My husband (@burgessdave) recently wrote a blog post titled, “Rolling Snowballs Downhill”. He compared the process of changing school culture to rolling a snowball downhill; the snowball starts small, but as it rolls downhill, it gains momentum, picks up more snow, and can eventually grow quite large. In his post, he writes:
“Change is created by starting small and building powerful relationships with a committed but often small initial group. This group can then hit the ground and start moving forward. They will find it easier to overcome inertia because they will not be weighed down by the naysayers, the reluctant, and the largest group of all…the comfortable. They will be free to build momentum unencumbered by the resistance and friction that so often dooms forward progress in projects that try to bring everyone along for the ride from the beginning. As they build speed rolling down the hill, they will attract others to the cause who will now want to get involved with a successful and positive movement. Eventually, the size of the snowball reaches the point of critical mass, drawing in all around it and becoming an unstoppable force for change and progress.”
In the past few months, I have recently discovered for myself the power of social media and many web 2.0 tools… I am more connected than I have ever been before, and the professional learning I have experienced through social media is the best I have had in years. I want this experience for EVERYONE in our district. As a district leader, I also have started to think about flipping classrooms and meetings, hosting edcamps, having students and adults write and reflect through blogging… there is so much more I think about doing as I continue to connect and learn from colleagues around the world who are part of my PLN.
What I know, though, is that many are as sceptical as I was a few months ago; some do not understand or believe; some do not know how these tools might impact them professionally; some are intimidated; many do not know what they are missing!
As much as I want social media and web 2.0 tools, and all of the possibilities they have to offer, to be an integral part of our system, I am convinced that in order to make this happen, we have to roll a snowball downhill. I am fortunate to have a colleague (@directoramy) who is as committed about the use of social media as I am. With our initial enthusiasm, we were able to recruit two principals and one of our coordinators to join us. A dedicated teacher joined in! We have added a few of our academic coaches to the mix and just yesterday hosted an open invitation to our first “Connected Leaders” series where we offered a Twitter tutorial. We helped strengthen the understanding of Twitter for a few of our colleagues, and we had four more start their accounts and send their first tweets – one of whom will quickly be our next Twitter addict. With about 15 of us now connected, we have even started our own District hash tag.
Becoming a “connected” district and harnessing the power of web 2.0 tools may not happen as quickly as I might hope, but we are moving forward with a small, committed group. We have made our snowball, and we are getting ready to roll it downhill!