High-Freedom Environment?

In high-freedom environments, people use social tools for fun. In low-freedom environments they use them for political action.
We need to cultivate more high-freedom environments in America, land of the free, and home of the brave…stop cowering in fear about what we say and do. And nowhere is this more true that in schools.
Image Source: http://goo.gl/hkiJV8

Eric Scheninger (@NMHS_Principal) makes the point about seizing social media for learning and leadership in a series of tweets this past weekend:

  • Digital leadership is about becoming the storyteller-in-chief – if you don’t do it someone else will
  • Power of social media is to engage stakeholders in 2-way communication; cannot fear this 
  • Tell your story as it happens, take pictures of kids doing great work when observing, blog about successes

A school convocation speaker once shared this advice: Find your story, love your story, tell your story to everyone. Then, take advantage of the power of social media to help amplify our voices as educators couldn’t be missed. 

Patrick Finn, author of Literacy with an Attitude, shares that powerful literacy involves creativity and reason—the ability to evaluate, analyze and synthesize what is read…it is also the ability to write one’s ideas so that another person can understand them.

I sincerely believe that every educator should be called upon, invited, encouraged, welcomed into a world of citizen journalists, becoming digital storytellers who captivate the hearts of our children, profoundly engaging them with the tools they use. Social media can profoundly engage, enliven the work we’re about, and we need to move these powerful stories from the television screen online as vidcasts/podcasts.

How can we empower our educational community to share the compelling stories that are a part of every day work?

Do we even need to ask that question anymore given the variety of tools available to us? Some ideas:

1- Recognize – “There is something that is much more scarce,” shared Elbert Hubbard, “something finer far, something rarer than ability. It is the ability to recognize ability.” With easy access to publish at will tools, you can easily recognize educators, students and parents in your school community.
Foster recognition by featuring the work you or your team does in blogs and video clips that show how they are working on behalf of their target audience or colleagues.
2- Engage – Engage your colleagues in conversations and work that makes a difference in the lives of others. As educators, we have opportunities to engage others every day.
3 – Set Clear Parameters for Success – If the team needs to be able to measure it’s own success, it’s own progress separate from me as the boss, then I need to set clear definition of what constitutes success. This is often difficult with changing expectations from above, “scope creep,” as projects do take on a life of their own. I always come back in those projects to whether the end user has learned how to use the technology proposed, and whether they are using it at a maximal level that optimizes their work.
Take a moment and learn how to use simple Read/Write Web tools to become a citizen journalist, a digital storyteller, a communicator rather than continue as merely an administrator who waits for a Communications Department to decide what is newsworthy and what isn’t.

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Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin’s blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure

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