The question I have been asked to write about this week has to do with the value of being connected. I know I push this a little hard with staff, but I only do this because I am so excited about the possibilities that can present themselves when you work as a connected learner.
My horizons have expanded exponentially since I started making a concerted effort to stay involved in Twitter. I try to tweet several times a day, always using the hashtag #ocsb and more recently #ocsbcll. Both connect me to educators in our school board. Sometimes I get a retweet or someone favours my tweet. This shows that I am making a connection with another educator.
I really believe that each time i go on Twitter I learn something new. Recently I saw a post by Doug Peterson on the upcoming Ontario ECOO conference (Educational Computing Organization of Ontario). The workshops are amazing! Even better, the web site is set up so that if someone I am following on Twitter is registered for a particular workshop, their picture shows up! How cool is that.
For me, the real revolution in education is all about collaboration. I talked to some teachers earlier this week about what it was like 25 years ago. Once you closed your door you were insulated from the outside world. You could teach they way you wanted to.
That is no longer good enough. We can really improve our practice by collaborating with each other. Fullan writes about this, Katz writes that no learning can take place unless there is a change in behaviour. When teachers collaborate in person or through Twitter, Edmodo, Google+ or some other manner they are really learning something. My learning changes every day as long as i connect to others. When I isolate myself I miss out on the learning.
Has this made me a better leader? Yes, certainly. I can't imagine now not being a connected educator. There is so much to learn every day, I really think it is one of my primary responsibilities as a leader. It is also one of the great joys of my work.