Monday, 28 July 2014

Watering my PLN garden

I know, it's a cheesy title, but it is summer, I think this is OK.

I am taking some time this summer to really work on my PLN. I think it was Doug Peterson @dougpete who wrote this is the best time to go through your twitter feed and cull the contacts who stopped tweeting in 2007.

So, I'm working on a few things.

I rely so much on Twitter now, I really need to spend time making sure my feed is in good shape for the hectic year ahead.  Here are some of the things I am working on:

1.  Fine tuning my Twitter feed - There are a whole host of services out there that will help you fine tune your twitter feed.  Who should be followed? Who just dropped you?  Who do you need to acknowledge?  Right now, I am using  every day.  I had NO IDEA that people actually 'unfollow' you on a regular basis!  I am also using and to finess my feed.

Its actually really interesting to see who unfollows you.  I just found out that I was unfollowed by a Guatemalan supergroup - what did I say?

Seriously, these tools are really useful. There are a bunch of people out there who I should be following, but I didn't know it.  Now I am trying to make amends.

2.  Follow your crew - My school board is pretty amazing when it comes to social media and digital technology.  I have decided to follow everyone in my school board - including all the schools - who have a Twitter account.  At this point, that means I am following an additional 253 people and schools.

It is a little like cheerleading, but I think it is really important to support educators who are willing to put themselves out there.  Over 250 - not bad!

3.  Thank everyone - have you ever been thanked when you follow someone?  Think about it, you saw their posts, you considered what you could learn and you clicked on the 'follow' button.  Good for you. You have just affirmed someone else's work and you don't even know them.  Isn't it great if they actually thank you for acknowledging them?

So, that is what I am working on and it's lots of fun.  I am having some great conversations and I am learning lots.

So - how are you watering your PLN garden?

Sunday, 13 July 2014

What actions can you take to become a connected leader?

I watched this video today made by Mark Carbone and Donna Fry, two educators who have been doing a great deal of interesting work trying to connect learners in Ontario.

If you are following their work, you will be aware of their MOOC - Ontario School and System Leaders Edtech.

I have been doing my best to follow their blog posts and contribute where possible.

Now that we are off and starting to regenerate for another school year, it is a good time to take a look at the OSSEMOOC blog

Mark has one line in the video that has me thinking and wondering about the future - 'The smartest person in the room is the room.'  We need to move to a learning model for educational leaders that puts the emphasis on connecting with others to get new ideas.

Being a connected learner is more important than ever.  This comes out very clearly in the TED Talk above by Donna and Mark.  I think our teachers are starting to do this, we have some great educators in our board who are very well connected to a variety of learning communities.

However, I am concerned about our administrators.  Our attempts at connecting to the wider community are sporadic at best.  We still meet monthly to listen to one speaker with one idea.  We do not spend time connecting to other administrators in our board or with administrators in other jurisdictions.

My hope for the future is that there will be a shift for all of us to become a connected learning community.  People are doing this on their own, but I think this should be facilitated by the school board as well.

In the meantime, I will continue to work on connecting to other learners and I will of course continue to be an active participant in the OSSEMOOC.