It has been an incredible journey since I decided to become a connected educator back in March of 2009. As I sit here writing this post, I cannot help but reflect on the positive changes that have taken place at my school and with me professionally. Through connected learning and sharing, I have become better equipped to lead change at New Milford High School and to begin to transform the teaching and learning process. All one has to do is read this blog to experience what I am talking about.
Make no mistake; the knowledge, resources, ideas, strategies, and feedback that I receive from my Personal Learning Network (PLN) have had such a dramatic impact on me as an educational leader. As a transparent leader, I have been able to share this journey with thousands of educators from across the globe. This has resulted in teams of other connected leaders descending upon New Milford High School to see firsthand how we have successfully implemented a Bring Your Own Technology (BYOT) initiative, use of mobile learning devices (i.e. cell phones) in the classroom, establishment of our own Academies, conversion of existing spaces into those more suited for 21st Century learning, and the effective integration of Web 2.0 technology. The following are two reflections written by connected educators who have recently visited NMHS:
Dov Emerson – A Twitter Visit in Real Life
Dr. Spike Cook – It’s About the Journey AND the Destination
When we take the time to connect, share, and learn we are opening our minds to endless possibilities to improve our schools and ourselves. Sure, we can accomplish this in other, more traditional ways. However, I am a firm believer that educators in the trenches are in the best possible position to help us get to where we need, and want, to be. As practitioners, we possess the power to share daily successes and failures to spur dramatic shifts in a school’s culture. This is raw, uncut, and most importantly, real. Thank you to everyone out there that has made me a better leader, educator, and person. I could never envision myself not being connected, sharing, or learning like I am now.
The challenge becomes not only sustaining the role and value of PLN’s, but empowering more educators to embrace this pathway of learning. Our efforts to change minds and perceptions of this concept will provide more educators and schools with the appropriate tools to transform their respective cultures. We cannot let the current educational reform movement dictate a movement in the wrong direction. Keep sharing your journey and others will eventually follow.