If Shrodinger's cat would meow, we'd know whether it is alive or dead.
If teachers talked about what they are doing in the classrooms...
A report from the box would be helpful for everyone. Many connected educators are working to get out of the box, open the doors, tear down the walls, get out of the building, virtually and physically. To shut the door and teach is to enter voluntary isolation - we need no longer be limited to a few moments here and there to share, listen, and collaborate. Social media enables these interactions: Twitter for current headlines and interactions, blogs for in-depth thinking and dialogue, Skype and Google+ for longer conversations. But how does one initiate these conversations with these online colleagues? Asking questions? For sure. Answering questions? Definitely. Sharing your own ideas? Why not?
Reframing Modesty, Finding Confidence, Creating Creativity
We may be uneasy talking publicly about our own practice feeling either like we have nothing worth sharing, or it feels like bragging, coming off as a know-it-all, self-serving promotion. At the same time we know that when students discuss ideas and share their work, it contributes to better understanding. Inevitably there will be someone in the world who has not heard about what you are sharing - we all have something to contribute to someone We also know that sharing and talking about concepts, practice, projects, and challenges can result in deeper connections and understandings. Steven Johnson in this video describes how connectivity creates creativity and through social media brings ideas together in ways that create new understandings.
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Sending out blog posts about your practice and experience feels awkward at first because you don't know your audience (if there even is one!) Find your voice, your focus, do it for yourself as a reflective activity remembering that these aren't intended as private musings, rather they are publicly shared. The companion to publishing is promotion. Sharing your posts on Twitter, Facebook, via e-mail with your friends and colleagues at first it feels a little like being a Carney at the state fair midway, but think of it as initiating conversations with people at a party hoping to find someone to talk for the evening.
Take the time to read other blogs. Use a feed reader and subscribe to RSS feed to quickly and easily grab new posts. It is so much easier than clicking through a series of bookmarks to see if there is anything new at a particular site. The RSS feed is part of my morning routine skimming through headlines with cup of coffee in hand and reading articles of interest. Tweeting out a good article recognizes the blog writer's efforts and shows the post was important to you, and worth reading. Leaving a comment on the blog to share a thought or reaction is encouraged. Not only will the blog writer reflect on your comment, but other visitors to the page will be part of that conversation.
Just Do It
Social media makes it tremendously easy to share information and invite conversation with others. It is a forum that transcends place and time allowing educators to engage in conversation when and how it suits them. Without it, we are limited to proscribed professional development days with a limited group of people. Communication unbounded by time and geography enables talk amongst educators that otherwise would be challenging at best.
Here are some of the posts I read that led me to my own reflection on the topic.
So purr, meow, hiss. Share what you're doing, invite comments, spread your news. Don't leave colleagues wondering if you're dead or alive (or both, or neither)