Friday, August 05, 2011

Leadership Day 2011: Honing Your PLN

Year 5 of the Leadership Day initiative, spearheaded by Scott McLeod, is being held today. I had not been aware of it in years past.

The instructions are for educational technologists to "blog about whatever you like related to effective school technology leadership: successes, challenges, reflections, needs, wants, resources, ideas, etc. Write a letter to the administrators in your area. Post a top ten list. Make a podcast or a video. Highlight a local success or challenge. Recommend some readings. Do an interview of a successful technology leader."

Some of things suggested to help out administrators are to help them with strategies for determining:
  • what it means to prepare students for the digital, global world in which we now live
  • how to recognize, evaluate, and facilitate effective technology usage by students and teachers
  • what appropriate technology support structures (e.g., budget, staffing, infrastructure, training) look like or how to implement them
  • how to utilize modern technologies to facilitate communication with internal and external stakeholders
  • the ways in which learning technologies can improve student learning outcomes
  • how to utilize technology systems to make their organizations more efficient and effective
I have not participated in this initiative in the past, but I think it is an extremely important event. And, in addition, just the process the for the day is a way to mentor for administrators how to communicate, use their PLN to spread the news and to learn about new initiatives, and use the "power of many" for all types of things.

Patrick's post that led me to this initiative

For instance, I learned about #LeadershipDay11 this morning, via Patrick Larkin (@bhsprincipal) on Twitter. He is an important part of my personal learning network because, as a school principal and very involved in social media and training of other administrators, he brings a new dimension to the type of information I receive. He consistently targets successful practices in technology use in schools but it is through the eyes of an administrator. Patrick is someone I happen to know in real-life, too, but he was a trusted source of information well before I ever met him in person.

Administrators need to hone their personal/professional learning network in this way. Start following Patrick on Twitter, and then take a look at who HE follows. He is an expert in his field, and chances are very good that he follows many other experts that one can learn from.

Result of advanced search in Twitter search tool
Or simply use the Twitter advanced search tool to search by various topics you are interested in and find some people to follow. But, don't forget to "pay it forward"-- become a participant in the process, too. Answer questions posted by others or re-tweet great posts to your followers.

Screenshot of recent #edchat post
Administrators should also pencil in the weekly #edchat session on Twitter or read through the archives to explore new ideas, tips, tricks, and find others to follow.

This same skillset is what we are trying to help students develop as we prepare then for the digital, global workforce and world-- find the experts, participate in the process, and collaborate. With the information explosion, there is no way anyone can know everything. However,  knowing where to turn with a question or when trying to keep up with what is going on in a certain field, is a skill that will lead to our students to become lifelong learners!

Kudos to Scott and all the other bloggers who will contribute today!