Scott McLeod recently wrote a post calling for bloggers to talk and share about how administrators could get more involved in using technology and being effective with it in their schools. Thinking about what I could share, I wrote a post this last month to administrators talking about how they need to get more involved in creating their own Personal Learning Network to connect with some great people in education. So this time, I am going to talk about how my own practice has changed in the last year. In fact, a year ago, I did not even know who Scott McLeod was although he has been blogging for a long time. This has come about from changed practice.
A little about me. I started my career as a technology integration coordinator and ended up being an administrator. What I have learned over the past year is that technology has way more benefits than just doing things a different way and sometimes more engaging. Technology has helped me to connect and build relationships with so many positive people. At my school, the core of everything we do is based on relationships. I am glad that technology has helped to extend that for me in a global fashion.
Here are three things that have really affected my practice and how I have connected with others:
1. Twitter – Twitter has been fantastic to connect with others. This is not about working with only administrators, but working with educators from all over the world in different areas. I am lucky enough to work with a fabulous group of teachers that range from K-12 in my school and although we teach different curriculums and age groups, there is still so much we can learn from each other. Now I have expanded that from parents to university professors. There is so much we can learn from each other and sitting in on conversations and finding out how other schools are successful really helps me to learn how to best implement these practices in our school. It is not about YOUR idea, it is about the BEST ideas. Through Twitter, I find more of these “best ideas” than I ever have before.
Here is an experiment that I did with my staff about Twitter that shows how supportive of a group the educators are on this website.
2. Google Reader – I love reading. I love articles that are relevant to education. Through Google Reader, I have set up bundles that I can read from current administrators that have a lot of great ideas to share. I will even save you some time. Here are some administrators that I follow right now that share some incredible ideas. This goes past the 140 characters of Twitter and has some really deep thoughts on it that will help improve your own practice.
3. My Own Blog – What started out as a way of just role modeling a blog to my own staff, has become one of the most rewarding practices in my career. Through my blog, I am able to reflect, share, and learn from others. Sitting back at the end of the day and just writing some thoughts has really helped me to focus on what is important in our school, while also reflecting on moving forward. If you do not have a blog, start one. The wonder for me was, “What will I write about?”, but update it when you feel compelled. The writing will become more natural and some weeks you will write more, and sometimes you will write less. The point is that you reflect and share your journey. I want all kids to succeed, and if some of my ideas can help others do that, have I not been successful in my goal?
In my opinion, if you do these three things and give them a legitimate try, your world will open up a great deal and your students, staff, parents and school community will be forever grateful. These things took me some coaxing in the beginning as well, but I won’t ever look back now. How will you move forward?
P.S. If you are not sure where to start, ask. If I can’t help you, I will help you find someone who can.