Eric is a Senior Fellow and Thought Leader on Digital Leadership with the International Center for Leadership in Education (ICLE). Prior to this, he was the award-winning Principal at New Milford High School. Under his leadership, his school became a globally recognized model for innovative practices. Eric oversaw the successful implementation of several sustainable change initiatives that radically transformed the learning culture at his school while increasing achievement. His work focuses on leading and learning in the digital age as a model for moving schools and districts forward. This has led to the formation of the Pillars of Digital Leadership, a framework for all educators to initiate sustainable change to transform school cultures. Eric has emerged as an innovative leader, best selling author, and sought after speaker, who will be a keynote at the OEB Conference this year.
We caught up with Eric to meet the person behind the speaker.
Who, or what, was your most important teacher?
Mr. South (grade 7 and 8 science) – Every student in the school could not wait to take his class. Since our school was small, there was a chance you could even have him multiple times before moving up to the high school. What separated Mr. South from his peers was his passion for helping students learn and love the sciences. His lessons were light on direct instruction and heavy on authentic connections and application. He didn’t teach science. We learned science.
What was your most important lesson?
That nothing is ever handed to you in life. Success requires hard work, openness to feedback, patience, and the willingness to constantly learning.
If you could try out any job for the day, what would you like to try?
I originally pursued and received a degree in marine biology. I would love to put that to use helping to preserve coral reefs and clean up the worlds’ oceans.
A genie gives you wishes – what are they and why?
· Prosperity for all – if we all succeed it makes for a better world
· Good health for my family – there is nothing more important than family
What current learning trend do you think will have a lasting impact?
Personalised learning as all students deserved to get what they need, when and where they need it to succeed. Advances in technology and pedagogical approaches will only help going forward.
Which technology, in your view, had the biggest influence on the way we learn now?
Without a doubt I would have to say the Internet. All current advances as of late (AI, Alexa, Siri, Google Scholar) only help to access a wealth of information anytime and anywhere.
What is the coolest gadget/ technology/ tool you have seen lately?
The Lu Interactive Playground: https://play-lu.com/hardware/
Who would you recommend in the learning world to follow on social media right now?
That is a really tough question as there are so many amazing educators out there doing or influencing great work. However, I am a huge fan of practitioners who are implementing ideas in K-12 and higher education. For personalized learning and leadership check out Nicki Slaugh. On the higher ed side Scott McLeod is doing some incredible work. When it comes to edtech and equity I always look to see what Ken Shelton is sharing.
What would be the title of your autobiography?
Leading People to Become the Best Iteration of Themselves
What was your first thought about our overall theme, ‘The Learning Futures We Choose’?
The theme aligns seamlessly with my latest book, Disruptive Thinking in Our Classrooms. As I share in the book, it is our moral imperative to help learners replace conventional ideas with innovative solutions to authentic problems. It’s up to each of use to choose this path.
Do you have a final message for the OEB community?
It’s time to future-proof learning.