It's Connected Educator month, and I want to issue a challenge to my fellow educators:
Share a Win or Fail with our national PLC this month, and use the #EdShare hashtag.
Let's break that down:
1. "Our National PLC"
When I hear educators talk about Professional Learning Communities, they are often talking about local or regional groups... even building-level groups. Why is it that we all share our most essential insights with the teacher down the hall, or the district down the road, but we don't always move to connect beyond the county line? It's time to think about Connectedness as a national-level activity.
Let's push ourselves to finding the pioneering districts and thought leaders far from our home states. This month, I challenge you to find an inspiring school or district at least 1,000 miles away. Read about their work. Connect with their leaders on LinkedIn and Twitter. Or better yet, in a Google hangout. And let's help those leaders find us... by sharing our best insights in places like Twitter chats and online communities with peers from across the country.
Where can you find the national PLC? The Graphite website has reviews of tools from across the country. Key Twitter chats like #satchat, #cpchat, and #edtechbridge draw education leaders from every state. In addition, there are Edmodo, ISTE, and LinkedIn groups connect educators from around the country. These are perfect places to take your next #edshares. If you are going to share, share big.
2. "A Win or Fail"
When something works, share it! Loud and proud. Share excellent classroom practices. Share how your school team overcame a challenge. Share a district success that others can emulate. If you find a fabulous product, tell us. Share your rubrics. Share your exemplars. Take photos and videos, and post them with pride. Share your victories with enough detail that others can flatter you through imitation!
But please don't forget that your Fails are important to share, too. Ted Williams didn't bat 1.000, or .500 for that mattter. I know my district is not close to batting 1.000 and I bet your team isn't either. We pilot products that don't work as expected. Projects fail to soar because we don't lay the right foundations. We find tools that teachers love, then find that students or administrators don't share those feelings.
We can save each other so much time if we shared the "What Not To Do" stories as often as we shared the "What Went Well" stories? It takes a lot of trust to share our low points with new people. So, this Connected Educator month, I promise you this:
If you share your Fails, you will gain more trust because of your transparency, not less. In addition, you will find that there are educators around the country who will tell you how they found success in similar initiatives/implementations. I hope you'll do the same!
3. #EdShare - A New Hashtag for Connected Educators
#EdShare is for educators to share wins and fails with peers. If you tweet about a great tool or a poor one, use #edshare. If you blog about a success story that I should emulate, use #edshare. If someone should connect with you about your work, tell us why, and use #edshare. This Connected Educator month, let's up our #edshare game. I'll be sharing often, and I hope you will, too.