This post is part of a 10 day posting challenge issued by Tina Zita. You can’t be a connected educator if you don’t contribute. Sometimes we need a nudge to remember that if nobody shares, nobody learns. Thanks Tina!
Who can help me answer my inquiry question?
Today I worked with my colleagues to support educators in establishing inquiry questions.
Part of our work has been finding the resources to meet the individual needs of each educator. The TBCDSB leadership team asked me to join the group to share the process of becoming a networked learner.
I spent the morning getting to know the needs of the learners in the room, and then created these resources tailored to their requests.
I leveraged my own PLN to find the resources.
In learning that several of the educators were teacher-librarians, I asked my colleague, Mark Carbone, about where to find the work he has been doing with Carlo Fusco.
Many leaders in education will tell you that they most certainly do know what to read to stay current, and to share with other educators. Books, research – all important to the foundations of our learning for our profession.
But we also must be willing to be disturbed in this thinking, because in 2015, we need to be much more agile and flexible in our learning, as thinking changes and innovation happens much faster than books can be published and research papers can be finished.
Our role is to ensure learning – that progressing toward learning goals – is happening. It is not okay for any child to be stuck and not learning.
We do not have to do this alone, but we have to ensure that we are doing everything we can for every single child in our care. We know our best practice. When that isn’t working, we have to find our next practice.
Finding our “next” practice: Our ability to share our practice with others has changed exponentially over the past decade. Our ability to find out what others are doing – the practices that are working elsewhere – now requires digital literacies, the ability and understanding of how to leverage online tools to access the curated stream of information that can lead to our next practice.
In the same way that we once had to learn to use the card catalog in the library, we now must know how to access digital spaces to find the content we need.
The reading list for educators has shifted.
The reading list now includes the blogs where other educators are sharing, and the tweets where other educators curate and share the information that is valuable to them in their professional practice.
And the culture is participatory.
If you are an educator, there is a moral obligation to use your digital literacies and share your practice with others, so that all of our students benefit from the collective work of our profession.
Last evening we had a rich conversation in the #OSSEMOOC open mic around why educators are not blogging.
1. Not enough time.
Educators are the hardest working people I know, hands down. No contest. They would NEVER think of not preparing for classes or not providing feedback on student work.
Isn’t blogging and sharing and reflecting just as important? How long does it take to share a few thoughts online? How long does it take to upload a file to share?
2. Fear of judgment.
Creating a safe environment for risk-taking is a classroom priority. Why do we make it hard for our colleagues to share their practice? Do our students feel they will be judged when we ask them to share? How do we model to our students that learning and sharing and growing together is a valuable use of our time?
Today I was fortunate to be part of a group of Ontario leaders* learning through a series of webcasts sponsored by CPCO/ADFO/OPC. George Couros returned to talk further about how we can use blogs as a personal portfolio.
I was particularly interested in the kinds of questions people were asking about blogging, and how we might be able to provide some more robust responses without the time constraints of the webcast.
3. Aren’t you afraid of making your opinions public and then having them online forever?
Why not start with blogging facts instead of opinions? When we scaffolded the blogging process for Ontario leaders last year, we asked them to simply share, “What did you learn today?“. Are you reading a book? Share what you are reading. Did you go to a conference, or sit through a webinar? What did you learn? There is nothing controversial about simply sharing what you learn with others.
*NOTE: Nicole Hamilton wrote this post last night after attending an OSSEMOOC open mic session. It is the story of her learning at the session. If we all told the stories of our learning, imagine how much more learning everyone would have access to!
4. How do you possibly have enough time in the day to do this?
Do you have 10 minutes to devote to your own personal growth? OSSEMOOC has a series devoted to becoming a connected leader in only 10 minutes a day. Start here, and stick with it!
5. How do we get more followers?
Write your blog for yourself. Post your learning so that it is searchable. You will never lose your notes again! Then, share it with OSSEMOOC to post on our site, and share it through other social media.
6. How do I keep my blogging from becoming essay-writing?
Check out other blogs. See what style works for you. You can see school and system leader and teacher blogs on the OSSEMOOC website – all in one place.
Leaders in the webcast were also asked these questions. What do you think?
*leader in the informal sense of the word, not the formal “title”. If you are working to move your practice forward in education and to model the learning you want to see, you are a leader. Some questions about the use of the term “instructional leader” can be found here.
Mark Carbone and I recently took advantage of the opportunity to share our passion for connecting education leaders at the TEDxKitchenerED event.
If you are wondering about #OSSEMOOC, here is the story of how we are working to connect leaders, and helping Ontario learners, to thrive in the complexities of teaching and learning in today’s rapidly changing world.