September 2, 2012

How "Connectedness" makes us better......

I started off blogging a few years ago.  At first, it was a way for me to reflect on what I was doing, and to put down on digital paper, what was going through my head at night and keeping me awake for hours.  Yes, sometimes passion and excitement leads to a lack of sleep.  Anyway, my blogging was meant for me, and I wasn't confident enough to share.  As I continued blogging and began to follow other educator's blogs, I started to develop a confidence in my writing and reflection, enough so that I decided I could start to share my thoughts with the public.  Granted, I still don't have many followers, but I've had many people view my blog and have given me mostly positive feedback.  I have even had a few say they have gleaned some good ideas.  That has been the most important connection for me.  While I know I have learned a great deal from my PLN, what may be more important is how they have boosted my confidence and affirmed that most of my ideas and beliefs are worth sharing. A video I found on George Couros's blog summed the idea up well. 

That same connecting with others, which has made me more confident and successful in my role as an instructional leader, can benefit teachers and other administrators as well.  As a matter of fact the term instructional leader is now an outdated term for me.  I recently read a blog post from a member of my PLN, and he used the term "Lead Learner" for his role as the principal of an elementary school.  Joe Mazza has been a cyber mentor for me for a while now, but when I made the connection to that term, it really struck a chord with me.  I find myself in a constant state of learning.  The systemic model of continuous improvement has been personalized thanks to the collaboration now possible with social media networking.  Of course if you are reading this blog, there's a pretty strong chance you are already a "Connected Educator" and are well aware of how it has benefited you as an educator.  The conundrum comes in the goal of expanding the idea of connectedness to other teachers that haven't braved the social media networks available to them yet. How do we break through that fear they have?  How do we help them find the time that connected educators appear to have in abundance?

None of these answers are easy, and maybe more importantly to recognize is that the answer may be unique to each person and situation.  I think the key is that you use patience, persistence, and share the positives that can come from the connections you make.  Most of the great ideas I have shared we never created by my sole insight.  They have come from the collective conscious and experience of various people I have met, physically or digitally over the years.  Curt Rees is a fellow Wisconsin principal that I have followed for some time now, and I have gained many insights from over time.  I have enjoyed reading his blog and found a video he shared that also summed up the idea of learning from the collective conscious of many.  

1 comment:

  1. Good post Tom. The concept of "distributed cognition" is a good one to think about in education. No one person has all the skills and knowledge to run a school, aircraft carrier, corporation, but the collective abilities of a group of people can do those things. Last spring I read the book "Too Big to Know" by David Weinberger, and he also says this well: The smartest person in the room, is the room itself.