Digital Lead Learner – Day 1

I attended my first “day” of the Digital Lead Learner program today. I walked home – about 45 minutes – afterward, with a new Chromebook in hand. I thought the walk would help me reflect on the day, and it was a gorgeous fall afternoon.

The day was full of technical errors. The irony was not lost on me. Maybe it was meant to serve as a metaphor for the problems that we must overcome as educators treading into the world of technology-inclusive pedagogy. Maybe it was a few run-down batteries and a spotty router, problems we rarely prepare for. Despite these problems, learning took place.

If I’m being honest, I don’t think that I took a lot away from the day. I think that it was a good introduction to some of the foundations of the program and a few of the technologies that are available to us. I left feeling like the program hasn’t been fully thought through or is missing some key components. But, this may be an unfair assessment given that it was only the first day.

I’m not sure what I’m meant to do until the next day, which will take place in February. I have some coursework to complete. Hopefully, that will shed some light on what I can work on and learn more about.

Until I get there, I’d like to share some of my key takeaways from today.

TDSB’s Vision for Learning

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At the centre of all learning is the student. Surrounding him/her is the foundation of a solid education – literacy, numeracy, and digital fluency. Beyond that, you have global competencies. These are skills that students will need as they navigate their way through the world. One more step out, we meet with the formal learning that takes place in the classroom. Finally, the outer ring outlines the goals that drive our approach to student success.

What really stands out for me is that digital fluency is included so close to the centre of this circle. What this signals to me is how integral technology is in our lives and the import of ensuring that students are given the proper opportunities to use technology appropriately.

Providing students with real-life, challenging tasks and problems is tricky but necessary. These types of tasks touch on many rings of learning. Students need to see the context within which their education is operating. This is something that I need to work on doing better.

DLL Program Goals

As I understood it, the three goals of the DLL program are:

  • support priorities through technology
  • build knowledge and capacity
  • innovative teaching practices

So what? These are rather broad concepts that could apply to almost any initiative aimed at developing resources internal to an organization. Within education, a traditionally slowly reactive field, these are almost revolutionary. To be given direction to innovate and take risks is unique. The education system is not broken but it isn’t working, either. It needs to operate like a progressive organization, complete with the risk of failure.

This is probably the aspect of the program that excites me the most. I’m still figuring out what the limits to this are, however.

Shared Leadership

Everyone is a leader. Students and teachers alike. We must share in the learning.

This section is probably best summed up by a couple of quotations that I quite like:

Education is the kindling of a flame, not the filling of a vessel.


There go the people. I must follow them, for I am their leader.

Alexandre Auguste Ledru-Rollin

Looking Forward

I’m really excited to see where the DLL program takes me over the next three years. With each year building on the next, it’s sure to be full of opportunities to learn and demonstrate new things.

Today was just the first day.

Digital Lead Learner – Day 1

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