I feel like I need to share some really good news with you. And I am not alone. See, I was just like you!
During these past few months I have opened myself up completely to the 21st century. I went full board, having never created a blog, wiki, uploaded a video, nor participated in ANY social media prior to this year. I have never been a techie, or desired to acquire the newest gadgets (Honestly, I held out for a long time from buying compact discs).
I will admit it… I was scared. I had nothing good to say about facebook, twitter, google, blogging, and I too felt that I had learned all I needed to know about the computer (Hey, I was a wiz at the Microsoft office suite). As long as I could get on the internet, I was fine. I knew how to search for things. I could find articles, and resources, or so I thought. As an educator, my mind was made up: we are not allowed to participate in this new found social media stuff anyway. It was all “trouble” and the “devil’s playground.”
I was good. All good. I knew a lot more then my predecessors. I have worked with administrators in the past who didn’t know how to turn on a computer. They couldn’t text, or had no idea what a url was. They were just fine, and some almost reveled in their learned helplessness. Let’s face it, I thought, there were hundreds of thousands of effective principals since the beginning of time who never even wrote an email.
Then a strange thing happened on my way to being comfortable. I found out that as a 38 year old first-year principal, who was a self-described progressive in education, that I was already a dinosaur (insert dinosaur sound). I have called educators dinosaurs before. Gulp. We all know how that story ended: Extinction! Well, I didn’t want to be extinct. And I don’t want you to be either! I had ask myself some tough questions: Am I modeling 21st century skills for my teachers and students? Am I really progressive? Do I really know where education was going? The answers were clearly, NO. So I DID something about it. I TOOK a LEAP. I got off of the comfortable road!
So, this is your homework assignment for the summer. You need to start something. Depending on where you want to grow, there are plenty of resources. And I am willing to help, and so are all the connected educators near you, and thousands more are just a click away. Actually, we are all just a click away from you!
We are not trying to keep anything from you. We want EVERYBODY to be connected. This is not a competition. Rather, it is a privilege that you are in the position you are in. With the gift of being an administrator, there is a responsibility to your teachers, parents, students, and most of all, to yourself. Now, what are you going to do with this precious gift?
Ask yourself these questions….Here are some resources for you.
I want to know how to access the cutting edge information on education. Where do I start?
Twitter.com – It is free, and you will have access to Professional Development at your fingertips 24/7. I recommend to start with the following educators:
@NMHS_Principal, Eric Sheninger, High School Principal
@stumpteacher, Josh Stumpenhorst, Teacher
@PrincipalJ, Jessica Johnson, Elementary Principal
@web20classroom, Steven Anderson, Technology Supervisor
@gcouros, George Couros, Principal and founder of Connected Principals
I want to know how tell my classroom, district or school’s story? Start a school blog or a personal blog using (Blogger, edublogs, or Word Press).
Justin Tarte, Life of an Educator
Dave Gentile, The Road To Excellence is Always Under Construction
Pamm Moore, Learning to Lead
Spike Cook’s RM Bacon School Site, RM Bacon Weekly
Curt Rees, I know this much is true
How will I be able to do all this? You have to make time. Just like the teachers you are frustrated with, you can’t punch in and out. You have to be willing to put in the time, and be committed. The more you are connected, the more you will become inspired by what folks are doing.
How can I learn all of this? Like the famous book by Anne Lamott Bird by Bird you have to start small and take it one bird at a time.
I guarantee that you have a teacher in your building or an administrator in another building that can help you out with your transition to being connected. You just have to open yourself up to the possibilities.
For those of you who are reading this because you are connected, my challenge to you is to print, email, forward, or even read this to another administrator that you feel could benefit.
Remember, I was just like you!
My Prezi on Social Media in Administration:
Great Article on the Power of the Principal:
Twitter accounts for Technology:
Add @gcouros (and his many awesome blogs) and @MrWejr and his blog chriswejr.com both phenomenal administrators, educators and inspirations!
Great post Spike. You are a fantastic writer. Thanks for the mention.
I liked this so much that I tweeted it. I wish we could have worked together. Teachers are expected to learn all new technology, but you are correct- some principals become dinosaurs.
Thanks for the kind words. Maybe we can get you to Southern New Jersey to work with our teachers!