Do we have an obligation to share? As educators? As educational leaders? Dean Shareski, Digital Learning Consultant with the Prairie South School Division in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, Canada suggests that sharing is a moral imperative made even more critical in a time where technology redefines the walls of the classroom and our ability to connect with our students, their parents, and our own professional learning community.
Can you be an effective learner without using technology? George Couros, Principal of Innovative Teaching and Learning for Parkland School Division in Stoney Plain, Alberta, Canada speaks of how important it is for educational administrators to incorporate social media in our own professional work — a call to lead as networked digital learners along with our teachers and students. http://georgecouros.ca/blog/archives/2107
Last week via Skype, George joined students, teachers, and administrators from Prince of Wales, Sir John A. Macdonald and Stirling Senior schools to celebrate their evening of “All I’s on Learning” whereby students shared their learning through the use of idevices. It was inspiring to have students navigate multiple questions about how they were reading with iBook, making socrative quizzes, calculating surface with doodle buddy, and creating PSAs and movie trailers with iPods! What was even more noteworthy, was how the proud principals were using social media to celebrate and advance the thinking and learning with others, beyond the walls of this particular place and time!
In his March 2011 blog http://georgecouros.ca/blog/archives/1810, George offers what networked educational leaders should tweet about:
- Sharing innovative strategies and news from your schools. As an educational leader, we are a needed voice and advocate for our own practices. Twitter only allows for 140 characters, so often you will have a link to an article or accompanying blog post within that space. This is a great way to be your own “press” while also contributing to the greater good of education. Sharing is a must!
- Educational articles that influence your thinking. I read so much online and you probably do to. If you believe that the article written by an organization or another educator is beneficial to your learning and/or the learning of others, tweet it out.
- Thoughts and quotes. As leaders we need to be thinkers. Sometimes it is nice to have a space where we can share these thoughts. Also, these short quotes may be just the fuel someone else needs to push through
- Questions that will help you or your organization. Last year, I wondered what would be the best portfolio platform to serve our student needs. Instead of starting from scratch, I decided to ask this exact question to my Personal Learning Network on twitter. Not only was the research already done by others, someone actually helped me create the platform! (Warning: Do not get frustrated if you ask a question and do not get a response early. You have to build a network of others first!)
- Support others educators. You are a leader and the best leaders empower others. Twitter is a platform you can do this with your staff, or educators all over the world. Retweeting other work is a way of saying that you enjoyed what they shared.
- Some personal information. This is where some educators may disagree with me. Here is my philosophy. As an educator, I am a person first. When I share who I am with my students, we build a stronger connection. Sharing with people (every once in awhile) helps to build relationships as they realize you are person who goes to the gym, eats food, and likes music. My belief; share what you would be willing to share with students (Twitter is public), but this should not be the majority of your tweets.
Social media is not about technology but about connecting people, ideas, passions, successes, new knowledge and creating a network of relationships that contributes to the success of our students. We have an obligation to share….our students are expecting us to do so.