I still haven’t finished my “Introduction” to ETMOOC post, but will do that soon. I just had to get this post out of my head tonight.
This afternoon, I attended Dean Shareski’s Sharing as Accountability session in the #ETMOOC (Educational Technology Massive Online Open Course) today. It was a great session because it just reaffirmed much of what I believe to be so important in our educational system.
Dean talked about the importance of sharing and learning together. He talked about the importance of sharing in any way you are comfortable. We are not at the same place (nor should we be) and we are not all going to move at the same speed (nor should we).
It is all about understanding and connecting with people – whether that means people around the world, or people across the hall. The more we share, the more we learn about one another and how we can support and learn from one another.
For instance, I have learned so many things about the staff at my school through reading their blogs – things I probably wouldn’t have had time to learn during the busy school day. I have learned about some of their passions – both professional and personal. I have learned about struggles they may be having in their life that help me to understand better. I have learned about professional challenges and successes they are having. Their blogs give me a window into their personal and professional life which I would not have had otherwise. I have been able to make my own personal connections which may not have happened. For this, I am truly grateful.
Here is a wonderful blog post by a fellow #etMOOC participant that resonated with many, The Power of Visible Learning. This demonstrates my point and belief quite nicely.
This is the same with my fellow school district administrator colleagues. We do not have a lot of opportunities to get together to chat and learn about one another – personally or professionally. We are a very large district with probably over 200 administrators. While some of us have the opportunity to get to know each other better in our smaller “study groups”, it is difficult to truly learn more about one another in a large group setting. Reading my fellow administrator’s blogs is different. Their blogs allow me a window which may have otherwise been blocked or closed. This window, curtain drawn, allows me the opportunity to learn about my colleagues, their families, their schools, their successes, and their challenges. We are there to support one another and this is a wonderful way to do so!
Dean urged people today to figure out something that works for them. He encouraged people to do SOMETHING – no matter how small they perceive their something to be – SOMETHING is better than NOTHING. It is our professional responsibility to do SOMETHING!
I try to share a lot – with my friends and my colleagues. At times, some may feel I share too much (most of the time I feel like I don’t share enough). As Carolyn Durley (@okmbio), an educator I respect a great deal, tweeted in the backchannel on Twitter during Dean’s presentation,
I will not apologize for sharing either. Those who want to listen can. It’s up to others to filter what they want to. That’s what I have to do on a daily basis when I hold my mouth up to the firehose of learning that is Twitter (and now #etmooc). Those who are able to engage know I am there to support them in whatever way possible (no matter how small or how big). We can learn together.
We need to create that culture of sharing with one another as educators – it is our responsibility to ourselves and to our colleagues. We should not worry about writing the perfect blogpost or the perfect tweet. Instead, as Dean said today, we should just write and share more. We should find a way to get our ideas, thoughts, and feelings out there for others to read – for others to think about, question, support, and challenge. We should think of our blog posts as “drafts” – unfinished, able to be revised, if needed.
We need to think about the connections we are making with our colleagues – both locally and globally. These connections are what will make us stronger teachers and leaders and move us forward (even if it is small baby steps) in our practise.
Here are a few questions for you to consider. I would love to continue this conversation in the comments.
How do you share with your colleagues?
How are you contributing to the culture of sharing within your learning community?
What is one thing you can do differently to begin sharing more?
If you’d like to see the archive of Dean’s presentation, you can find it here:
T1S2 – Sharing As Accountability w/ Dean Shareski (Jan 22, 7pm)