Building a global dialogue for school development: Hope for the future

Kristen M. Snyder
Mid Sweden University Chief Editor

For 25 years Wingspan has been published by Pedamorphosis, Inc. under the editorship of Robert H. Anderson. Through a generous donation from Helen Jones, Pedamorphosis, Inc. was able to provide, free of charge, Wingspan to readers around the world. During its spread, Wingspan graced readers with an alternative approach to the typical academic journal, providing a variety of articles and perspectives about leadership and school development. As part of its signature, Wingspan also provided lengthy annotated bibliographies on the latest literature on schooling.

The journal was born out of a commitment to stimulate the sharing of perspectives, highlighting the heterogeneity of thought, knowledge and learning, combined with a common commitment to creating learning environments for children and youth that provided a solid foundation for life. Contributors to the journal included scholars from around the world, practitioners, and doctoral students.

In 2004, Pedamorphosis, Inc. closed its doors and donated Wingspan to the Department of Educational Science at Mid Sweden University, under the editorial direction of Kristen Snyder, in partnership with the International School Connection, Inc. representing the bridge between science and practice. This transition is taking place during a time when education is characterised by a growing challenge to create schools that stimulate learning and foster the development of citizenship that is both globally competent and sensitive, as well as locally engaged. This challenge is huge and requires a holistic perspective of schooling that sees the inter-relationship between leadership, learning and organizational development. Further, it welcomes the opportunities for cross-cultural connections and dialog to give shared meaning to societal development through educational systems.

The term Wingspan, in English, refers to the �spread of wings� of a bird or butterfly. The name was originally coined as a metaphor for the transformational process of change, as the butterfly emerges from the cocoon and spreads its wings. The name Wingspan was thus adopted to represent the growth and transformational process of school and leadership development. Building on this metaphor, Wingspan is embraced in a partnership model, giving meaning to the continuous transformation of educational development through cross-cultural connections and sharing.

The name was originally coined as a metaphor for the transformational process of change, as the butterfly emerges from the cocoon and spreads its wings.

It is our hope that Wingspan will serve as a text-based platform to engage educators around the world in a dialogue about educational development that promotes democracy globally and locally. We strive to highlight similarities and differences across cultures in order to understand the multi-faceted nature of our world, as well as the homogeneous nature of educational development. In a global society focused on measuring student outcomes and capturing the �best�, it is our intent to stimulate a different kind of dialogue, which through the sharing of differences raises questions and challenges thinking about education for today�s global society.

In keeping with the unique contributions of Wingspan we plan to expand the journal in several core areas, including an electronic format, and an international editorial and advisory board, and a variety of contribution formats including refereed and non-refereed. Each of these enhancements contributes to the core ideology of the journal, which is to stimulate sharing across cultures.

As an electronic journal, Wingspan has the possibility to reach more people than ever before, engaging a greater range of perspectives, as well as a broader international dialogue. An international advisory and editorial board will serve to locate and highlight perspectives from different countries, as well as contribute to the international dialogue that serves not only knowledge development, but also builds an understanding for different cultural perspectives and orientations.

A refereed section has been added to the journal giving depth to the dialogue through research. In the non-refereed section we have chosen to introduce the ancient art form of story telling, as a vehicle to share experiences and perspectives around the world. In a global age, where we strive to build bridges across cultures, we hope that the telling of stories will serve as an important mechanism for educators around the world to enhance their knowledge and perspectives of education and society, and give meaning to the global nature of life today. A broad range of topics is covered by the journal, including:

  1. leadership,
  2. learning
  3. school development and work culture,
  4. educational policy,
  5. technology and schooling, and
  6. workforce development.

There is a saying that when one door closes, another door opens. For many years, I have personally sat on the outskirts of the doors to Wingspan, watching the numerous publications come hot off the press each year, and with each one a gleam in the eyes of Bob and a grin from ear to ear for being able to share the gift of Wingspan with so many. As a non-refereed journal, Bob was the hub bringing together colleagues from around the world representing different perspectives and a common care for making the world a different place through education. In many ways one could say that Wingspan represented a global community. Somewhere along the way, Bob�s smile and gleam caught my eye for I now have the privilege of leading Wingspan into the future with an expanded community of friends and colleagues committed to making a difference through education. Bob, from the bottom of my heart, and from the community of people who love and adore you, thank you for the gift of Wingspan for so many years, and for passing the baton so that the gift of communication and sharing can continue to stimulate change and peace in the world.

We hope that you will find this first �new� issue exciting and stimulating to your intellect and heart. The contributions reflect perspectives from a variety of countries and themes around schooling. We have several pieces in the beginning representing discussions on the global stage, related to PISA, the Bologna Process, and Global Learning Centers. These articles address a complex array of issues central to schooling in todays society, from the classroom to higher education and the preparation of teachers.

More specifically oriented to leadership are several studies that examine the role of the teacher and supervision in leadership for school and professional development. Further, we have a study on the need to integrate technology in schools, as well as the development of new forms of school networks in Israel.

We end the articles with a case study account of what happens to teachers learning and transformation when they visit schools in different countries. In time we anticipate similar accounts will be shared to reflect the stories of schooling and educational transformation from the field. We end our first issue with several annotated bibliographies, and a tribute to John Dewey.

We invite you to join in the global dialogue about education in the 21st century. If you are interested in influencing the dialogue through Wingspan, please feel free to send us your contributions.