners from the area of teacher and entrepreneurship education, and also to early-stage users of education in entrepreneurship. The purpose of the event is to discuss current issues and exchange good-practice examples in the field of enabling teachers for entrepreneurship education and looking at possible areas of development and cooperation.

We are hoping for delegates from Portuguese Higher Education Institutions and EU Member States, as well as Pre-Accession Countries and countries participating in the Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme (CIP).

The conference is jointly organized by Guarda Polytechnic Institute, Castelo Branco Polytechnic Institute, Viana do Castelo Polytechnic Institute and the Universidade Nova of Lisbon and will be hosted by GPI.

The Organization of ENTENP 2013 invites you to submit proposals for papers and panels at