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I am back on my soapbox…
- …because I continue to see great things happening in classrooms, but get blank stares, when I ask, if these things are being shared beyond the school building.
- …because I watch as administrators feel the need to “protect” their faculty from “one more thing to do”.
- …because I continue to hear fear of transparency, competition, privacy and technology skills and tech phobia.
Setting up my soapbox to raise awareness of the “moral imperative of sharing” for teachers (Dean Shareski) goes back to his keynote in 2010 at the K-12 Online Conference. Since then I have stepped on that soapbox via my blog and at conferences advocating for the IMPORTANCE and NECESSITY of sharing.
George Couros, recently published 4 Reasons People Don’t Blog, which are in essence the same reasons why people don’t share (just substitute “blogging” for “sharing”)
- Blogging is useless
- I have no time
- I’m a private person
- No one cares what I have to say
He closes his blog post by pointing out the importance of sharing as an integral component of learning as well as underline “the willingness of others”
I have learned a ton not only from my own blog, but from benefitting from others that have been willing to share their teaching and learning with me, and because of that, as Dean Shareski stated, I am better off for the willingness of others to share.
I DO want to understand WHY it seems so hard for
some many educators to share…but only in order to build an airtight argument that SHARING best practices, reflections and documentation of learning is the essential fabric of education and the building block of networking, growing and moving forward.
We need to stop looking at all the reasons why educators DON’T SHARE and start looking at and DOING all the things WHY we NEED TO SHARE.
So here is my list: 3 Things Why You (as an Educator) Should Share
1. The shift of a culture of consumers to producers is built on sharing and disseminating.
Our world, and in particular the world of our students, is build on the culture of sharing. Ex. Sharing your status on facebook, adding a book review on Amazon, leaving a comment on a product you purchased online, photos on Instagram and videos on Snapchat and YouTube. Educators need to acknowledge the shift outside of the classroom and take advantage of the shift for learning with our students.
2. Painting the picture of teaching and learning in your school
Too many other people (non-educators, policy makers, politicians, media, etc.) are painting a grim picture of the teaching profession, teaching in general, schools and student learning. It is time to become our own storytellers. Sharing student successes and teachers’ professional and continuous learning MUST overshadow and outnumber the negative press and reputation that has been building up.
3. The future of learning is social and build on and around Professional Learning Networks.
Networking is built on a concept of sharing. Networking is defined by the Merriam_Webster dictionary as “the exchange of information or services among individuals, groups, or institutions”. In order for an exchange to take place, someone has to step up to SHARE. Without sharing there is no network. Someone has to give and someone has to take, without giving the machinery of how a network works will not function. In our Information Age, where information is being generated at exponential speed, we need to rely on a network to filter quality and relevant information for us. It is our responsibility to be the filter and curator for others as well.
1. Stop resisting change
We need educators, in particular administrators, to stop resisting change, take a deeper look at the world around them and LEAD by modeling! Sharing is and needs to be a method, a strategy and a technique to improve teaching and learning practices, benefiting an entire school learning community.
2. Create a workflow to document teaching and learning
Great things are happening in your classroom and in your schools. Learn to embed documenting best practices, student learning and action research in a digital form to be able to easily disseminate via a blog, twitter, photo or video sharing site.
3. Start small.
Add a comment on a blog you read, share a resource, a link, a book or an article you have learned from on Twitter. Let students take over in documenting learning in their classroom. Use your cell phone to take photos of learning in action, write a descriptive comment under the photo and share on a blog, Instagram, a classroom site, blog, Twitter or Facebook account.
The GIN (Global Issues Network) conference brought together an amazing group of young people, all united in their desire to change the world for the better and collaboratively find solutions to the world’s problems.
The Global Issues Network (GIN) empowers young people to collaborate locally, regionally and globally to create solutions for global issues. Each year, thousands of students worldwide engage in GIN-related activities.
I had the opportunity to work directly with students during two breakout sessions about the use of Social Media (Thank you Lisa Goochee for your support and participation) Students had been researching, planning and working together on a solution under a chosen topic listed in the twenty global problems identified by Jean-François Rischard in his book High Noon: Twenty Global Problems, Twenty Years to Solve Them (2002).
They had created video trailers showcasing their projects and prepared presentations to share with their fellow GIN conference attendees from International schools all over Central and South America.
How could these students:
- reach an audience beyond the conference attendees?
- strategically build a network to connect with other students interested in global issues?
- disseminate their challenges, solutions and ideas to receive feedback and gain support?
- make contact with NGOs, experts in their field of interest or potential funding partners?
- continue working with other teams and schools to continue to grow their projects beyond the physical dates of a face to face conference?
The answer: Building a social media network. While there are many different social media platforms that anyone can use to build a network in order to affect social change, the basic idea behind the potential of connecting, collaborating, communicating, crowdsourcing or crowdfunding is similar to all platforms. These platforms also include video-streaming websites like Youtube. And if the thought of buying likes and views has crossed your mind, or if a colleague of yours is thinking about buying likes for their youtube videos, they should proceed right ahead.
- Create a “storefront”, a profile or bio to let others know who you are and what you stand for
- Build a network by strategically choosing people/organizations/companies to follow
- Encourage the “right” people to follow you back
- Contribute quality content
- Participate in conversations (give feedback, ask questions, add perspectives, add value)
- Build a brand (document your work, share , interact, inspire, present, showcase, etc.)
- Grow, weed and maintain your network
I challenged the group of teens in my session to take another look at a Twitter . Most had an account, but we encouraged the ones who did not to create one.
- How could they use the account to connect and promote their project?
- How could social media help them build a positive digital footprint and become part of their portfolio?
- How could they build a network of peers and experts?
The rest of the session was hands-on.
- create a Twitter account (if you didn’t have one)
- choose a username
- create a profile description
- Tweet1:INFORM: share something with follow GIN attendees (use the hashtag)
- Tweet2: CONNECT: mention a keynote speaker (give feedback, ask a question, connect….)
- Tweet3:REFLECT: share your aha moment
- harvest usernames of other GIN attendees to add to your network
Funny how a Learning Network trail can lead one to unexpected destinations 🙂 Follow along the bread crumbs to see where the trail came from and what it led to…
3. I followed the link to Sharon’s website, and purchased one of her books titled: The Ten Minute Trainer: 150 Ways to Teach it Quick & Make it Stick.
As a professional development provider, I enjoyed her suggestions of 1-minute activities with the objectives of:
- articulating one’s own thinking
- making thinking visible
- creating connections
Sharon used analog material, such as paper, pencil, index cards, sticky notes and face to face dialogue and conversation in her workshops. There is NOTHING wrong with that and EVERYTHING right with her approach to take lecture type presentations and divide them into small easier digestible chunks, then give the attendees time to review, reflect, discuss and share what they learned.
“shorter segments of instruction are better than long ones, and learners remember more when they are involved in the learning”
4. My thoughts turned to ideas how we could amplify these short activities beyond the attendees of the workshop and at the same time include an activity that:
- exposes participants to network literacy
- helps them contribute to and build a Personal Learning Network
- collaborates and connects with a larger number of other workshop attendees, as well as a potential global audience
- documents their learning beyond the physical time of the workshop
- supports reviewing, reflecting, discussing and sharing their learning
5. Many of Sharon’s activities seemed to be a natural fit for amplifying them into Twitter activities, embedding the SAME learning objectives she has for her analog activities.
6. I sketched the following notes
- Share something you already know about the workshop topic
- use the #workshop hashtag
- follow someone who is also using the #workshop hashtag
- share the most important fact or concept you just learning in the last 10 minutes
- tweet it out and specifically @mention someone else
- shout out a number between 1-10
- tweet (that amount) of ways that can impact your practice
- use #workshop hashtag
- Make up a metaphor of the most important concept you learned
- sketch the metaphor
- take a photo and tweet it using #workshop hashtag
- make a noise signal, if you have a “tweetable moment”
- articulate and share your tweetable moment
- tweet it out
- use the #workshop hashtag
- tweet out two things you want to learn at the workshop
- reply to someone else’s tweet by answering their question
Think & Write
- tweet one sentence that summarized the information you heard about
- use #workshop hashtag
- Tweet 1 opinion about an issue related to what you learned
- tweet a question you sill have. “How about…”
- use @workshop hashtag
- tweet out a sentence starting with “I plan to…” with what you learned
- share how you will hold yourself accountable
I am mulling Blogging FOR Learning over and over. It seems to be the glue that holds the puzzle pieces together in terms of contemporary learning and teaching.