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Shift Happens in Iowa

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Date posted: September 2, 2011

Are you one of the 40 million people who’ve watched one of the Did You Know? (Shift Happens) videos? If so, you’ll know why they’re so popular and you can probably imagine using it as part of a thought-provoking activity in a faculty meeting or professional development seminar.

IOWAScott McLeod, J.D. , Ph. D., an associate professor of Educational Leadership at the University of Kentucky, a former winner of a Cable’s Leaders in Learning Award, and the Founding Director of the UCEA Center for the Advanced Study of Technology Leadership in Education (CASTLE), had those thoughts and so he again collaborated with Karl Fisch (who started the Did You Know? videos) to create one specifically for Iowa: Iowa, Did You Know? Scott’s intent was to create something that could be used, not just to stimulate conversation within education circles, but also as a way to bring the community into debates about educational reform. To that end, Scott developed a facilitator’s guide and posted a collection of additional resources that would help school leaders be proactive in engaging policymakers, educators, and community leaders in transforming education.

As we know from working in the Partnership for 21st Century Skills (P21), meaningful educational reform takes a village. It can’t be imposed from the top down. It requires buy in and support from a wide variety of stakeholders, some of whom do not often talk to each other. The P21 model begins by gathering a wide cross section of leaders—elected officials, educators, business leaders, community groups—to begin a dialogue that eventually creates the momentum, passion, and support system necessary for transformative change.

Iowa, Did You Know? is a great example of a tool that can spark that kind of conversation and collaboration.