flickr photo shared by mrkrndvs under a Creative Commons ( BY-SA ) license

Brad Gustafson’s Renegade Leadership paints the picture of how education can be transformed without the usual calls for revolution and revolt. Although focused on fostering an innovative learning environment, the book is at the same time grounded in a belief about best practices, with an emphasis on teacher clarity, formative assessment, feedback, student discussion and teacher-student relationships. To visualise this convergence, Gustafson uses a series of quadrants, with the ultimate aim being the amplification of learning.

The Convergence of Best Practice and Innovation Taken from Renegade Leadership (2016) by Corwin Press
‘The Convergence of Best Practice and Innovation’ taken from Renegade Leadership (2016) by Corwin Press

Gustafson grapples with a number of ideas, such as values, collaboration, ownership, digital connectivity, experimental learning and professional development. In addition to this, it is broken up with various case studies involving current educators and historical figures who fit the renegade mould.

With references to augmented reality, drones, 3D printers, podcasting, twitter chats, hashtags, makerspaces, microcredentialing and flipped instruction, it would be easy to think of this book as simply being about technology. However, it is more than that. It is better considered a book about beliefs. This is made clear in Gustafson’s list of leadership traits that he considers pertinent to his practice, including pedagogical precision, transparency, connectedness, innovation, risk-taking, capacity building, child-centred, empowered learner, impact and moral courage. Without these beliefs, many of the opportunities outlined would not be possible.

Although aimed at leaders, this is a book that has take-aways for all educators. With guiding questions and challenges for each chapter, a range of suggestions for subtle shifts, a self-diagnostic tool and a companion website with further resources, Gustafson provides the ammunition needed to confidently tackle innovative change. Through his tales of failure and success, Gustafson outlines a compelling vision of hope that simply cannot be ignored.

Watch below for a video introduction made with TouchCast:

 Or watch his TedTalk:


DISCLOSURE: Other than the gift of learning offered by this book, I did not receive any benefits or gains for writing this review.


 


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flickr photo shared by mrkrndvs under a Creative Commons ( BY-SA ) license

Whether it be Peter DeWitt’s work associated with flipping meetings, Brad Gustafson’s #30SecondTake Podcast or Steve Brophy’s Digital Leaders reflections, TouchCast is one of those apps that keeps popping up here and there. An iPad application, it allows you to not only easily record, but through the use of a green screen, add your own settings and backgrounds. In addition to this, it has a great teleprompter which helps alleviate the problem of not quite looking at the camera, as well as helping with pace and fluency.

More recently, Peter DeWitt wrote about the TouchCast Studio in a Box. This includes a green screen, a microphone and a range of clamps and handles. I recently purchased this unsure exactly what I was going to use it for. Ironically, it has become one of the most sort after things at school.

During Term One, my intervention students were given the task of recording an A Current Affair style show. Only working with them once a week using just one iPad, I decided to set up the screen on the whiteboard with an eye on adding some sort of authenticity to their presentations, as well as the opportunity to work on pace and fluency. After typing up the scripts (some used the voice typing function in Google Docs), students recorded their presentations. What was amazing was the amount of students who asked if they could come back during the break to re-record their videos, a by-product of recording.

On the back of this success, I got different groups to record various summaries and reflections using the studio backdrop. Today, one of my students asked if we could set the screen up to record their stories. It was not what I had planned, but I went with it. What was good was that the need to record added a sense of urgency to the lesson. So instead of wasting time chatting, students quickly finished off their stories and lined up to record. What stood out was the amount of respect they had for each other, especially when providing feedback. I am not sure if it is the fact that half of them attest to having their own YouTube channels, but they seem to value the process of recording even if the product does not necessarily get published for a wider audience.

Moving forward, I see so many possibilities for TouchCast. There are various options and functions that I haven’t even touched upon. At the very least, I imagine recording a class of presentations in front of the green screen as they are given, speaking to a document or making a collaborative production combining different parts.

Recently, I stumbled upon Emilie Garwitz share an activity she did with her kindergarten students where the class used the green screen to explore the beach:

Sometimes we are only limited by our own imagination. So what about you? Have you used TouchCast before? What did you use it for? As always, comments welcome.


For a fantastic example of what is possible using TouchCast, I recommend checking out Brad Gustafson’s #30SecondTake Podcast:

Also this series from Steve Brophy:

Steve has also developed his own guide stepping through the process involved in creating your own TV studio.


If you enjoy what you read here, feel free to sign up for my monthly newsletter to catch up on all things learning, edtech and storytelling.