1. Kelly

    You are a great administrator and your staff is lucky to have the trust you give them. You are absolutely right…it is soooo frustrating! I have been brought to tears! I have created this cool thing at home thinking "There is no way this is blocked, because it has edu in the url!" Boy was I wrong! We depend on leaders like you to keep writing about this, and perhaps things will change! I sure hope so!

    Thanks for writing another great post…just makes me want to move to Canada!

    • George

      Have you ever read the book, "The Speed of Trust"? If you don't trust your staff, you will get nothing done. I am better because I trust the people around me to do great things, not because I decide what they should be allowed to do. I think that book would be a great "Secret Santa" present 🙂

  2. I agree that open access is important. We have an IT director that does listen to our requests to unblock certain sites or permit the use of tools like Skype, but ultimately, that decision is in the hands of someone who is a technology specialist- not an educator. (I know there are many former educators who are now technology specialists, but ours is not one of them). While I think he truly does make an effort to understand our needs, he has never worked in a classroom or been the principal of a building. In my role, I feel it's essential that I advocate for my teachers. If they feel there is value in something, I will go to bat for them to make sure their students are granted access.

    Another thought for schools to consider: are you including your IT personnel in administrative meetings where educational technology and pedagogy are discussed? We try to include our IT director in meetings so he can get a sense for our real needs from a learning perspective. It's definitely been positive. He also has made visits to each building so he can field questions from teachers and address their concerns personally. That's powerful.

    • George

      I think that is a great idea to bring in IT and talk with them so we BOTH understand the hurdles we need to overcome and what are some of the limitations that are needed. What I do think that is important is that as educators, we need to ensure that we lead the direction that we want technology going though. It is essential that we do not have IT decide what we can and cannot do in the classroom with our students and I am glad that you ensure your teachers get what they need to best meet the needs of their students. You and I both know that is where all educational decisions need to start.

  3. Wow George! Another excellent blog post. I love how you give the students and the staff at your school the opportunity to responsibly use such amazing websites that certainly have the potential for some great academic possibilities. In my Board, we have a number of websites blocked, but over the years, more and more of them are opening up. We can now use Twitter, YouTube, and Skype. Facebook is still blocked, and truthfully, until today, I would have never even considered using Facebook in the classroom. This morning though, I read a great blog post by @jutecht, which included a Prezi on using Facebook in a first grade classroom (http://bit.ly/b2DGYe). It had me thinking! That's what's so wonderful about Twitter: a single tweet can get you thinking in new and amazing ways.

    I think it's fantastic that you leave all of the websites open that you do. Last year, I heard someone say that, "Blocking websites just stops the teachers from using them." It's true. Somehow the students always know the way around the filters anyway. If they're going to be accessing these sites, isn't it better that we teach them how to do so responsibly?

    This year, I look forward to reading about all of the wonderful things that you and your teachers do with the use of these websites and more! Thank you for continuing to share all that you do.


    • George

      Thanks for your comment Aviva! I am seeing more of my staff get "connected" and I am doing my best to continuously support them. It would be great if I can write about the great things that they have done, but the goal is that they share it themselves 🙂 I am starting to believe more and more that it is not right to keep your own ideas in isolation; people need to hear about these ideas and modify to serve our own students. Thanks again for your comment!

  4. I completely agree, and I love that you're tweeting more and more about your staff developing their own blog posts and Twitter connections. It's wonderful that they're sharing their ideas and that you're there to support them as they do.


  5. Neil Ringrose

    This is a great post, thank you! I am currently a Year One Teacher in Hong Kong…I take up a Vice-Principal position in January. It's great to read thoughts of educators from around the world. Thank you again and keep up the amazing work!


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