April 17, 2018
Is it better to bring people together around things or ideas? There are lots of communities in education: we have communities in our schools, we have learning communities with colleagues, social media communities, professional organizations that create a community around its members, and companies that create a community around what the company is all about for teaching and learning. Needless to say, we have options.
The professional communities that center around education in some way usually bring people together around a device or a platform. Not always, but often. It might be their product(s), software, or other resources that at first bring us in. But what these groups do to keep people active in these spaces matters more than the original hook to “get them in the door”. What are you offering? Is it always the same stuff delivered by the same people? Is it a lot of “old wine in a new bottle”? At the end of the day is it more about the business or more about creating diverse experiences and viewpoints?
A community is nothing without its people, obviously, but community leaders must be willing to put in the work to keep them there. To listen to them, to improve because of them, to be in a mindset of constant iteration, and serving the members. Do you tell your community how much you appreciate them? Do you show them? If I’m in your community, how do I know I’m more than just social media metrics or a bottom line?
A community is about connecting dots for others. We need to make sure we’re giving just as much if not more than what we’re getting.
February 12, 2018
I get reminded that little things are important too in a couple of different ways. I have teachers share with me something new and exciting they tried with technology, and it’s usually to let me know that they were successful which is awesome. However, they usually end their sharing with something like, “I know this is nothing new for you” or “It was a little thing but I am so excited!”. Their statement of excitement is immediately downplayed because while they are happy, they don’t think it was significant enough or that it’s not as much as others are doing.
Who cares?!? If it meant something to you then it was meaningful! Don’t discredit your excitement by worrying about what others will think or how they will view it. The small victories can be just as impactful as the big ones. Keep sharing all of it. Trust me, there are people who want to hear from you about it (me included).
One major point I always make sure to reiterate when speaking to any group of educators – I don’t care if you’re a superintendent, a tech coach, or a classroom teacher – your successes mean something no matter how big or small. It’s not about how much or how fast you move forward, the point is to move forward.