Tag Archive: Education


Virginia Glass, Technology Director at Bannockburn School District 106, Bannockburn, IL and I had the privilege to facilitate a roundtable discussion that focused on the Use of Social Media in Education at the TechForum – Chicago 2012 hosted by the Technology & Learning magazine and website.   I want to give a heart-felt thanks to Virginia for all of her collaborative efforts!

The roundtable had approximately 25 participants that represented all domains in education including but not limited to administrators, Instructional Technology Coordinators, Teachers (across a variety of disciplines), and educational consultants. We had approximately 45 minutes to have a conversation about the use of Social Media in education.  The discussion was lively and new questions were generated, reflections on personal and professional experience grounded the participants for their contributions to the conversation.

We started the roundtable with a set of open-ended questions to get a conversation started on the how might the use for Social Media’s impact education.  (Describes the roundtable facilitators incentive for the question)

  • What is the ultimate goal of schools? (looking from the value with the end in mind)
  • Is education adapting to today’s digitally savvy students? (Are we keeping up with lasting and evolving societal influences?)
  • What is Social Media? (working with a common understanding)
  • Is the use of Social Media a breakthrough in helping students engage with content or is it a distraction that undermines traditional forms of discussion? (What is the impact of Social Media on learning … if there is a benefit does it out weigh the potential risks?  Even if there are risks is that a reason to shy away from Social Media in education?)
  • Does the use of Social Media provide a more authentic learning experience? (intended to compare and contrast the in school learning experience to the out of school learning experience – i.e. gap analysis – where are we … we do we want to be, the difference is what needs to done)
  • Does Social Media give students a voice to be heard? (Is student work and opinion part of the collective discourse? If it is how does it impact the quality of student work?)
  • What does the use of Social Media look like in your school today? (If Social Media is used in you classroom or your school … who is using it and how are they using it)
  • Does it/will it make a difference in the learning experience? (what are the participant’s opinion regarding the use of Social Media on a student’s learning  based on the end in mind established in a previous question)
  • What should it look like in the future?  (Based on the gap analysis what should/could Social Media in education look like?)
  • What are the apprehensions about its use? (Another look at the comparing and contrasting pros and cons of Social Media)
  • Is it worth the effort?  (Even if there are risks is that a reason to shy away from Social Media in education or is it an obligation based on the use of it in society and the value with the end in mind)
  • What is necessary for Social Media to be widely used in your school? (If it is deemed important {essential} … what do we need to close the gap?)
  • How important is it for your leaders to embrace its use?  What should that look like? (If essential, how should Social Media be promoted as a core value to education … how can we insure that it has a systemic sustainable presence, therefore an expectation for all to be well versed in its use as a tool for learning and communication … how do we assess the competencies of faculty and students in their use of Social Media in their teaching and learning?)

We created a couple of Social Media Roundtable Prompts to act as prompts for our discussion.  As I look at the tone and tenor of the discussion it was apparent to us that the participates recognized that Social Media is a vital part of the fabric of the world around us and that those savvy in its use will have advantages in being successful in a global information society.  That being said it was apparent that as educators there is an obligation to prepare our students for the world outside of the school, therefore tooling up our students to have a high comfort level and willingness to engage in Social Media.  This includes participating in the dialogue for theirs and others learning and providing information to be consumed by anyone in the world.

The conversation never veered far from the acknowledgement of the critical role the teacher plays in the development of the skills and perspectives of the student in the value and use of Social Media.  There was recognition that students experience a much different world outside of the school than inside.  Also acknowledged was the need to provide more authentic experiences that take advantage of these external experiences and this generation’s ability to multi-task to increase engagement and interest while at the same time prepare for the reality that exists outside of the school.

Getting teachers to see the value of a Social Media use in their classrooms and to   achieve common threshold of expertise and comfort with its use points to a serious professional development need.

We shared how Social Media can:

The roundtable time flew by much too quickly and the conversation could have continued and hopefully through this blog it can and others can join the roundtable that did not attend TechForum.

Since the roundtable I have been connected to other resources from my PLN about Social Media that can add to the conversation.

Are we ready?  Are our students being prepared for the world in which they must function and find personal and professional success?  Let conversation continue…

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It takes courage to be a change agent in education and I value those who take a stand for what they believe that is why I resonate with the post by Chris LehmanWhat I Want to Talk About on Leadertalk. I receive a daily motivational email from by WALKTHETALK com and a few days ago there was one on courage and what it means in the context of Leadership (the motivational email on Courage is included below). About the same time I read Chris Lehman’s post … suddenly there was a convergence of thought that took place for me.

I continue to seek out new career challenges and opportunities and about two years ago I decided that I wanted to step out of my comfort zone as an assistant principal at a suburban high school outside of Chicago with primary responsibility for the oversight of Instruction and Technology and seek out a principal ship of my own. My desire/goal is to work with and for a learning community where we could collectively lead and guide ourselves in preparing students to be actively engaged global citizens.

I typically do not have a problem getting into the interview process and many times move through multiple rounds but have to date not been offered a position. As I apply for this leadership position It has become clear to me that there is a diminished value regarding the need for the understanding of technology for instruction, its implementation, and what that would look like for today’s students. This is striking in the light of what I see as the wide spread acceptance for the use of technology in the Data Driven Decision Making paradigm and the use of drill and practice type of credit recovery applications. The interviews are all basically the same in form and substance and the choreographed dance that it becomes never quite seems to address the value/importance of creating technologically savvy students as an expected/desired outcome of their learning experience.

To the contrary, what is interesting is that in every interview I get the following question, “Why are you interested in this position … you are a technology guy?” The first couple of times I sat quiet for a few seconds in disbelief and then very calmly respond “With all due respect, I think in the very near future I believe the question will/should be … why do you want this position you do not have any technology background?” I realize that there is a goodness of fit when selecting leaders and not all candidates are created equal. My time will come and my tenacity will see me through.

As I reflect I appreciate all of the pressures placed on schools to meet the required deadlines and demands of the high stakes testing environment that No Child Left Behind (NCLB) has created. I live that every day. What I tend not to understand is the reluctance to embrace and in some instances what appears to be the deliberate denial of the world our students live in and the characteristics of today’s students (millennials). Acknowledgment of how different our students are and the world they live in is would almost certainly bring about the realization that our industrial education model needs a major overhaul and I echo the sentiments of Chris Lehman when he says in his post ” I want to tell them that we have to question every single system we have in our schools. I want to tell them that everything should be on the table. All of it.” That is a courageous statement in the face of the status quo.

Getting the motivational email and reading Chris’ post crystallized in my mind the renewal of what is important to me. I value and thank my small but growing contributors to my Personal Learning Network. They are truly a courageous bunch. I will make the commitment of contribution as this post signifies as my first serious effort. I have re-dedicated myself in my professional endeavors and when seeking a new position with all the challenges that come with it I will say what needs to be said and stay true to my beliefs and values. If I get the position I want it under the clearest of understandings of what are my values, my priorities, my plans of action and where I would like to go with that new learning community.

Disclaimer: I am not implying that anyone that does not see it my way is not of good character. On the contrary educators have the toughest of all jobs balancing many constituencies and demands. It is risky to go against the status quo and in some instances professionally dangerous. This post is about me and my personal decisions and not intended to malign anyone.

Question:

What does “courage” have to do with being a person of good character…with someone who stays true to honorable principles and noble values?

Answer:

EVERYTHING!

You see, being values-driven means two things:

  1. Doing what’s right– following our conscience; refusing to compromise ourselves, or our principles, despite pressures and temptations to the contrary, and
  2. Taking a stand against what’s wrong – speaking out, and acting out, whenever we see others do things that are incorrect or inappropriate.

Unquestionably, both of those require guts, nerve, and fortitude…they require courage. And individuals who do them consistently are truly courageous people. With that as a given, each of us needs to think about, and answer for ourselves, one simple question:

How courageous am I?

Courage is…

  • Following your conscience instead of “following the crowd.”
  • Refusing to take part in hurtful or disrespectful behaviors.
  • Sacrificing personal gain for the benefit of others.
  • Speaking your mind even though others don’t agree.
  • Taking complete responsibility for your actions…and your mistakes.
  • Following the rules – and insisting that others do the same.
  • Challenging the status quo in search of better ways.

Doing what you know is right – regardless of the risks and potential consequences

Today’s lesson is from WALK the TALK: Translating Beliefs into Behaviors

by Eric Harvey and Steve Ventura

For more information on this resource and other high-impact WALK THE TALK publications, please click here to learn more.