It’s 6:15 a.m. on a #CelebrateMonday morning and there are twenty-three Voxer messages in my Learning Transformed Voxer chat queue. Twenty-three reflections on learning, leadership, and ways to instigate change in our schools. As Eric Sheninger and Tom Murray share in the book, strong leaders don’t just embrace change, they seek it. As I put together the lunches for my two children and think about my day, I am drawn to listening, replying, and adding to this conversation that is simply nonstop. A conversation that Eric Sheninger and Tom Murray participate in with their author voices. As Amanda Kavanagh noted, the chat is on fire. I have never seen anything like it. In only discussing the book’s Introduction, we examined and debated early acceleration in math, Google vs. Microsoft 365 or 360 (and how maybe Microsoft only works well during leap years), the beauty of Fountas and Pinnell, instructional tech plans that truly speak to instruction and not management, telling our students’ stories, the power behind surveying students, the imperativeness of being a connected educator, and the ability to own your own learning (and of course our obsession with kidOYO found its presence). As one member shared, “I feel as if I had a full day of learning before I got to work.” But, that is just it. As Dr. Tony Sinanis commented in his presentation at #CELI18, “Learning should not be secondary to what you do at work.” I am fortunate. I am blessed. I am simply in awe of the educators in my PLN. They drive me to be better and they push my thinking. What would I do without this chat? Without them? Without the humor? Without this reflection canvas? Without this extra reason to read more often?
Here is where this blog post really begins. Unfortunately, we are surrounded by those who choose these withouts on purpose. How do we work collectively to model connected learning? As Dr. Don Gately questioned at #CELI18, why do people choose to be disconnected? I don’t know if Voxer is for everyone. But learning has to be. Our #kidsdeserveit. Perhaps the four ideas below can be a start:
- Always have a book that you are currently reading with others. You can read a paper copy. You can read a digital copy. Either works. I prefer a hybrid approach. But, read something and reflect as a group on how the text connects to your work, your students’ lives, and the change that your school community deserves. Many of the members of our Learning Transformed chat collaborated on End of Average and School Climate. See the trend? Share your reading life on your email signature.
- Own your own learning. You may work in an organization that fosters professional learning. You may not. If not, get behind the wheel and begin driving your own path forward. It is about you and not the others who remain in their own back seats. Build a PLN. Find a Voxer book chat. Attend an EdCamp (EdCamp Leader is July 20th….). Follow the educators listed at the bottom of this post in the Voxer screenshot.
- Participate in an honest feedback loop with someone you trust, admire, and learn from. I am lucky to work every day with dedicated educators who reflect on best practice, focus on the highest level of success, and feel comfortable dissecting leadership decisions that we weigh each day. I am especially lucky to have Dr. Danielle Gately to provide laser sharp feedback as part of this necessary loop. I rely on her honesty and passion. Find someone like her in your organization who seeks to make you better. If you don’t have that person, lead up. Start the conversation.
- Technology. Never leave home without it. Yes, I am serious. You must always be connected. When you have questions, you need to be able to connect with those outside of your organization, your county, your state, or even your country. Digital access and collaboration have made learning so much easier than in the past. Let Twitter push your practice. In fact, always consult Twitter. You aren’t on Twitter….what?!?