Learning to lead like a pirate

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Last night I was part of another great Teach like a Pirate chat over on Twitter and you can read about it on Storify. The final question of the night was doing a blog post on how to Lead like a Pirate and I had one in my mind from a few months ago at Ed Camp 302. What happened over there? While it can’t go with the fun I had where my jedi robe during my Dice UP the Classroom at The Mobile Learning 2015 a couple weeks ago, but it is one Ed Camp I’m very proud of. Something that I talked about what makes a good lead with Teach like a Pirate is that the captain of the ship has to look on top of the crow’s nest of their ship and allow the crew to choose the journey. My session during Ed Camp 302 was about Sketchnotes which many educators and teachers had heard of but had no idea where to start. I did the basics of what sketch notes were and how to form them but what I did just after my explanation is had everyone in the room come up to the white board and put in what stuck in their minds from the first ten minutes. They all came up, drew pictures, outlined and highlighted words and I had one teacher who perfectly outlined the notes like it was on a giant piece of paper for everyone to write on. After that, I went into what you could use sketchnotes with from using Explain Everything to Minecraft Edu and teaching the basics of App Smashing.

I then had teachers get together and roll my App Dice and see what lessons or projects they could come up with using Sketchnotes with their App or Tech Smashes. A few weeks later, I heard from one that had used Minecraft to have students recreate the landing of the pilgrims and how students had used sketch notes to create the blue print for the lesson. It was amazing to see that spin out of the session I taught and just a few weeks ago just before the school year ended. I had a student who took the same initiative and created several bible stories the same way on their iPad. My student told me, she had learned it from her to be creative and use something generally no one else had used before in a new way. I have to say those were two very proud moments for me seeing that happened. Something I have been doing since I came into education over five years ago after shifting gears from health care was knowing that the best learning happened when you could create. I have said several times to never stop a student from creating because that’s where the learning happens. I know its not an easy task, we are still a society of the best test scores determine if a school should get funding, where a student should be placed and so forth. Somewhere we lost where students could create. Even during the 80s and fear of the cold war, we wanted students to not just learn computers but also create with them. Adam Bellow said it best, we were coding long before it was “the thing” and I was having more fun with games that allowed me to create and let me look at things differently than going on adventures with Link and Mario.
Something that has been great about the entire Teach like a Pirate book series is that it has opened the door to looking at what we have lost in education and bringing it into the modern era and letting us recapture that creativity and unity we all experience in the classroom at one time or another. The fear of creativity and technology is what really holds us back but as I have been trying to show the last five years, it shouldn’t. We have to be the leaders to show what is possible with a lesson, a tablet, a resource or just going outside again. Then not only creating with it but sharing because when you share you open the door for others to find their own paths in education. It doesn’t just have to be with technology its with understanding and learning, which is what education is really about. I do feel I have become a leader with showing others what they can do and not to be afraid. A good leader not only encourages but also inspires and knows when to let their crew venture out and make adventures for themselves and also lead others the way we want leadership. We can’t force a bunch of: “You can do this because we are afraid of it.” We have to allow a welcoming environment where you can not only learn but also create adventure in creativity and understanding in the classroom as well. Not just in elementary or middle and high school but in all classrooms and finding that passion in both ourselves and a students. After all, the first letter in Pirate is for Passion.

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