As an educational leader in an elementary school district, I have always considered myself a learner. In fact, the willingness to be a learner is one of the qualities I most value when I am considering hiring others. For a variety of reasons, though, I had not been pushing myself to learn about and use social media. I will admit I had been resistant and even a bit of a skeptic believing social media was a tool used by teenagers and others with too much time on their hands. I have paid too much attention to the media highlighting stories where social media has been used inappropriately to harm others, and I let them reinforce my views that this was not a movement I would soon embrace.
That all changed a few months ago. Following an introduction to Twitter by a new and valued colleague, I went home with enough interest to at least check it out. After a full year of prodding from my husband (an avid user of social media), I finally asked him to sit next to me for awhile and walk me through step by step. He helped me create a Twitter account, showed me the basics of navigation, and started to help me understand how to maximize its benefits and use it effectively.
In just a short time, I have connected with principals, assistant superintendents, superintendents, teachers, education leaders and authors from around the globe; I have received valuable resources through articles, blogs, and education links; I have participated in hosted Twitter discussions with educators across the country and nationwide sharing resources and information about the qualities of effective educational leaders, strengthening PLCs, and the most effective ways to help a struggling teacher improve and grow in his/her craft. I have learned to use my RSS Feed, and I access it daily to read great blogs posted by many of you in my PLN. I have listened to multiple perspectives and grown in my learning tremendously. Someone in my PLN (I am so sorry I don’t remember which of you it was) summed it up for me in a tweet –
“Twitter – In 140 characters or less you can touch my heart or shift my perspective from 5,000 miles away”.
Because of what I have learned from all of you in the past eight weeks I have been inspired to:
- Attend the ISTE conference in my hometown
- Wake up at 4:30 a.m. (at least once in awhile) to join #satchat
- Help my 8 year old daughter create her first website and write her first blog posts
- Revise the Educational leadership webpage in my district to include a blog, links to great resources for learners and leaders (many of which I have received from all of you), and a discussion page for various topics
- Join the #learn 365 project, create the “SBUSD Year of Learning” website, and launch the project
- Write a reflection that I shared with our leadership team about where we were, where we are now, and where we are going
- Create a collection of blogs, articles, stories, and quotes about learning, teaching, and leading that I will access and use in my role as a leader
- Collaborate with other learners and leaders to create and get ready to launch a Twitter chat with a focus on district-level leadership
And now, I have started my own blog which I hope to use to document my reflections on learning and leadership.
Through my PLN, I have been reminded that as leaders it is important to be clear about our vision and what matters most, and I have taken steps to clarify this for my team; I have been inspired to help my district tell our stories and share them with the community, and I am determined to make social media play an integral role in our system.
As a learner I took a step outside of my comfort zone and am now learning in new and exciting ways. Because of all of you in my PLN, I have been a better learner and in turn I will be a better leader. Thank you all for what you have done for me!