Archive for the ‘PLN’ Category

social-media

As I was sitting in the drive-through line at our local don’t shop this morning, I began reading a blogpost from Eric Sheninger called Relationships are Everything, http://esheninger.blogspot.com/2017/01/relationships-are-everything.html , and it got me to thinking about my own story involving using social media.  I use social media but I am by far, not a pro at it. 

This is my story….

I’ve been a principal for 16 years now at three different schools.  At my first school, social media was just getting started but most people, including me, didn’t participate.  After a few years as social media grew, I knew about some of it, like MySpace, Facebook, and Twitter, but I still didn’t participate. 

At my second school I had a superintendent who was dead-set against us using any forms of social media at school, even really in our personal lives.  There was in incident at either our Jr. High or our elementary school and a parent got really upset at something (I don’t even remember what it was).  She BLASTED the school and our superintendent on Facebook.  From that point forward, he referred to Facebook as “The Evil Empire” and he thought there was nothing good that could come from social media, so he really was against it.

It was during this time that I attended a conference in the summer of 2012 and I joined Twitter.  I went to a session and the presenter showed us how she used Twitter as a way to learn.  This was something that was a way for me to expand my own learning opportunities, so I signed up at the end of her session.  She showed me how she looked at someone’s bio, looked at who they were following, and read some of their tweets before she started following them.  That is what I did as well.  Soon, I had built up a pretty good group of people I was following and at the same time, many people started following me. 

I went back to my district and shared what I was doing on Twitter.  I got many of my teachers involved but the other administrators were slow to follow.  Remember, my superintendent thought of Facebook a “The Evil Empire” and he really never got on board with what I was doing with using Twitter as my personal learning network, my PLN.  He did allow me to start a Twitter account for my high school but warned me that if there was anything negative that came from it, I would have to delete the account.  I could use Twitter but NOT Facebook.  In reality, very few of the parents at that time followed us on Twitter.  They were all on Facebook so our communication efforts via social media were very limited.  I eventually started a school Instagram account, so I was able to have Twitter and Instagram but still no Facebook. 

I eventually took a position at my current district and in talking with my new superintendent, he was agreeable to me using Twitter, Instagram, AND Facebook.  He said just to be cautious.  At this time, I was familiar with Twitter and Instagram but not Facebook.  I didn’t even have a personal account, so I got signed up.  I started my own personal Facebook account and also one for my school.  At this time, my school had Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook accounts.  My district did not have an account on any of these nor did the other two schools in my district.  I kept telling them how much of a benefit it is and how we were reaching more people and sharing information and good things that were happening in our school and that they should really get started doing this.

Now our district and all three campuses have Twitter and Facebook accounts (my school is the still the only one who currently has an Instagram account) and this has been very positive for our schools and district.  Even my previous school district still uses social media and even has given in to “The Evil Empire” and began using Facebook.

My personal use of social media has changed a lot since I started being connected.  I have been able to learn from many other administrators from all of the country and the world.  Not only have I been able to learn more, I have been able to learn more of what I wanted to learn.  Rather than just going to a workshop or conference and just keeping all the information to myself, I am able to share with others.  I can learn from others and I can share with others. 

I have a system on how I use social media.  I use Twitter for professional learning and I use Facebook just socially and for fun.  I will share some personal stuff on Twitter, but not very often.  For my school, I am able to connect my Twitter account to my Facebook account so I can just post one time and it posts to both.   When I first started doing this, I would post to Facebook first then is automatically posted to Twitter.  I have since switched this and post to Twitter first and it posts to Facebook automatically. I got this idea from my superintendent.  By posting to Twitter first, when we tweet and have a photo with it, that photo will show up on the Facebook post as well.  When we posted to Facebook first the photos would not show up on Twitter until you clicked on the link.  And I still use Instagram but not as often. 

My goal is to better utilize all forms of social media.  I have a Snapchat account both personally and for my school but I don’t use it.  I keep asking my daughter to teach me how to use it, but she doesn’t want to help me.  I am also going to begin to utilize YouTube for my school.  This is what I am working on now.  Stay tuned.

Since I began my journey into school administration, a lot has changed.  Unfortunately, there are those who do not want to change with the times.  These are the ones who will get left behind.  We must all be open to the new as well as being able to stick with what is working … just making it better.  My social media journey has been fun.  There is something out there every day to learn, videos to watch, new recipes to try, old friends to find, and much more. 

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Wednesday

Today is Wednesday, January 13, 2016, and today was “one of those days” !!!

It started off good, went bad, then ended up good again.  Notice that there were two positives to only one negative so that pretty much sums it up.  The positive outweighed the bad today, so I’m not going to talk about the negative here.

Last week when we returned from our Christmas Break, I met with my faculty and staff and we discussed a few things, one of which was an “idea” I had.  One of my goals is to get my teachers to get together more so they can learn from each other.  This is not a new idea at all.  It’s done everywhere …  on Twitter, in libraries, in cafeterias, in teacher’s classrooms.  Everywhere except at my school.   Not really … that’s an exaggeration.  It does take place at my school in pockets, on a small scale.  And often times, it’s done begrudgingly.

What I want to do is have a day once a week where my teachers get together and share ideas with each other. I decided on Wednesday after school — 3:45 in the library.  I told everyone on my campus about it last week.  This week I sent an email to the Jr. High and Elementary teachers and invited them to come.

This is what I said about the Wednesday Learning Opportunity (the name I made up):

What it is–
  • Learn from each other
  • Share ideas
  • Discuss Articles/books
  • Use of Social media
What it not —
  • Gripe session
  • Mandatory

I knew that I didn’t need to force this on them at all, so I made sure to put that it was NOT mandatory.  I still had one teacher ask me if she had to come!  Again, I said that is was not mandatory.

So today, before I went to bus duty, I stopped by the library and got the computer and projector set up and wondered if anyone would show up.  I was curious and told myself that if no one showed up today that I would try again next week, and then again the next week if I needed to.  In reality, I thought to myself that the “Not Mandatory” part of it would offer a free ticket for them not to come!  After all, the first question I got about it was from a teacher asking if she “had” to come!!

While at the bus stop this afternoon, I got an email from an elementary teacher letting me know that she wasn’t going to make it because she had a sick child at home, but that she would be here next week.  That was cool.  Somebody wanted to make it today but just couldn’t.  And I knew that I would have at least one person next week.

So as the last bus leaves at 3:40, I make my way to the library.  I walk in and to my surprise there are 11 teachers, 1 counselor, 1 assistant principal, and 1 superintendent.  That was 15 people (including me) getting together to talk, ask questions, and share ideas.

Not a bad way to end the day.

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Learn and Grow

What is the purpose of school?

It doesn’t matter if it is Elementary, Middle School / Jr. High, or High School.  The purpose of school is for the students to learn.  It’s our job as educators to teach them so they can learn.  It’s that simple!

As teachers, we already know everything, right?  We know everything there is to know and we can teach it to every student that walks through our doors, right?  And we know the best way to teach it to them so they can learn it, right?

Really!  (Can you detect a little sarcasm here?)

So what do teachers do to learn?  This is a good question … a question that doesn’t have just one answer because all teachers learn differently, just like their students.  There is not a right way or a wrong way.  What’s important is that you have to learn.  If you don’t, your students will suffer.  And that is unacceptable!

Your students depend on you for help.  Your students depend on you to learn so they can learn!

Here’s the challenge:  get connected, reflect, explore, read, watch, listen, model, collaborate, search, take notes, blog, lurk, discuss, encourage, share, and  …………… grow!

grow

Twitter-icon

Last summer at the TASSP Summer workshop I attended a session on Twitter.  I created a Twitter account during that session and that started me on the path to where I am today.  Now, one year later, I am going to present three sessions on using Twitter to build your PLN (Personal Learning Network).  Up until that point last summer, I relied on others for my professional development, but since then, I have been learning something new almost daily … and it’s been on my own terms.

I would like to acknowledge a few people who I have found through Twitter.  They have shared some resources that I will use during my presentation this week, and without being on Twitter, I would never have been able to find this information as easily as I have.  They are a valuable resource for me, and I am very grateful to each of them for the part they have played in helping me grow as an educator.

Thank you …

  1. Eric Sheninger – @NMHS_Principal – Twitter Resources, Apps, and Tools
  2. Daniel Zeevi – @DanielZeevi – Twitter 101: What is Twitter Really About
  3. Leland Rechis – @leland – Introducing Fast Follow, and Other SMS Tips
  4. Jerry Blumengarten, AKA Cybraryman – @cybraryman1 – Cybraryman’s Internet Catalogue
  5. Tom Murray – @tomascmurray – and Chad Evans – @cevans5095 – Google Doc — Weekly Twitter Chats
  6. Tony Sinanis – @Cantiague_Lead – Everything We Need to Know We Learned on Twitter
  7. Erin Klein – @KleinErin – Twitter for teachers: Erin Klein’s Awesome 10-Minute Video Tells All
  8. Jeff Herb – @jeffherb – How to Join Twitter
  9. Rita Clawson – @RitaClawson – Clawson’s Bloggity
  10. Sally Cariker – @carikers –Random Thoughts and Musings
  11. Jennifer Rogers – Technology Times in an E-Classroom

It truly has been an interesting year for me as far as my professional development goes.  I cannot stress enough how valuable of a tool Twitter is for educators, and I hope that more people get on board.  With Twitter you have access to thousands of teachers, administrators, and other educational professionals throughout the world.  There is no easier way to learn, exchange ideas and be in control of your own professional development.

If you haven’t begun to use Twitter to build your PLN, what are you waiting for?

Simply Lead

Today was an AWESOME day!

I was fortunate enough to attend Chick-fil-A Leadercast 2013, a one day event that is held LIVE in Atlanta, Georgia and broadcast to hundreds (over 750, I think) of locations around the world.

I can’t say enough about how great of an event this was.  Not only were the speakers and the information they shared great, you could also download the Chick-fil-A Leadercast app.  This was an amazing app that had additional leadership resources, You could take notes directly on the app, and, at one point the emcee, Tripp Crosby, Facetimed with everyone who had downloaded the app.  It was just plain cool!

The theme of this year’s Leadercast 2013 was SIMPLY LEAD.  So in keeping with the theme, I will share a little bit of what I got from each of the speakers.

1.  ANDY STANLEY — Best-selling leadership author & communicator and founder of North Point Ministries

  • Take complicated things and make them simple.
  • What is your core responsibility?
  • Create a one-sentence job description that describes your critical role, your unique contribution to your organization.

2.  JOHN C. MAXWELL — Internationally-renowned leadership expert, coach, and author who has sold over 20 million books

  • Take something complicated and make it simple.
  • How to Simply Lead — It’s basic math!
  • ADD value to people everyday.
  • SUBTRACT your leadership landmines.
  • MULTIPLY your strengths by developing them.
  • DIVIDE  your weaknesses by delegating them.  (let somebody do it who does it well)

3.  SONYA RICHARDS-ROSS — 2012 London Olympic GOLD Medalist in Track & Field

  • Make a vision board.  Focus on your goals.  Look at it everyday.
  • Focus on one thing.  Don’t multi-task.
  • Focus on victory … not what can go wrong.

4.  DR. HENRY CLOUD — Leadership consultant and coach.  Clinical psychologist.

  • Bring necessary endings.  Prune it.  Quit doing stuff that’s not necessary.  Keep doing stuff that’s vital for growth.
  • Don’t be a HOARDER.  Don’t hang on to the past.  Yesterday has gone — let it go.  This includes people too.
  • Focus your attention on the relevant.  Keep current.

5.  DAVID ALLEN — Best-selling author.  Personal and organizational productivity expert.

  • Crisis evokes serenity.  Why?  Because you’re focused.
  • Everybody has the same amount of time – 24 hours in a day.
  • Have a mind like water.  Don’t over react or under react.
  • Don’t multi-task.  Only do one thing at a time.

6.  MIKE KRZYZEWSKI — Head Men’s Basketball coach, Duke University and Team USA

  • You can’t hold back.  Don’t get side-tracked from your mission.
  • In order to learn and grow, you have to get out of your comfort zone.
  • RULES are externally applied.
  • STANDARDS are internally applied.
  • You must have standards.  Have your team “own” the standards.

7.  CONDOLEEZZA RICE — Former Secretary of State (2005 – 2009). Professor at Stanford University.

  • Recognize the simple things that you can do better.
  • The key to complexity is to see simplicity.
  • Even under the most dire situations, try to be an optimist.

8.  JACK WELCH — Former CEO of General Electric

  • Be straight with people.
  • Generosity Gene — Good bosses have it.  They love to give and not take.
  • When you say something is important, back it up.
  • Get rid of the high performer with low values.  This person will destroy your organization.
  • Make your organization a place where people love to be there.

9.  LCDR RORKE DENVER  — Navy SEAL and star of the 2012 movie,  Act of Valor

  • Calm is contagious.  Stupid is also contagious.
  • How can you constantly improve?  Keep reaching!
  • Lead from the front.

This was the kind of event that everyone in any leadership capacity should attend every year. As a mater of fact, you should go ahead and put next year’s date on your calendar — May 9, 2014.

Locked Out

It’s 2013.  It’s the 21st Century.  It’s not 1983, when there was no internet in schools.

When I was in high school, we didn’t have computers.  I had to take a class called Typing, and we used typewriters (which I don’t know if they even make them anymore).  We went to a convenient store to play Pac Man and Ms. Pac Man.  Every so often they would get a new game.  Galaga, Asteroids, Frogger, Space Invaders are the ones I remember.  When we wanted to watch a movie, we had to go to the movie theater.  There was no Netflix or YouTube.

I had a U.S. History teacher who put his notes on an overhead for us to copy.  Page after page!  We had a test every Friday.  We couldn’t talk or ask questions.  Remember this … read the chapter and answer the questions at the end of each section?    Teachers checked attendance and put the paper on a clip outside the door.  What’s scary is that there are some teachers today who would still like to be like this!!!

Remember, there was no internet back then.  But today, we are fortunate to have access to the internet and it is a great tool.  (Thanks Al Gore for inventing it!!)   Students today have grown up with the internet.  They don’t know life without it.

Luckily it’s now 2013.  We have access to the internet and it is a great resource for the teachers and students.

Let’s lock it down and see what happens.

I can tell you what happens.  It creates a lot of turmoil.  It creates a lot of chaos.  It creates uncertainty with teachers and students, who have been fortunate enough to have an almost all access pass to the internet.  They do not understand why this had to be done.  Our filter has taken care of the bad sites for the most part.  Now, though, it was totally locked down but is gradually allowing certain sites to be allowed.  All this has been done for a reason, but most people don’t care what the reason was.

Many of us have taken for granted what we have and how fortunate we are at my school.  What I am afraid of, though, is that the loss of most of our internet access will set us back.  Maybe not as far back as the 80’s, but at least a few years.  Back to a time where the teachers didn’t feel comfortable using technology.  What I’m afraid of is that we’ve lost a year’s worth of technological progress in just one week.

I hope not!

Are you

Are you …

  1. Motivated?
  2. Confident?
  3. Reliable?
  4. Encouraging?
  5. Enthusiastic?
  6. Industrious?
  7. Focused?
  8. Resourceful?
  9. Open-minded?
  10. Determined?
  11. Persistent?
  12. Ambitious?
  13. Passionate?
  14. Driven?
  15. Positive?

Well …

what-if