Fullan states in chapter 5 of his book Leading in a Culture of Change, “If you remember one thing about information, it is that it only becomes valuable in a social context.” (2001). We just had a nice Twitter session about this concept and it was the consensus of the group that information should be shared with others. We should not “hoard” information. For example, sending people to conferences to learn something, but when they come back, they don’t share anything!
One way to share information is through EdCamps. Kristen Swanson states “The Edcamp model provides educators with a sustainable model for learning, growing, connecting, and sharing. Everyone’s expertise is honored, and specific, concrete strategies are exchanged. ” (2016) I have never heard of this model, but it makes sense and it values everyone’s experiences and knowledge. Kristen states that anyone can plan an EdCamp, and the sessions are unknown until everyone is in attendance. I think we all can share something of value in these types of gatherings. I think I could share how I have students create math art such as tessellations, Escher-type tessellations, mandalas, perspective drawings, and origami.
Bob Dillon states one way to share knowledge is to use your PLN (Professional Learning Network) by systematically sharing, and don’t assume people already have the information. (2015). I think this last phrase is what I am guilty of most of the time. If I know something, someone else should know it too. Sometimes it is true, but we can’t assume it’s true all the time. At the same time, I’m guilty of not sharing. I suppose it’s worse to not share valuable information than to share mediocre information.
Tom Whitby has a nice modification to PLN by stating that it is Personalized Learning Network, in fact he states it is “a tool that uses social media and technology to collect, communicate, collaborate and create with connected colleagues anywhere at any time.” (2013) He is a firm believer that Twitter is the “backbone” of PLNs. Your resource is the globe! It’s interesting that the courses for my Ed Tech program at UAS use this as one of our methods of sharing, and connecting with other educators. It’s amazing to connect with people around the country, even in Europe (one classmate was in France for one of our sessions!) He suggests that we spend 20 minutes a day interacting and collaborating via Twitter, or blogs, or Google +, or education groups. It’s a mindset he states. I have had a chance to participate in most of these in the last year and it’s amazing. I feel bad for not doing this on a regular basis with my fellow math teachers at my school or district!
Tom also wrote another article Okay, I’m Connected. Now what? He states that we need to take the ideas we learn as a connected educator to our non-connected educators. (2013) This is a true way to increase our “knowledge pool.” He also advises us to convince colleagues to connect so we can all benefit. This, in essence, is the core of this week’s essential question. If we can all connect and share our knowledge, we can rest assured that our education system will allow our students to have the best educational experience possible in the 21st century.
I have lived through the transformation of not having much technology in my early years of teaching, and now we have a plethora of technology literally at our fingertips. It is not an easy transition for seasoned educators my age, and I admit I am a proponent of using technology to its fullest extent in the class and in school. The technology we possess can be used to make our system better and connected, for both teachers and students. We just have to convince all educators to share their knowledge!
Dillon, Bob. (2015). 21st-Century PD: Retention, Reflection, and Redistribution of Knowledge. Edutopia. Retrieved from https://www.edutopia.org/blog/21st-century-pd-retention-reflection-redistribution-bob-dillon
Fullan, Michael. (2001). Leading in a Culture of Change. John Wiley and Sons, Inc.
Swanson, Kristen. (2016). Why Edcamp? Edutopia. Retrieved from https://www.edutopia.org/blog/why-edcamp-kristen-swanson
Whitby, Tom. (2013). How Do I Get a PLN? Edutopia. Retrieved from https://www.edutopia.org/blog/how-do-i-get-a-pln-tom-whitby
Whitby, Tom. (2013). Okay, I’m Connected. Now What? My Island View. [blog] Retrieved from https://tomwhitby.com/2013/08/02/okay-im-connected-now-what/