August 8, 2015

Are you flying solo?

Is it better to be alone, part of network, or member of a Community?
Showing folks the benefits of being connected will always be needed. I do lessons with my boys on this topic every year.  We usually start to network for personal gain. We have a problem and need help so we go online. We follow people who can help us. Lord knows, I do this all the time. Through these network connections we are sometimes able to join communities. 

One of the benefits not realized through our connections is the power of the community. Communities have a common goal driving them. As our trust in community members becomes stronger so too does the community. Usually what calls for the need to form communities is the need for change. The change could be a revised mission statement, new technology visions plan, or introduction of learning devices/tools like the iPad or Google Docs. 

Quite often we see schools go it alone. Principals going through Middle States don't talk to other principals who recently went through the process. In some cases people are stubborn but mostly I think people don't know how to go about being connected.  Some see the need to connect as a sign of weakness or not having the answers. Teachers especially spend a lot of time alone with their class. They don't have visitors aside from the required evaluation visit. Lunch rooms and faculty lounges are spaces to vent rather than learn and share. 

I believe many schools could benefit from a workshop on being a "learning tool". Two years ago one of my Secondary sessions was on "Building Your PLN to Become a Connected Educator".  It was designed to help teachers get connected.  We created Twitter accounts, found some educators to follow and laid the groundwork for becoming a connected educator.

What do you think? Should teachers be connected? Do you see the information available online as a distraction? Would you rather develop your own solutions? 

I am curious to hear what my fellow teachers are thinking. Pleases share your comments below.

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