This “influence” is something that I really believe in as a school division administrator especially if we want our schools to move forward. We must walk the talk and learn openly so that others can jump in and learn alongside. This is also something that I believe in for teachers. If they are the “lead learner” in the classroom, their students will be better off and more likely to grow. If they see it in action, of course they would learn from it.
I have been watching a great example of this over the past few weeks.
At a recent conference, I connected with a very cool educator named Jarrod Lamshed, who is sharing some pretty cool things that are happening in his classroom. When I worked with him and others, I discussed the importance of sharing openly what they are learning, and how this will take care of each individual’s digital footprint through this process. I have noticed that he has taken this to heart, and I have seen a huge commitment to him sharing his learning through his own blog/portfolio and Twitter account in the last little while. I have seen this a great deal while connecting with educators online, but that is not why I am sharing this story.
What has been amazing to watch is how in the last little while, his daughter has started her own blog to share some of the things that she loves. The first time I saw her blog was after I shared a video from the Justin Bieber concert in Sydney (yeah I went). As one of his huge fans, Alyssa took the video that I posted and shared it in her own blog. She was obviously excited about the concert, and since I saw that she had posted my video, I commented on her post while also encouraging others to comment as well (I would encourage you to do the same!).
It was so cool not only watching others around the world encourage her in her blogging, but that Alyssa was actually responding back to the comments. Here we have a girl who is learning to use technology and do something she could have not done before. At last count, Alyssa’s post had 27 comments, almost half from her responding to others. Do you think that this will positively impact her ability to read and write? Of course we want our kids reading and writing, but to know that they are doing it for a large audience, there will probably be a higher motivation. I heard this statement before (not sure where) that said the following:
“When kids create for the world, they want it to be good. When they create for a teacher, they want it to be good enough.” Unknown
Reading through the comments, I saw this one exchange that Alyssa (in Australia) had with Kelly Alford, an awesome educator from Michigan:
I really like how you included a video in your blog post. I will be showing my third graders how you did this, so they can have a blog post like this! Thanks for the great model! I can’t wait to see another post!
Miss Alford in Michigan (U.S.A.)
Thanks for commenting. I am surprised by all of the people that are teachers and going to show my blog to kids all over the world! This is really fun
Alyssa was so pumped about all of the comments that came to here from around the world, that she had posted a video of her thanking people:
So through this process, Alyssa is developing her own literacy alongside with her dad, and is excited about connecting and learning with people around the world. She has talked about books, written about places that she is interested in the world, and has even made her own fan video. Alyssa is also developing a positive digital footprint of that as a learner and will have a better understanding of what her footprint will mean in the future. She also doing all of this outside of school.
I guarantee you that Jarrod is doing a lot to help his daughter to create this content and some people might even shrug at that. But really, I think it is amazing. Having a dad work side-by-side with his daughter to help her learn and do something that she is interested in while helping her develop skills that she will need in her life. She might not know how to make and edit a video right now, but she will be able to sooner than many kids because of an adult (her dad) taking the time by not only modelling his learning, but, as Chris Kennedy has said, going “elbows deep into learning” with his daughter.
Imagine if as teachers, we took part in this learning with our kids where we are learning alongside them continuously and helping them develop these critical literacies while giving them voice to share what they love. We could do some pretty amazing things in our classrooms, but more importantly, our kids will be able to do some amazing thing with what they have learned.