A connected educator follows the right people online and reads the right blogs to have a vision for their classroom/school/district/world. If you aren’t spending much time reading what other eduawesome teachers are saying, start now! Get involved on Twitter, Google+, and find some blogs to read. For those of you new to Google+, start by following the authors of Education is My Life. As a 21st Century educator, you simply must follow eduawesome teachers. At a recent conference session, someone in the audience shouted out, “Twitter is lame. It’s just people talking about food.” Someone else shouted out, “Twitter isn’t lame. The people you follow are lame!” After the chuckles died down, it occurred to me just how spot on this comment is–you need to follow people that share great content.
Good leaders need to know lots of stuff. Google has changed how that works. It’s no longer impressive to simply know something–Siri can tell me the answer just as quickly. The new mark of leadership is knowing who knows the answer. There’s a difference between a Google search for something and simply asking an educator that already has a well-formed opinion. Last week, my students asked me how well The Mind Research Institute works; I asked @seani what he thinks about it. I don’t need to know everything as a teacher, but knowing who knows everything makes a significant difference in my classroom.
The difference between a powerful educator and a powerful leader is content creation. It’s one thing to share a great blog post, but it’s an entirely different thing to write your own blog post. Leaders take risks and share their own thoughts. A few years ago, this followed the old system–if you were published in a magazine, you were important and you were a leader. While that holds true to some extent now, blogging combined with social media changes everything. Suddenly, one blog post can make any teacher EduFamous. My favorite example of a viral blog post is Matt Vaudrey’s Mullet Math post. It seems like most teachers I know have read his post. At first glance, a post about mullets sounds ridiculous. After reading the first paragraph, the brilliance in this lesson is reading apparent. If Matt kept this lesson to himself, thousands of math classes would have missed this eduawesome lesson on ratios.
Social media gives us the opportunity to share. We no longer need to wait to share ideas or lessons. A willingness to share and a desire to connect is all that is required of the connected educator.