Leveraging Social Media to Build Capital and Develop Relationships

This past week I attended the 2013 PASA/PSBA School Leadership Conference and had the fortunate opportunity to present a workshop along with two colleagues, Michael Roth (@mqroth) and Lynn Fuini-Heten (@lfuinihetten), on social media and how we are using it in Salisbury.

Participation in the session exceeded my expectations with an audience of 50+, primarily school board members. During the session we provided information in three areas:

  1. WHY schools should use social media.
  2. WHAT we are doing with social media in Salisbury to connect to our community and build a digital footprint.
  3. HOW school leaders and board members can get started with social media, including the good questions to ask.

The session was very-well received. Here are the resources we provided to the participants:

What did I learn from delivering our presentation? Over the past several weeks I have had many opportunities to engage with a variety of educators – teachers, administrators and board members. It’s been an eye-opening experience to hear and learn how “behind the times” so many schools are whether in the area of technology integration, professional development, or, in this case, the use of social media. My conclusions certainly are not scientific, but I’m getting the impression that too many schools aren’t even having the conversation about bringing education into the 21st century. That’s really hard to do when so many schools are unwilling to invest the financial and human capital in professional development. From what I’m hearing, too many schools leave professional development up to chance or up to the teachers to figure it out.

I’m wondering what the reason is for lack of progress or innovative practices in technology integration, professional development and social media use? Is it really because of the economic climate? Is it at all political? How much of a role does leadership play in embracing a progressive form of education – school board, central office, building level leadership? I am very interested to hear the perspectives of others. Regardless of the answers to these questions, one thing is certain, we have a lot of thinking to change if we want to get schools and districts out of the dark age!

Limited vision?

Human Networks

I located this quote/photo on George Couros’s blog, Principal of Change. Over the past few weeks, I’ve had the opportunity to engage with a variety of educators on the topic of teaching and learning with technology. The above quote from Clay Shirky reminded me of the limited view so many educators have of how technology can impact learning. Too many educators stop their thought process at the idea of using technology simply to access static information instead of emphasizing connection and access to active minds. Engaging active minds invites inquiry and deeper learning and understanding. I’d say this distinction is a fairly significant hurdle for school leaders and educators in general to get over before we really see transformational uses of technology.

Preparing kids for life after high school. Really?

Why do videos like this one, claiming to prepare our kids for the future, always look like they were created in the 20th century?

And this video explaining the common core….there isn’t very much “21st century” in these classrooms, is there? I believe you can absolutely have inquiry without technology, but when you say, “Preparing kids for life after high school is a top priority here,” shouldn’t that include the tools they already have?

Isn’t our idea of “preparing kids for life after high school” a bit limited? I continue to think leadership’s incomplete view of the future is doing us more harm than good.