Recently, I had the opportunity to speak with a “lurk and learner.” For those of you who do not know, a “lurker” is someone on Social Media who tends to sift through information, blogs, tweets, posts, or videos and quietly learns. They tend to follow more people then they have followers. They have become astute at checking hashtags for ideas and recommendations. But, rarely, if ever do they tweet, blog or put something out into the Social Media landscape.
Do you know how hard it is to get a lurk and learner to share their story?
There are many reasons why people lurk and learn. The lurk and learner I spoke with for this post was Celese Nolan, who is a curriculum coach in my district, and currently enrolled in a doctoral program. She is researching the connected administrators phenomenon through Social Media, and has attended numerous conferences, skypes, edcamps and webinars to both study and learn. When I asked her about lurking and learning, she said, “Lurking and learning has enabled me the opportunity to expand my horizons as a future educational leader as well as a way for me to provide resources to the school district through my current capacity as a coach. When I complete the doctoral program, I will most likely continue lurking and learning, but I also plan to pay it forward through blogs and other web 2.0 tools.”
According to Celese, she is able to lurk and learn almost everywhere. As a mom, wife, student, coach, athlete and friend she is very busy. She utilizes time to learn while she waits for her son to finish practice, waiting in line at the grocery store or while waiting at various appointments. All it takes, she says, is about 10 minutes a day. Often times, she will read her daily paper.li The Curriculum Connection which is generated from the stories circulating on twitter. She designed the paper to populate areas that she is interested in such as Common Core, Instructional Leadership, Language Arts Literacy and Math.
While at conferences, Celese has met many of the edutrailblazers she learns from on twitter. At ASCD in Chicago she met Tom Whitby, Eric Sheninger, Bill Sterret, Erin Klein, Jessica Johnson, and the infamous Will Richardson. A few weeks ago, while at NAESP in Baltimore she met Joe Mazza, Vicky Day, Tony Sinanias, Peter DeWitt, as well as Michael Fullan and Todd Whitaker. She felt a kinship with these educators because they are all part of her PLN. Knowing them through twitter enhanced her conference experience. She said that each have encouraged her to keep lurking and learning.
Celese credits her district administrators Dr. David Gentile and Dr. Pamm Moore for paving the way for educators in the Millville Public School District to become “connected.” “Dr. Moore and Dr. Gentile have modeled the way for innovation, systems thinking, and appropriate use of web 2.0 tools. They have show us the importance of being connected locally, statewide, nationally and globally.”
Here are some helpful hints about Lurking and Learning:
1. Start small. Follow a few educators and read their tweets (see list above).
2. Find a hashtag (#) to follow. Jerry Blumengarten (aka Cybrary Man) has a comprehensive list
3. Follow a twitter chat. Here is the Schedule that Jerry posted
4. As you learn, pay it forward in your organization
Know someone who is lurking and learning? Make sure to support them and encourage them to continue!