Outclassed Podcast: If you’re not focused on this…your vision won’t become a reality Ep 13

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In this Episode:

In this week’s OutClassed Podcast, Mike and Blake continue on their discussion regarding the school transformation framework and dig into the power of culture and how this can derail your vision and strategy.

Some of the elements of Culture discussed in this episode include:

* A twitter spat about what is better – Google or Microsoft
* The definition or culture and the number 1 conversation you must have to develop a great culture
* Wins like Minecraft becoming available in Chromebooks!

To see all the OutClassed episodes go to utb.fyi/outclassed

[buzzsprout episode=’4512437′ player=’true’]

Podcast Episode Highlights:

1:15 we celebrate over 1000 downloads and shout out to those who are leaving comments and the cutest dog photo 2:35 in the news Ubuntu 20.04 released
9:11 in the news – lots of new updates coming from the major platforms and hardware providers
12:05 A twitter spat over Google V’s Microsoft
16:10 Where Mike fundamentally disagrees with the position a lot of schools take and how to maximise the impact of technology in your school
24:30 The definition of culture
30:15 The 4 elements of a culture of innovation
32:40 How culture develops and the number 1 thing you must do /conversation you must have if you want to develop a great culture
41:35 wins and fails (win) Minecraft is coming to a chromebook!
46:30 wins and fails (win) android sharing

Resources mentioned:

McKinnon IT Status

Drive book – Dan pink


Blake 00:06
hello everyone welcome back to the outclassed podcast. I will be with Mike Reading As always, and today we have a really jam-packed agenda to get through. And got a fair bit of news this week, and also, we’re going to be exploring the seven elements of institutional change. And one we’re looking at a moment is culture. And last week, we did kind of the vision and the mission, that if you want to go back and listen to that one, it’s definitely the place to start. And now we’re sort of moving on to the culture one but Mike, how are you doing?

Mike Reading 00:44
Well, like, first day of school holidays over here in New Zealand, so bunkered down, snowing outside, so we’re pretty stoked on that. Had a good holiday up the ski field. So my heart is full and looking forward to chatting to you today.

Blake 00:58
Yeah, great. We’re at we’re middle of the holidays here and just I’ve just been sick for last week. That’s a bit of a non sequitur. nothing going on Really. But yeah, keen to jump into today’s topic and get back
into it.

Mike Reading 01:10
Yeah, great. We wanted to just kick off by a bit of a celebration. We just got an announcement over the weekend that we’ve had over 1000 people download our app class podcast. So that’s pretty, cool. But over the last, what have we been doing this for now? Three months, 12 episodes or so? Yeah, that lots of people are being we’re just having a quick look at the stats. And we have listeners from all over the world, which is fantastic. So welcome to today’s podcast. I also want to just give Steven, a quick shout out in Hong Kong Stephen and I’ve been catching up once a month and just working through a few things with his plan for next year for school and he was just giving us a shout out on Twitter. So appreciate that. And I thought just to celebrate, we might just pick the cutest outclassed podcast
hashtag photo that was on Twitter and that was from Lara. She was driving and listening to the voices, but she had a dog in the front seat with her. He’s one of the cutest dogs you ever see. So I’ll link that up in the show notes and people can go check out Huxley if they want.

Blake 02:10
A guy Mike your dog or cat guy?

Mike Reading 02:12
Definitely a dog guy, but not a small dog guy.

Blake 02:16
A big Mutt? No, say like owners often look like their dogs or represent their dogs.

Mike Reading 02:23
Oh, yeah, that would probably work then. Yeah, because what I’ve heard Anyway, I’ll go with it.

Blake 02:31
Great. So in the news this week, Mike, and a lot going on this week.

Mike Reading 02:35
Yeah, yep. I’ve got some big announcements that are sitting around in the news, but I’m actually going to keep that for wins and fails at the very end. But there’s some stuff that’s really taken education by storm. I noticed you had some stuff in the news there and I was reading it through in our show notes, and I couldn’t even understand what it was. So can Peter unpack that and explain it to our listeners?

Blake 02:54
Absolutely. We will. It’s actually not really new news, but I was about a month to a guy that Ubuntu the Linux distribution, you familiar with Ubuntu. It’s like an operating system. It’s like Windows or Mac OS. It’s the open free alternative Linux, which is contributed to by a lot of sort of not for profits, if you like, and a whole bunch of volunteers that self-organize and commit to this, this project. Pretty incredible project. When you think about how many people are involved, there’s probably 10s of thousands of people involved, mostly contributing their time for free. Some people are incentivized by, you know, working for a company or something that commits changes to a particular library. And that library is then used by Ubuntu as well. So there’s very multifaceted thing. But the beauty of that is you get kind of the best in class of a lot of things, not in every way, certainly in a lot of ways you hire in technologies by team, but you probably don’t get the cohesion because it’s a whole lot of different things that Windows and Mac OS have because they’re one company driving with one vision. So, but recently, Ubuntu 20.0 For was released. And that kind of marks for me a really important release in the operating system in that they’ve, they’ve now done some things that make it really palatable for people like you or me to install into to use day to day. And so one of those things is graphics card drivers built in. So now you can have a graphics card and a desktop or a laptop, and just use it and actually take advantage of that graphics card. So things feel faster, you’re gonna have 3d acceleration on the desktop, and you’re also going to have the ability to play games and gaming on Linux has come a long way. And I think if Linux
is going to win, they have to get those gamers those enthusiasts that kind of, you know, constituting a small percentage of the PC and computer market, but they kind of other changemakers in the drivers of computer hardware and technology. So if gaming comes to Linux in a big way, I think that’s going to be an interesting change for the landscape of what we think of as our sort of main operating systems, which at the moment would be Windows and Mac OS Linux doesn’t really get a go. In fact, if anyone’s using Linux for their labs at school, you know, if they have Linux installed on their lab computers, I’d love to hear what you’re doing with them and how that’s working for you. Because I think if you think about holistically in education, we’re trying to give kids a range of experiences. That’s why we do camps. That’s why we have, you know, a myriad of subject choices. We don’t just say do English, maths and science and off you go. We want to give kids a wide gamut of experiences. And I think Ubuntu and Linux will not just just Ubuntu, but Linux in general is something that most people who end up working in it will need to use. But I also think that it in the long run is going to win. And you see that by Microsoft having Linux subsystem in their OS. You see that in terms of developers wanting to use Mac OS, because it has Unix, right, which is very similar to command line and how Linux is organized and works, especially in the file system side of things. So seeing those two things kind of converge and see Microsoft embrace Linux, and even Chromebook. Now you can run Linux apps on Chromebooks. And that’s actually how it works. Books decided they’re going to go to get higher end development apps and specific, you know, video editing apps in their operating system rather than building it themselves the apple method, if they’ve decided, well, we’re just going to embrace what’s already there, what’s open source, what’s working. And so we’re seeing a convergence of all the big players, Microsoft, Google, and Apple moving towards this Linux platform, which to me sort of flags Well, okay, where are we going to end up, we’re probably going to end up with Linux winning, whether it’s through windows, and you sort of use Linux under the hood, or whether it’s, you actually use Ubuntu and some of these Linux distributions, these pure Linux distributions. So we, you know, when you look at a singular company, it’s kind of like, I sort of see it, similar to Wikipedia, beating encyclopedia, you know, you had all the brilliant minds and the skilled people were building this encyclopedia. They couldn’t compete with the masses, they couldn’t compete with that. boots on the ground effort of Wikipedia. And I think that’s kind of what we’re saying here. with Linux. Every little niche can be carved out by a small team of five guys sitting in a room or one guy sitting in a room, building this great library that ends up rolling to the main shell of Linux, that everyone can use. So I don’t know, I just think it's an interesting time at the moment where we’re seeing this, this slight shift away from the big kind of behemoth. They’re all embracing this open source technology. And I wonder where we’re going to end up. And I think if I had to make a prediction that in, you know, five to 10 years Linux is going to be a bigger mainstay and on, you know, we’re going to start to see laptops from the big players like Lenovo, Acer, these guys offering Linux distributions, which they are already some of them. But I think that’s going to be a more prominent thing in the marketplace, which is something that schools obviously going to have to grapple with and think about, right? I’m just imagining you and your tech guys sitting around the lunch table geeking out on this stuff, and I understood about a quarter of it. If you’re talking to a teacher, and you know saying so who cares like what do we see Is it is it a different user interface is it same, just different Under the hood, it’s kind of like when you jump into K, you don’t really think about what the motor does just get you from A to B, you don’t really care. Is it just like an under the behind the scenes thing? Or is it something that you actually get to interact with, it’ll change the way you do. Computing. It’s mostly behind the scenes. But I think more so is more about the big operating systems like Chrome OS and Windows actually embracing it, like the Linux subsystem for Windows is basically giving you a Linux shell, which is like terminal command line interface to Windows through Linux. And I think, certainly in the IT classes and as people are looking to have it careers and moving to those trajectories, I think Linux is going to be much more important. If you’re, you know, just doing the basic kind of word processing and, you know, English writing and those kinds of things. You probably won’t know about the paradigm shift. It’ll all happen in the background, but all these I think it’s still something that schools need to think about in terms of, you know, what they're offering on their labs and those kinds of things. How are they going to manage Linux? On an enterprise level, how do we roll it out? How do we image it? How do we do those kind of things? I think that that's that conversation and that challenge is coming.

Mike Reading 09:07
Okay. There you go. Interesting to see what how that rolls out. Yeah, I guess I’m in the news, one of the things I’ve seen a lot of, as well as that there’s going to be a whole lot of new features coming out. Generally, they get released for the summer, like back to school in America and northern hemisphere. So obviously, a lot of things come out around about St. But it is not on this year at this time, in the summer, just because of lockdown, and so on. But there’s also I’ve noticed a lot of talk in the partner channel around what resources can be created for the second half of this year, or the first half of schools going back in the Northern Hemisphere. So there’s going to be a whole lot of really cool creativity kind of resources coming out to try and support teachers in either remote learning or semi remote learning or in the classroom. So they created to try and just help teachers with that. Also There’ll be a lot of stuff coming out around equity, and a lot of discussion around that as well. Like how we make things more equitable with devices, internet, that sort of thing. So, like, I know, Google and Microsoft are working quite hard behind the scenes around that equity piece and trying to support teachers. So in the next couple of months, there’s going to be a whole lot of new features get released around the platform that you’re using, or the device that you’re using. And there will also be, I think, some really cool resources that will come out to support teaching and learning, which is always pretty exciting.

Blake 10:31
Yeah, I think the thing for me around that equity piece and Google Microsoft working hard is that’s gonna be great that they’re doing that but I wonder how they’re going to go when the BYD season kicks up and people are ordering, you know, thousands of devices across hundreds of thousands of schools around the world, how they’re going to manage that influx, because already was saying delays. I was talking to one of my suppliers last week and he was saying for some Certain vendors, it was taking four to six months to deliver a batch of devices from the factory, which would normally take six weeks. So I think there’s some work to be done with the hardware manufacturers to actually say, Well, if we’re going to get equity, and we’re going to get devices in the hands of kids, you know what, they’re cheaper, expensive devices, how are we doing that? But Intel CPUs at a shortage, we got devices that are taking four to six months to be built and shipped and go through all the process, what’s going to happen? So that’s interesting.

Mike Reading 11:27
Yeah, yeah. Then a few chats with some of the team at Google and Microsoft around this, just in terms of their, what they see on the horizon. I think there’s some brands that are reasonably well stocked and some that are struggling. So it might just be that you’re forced down a particular model of device that maybe you wouldn’t have chosen if you had all your options open to you. But it seems to me like you’ll get access to stuff but it might just not be the stuff that you might have wanted.

Blake 11:54
I definitely Yeah, we’re not going to be living in the perfect world where we can get you know anything.
We wanted. The cost We like it.

Mike Reading 12:01
Yeah. So but obviously, that they’re aware of it, there’s a lot of pressure on that, hey, something else. I noticed that in the news and just sort of been on Twitter and will leak out. So just one example of it, but I’m seeing examples all over the places, you know, some of these EdTech influences, put it in inverted commas, call it what you like, but really starting to make some public stances around what sort of platform they, you know they’re enjoying and where they’re going to go for it. I noticed Holly Clark, the other day, put up a tweet that got a fair bit of interaction on the back end saying she’s breaking up with Google Slides and PowerPoint is so much better and how did you ever stop using this? You know, so to say, I’m glad to be back. And then it’s just really interesting in the background watching people pile on either for one brand or the other. So it’s still like it’s really entrenched on a Google person or on Microsoft person and never the two shall meet. And it just made us reflect as a team, like when we started just chatting about this internally, using Technology better. Four years ago, I will heart out Google because that’s pretty much all it was at the time. And then about four years ago, we started working with Microsoft on some of their tools and doing some training for them. And then the hate mail that we got for that was insane. And, you know, people who used to talk to us all the time would stop talking to you and stop responding to you. And, you know, losing contracts with certain vendors, and, but at the end of the day, we’re like, we just feel like this is the right thing to do. You know, it shouldn’t just be a single platform. And we should just be a slave to a logo or a label. And but it’s interesting now to start seeing a whole lot of people going well, you know, better together, it’s like use the best tool for the job. Just interestingly, this is starting to come out, I think, a lot more publicly, where people were just staunchly Google and picking up a whole lot of Microsoft tools. So I need to run with it. So I think it’s a credit to Microsoft to be able to come back in that way. But it’s interesting to see how Google and Microsoft are playing together in the background as well. On what they’re starting to release for this summer, and we’ll have some announcements about that later on in the podcast.

Blake 14:05
Yeah, and even Microsoft Teams obviously being their sort of center centerpiece of all of this leading the way for the first time in years where they’ve actually outclassed if you use the word, you know, the income of Google saying, you know, they always had the kind of the new things Google Forms came out, and then Excel surveys followed, and so on, and so on. But now, you know, we’re seeing them actually lead from the front, which is really interesting. And you, but you know, on the whole topic of this Google versus five subject really reminds me of the apple guy, or are you a Windows guy, and I just think the argument is kind of a distraction from what’s actually what we’re actually wanting to talk about, which is, you know, the improvement of teaching and learning and that one has to be better than the other and I can see how you want to make that distinction because we have, we have you know, G Suite and, and Microsoft Office 365, and the two of them kind of share the similar He said, so you want to choose one? And run yourself down that that avenue and I can totally understand that. It’s what McKinnon have done with Google. But I think more importantly, like I don’t like being defined as Google school, I don’t think it’s helpful because we Yes, we’re a Google reference school, because we’re doing great things with their platform. But I think the bigger question or the bigger discussion we should be having is around how these individual tools impacting the teaching and learning and what makes sense, you know, for a school that’s entrenched in the Microsoft world, does it make sense to opt in that and move to a Google world for a school that has, you know, particular needs or particular demographics of staff or particular demographic of students special schools for instance, one of the one of the type of feature sets you’re looking for I think that’s the more important question because when you read these Twitter threads and I’m just flicked through it, when you mentioned that, you know, affair is it’s all this divisive stuff about you can’t do this. Well, I can’t do that you can do this, and I can’t do that a feature sets important, but at the end of the day, it’s not everything. It’s also about what your staff are willing to get on board with how much innovation your staff willing to accept at this point in your journey. You’re going to be unpacking that in this, you know, seven elements as well about where you are now and where you want to be.

Mike Reading 16:12
Yeah, I mean, I fundamentally disagree with people who say, there’s no way our staff would go and embrace a Microsoft product if we’re a Google school, or there’s no way for Microsoft school that our teachers would want to pick up some Google tools and start using Google Docs and so on. I mean, our company is squarely positioned to help the non tech teacher. So there’s companies that want to just work with a high fly early adopter, always pushing the boundaries, I’ve got no interest in that. To be completely honest, I think there’s so much needs to be done in the big middle of the school who are, you know, happy to embrace technology when it makes sense to and so for people to make decisions for on behalf of staff and tell them that they’re not going to go down that path if they were exposed to it. had the option of one or the other, like, I just feel that’s doing a disservice to the school and to the students into the teaching staff. And so quite often people are motivated out of fear, not opportunity. And so for me, I think it’s it’s a discussion, it’s definitely worth having. Because, you know, quite often we hear our men, we would love to be able to use Microsoft Teams without, you know, too much for our staff to take it on. I’m like, well, who just say that? So if I think if you have a really well thought out change management plan, and it fits nicely inside the seven elements discussion we’re having over the next few episodes around, how do you do learning design and how do you choose infrastructure and things like that, I think there’s opportunity for the opportunity for staff to have a little bit of choice around what they use and when they use it. I don’t think we need to go back to the thing that we’ve all been saying is outdated in terms of teacher needs to stand in front of the room, and every student does the same task at the same pace at the same time. And we’re all going to turn to page 54 And do question two, three and four. Yet when we talk about technology use when we talk about platform use, it’s almost like we want to standardize and everything for the teacher as well and not offer that choice. And, you know, I think there’s a big discussion that needs to be had around that. And I’m not saying that it’s easy, but I’m saying it’s worth it.

Blake 18:18
Yeah, I think there’s parts of that are gray with the struggle that we have. You know, when we sort of look at these I can’t we want to do all these things is we’ve got to maintain like, for me, my what am I outcomes on my goals, my goal is to improve the confidence in Teaching and Learning with Technology, so you know, we’re trying to not do too much too quickly in some senses, but we also want to give people the ability to extend themselves and we have an office 365 tenant, we use some of that, and this is why I say I don’t like being defined it as Google school. I mean, we use Microsoft Active Directory behind the scenes we use Microsoft Windows, we have labs and labs of those teachers still use Windows, laptops and Mac laptops, I use a Mac laptop So we’re not just sort of down the rabbit
hole of one ideology. And, you know, we have we have, we have one or two staff that were using one note for a period of time. I think they’ve since moved on from the school, but we do embrace those things. But I also think, you know, you want to have some strategic direction without being a strategic mandate. And that’s kind of where I, where I delineate the difference between the two is saying, Well,
here is the school’s strategic direction, here’s what we’re, we’re saying is that the best practice, but we’re not saying you have to use it. So if one note is great, and people are picking it up in droves, that’s something that that we want to enable. That’s something we want to allow that innovation to happen from the ground up so that the administrators, the people in the leadership of the school can see that
clearly recognize that it’;s something that we’re lacking or something that’s needed in the school, and then shift because without that, how do we ever evolve, and that’s the real important part of this is what we’re looking for is the best solution. which requires us to constantly evolve, step by step, and look at and identify and let out, you know, like that, like I was talking about earlier with open source and things like that. It’s about letting the people who are on the ground doing the work, figure out the use cases and say, this works better. For me. This is really what where I want to be, you know, I want to be doing pen-based things in OneNote. And I find it really easy. I find it works effectively, I don’t have problems with it great, if that becomes is allowed to grow is allowed to kind of be enabled at the base level at the teaching learning level in the classroom. And then you see it taking off, then you have a kind of Judaism as an administrator to look at it, explore it and potentially move to it.

Mike Reading 20:40
Yeah, and I think this comes into this whole conversation around this week’s topic around cultures. It does come down to culture, right? So if you have a culture that embraces change, that’s open to suggestions, where teachers are, the culture is that the teachers are not just locked into their thinking, you know, if you Read through, you know, some of these Twitter wars that happen and Spats that
happen quite often there’s a whole lot of stuff in there. That’s just, that’s just not true because people are making decisions or making claims in a vacuum of knowledge. So part of my concern with that is if you're the E learning lead in a school, you’ an IT administrator of a school, your job is to be across all this stuff to be across the across Microsoft v. And not just from your own biased position, position and opinion, but to be truly open to it. Because quite often people are making decisions. I would never use Microsoft because you can’t do this. And this well, that might have been true in 2010. That’s not true in 2020. So it might not have ever been true last year, but it’s certainly true now. So I think there’s, at some level, you’ve got to have the freedom to and we’ve talked a lot about this, like the freedom to innovate the freedom to think and not get locked into a mindset or a platform or a badge or a logo that says There's a case where you know, a Google score or where an apple school or where a Microsoft school and so we can't even be seen to be embracing or even looking at some of this stuff because it would go against our reputation.

Blake 22:11
And I think if you’re using a Google product in your school, and you’re new to the school, and you turn up and they use G Suite, and you’re not sure what to use, I think that’s a good starting point is and that’s where you want to give people a crutch, you want to give them that leg up, especially when they being inducted into the school but, but as you explore things, and as you realize, oh, there’s other things out there, and you’ve maybe gone to conferences, or you’ve attended some online PD or something like that. You see a tool, you like it, you want to try it, you need to have the ability to do that. And this is where it gets a bit dicey in high schools that are very top down managed, particularly larger schools that tend to have more resource and need that, that’s have that scale burden. So they feel as though they need to give people directives on what to use and to mandate. What that does is it closes a whole lot of doors for you that ultimately in the long run are going to leave behind in my, my biggest thing is like how do we stay current? It’s one of the hardest things to do to stay agnostic and current. Yeah. And I think giving people that opportunity to innovate at the at the base level of teaching in the basic classroom, your first year out, I want to try these new tools. You know, we have some people using Edmodo, we have some people using Schoology. But then not our LMS is right. And this is the other thing about I’m an advocate for not mandating an LMS is to use something like teams use something like one that use something like Google Classroom, as your jumping off point. But saying to staff, if you find a better way, try it, please use it, see how it goes. If it causes problems for us and headaches for us, we’ll come and talk to you about that, that’s fine. But if it actually works really well for you, and we can work through any headaches or, or issues with it, and then it turns out to be amazing. We want to know about that. It's sad you didn’t know about that. So well. That’s my job to know about that. So that’s kind of how we do because there’s no way I can personally test and understand and be empathetic of the experience in the classroom with every single application. It’s more beneficial that the staff just have the freedom to use it. And they can sell it to me. They can show me Show me by voting with their feet about which platform is working best.

Mike Reading 24:12
Yeah, I mean, there’s layers of complexity. I’;m not trying to oversimplify it. But, you know, the way that a Google Doc works on an iPad is different than on a Chromebook, for instance. So you’ve got device play inside this as well as a platform play. And then you’ve got different age students, you’ve got different needs and all sorts of things. But somehow, I think this comes down to the culture of the school. And the definition of culture. Let’s just go there for a second, the definition of culture is that’s just what we do. So if you’re in a culture, you don’t realize you’re in that culture. You’re not cognizant of it, you’re not thinking about it. So if you’re in a school that just by default, embraces technology is open to different ideas. You’re not seeing their culture in terms of the definition of culture. You’re not sitting there going, okay? We need to be safe. strategic about this, it’s kind of like you just do it. And this happens at all levels. That happens in the classrooms. Every teacher has their own culture. The school has a culture, the leadership team have a culture and they’re just acting out of impulse almost. So one of the things when we, you know, last episode, we talked a lot about vision. And we said, you need to make sure that your culture aligns with your vision, is because that’s the undercurrent that just carries you along. And you don’t even realize you’re in it. So a lot of these questions or things that were thrown around is from a particular the owl context, or our culture of what we think is good, but hopefully it leads to some questions or some workings, like if you’re listening to this podcast, and you find yourself yelling into your headphones, because you want to interrupt us and say, Yeah, what about this is an element where you need to understand what your culture is, and how it works. And so one of the things we talk to schools a lot is, what’s your cultural engine, and what your cultural anchor, you need to see those things that are either going to drive you towards a vision or hold you back. From the vision, so, if I’m in a school and I’m saying, I think it’s a disservice that you would hold platforms and products back from your staff, if they wanted it because you’re on, you know, you’re on a particular bent, then that may go against the culture of a school, and I realized that so then you’re sitting there going yet, okay, we want to go down that path, then what we would do is go Okay, so what is it about your culture that would drive that adoption? And what is it that’s going to hold you back? So in a high school, it might be we’re very siloed. We don’t speak to each other the mass DEP want this and the humanities department want that. And then the front office staff are using Microsoft Word, and then all the teachers want to use Google. And so we’ve got these silos that happen across the school. So what do we need to do to address those silos that might be able to enable things to happen? So it’s quite interesting when you start digging into culture and whether a culture becomes an enabler or an inhibitor?

Blake 26:55
Yeah, an important part of that is the shared understanding element where it Where I think, you know, we as a school or as an institution, we want to have it, like we’re talking about last week, a shared set of ways that we operate. And I think a lot of schools are fearful that if they say, Okay, well, we’re going to open the door on one note, and we’re Google’s, you know, Education School. But that’s going to somehow create two classes within the school, and there’s the Microsoft people in the Google people. And that’s a real fear. And thats something that I think about a lot is that if you end up sort of split brain, in a sense, then how are you all sailing in the same direction, you’re gonna have people moving in different directions. And so I think the important thing to underscore there is it’s not about necessarily having two visions in two directions. It’s about saying, well, we want to enable a good practice. And if we see good practice, then we want to really have a good conversation about Should we move this way? Should we engage other staff in this process? How does this work across curricula? And has it worked, you know, vertically as well across your levels and how students receptive to it, and actually give it more time, give it more gas, give it more fuel on the fire. So I think that’s one point. And the other thing is, what we’re really talking about here is risk taking. And I think a lot of schools managed in such a way that they’re averse to risk schools particularly are averse to risk because they’ve never had to operate in the free market environment of businesses where they have to innovate it’s an it’s a core function of business to continue to innovate, innovate or die, you know, hear that saying a lot in silicon Valley. So it’s about, you know, covering risk and trying to reduce risk is the focus of the school rather than encouraging risk taking, so that people know it’s okay to try something and fail as long as you learn from it. Because if we’re not trying these, we’re not falling off our bike and getting up and getting back on. You know, it’s gonna take us a lot longer to learn the lessons. And that’s something I talk about a lot in schools, we’re not allowed to fail, you know, especially private schools where you’ve got people paying big money, tuition, is it okay to turn around, say our iPad program failed, w’re going to move to a Windows laptop, everything I say wow, I just spent thousands of dollars on that and you guys are supposed to be the experts. What’s going on? But I think, you know, we need to be a little easier on ourselves and say we need to try these things, we need to take risks. And if you look at high performing schools, and when I say high performing schools, I don’t mean getting kids that are already high performing and making them a little bit better. I mean, people that are significantly growing students from, you know, when they come in not being very good, you know, meeting the best of the best out there at the end of their schooling careers. Those high performing schools typically have a culture of risk taking, typically have a culture of being a little scrappy, and trying things out on the fly, and then picking those up and having a strategic direction with them. So that’s certainly what I’ve noticed my experience with working in schools, but that’s where I think the balance needs to be in the culture is risk taking is encouraged and failure isn’t you know, unacceptable outcome. Failure is an opportunity to learn and to educate those around us about the failure, because there’s always good learning in failure.

Mike Reading 29:59
Yeah, totally agree. factor, we’ve got a whole session that we did in which you do another podcast on this and dig deeper into it when we’re looking at the culture element with schools, if you look at the culture of innovation, because a lot of schools say we want to have an innovative school culture, whatever that means. There’s actually four elements of that. And so one of those elements is risk taking. So you do need to develop a culture where it’s just on autopilot, that people are allowed to take risks that you are learning, and you are adapting and you’re moving forward. And it’s not a lot today, we’re going to do a risk-taking activity, because we want to try and develop that muscle. It’s just to where it’s part of your fabric. It’s part of your DNA.

Blake 30:38
Yeah. And that comes from leadership. You know, if you look at the culture of most schools, it’s not written in a document. It’s, it’s by the actions of those in power. And we know, human brains are wired to work in hierarchies. You look at those monkey documentaries. I don’t know if you’ve seen the chimpanzee documentaries, where it’s actually wired into the DNA of them to have hierarchies and to watch Right in hierarchies and to overthrow hierarchies. So, so that’s kind of a very human thing. But even looking at, you know, when we when we take risks and they fail, like we remember, I know recently, I spoke about our status page at McKinsey, and how we’ve launched the status page for our internal services. And anyone can see that as well. I will link in the show notes but I think it was about three or four years ago, we actually prototype the status page we ran up a whole series of different ones we tried building our own and we did a few different takes on it. And it wasn’t good enough. And I said to one of my team who was building it with I said, we’re not gonna use it, we’re gonna throw it out and know that we’re flawed though so what do you mean me gonna throw that well, hard work out? And yeah, we are gonna throw it out. But they are already having it was in that process, we actually developed clear roles. And accountabilities because we had to define Well, what are the things that we’re going to one of the categories we’re going to list on the Status page helped us actually define and create clarity around roles. So out of it was actually a win, but a necessity Wind. And I think, you know, nothing is a waste of time. In that sense. If you if you’re doing something with a purpose, you’re always going to reap benefit out of it.

Mike Reading 32:07
Yeah. Yeah, totally. Just in case you’re wondering the other, the other elements that create that culture of innovation. first one’s curiosity, the second one’s agency, or, you know, having some say, a third one’s risk taking. The fourth one is collaboration. So, and again, this all happens by default. And this is a this is the thing about culture that’s really interesting is again, like you just said, it’s probably not written in a document somewhere. Well, even if you have a document written saying, here’s our values, here’s our vision. That’s what people do on default is where your culture actually lies. And generally, that comes from routine, right? So if you routinely do something, you’ll start to be able to do it without thinking. So it’;s often it’s often the things that happen at the school that maybe the principal or the school leadership, no, notice, they don’t like that an address. If you just let those things keep going. Flying through to the keeper, what will happen is that culture will develop at that point. It’s like in the classroom, if you let your students wander in late, the beginning of the year, and you don’t address that, I can guarantee you that that’s exactly what the students will do. And it’;s not that they’re going to sit in the playground and go, Ah, let me think about how we can be late today. I’ll just do it. Because that’s what you’;re allowed to do in that class. So when you’re looking at your culture, you really got to look at those engines and anchors and say, what is helping us? And what is harming us? And what do we need to change in that process? And what do we need to address and where are those professional discussions that we might need to have around that, and it’s really interesting, to me, even little things like teachers showing up late to staff meetings and walking in and the principal kind of get come into the room. That is culture, and that talks about one thing level of respect. But if you dig into that, I bet you that there’s other issues in the school when it comes to leadership and change management and so on because the culture is mudo when it suits You just need to keep it’;s like an onion, right? You just
go peel on that thing back to you find what really sits as a core value in the back end of that.

Blake 34:08
Yeah. And if you’re if you’re a leader, you need to be thinking about, what are the proactive discussions Can I have? And what are those hard discussions that I can have with stuff when I’m disappointed by something? Because, like, Yes, you’ve got to look at what’s important. You know, is dress code super important to the culture right now? Is that the thing I need to be focusing on? Or is it people being like to meetings? Or is it you know, and calling out that behavior, not necessarily in front of people, but to those people, bringing them in for meetings and having hard, tough discussions? Because that’s, ultimately that’s what leadership is, isn’t it? It’s about bringing people onto your vision and how do you do that? It’s through hard discussions through challenging norms through change, which is so difficult. So you see all too often in schools, you know, schools, very principles are very inclusive, and they don’t upset people’s feelings. And that’s kind of the culture of education really is to be about giving Every one that best opportunity and trying to bring everyone along, but at some point, you have to have tough discussions with people when they’re not meeting the needs of the school. So I think that that’s a tricky one. And the other one is agency as well. When we talk about teacher and student agency and the ability to innovate, we’re just talking about that before that, that just ties in exactly what we’re saying in this whole ability to give people the tools and give them the freedom to try things because we know through, you know, like, that great book by Dan pink drive about three big drivers of people’s intrinsic motivation is autonomy, mastery, and purpose. And so if you think about autonomy, that’s the ability to go and try things that’s agency. So that’s one of those big drivers of Am I going to be motivated to turn up and do my best, you might have a players that are just D motivated, because they’re being told this is the way you’ve got to operate. And they’re like, well, I’ve got all these great ideas. I can’t implement any of them. I just have to use the thing that one guy chose for me for all 200 staff. He apparently knows best, but h’s never used it, oh, he doesn’t use it day to day. So I think it’s important we will, you know, give the power back to the people, give them some agencies give them some ability to try and go out and perfect things and fail and do those kinds of tasks.

Mike Reading 36:15
Yeah, I’ve actually got from Google a really nice overview paid by numbers kind of approach where they break it down into the culture pathway. And they say, plan and prepare and execute, refine, and then 10 exit. So if you’re listening to this, and you want to look at that and go through, then you can sort of like, look at what you need to do at each level and who you need to bring in on those conversations. And how do you celebrate the wins? And how do you have those tough conversations? And how do you embed that in a culture, so it does just become let’s just what we do this school? We do it I think, you know, to bring it back to that tweet and just reading the replies to it. I think everyone’s talking out of the culture, right? So it’s their worldview, it’s their understanding. And so just by reading their answers, I get I want to look at your school, or I know what it’s like in your classroom just based on that. And it’s interesting. There’s a lot of people in there who are like, Oh, that’s interesting. Let me think about that. Let me like, hold those two opposing views, intention and consider it. I mean, they’re sort of healthy cultures where you'll get innovation happening, and you’ll get change happening where you people like me, you know what I particularly agree, but let me at least consider that Oh, let me see how that fits into my worldview? Or where does that sit in our priority list? Right now all

Blake 37:30
the things we could focus on. And where does it sit in your staff’s priority was to let it sit in their worldview as well. I think that’s important as well, to have a group of teachers you can take the temperature on this stuff with, without saying we’re going to launch to the staff, and we’re going to tell everyone and confuse everyone, but just to, you know, have a beta group that can Hey, take a look at this. Tell me what you think, what’s your feedback on this? You know, I’ve had staff that come to me and tell my wife’s using Microsoft Teams at his school and it’s terrible. No one can use it and whatever and then another stock will come in and So, oh, so teams at this event and it looked really great. So I think there’s so many choices out there, and we’ve got to really figure out, you know, well, how are we going to make decisions around all these choices? And they’re always changing. And like, you know, updates come every two seconds, as long as this podcast, try and keep abreast of them. But, you know, it’s, it’s a constant challenge for schools and without, without using the power of the community using the people power, I think you’re going to be always on the backfoot. Yeah.

Mike Reading 38:28
And I think like, if we just frame this up, you create a create a strong vision. We talked about that last week. And then you have a culture that enables that vision to happen. So when opportunities like this come back, we’ll come around to that a new device gets deployed. I mean, you made a prediction last week about touch going to Mac, does that change things for a school if you haven’t got a culture that can at least embrace or look at that, then maybe you need to not necessarily look at the tactic or the program or the platform, but where you need to start looking is at your culture. And what’s driving the strategy in the school? What’s driving the results that you’re getting? Because you might think it’s strategy, or you might think it’s vision, but quite often, it’s a layer below that. And it’s just the culture of what’s happening on autopilot. So really interesting discussion just to have a school leadership level to take the temperature of that to think about those engines and anchors. And so we ask him the question why, like, why are we getting this result? Or why do we have this attitude? Or, you know, why do we feel like this is the best way and just see if you can, you know, we talked about it and I can’t remember which podcast episode that the five why’s so just keep asking why until you get to that lowest point where you see what’s actually driving us forward. That right there is what your culture is gonna be.

Blake 39:43
Yeah, and it is hard to go to these conferences and they say, all right, make culture a priority. And what does that mean? I’m gonna make it a priority. Okay, and we’ll have culture meetings, we’ll have a culture team in the school, and then those three people go and develop something and write it down. And then ultimately, What people actually do is different. Not saying it’s not important to write it down, because I do think you need to define those values to find what it is, you’re looking for, because people will look to that as a starting point. But when they see that no one’s actually following it, and that there’s no repercussion. There’s no problem with turning up to meetings. later, no problem with, you know, running your class in a certain way, or whatever it may be, then then that’s going to kind of fall away, isn’t it? You’ve got to write it down, you’ve got to have a clear understanding of what it isn’t a shared understanding of what it is, but then you’ve got to follow it up. And that’s kind of how you make cultural priorities, having tough discussions, having time set aside for those discussions and also reviewing it and looking at, well, here’s what we said, our values are. Do we think that’s being reflected? asking you, your teachers and your leadership groups? You know, how’s it being reflected in your faculties? What can we do next? to kind of keep supporting it and building it stronger and stronger?

Mike Reading 40:52
Yeah, totally. I think if you’re being challenged by this or you you’ve learned something from what we’d love you to just be able to give us a shout out on Twitter. On Facebook or somewhere and just use the class podcast hashtag. And maybe you’ve got a question you’d like to ask. But it’s definitely a good opportunity to look at it. You see the leadership gurus saying that their culture eats vision for lunch. And basically, they’re saying it’s well, it’s all well and good to have a great vision. But if you haven’;t got a great culture, you’re never gonna get this. So the challenge this week is to dig into your culture. Have a look at it. Where does it align to your vision? And where is it pulling away from your vision? And then what steps could you possibly take to bring those two back into alignment?

Blake 41:31
great challenge for all of us constantly.

Mike Reading 41:34
Yeah, yeah. Hey, Mike was talking about wins and fails for a second. I’ve got a great way no want to share like

Blake 41:40
a like your wins. So let's, let's get it.

Mike Reading 41:42
Yeah. So talking about this whole concept of Google and Microsoft working together and my narrative has been better together and choose the best tool for the job. But interestingly, this week, there was an announcement that we’ve known under NDA for a little bit and really excited about was that Minecraft is now going to be available on a Chromebook, which took a while for us to get our head around. To be honest, when you look at Google versus Microsoft in a device play, one of the reasons that schools would buy a PC would be so that they could have Minecraft on it. And now, Microsoft has turned around and said we would rather people use Minecraft and not be able to use it because they don’t have one of our devices. So you get available on a Chromebook. What’s your Chromebooks? What’s your opinion on that like?

Blake 42:28
Well, of course we love it. And I’ve been an advocate for this forever. I mean, I think if you look at what wins, if you look at iPhone versus Android, you know, Mac, PC, any of those battles. One thing’s always the same is that everyone uses Google as their search engine, or, you know, most people will use Google Maps over Apple Maps, even on the apple platform. Now, why is that? Because Google are making their services available free and easy to use on all platforms. So if you’re going to go out and buy a phone now, you’re going to go out and buy a device, you’re going to think twice about a Google Chromebook you’re gonna think twice about it and Right phone. And so we know the strategy works. And it seems to me to be crazy to start throwing lines in the sand. Now after we’ve got history and proven, you know, good proof that this stuff works is if you want to move people onto your platforms, holistically, like onto Microsoft Windows onto Surface devices, then you’ve got to give them experiences on their where they are now, to move them move them over, if they never know, can’t use Minecraft and don’t know that thing, then they’re really not going to be exposed to Microsoft’s ecosystem at all. So I think it's important we do that, and Microsoft were the kings of this back in the day where they gave schools free Word and Excel in everything. And so everyone came out skilled up on these platforms. And of course, what are they expecting the workforce? I couldn’t use Lotus Notes like What’s that? I’ve used word at school. I’ve used outlook so that’s where people went. And now you know, if we look at, you know, people over the age of what, older than me so 30 and above. In that demographic, they’re all people who are familiar with Outlook and word and those things and if you look below there more in the collaborative platform’s office 365 versus, you know, the Google suite. So I think we see that the consumers vote with their feet of what they know and understand. And to the point now, where, as this recent case study done in the US about BYOD in the workplace, and they’re saying that IT departments and corporations, enterprise corporations are being held hostage by their workers, there’s this new wave of millennial workers coming in saying, I’m bringing my MacBook, whether you like it or not, because this is what I want to use. I don’t want to use this rusty old PC giving me or you know, this out of date machine that I get through the enterprise, which always tends to suck, they just won’t bring their own. And so actually forcing the hand of, of corporations by just voting in numbers saying, well, you’re going to hire all these young people, you got to hire them. And they’re going to bring their own device, we have to support it, we’re kind of stuck where we’re having to support our users in in new ways, which I think is a really good thing. And that’s just an extension and a continuation of where we were, you know, 20 years ago with us all being skilled up in certain areas. So I think the strategy is fantastic. I think it’s what Microsoft need to do. So they’ve bought Minecraft for education to the Chromebook. And I hope they bring the full-fledged Minecraft in as well. It already is in the Play Store. I think it doesn’t run on Chromebooks currently. And I think there’s some technical challenges there. And really interesting to see how it runs. I haven’t actually installed it yet. Don’t do that next week when we’re back at school. And maybe I can report that. But in terms of the performance, obviously, a Chromebook isn’t, you know, highly SPECT gaming device, so keen to see what the experience is like, but there’s so many great opportunities in Minecraft. And I’m, I’m excited to finally be able to dive into that in a one to one why not just using the computer labs and across the curriculum and across the levels?

Mike Reading 45:41
Yeah, totally agree. I think we’re doing a whole lot of work with schools around this in the next half of the year. So just helping you to get enabled and then getting training because so many teachers would come to our training and go, this is amazing. We want to use Minecraft, you know, that mainly had Chromebooks in the school and it became a real inhibitor for them. So Really looking forward to, again, like we’re so interested in using technology better to help all teachers, not just the early adopters, not just the ones who are happy to, you know, have multiple devices in their classrooms and, and things like that. So I really do feel like it’s going to help the majority of teachers who want to embrace some game based learning and embracing different tools. So pretty, pretty excited about that.

Blake 46:24
Absolutely. Yeah, it’s a great win. So looking forward to it, and maybe I'll report back on so how do we apply

Mike Reading 46:30
and be awesome.

Blake 46:31
And my win is just something on Android this week, nearby sharing, I don’t know if you’ve ever used airdrop like on the Mac or on iOS, but it’s awesome. You just open it up, they open it up, and you push a file to them. And I feel like in 20 2020 the fact we can’t do that on Windows and on Android is pretty, pretty poor. So being able to just open up a window and drop a file to someone who’s sitting next to you is awesome. So we’ll run Android on this nearby sharing app that’s coming out soon. Keep your eyes peeled for that. But yeah, just nice little when they Era little, you know, easy, easy thing to use and easy thing to get on board with so happy with that?

Mike Reading 47:06
Yeah, is it gonna be different? I think it was Samsung phones are brought out, you know, you could tap you two phones together and they would send Samsung, the Samsung is that

Blake 47:13
bump those things aid is different to those. So I’m hoping it will create a bit of a standard that other people can leverage because that’s obviously the problem airdrop is not going to work with this. And you have that whole dichotomy problem with Apple and in Windows and Android. So it’ll be interesting to see what happens in that space. But it’s a good move in the right direction, especially you know, as hopefully, Chromebooks, get that and we can do that in the classroom, we can just drop things between each other. And if you know, Windows can get on board with those same standards, which are built into the Wi Fi chips, that actually a hardware is already there. Apple’s using existing Wi Fi direct hardware to do this. If they can agree on a standard, you know, we can have a much better experience in class with. We do have files like videos and those kind of things on everything’s in the cloud. You know, we still have files that we have to move around. Being able to do that seamlessly is a huge win for us.

Mike Reading 48:00
Yeah, that’s great. Very good. Excellent. It’s been a great discussion as always like a really packing, unpacking some of the stuff around culture, vision leadership technology in the classroom. That’s been good to have your technical brain on this to compliment my teacher and learning brain looking forward to next week where we’re unpacking another one of the elements in that whole seven elements of school transformation and what we can be doing around it in that so yeah, stay tuned for next week and we’ll catch up then.

Blake 48:29
Thanks. Bye.

Thanks for listening. For more episodes and show notes visit utb.fyi/outclassed


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