Monday, 7 May 2012

My Growing Connections

I am needing to think more about competitive collaboration and the BYOB post is still evolving in the head as well as in practice. With our school having an Education Review Office Visit my mind was elsewhere post Ignition 2012.

My first post ERO (Education Review Office) post finds me not reflecting on the external review but in the reactions of people to my increasing use of 'I read this great tweet...' now I am not a dinosaur but being in my early 40s I do get some looks from people when they hear I use twitter.

For me a twitter started as a bit of 'I'll give that a go' I never thought it would have such an impact in my thinking and learning. I was not interested in Facebook or LinkedIn and have never pursued those avenues of connectivity. I was at an ACEL conference in Sydney and fell into downloading twitter for my iPhone after having a couple of beers with like minded leaders. Simon Breakspear's Keynote further convinced me to pursue this technology as a means of connection with like minded people. As a leader approaching my middle age years I had started to shake the tag of being a young up and coming leader. The connections I made as a deputy principal were drying out. The dialogue sessions with other young leaders in our informal PLG the Praxis group were no longer happening. Perhaps my emerging use of twitter came from a drive to be connected again.

No matter how I arrived I am fortunate I did. In my brief time in the twitter sphere I have made some amazing connections with people I would not have even met. Stunning teachers and leaders from around New Zealand as well other parts of the world. I have seen inspirational links to blogs, been amazed at the talent of our new generation of teachers coming into the profession as well as the ongoing laughs I get from Ricky Gervais and Stephen Fry!

One teacher who has impressed me with her insight and thinking is Tarryn Kennedy - yes she is Australian but seems to be more kiwi in her approach to learning! Now I don't know her and she doesn't know me but having read about what she is doing her mental models of learning resonate with mine. She is leading a staff PD session around twitter and this prompted this post... So why does twitter resonate with me?

It hits at the heart of my mental models of learning and leadership that I have developed over my career. My work with John Edwards and Bill Martin from the OUREducation Network has taught me the importance of Personal Practical Knowledge, PPK. Twitter connects me to people dripping with PPK. They are living learning and teaching in their everyday lives and the thoughts and ideas that are out there enable me to reflect upon my PPK and make the jumps to where I want to be as a leader and learner. Effectively PPK is the stuff that you can do, not just flap your lips about. It is the walk in your talk, the lived and actionable espoused theory. This combination of theory and practice - Praxis is what we seek in education. I had a great praxis group of about 5 people as I was emerging as a leader... with twitter that group is unlimited. I can learn from anyone, anywhere, anytime! Twitter dialogue and connections brings me dissonance and synergy.

So Tarryn - introducing it to staff. Hmmm once shown the possibilities effective teachers will pick this up and use it. I sense that your session isn't just about student learning but about learning in a connected world whether you are a student or teacher. The lines are of student and teacher are blurred. We are all learners at different stages on a continuum and the sooner us teachers remember that the more effective we will all become. I look forward to following the dialogue and hope I can contribute to your session in some way.

A rushed early morning post that had a couple of restarts as the iPad blog app decided to spit the dummy. An early morning due to two sick children and not being able to get back to sleep. Flicked through twitter, read about what Tarryn was going to do today and thought I could throw my two cents in, take from it what you will - got to love the power and connectivity of twitter.

1 comment:

  1. Hi, Stephen

    As they say, practice without theory makes more sense in theory than in practice (I read that in on a very creative engineer's blog).

    I, too, find Twitter to be an extremely effective tool for networking and finding/sharing links and photos (have you started using Instagram?). I discovered some great teachers through Twitter (@taratj comes to mind). I love the flattening effect - no one worries about where you work, where you live, or how old you are. People focus on the useful news, helpful links and cleaver ways of distilling a complex idea (or an entertaining story) into 140 characters. I love the variety of profile pics (some people change their profile image almost as often as I change my clothes). I love it when people start the day with a "good morning, world" tweet when they are getting up and I am about to go to bed. I love how people celebrate and pass on good work, funny bits, cleaver responses and requests for help. And I love how we can enter conversations and politely step in with an aside from the side. It's like a stroll through a public square where everyone can have his or her say, where we all share the speaker's corner.