I read Justin Tarte’s post – I got in trouble for tweeting at work. As I read through it, I was reminded of my own experience and some of the frustrations that I have heard from others as they encounter resistance from others.
First off, being connected in this context does not mean you are tweeting all the time or hanging out or blogging but you know what all these are and actively are reading about the changes in technology, have an active awareness of the many conferences, online included, and are involved in online connections in some manner, if only through reading various posts on your SM site of choice.
Those in central office are the leaders in a school district/division and set the tone for the rest of what happens. Depending on their view of technology and being connected, others will follow suit and it will trickle done. Now, they may not be against being connected or technology and integration but if they are not actively connected, they will not fully understand it’s importance and may, inadvertently, limit connections and growth. Here’s a good article from Forbes.com about why leaders need to make the shift.
Just like websites, which eventually became “must have,” every school district will ultimately need to embrace social media. The school districts that will thrive will be the ones using social media to engage their community, and aggressively enhance and protect their reputation.
Education is much bigger than just teachers and students and educational leaders need to begin to make this shift in order to shift the conversation taking place in the public forum.
It’s important for central office personnel to be connected – so they can identify those who are innovators – tap into their passions and build opportunities for them to interact and help others to connect.
Keeping up with what is going on around us makes better leaders but it can be almost impossible . Those who can see what is happening and then, in a proactive fashion, work collaboratively with others in building and working towards a common vision will be better able to navigate through the changes that are taking place now and in the future. By connecting and sharing with other lead-learners, a principal can better serve the students, teachers, parents and larger community, not by necessarily doing more but by being able to help others to also be leaders, sharing the leadership with others all the while keeping the common vision in view. The role of the administrator is changing rapidly and the era of the lone-caped leader no longer works. It requires a total team effort and the principal needs to be able to bring the best out of others, leading and sharing the lead when required. Being connected provides an administrator with the opportunity to share ideas, struggles, fortunes and misfortunes and develop themselves as lead-learners.
Teachers have a tremendously important and demanding job – meeting the needs of the students in their classroom. It’s not just student learning needs as all teachers know that relationships with students are vital to the student learning and this means meeting those “other” needs as well. To meet the needs of the learners’, teachers can choose to work alone, seeking out help from those immediately around them or, with the ability to connect to teachers and experts all over, they can choose to work collaboratively to share their knowledge, expertise and passion. Connecting helps one to share ideas and collaborate when planning, gives one someplace to go when there is a question and provides support when there are times of struggle. This doesn’t mean they are always online. Like all things, moderation is important and balance is key.
Connected Educator Month is much more than simply one month of activities. It is capacity building. It has the ability to ignite a renewed spark and shine light anew on removing barriers and tearing down silos that bind teacher growth. Leaders welcome, encourage and recognize the knowledge, ideas, and conversations their connected educators bring to their districts and buildings. Gordon Dahlby
Being connected doesn’t mean one is always online. It means that one is aware of the many options that are available to continue one’s learning and improving oneself as a leader and teacher.