Thursday, January 3, 2013

Viral Intelligence: The Multiplier Effect and Institute Day at Leyden

Viral Intelligence
The past couple of weeks has hopefully given our students, teachers, admin, and support staff some well-deserved time to relax and recharge. It has been an extraordinary semester. Although our break is almost over, this is the first time I've felt "uncluttered" enough to sit, reflect, and write a blog post.

Right now, I'm going over the final details of an institute day on January 7 that will mostly be run by our faculty. I think the main thing they need after one semester of 1-1 is an opportunity to demonstrate what they're doing to their colleagues. There's some great stuff going on, but the pace of teaching can make it difficult to keep up with what's going on right next door. Selfishly, I want to see what they're doing, too.

Unlike an EdCamp, I wanted to give people some time to prepare, so I put out a call  for presentations in November. I didn't know if people would step forward, and if so, I didn't know how many.  Presenting to strangers is scary enough- presenting to your colleagues can be even worse.

Of course, I knew our people would come up with some amazing ideas. We have over 30 different teachers and administrators discussing the stuff that they think is valuable. Just to play around, I created a Google Doc to be used by each presenter, and threw it into a Symbaloo. You can see it embedded below, so click on a square to see how the presentations are shaping up.

Anyway, I'm reading a book right now called "Multipliers" by Liz Wiseman and Greg McKeown. It's a book on leadership, and although it's not specifically geared toward education, the principles described by the authors certainly apply to a school setting.

After studying over 150 different leaders from various companies and organizations, Wiseman and McKeown classify some leaders as "Multipliers" and "Diminishers."  The basic premise is that effective organizations demonstrate the "Multiplier Effect". I'll quote the authors here:

"Multipliers are genius makers. Everyone around them gets smarter and more capable. People may not become geniuses in the traditional sense, but multipliers invoke each person's unique intelligence and create an atmosphere of genius- innovation, productive effort, and collective intelligence."

If we're doing things right in an organization, we should be building collective viral intelligence. (I love that term). We should be collaborating, cooperating, creating, and sharing so that we end up with exponential growth in our collective skill set. That also sounds like a pretty good model for what should be happening in the classroom, right? That's another blog post, though.

(By the way, the opposite of Multipliers are Diminishers, who are absorbed in their own intelligence, deplete the intelligence of others in the organization, and stifle creativity. I don't want to spend much energy describing that sort of individual.)

To swing back around to what I started this post about, I hope that what we have planned for January 7 is a basically a laboratory for viral intelligence, and I hope it's a model that we can replicate for further Institute Days and other professional learning experiences.

As a postscript, I truly don't want this post to sound self-congratulatory at all.   What we do at Leyden is truly a group effort- staff and administration make good things happen collectively. I'm just excited about what we've got coming up on January 7 and proud of our teachers and administration. As I was reading the book, I was simply struck with the similarities in our system and those described positively by Wiseman and McKeown. 

1 comment:

  1. First I love the visual Symbaloo, what a great way to organize resources! I totally agree with you about the viral intelligence Love this sentence "We should be collaborating, cooperating, creating, and sharing so that we end up with exponential growth in our collective skill set."
    I logged into my public library and requested the book. Great post, how did the day go? Glad this was shared on #iledchat
    Meg Ormiston