Unlocking the Gate to Connectivity in Your School

connectedBefore beginning, I need to give a disclaimer that we all need to accept without question.

You will NOT get every single teacher in your building truly connected. You may have 100% sign up for a service, but you will not have 100% actively engaging in conversations, however you’ll get most of them and that is a win.

A few days ago, I wrote a post about not being offended on twitter. Then Rodney Hetherton wrote a post, which referenced mine, about Powerful Conversations on Twitter in which he referenced the idea of those conversations taking place at school and what keeps them from doing so. This statement stuck out to me.

I wish our local conversations were more authentic like Twitter.  Too bad our own interactions within our classrooms, buildings, and  districts aren’t fashioned in the same sense. – R. Hetherton

After a bit of dialogue back and forth on twitter, I could not get the thought of these meaningful conversations happening on our campuses. I thought about how some campuses have proceeded with signing staff up to twitter (jeans day) and it really hit me at how we should be doing it differently.

I am all about motivating learners. Not everyone is intrinsically motivated. I get that. However stickers, badges, gift cards and even jeans day only go so far. It works for a minimal length of time.

To inspire growth, you must inspire within. Beliefs are everything and that is where we have to hit in order to truly get teachers connected. Without believing in it, it doesn’t happen.

I think about how chats happen. We come up with a topic and we write questions…going back and forth responding. Why can’t you have these conversations at school? In small groups? In the teacher’s lounge? In Staff meetings? Can you imagine how teachers would feel validated knowing that they have a voice and are heard? Why can’t every staff meeting be an edcamp conversation? These are just my thoughts…

With that said, to get teachers connected…

  • It has to start with the connection at school. Don’t force teachers to follow 150 people that they have never met. Start with the people in your school.
  • When you start and have those meaningful conversations at school, gradually take it to twitter.
  • Create a hashtag and engage your school in a conversation. Guess what…YOUR PLN will eventually join in too.
  • Continue those conversations at school and point out the outside interactions. Again, don’t force the follow. This is a gradual process.
  • When the topic changes next week, repeat the cycle.

This is where you get to open the door to others via twitter. It’s a door and your teachers can choose to enter when they desire. You have to set the stage and inspire their thoughts at school.

While this post is about twitter connectedness. Your means may be edmodo and it actually has its own community…again connected.

Once the possibilities of connectedness are there, others will show like Google Hangouts, Skype in the Classroom and collaborative curation tools across the web that are also a means of connecting.

It’s not about getting teachers attached to a username but about them being connected to ideas that can positively influence instruction…enhancing student learning. That is the goal.

The lesson here is this…

You plant the seed of connectivity in how you lead. Don’t force it. Model it.

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