Thursday, July 11, 2013

Anti-Twitter Heretic? You Decide

     This summer I have become a Twitter fan and have used it as my primary source for connecting with others and learning new information. I have only now realized how interwoven Twitter is with digital communication. The other night during a Twitter discussion, someone noted how we mostly pat ourselves on the backs, share our ideas and agree with each other. I noticed how many people, including myself repeated what someone else had previously said and began to wonder were we becoming a 'Twitter Borg". I  have also begun planning on how to use this tool for the benefit of my school as an administrator.
     However, we live in a world where everything should not be shared with everyone and the attempt to share digitally can sometimes leave room for massive misinterpretations. Have you ever been in a public forum and heard someone say something and thought to yourself "Do they know we can hear them?" Perhaps you have read something and your interpretation caused you take on an emotional swell of feelings towards a person or a group. The fear of all large groups is that someone in the group will say something that grossly misrepresents the core beliefs or values of the whole group causing backlash for everyone related to this person. Retracing and repairing such mistakes would be time consuming at the least and job threatening at the greatest. Although training is always necessary, it often  takes a back seat to emotions. When this happens there will be many questions to answer.
     As a leader the questions I address to myself before having to address them with anyone else are:
1. How did this happen? (What are the origins of this mistake?)
2. What did you do when you discovered this?
3. What fail safes were in place to prevent this?
4. How do you plan on preventing it (or similar situations) from happening again?
When I look at those questions I am uncomfortable at hosting school wide PD or meetings on an open source such as Twitter because of the lack of ability to edit tweets if and when the need arises. This may seem like censorship to many but it is part of my job to protect students from anything that could distract them from being successful learners. (A poorly chosen word or phrase can grow into a beastly distraction for a school and / or a school district) Secondly, the community holds me responsible for what comes through the school and to the public because it represents their shared beliefs.
     This fall I will begin using Twitter for sharing information with the community and I will continue using Twitter personally to learn and share.
As for me and my school I will continue my quest for an in-house collaboration tool that allows me to control who sees what information with the ability to edit in real time.
For others, I challenge you to be open to all options and/or looking at ways to make Twitter even more conducive to our needs as educators.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Hello World, I'm Awake

Imagine a set of Dominoes arranged in a row tumbling one after the other. If you are in this line, you hear the clicking sounds, you know what's going to happen and you can only wait to fall. Now imagine this scenario played in reverse and the clicking sounds become exciting as you are surprisingly lifted upward and as you are lifted you find that you are lifting someone else. This is the effect I have felt with Twitter this summer. I have grown leaps and bounds and have re-awakened my digital self. I have been whole heartedly engaged by conversations, suggestions and ideas. Witnessing so many people doing so many exciting things it's hard not to get swept away in this awesome digital tsunami.  So many thoughts, ideas and blogs. It seems that everyone is blogging. I began replacing the word Blog with Blah as I heard Blah, Blah, Blah all day long. I wondered "What in the Hell are these people Blogging about?". So I started reading them and was amazed with how many people had so many fresh and new insights on so many topics. Inspired, I decided to create a video podcast and shared this idea with @mguhlin who of course replied, "I hope you'll share your process in a blog entry".  WHAT? I just said I was making a video so why would I write about this in a blog?. Whatever @mguhlin. Yes its a smart aleck quip but he just tugged at a loose thread that was beginning to unravel and I didn't want to lose my shirt.
This morning I awoke, checked the Twitter feed and there was @RafranzDavis with her Blog entry on How-to-Be-Awesome like Beyonce. (Warning a little Beyonce can take you far but too much and you may cross the Egomaniac borderline:), being Beyonce is not for everyone, just saying) Rafranz was inspired by a Nelson Mandela quote shared by @8Amber8 who may or may not have blogged this. However, on the way to reading about being Awesome I saw a picture of a porch which instantly transported me to my childhood and like a child being lifted up by a protective grandparent I was lifted up from slumber to remember that we write, we share we exist to help others. Thank you Twitter friends, I admire and appreciate you all !