McKenzie Speeches

Just in Time Technology - Just Enough to Do Better with Fewer

Smart schools are buying just enough technology to support program goals without distorting spending agendas. By moving equipment and scheduling it strategically, these schools can optimize their return on investment while reserving funds for other goals. McKenzie describes the dynamics that lead to success for schools employing JITT (Just in Time Technology).


Leading by Example - the High Touch High Tech Principal

Smart use of new technologies is more likely to thrive in schools whose principals play a central, encouraging role. When principals act as instructional leaders, when they model discerning use and they lead staff through wise choices to sound daily practice, the program is much more likely to thrive.

It is not so important that principals master the latest toys and gadgets - rather that they show an appreciation for the challenges facing teachers and that they become knowledgeable about the best ways to use these tools to improve reading, reasoning, writing and communication.

McKenzie outlines the characteristics of a High Touch High Tech Principal and illustrates their role with stories and examples.


The True Cost of Ownership

Schools may find that the business concept "Total Cost of Ownership" as typically defined does not adequately cover all costs of implementing a major technology initiative. That model often pays too little attention to the human and organizational costs of the change and ignores opportunity costs. McKenzie introduces a different model for schools that he calls "The True Cost of Ownership" that is tailored to the special qualities and demands of K-12 education. Leaders who wish to see lasting change that actually improves the quality of learning will welcome this comprehensive and candid review of all costs associated with program launch, development and reinvention.


The Calming Leader

According to McKenzie, too many management books push the notion of disruptive change as if turning an organization upside down will automatically lead to better days for all concerned. McKenzie argues that the appropriately conservative and protective aspects of leadership have been undervalued and discredited by management gurus and consultants in recent times. While welcoming the chance to blend new tools and opportunities into the lives of schools, McKenzie claims that such a blend requires tact, timing and a respect for tradition. Orchestrating real change, according to McKenzie, requires sheltering, calming and filtering so that turmoil and disruption do not undermine the quality of learning in a school.


Just Say "No! Not now!"

McKenzie warns that many of the menus and agendas for change thrust upon schools from the outside - no matter how well meaning - often do harm by overloading the organization with stress and turmoil that can actually undermine the effectiveness of a school. He suggests that overloaded agendas may be little more than "virtual change." In order to move forward in a healthy manner and adjust to changing conditions, McKenzie shows how focus may provide the basis for concentrated, deep change in a school. Sometimes this will mean turning down demands, opportunities and offers to work on ventures already launched.


Replacing Faux Inquiry with Real Inquiry

Just because students have asked and answered 247 questions about floods doesn't mean they have developed any important understandings. Many schools working diligently on inquiry models have inadvertently slipped into a kind of gathering and collecting that amounts to little more than scooping — looking into a topic rather than developing insights. In this session, Jamie outlines the difference between faux inquiry and inquiry that leads to new understandings. He shows how "What should we do about floods?" leads to an investigation that creates good new ideas. He emphasizes the importance of organizing inquiry around problems, issues, choices and challenges so that all of the gathering is shaped by the search to understand and create.

Growing Original Thinkers and Thinking

We live in an age that seems to prize superficial thinking, imitation, copying, and mere scooping or quoting, yet we stand in need of invention, innovation and original thought to meet the challenges of rapidly changing, turbulent times. How can teachers and schools best address this need? What strategies will persuade students that originality is an essential aspect of performance — one that they can nurture, develop and strengthen through practice, skill building and intention? In this session, Jamie demonstrates how originality and original thinking can become central components of a school's program.