“Be both a leader AND a follower, teacher AND student. Learn from people who inspire you AND inspire others with your boldness. Lead with conviction AND be prepared to change direction. Walk an authentic path AND inspire others to walk theirs. A leader is anyone willing to grow and change and live out loud.”
I saw this quote online today via communications specialist Randi Thompson. It really struck me as a quote that applies to connected educators everywhere. Whether twittering, in online forums, webinars, or any number of venues I see this is a great mantra for connected educators!
In order to allow people at all levels of your organization to lead, they have to be empowered to do so. Allowing new forms of learning and connecting is key to any school or organization today.
Do teachers have access to tools for connecting? Computers, tablets
Is the internet connection free of overblocking of sites?
Does professional development time allow for learning and exploring new web tools?
Is mentorship encouraged?
Are successes shared regularly?
Do policies support collaborative tools such as Twitter, Wikispaces and more?
The more we can empower educators to connect online for their professional benefit and for that of their students, the more we are the light that is needed in education today.
For my A- Z series on Empowering the Connected Educator B is for Blogging. When Tim Burners Lee created the first web site 21 years ago today, it was done with the purpose of sharing information. It was a helping role to aid physicians in communicating and answering questions. From it’s inception, and even before the social web, the creators intent was to also teach others how they could create their own webpages. Once launched, a whole new world began to grow – The World wide Web.
Here we are just 21 years later. We have come of age. We publish online easily and with intent. Blogging or ‘webblog’ is defined as an online journal. It is easy. It is fun. It can make a positive difference to both those who create blogs and those who read them.
You have heard that blogging is a new and effective way for learning to take place. You think that student blogging holds promise. You hear about teacher blogging but have also heard about it in a very negative light. How can leaders empower those around them to take advantage of blogging to enhance learning?
Be sure to address blogging in policy. Teachers and students need to have a clear understanding of the guidelines that are in place. Where needed, teachers will need to obtain permissions for students to blog.
In a recent webinar on 21st Century leadership, Scott Floyd, Technology Curriculum Specialist explains their process and it’s success.
‘We allow teachers and students to have as many blogs as they like. Learning blogs, personal learning blogs, hobby blogs and more. What is good is that we started with personal use and moved to professional use. Teachers could see how they could use them for personal use and then were able to integrate those technologies into professional use. Once teachers became comfortable it was easier for them to implement them with students.’
How are you blogging as a teacher or school administrator? What student projects can you share?
For the month, I’ll be doing a A to Z series focusing on Empowering the Connected Educator.
A is for Aspire.
Why Makes Educators Aspire to Connect?
They read, blog, tweet, chat and skype. They connect with others around the globe using the latest Web 2.0 tools. They form twitter chats and conduct teacher sponsored edcamp professional development. Much of this is done on their own time for no pay. They want to make their classroom alive with ideas. They want to make sense of the rapidly changing technologies at hand and find ways to use them for student success. They find grades partner and colleagues online and make meaningful learning occur for both themselves and for their students.
I like how Maureen Devlin said it when I asked the question on twitter -
How Can School Leaders Empower Teachers?
During Connected Educator Month, educators everywhere are discussing best practices and collaborating online. They are talking about what it means to be a connected educator.
Share the Connected Educator resources with faculty and colleagues.
Join in! Explore the calendar and follow it on twitter at #ce12. Connecting with others allows us to learn and grow.
Aspire to be a connected leader who encourages and equips learners with all they need
I am passionate about innovative learning and empowering today’s leaders. In my work as a Technology Specialist and a K-12 district Technology Director, I have seen collaborative teamwork provide essential support to educators seeking to achieve the best for their students. As connected educators aspire with passion to bring the best of today’s learning into their classrooms they will tell you that they see real and true benefits to their own practice. As they aspire for professional excellence in building their connections, it is our students who stand to benefit the most.
For the first time in many years, I will not be attending one of my favorite conferences – the ISTE conference.
During that week, on the opposite coast, I’ll be teaching a one week course in an Educational Leadership graduate program locally.
In exploring ways to connect and learn along with passionate educators on the opposite coast at ISTE I wondered:
How can I connect virtually? What resources are best for others wishing to do the same? What resources can be shared with my classroom so that they can connect with some of the ideas at ISTE12?
This year’s theme for ISTE is Expanding Horizons. This theme is a perfect tie in for connecting virtually!
7 Resources for Attending ISTE Virtually
Twitter – If you are not on twitter, sign up for a twitter account. If you are new to twitter, access this Twitter Handbook for Teachers created by those at Powerful Learning Practice. It contains ‘how to’ resources, basics guides and a list of twittering educators which you can follow and also join. My virtualiste12 twitter list will be located here.
Hashtag #ISTE12 – Follow the hashtag for the conference. Lists will connect you with a certain group but following the hashtags will give you a wide range of results and resources as you will see results from anyone using the hashtag. If you use the application Tweetdeck to access Twitter, you can create easy to follow columns for any list, search term or hashtag. To connect with others attending virtually use the hashtags #iste12 #virtual or #virtualiste12
Full Program Guide - Read about the sessions, posters and events. Shared presentation materials are linked here. At the main site, you will also find news feeds, video clips and other updates.
Google Reader – Set up a Google Reader account to follow bloggers at ISTE. By following ISTE Unplugged you will be able to find blogs to add to your reader. ISTE has a blogger list you can access or join too.
Mobile Apps – ISTE Mobile App has a list of standards and the ISTE Connects Blog, ISTE12 Conference App lists sessions and more.
Educators gather to discuss new trends, to talk about what works what does not. Sessions explore best practice and emerging trends. The vendor floor is full of product samples and representatives ready to answer your every question.
Most importantly, it is a fantastic place to connect with people. That is what makes it great. ISTE is about the people – the passionate educators and educational supporters who bring the best of today’s learning strategies to our classrooms.
Though you may feel like a fish out of water not being at ISTE in San Diego, happily you can explore it before, during and after virtually! Taking advantage of virtual learning is more doable than ever before. Connecting with educators around the world is a lesson in 21st Century learning in and of itself!
This list is a beginning. What other resources would you add?
“The only person who is educated is the one who has learned how to learn and change.” Carl Rogers”
In working with technology, we have a seemingly never ending array of web based tools for doing our work. In working recently with teachers, I gathered a selection of top used classroom tools. Though these teachers are Business and Technology teachers at the high school level, these tools are broadly applicable to many classrooms or for organizational use.
Feel free to use these presentations with your teachers or contact me for more information. I’m happy to assist your organization or school either face to face or virtually as you explore technology for teaching and learning.
This is real world. See what is happening in an internet minute. To what degree do these activities this reflect what is happening in your school or work environment? Are most sites open or blocked? Do policies and discussions around effective use occur? With our world changing so rapidly, discussions around use of technology must happen often. This is the type of support we owe to students, teachers, employees.
I recently had a discussion with a group of teachers about school policy and technology. Each came from a different school. In this group most said that they knew that their school had a policy but had only seen it once if ever. Most said that they didn’t have input into technology use policies and only one recalled discussions on policies(AUPs) at a faculty meeting. They felt that in order to implement new technologies in schools they would need a better idea of the parameters were, what the policy said.
In my role as Director of Technology, K-12 for the last five years, I oversaw the development of policy around technology use in our schools. Evaluating and updating the policy on a yearly basis was a priority. The policy was a go-to document whenever an issue arose or a new technology was employed in our schools. For details on how this was done you can read more here.
What is happening at your school or workplace regarding Technology Policy and Usage? What have you found to be most effective? What would you like to see happen?