More Principals Who Blog

I’m just about done putting together a presentation for one of the sessions in our regional annual conference at the end of this week. Topic: Sharing why I blog and why I am beginning to use social media to learn more about education, teaching, and myself.

One of the main reasons I blog is to learn more about social media. Whether twitter or wordpress will be around in 10 years is hard to say, but social media and blogging are not going to go away. Like it or not, kids are going to have to find ways to use it responsibly and avoid pitfalls like cyber-bullying, or being glued to a screen. How can we teach these things, if we’re not doing so ourselves,  and finding ways to use these tools productively?

As I was working on my presentation, I came across a great blog post by a superintendent in West Vancouver who talked about the need for more school leaders to use social media.

Here’s a quote from his post:

“We often talk about the many changes happening in education and how we, as leaders, need to model the change.  We want students to take the risks, own their learning, be ready to make mistakes but to learn from them as well,  and to create content for the digital world.  We can help by modelling all of this.”

He also highlights all the principals in his district embracing the idea of blogging with links to theirs. You can read more at his blog here.

I stumbled upon the above post while reading a blog I enjoy a lot called Connected Principals. It’s a group blog written by many principals (both independent and public) who reflect, tell stories, and try to model the changes happening in the world so they can learn alongside their community. The post had a very provocative title: The Power to Kill Innovation.

It was Canadian Thanksgiving last night, and after a decade of American Thanksgivings, it just seems so early. Nonetheless, I’m very grateful that I work in a school that has allowed me to take these risks, make mistakes, and celebrate successes in my pursuit to learn and model what I teach.

Link to: Independent Schools Shouldn’t Brand…They Should Blog!

In the ideal world all my wonderful colleagues who take the time read my blog would also use twitter, and I could just re-tweet a great blog post when I came across one. I would recommend reading the whole article. At Brenden Schneider’s blog, he wrote:

“Branding in independent schools is an interesting proposition. Facebook launched in February 2004, before its launch branding work was relevant and necessary after its launch branding work, for the most part, has become frivolous and wasteful.  Why? Because independent schools don’t define their brand anymore, the public does.”

To Read more, visit:  http://www.schneiderb.com/independent-schools-shouldnt-brand-they-should-blog/#ixzz1RZri0rAs
Under Creative Commons License: Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike

Blogging Heads 15 Tips

Recently, my head of school suggested that he was almost ready to take a leap and start blogging. He just needed a little nudge. Hopefully this post will help.

Here are just a few tips:

1) Decide on purpose: to share what you’ve read both to teachers and parents, to share resources, to highlight your school, to be reflective and tell stories about the realities of school life, for personal professional development, to take a risk, to learn, etc.

2) Keep it related to education. – I’ve heard that nobody wants to read about what you had for lunch (unless of course it somehow relates to school).

3) Not everyone will like what you have to say (or care) – that’s okay, some will.

4) Keep it professional: don’t name anyone unless they don’t mind; I’ve learned that “transparency” is not the same thing as “say anything”; if you mention another school, do so because you like what they’re doing;

5) It’s okay to comment on issues and write your opinions: some issues are going to cause disagreement – that’s good, as long as the discourse is civil

6) First, read some other blogs written by Heads and Principals: Here are a few suggestions of Independent School Heads to start (there are other independent school blogging Heads and plenty of great public school ones that I’ll share another time):

21k12 (I like palindromes) – by Jonathan Martin: Head of School at St. Gregory’s in Tuscon
Peak Experiences - by Michael Ebling: Head of PK to 9th grade Summit School in Winston-Salem
Compass Point - by Josie Holford: Head of Poughkeepskie Day School

These three hosted a session called “Blogging Heads” at the last NAIS conference in DC, which I followed remotely. You can read a summary of their panel discussion here.

7) You don’t have to write every day.

8. It’s a way to responsibly model an authentic medium that many of our students will or already use.

9) You may reach people well beyond our own school community.

10) Think of it as a discipline that motivates you: for some that’s running, gardening, knitting, volunteering – do it because you want to

11) Like those other disciplines mentioned above, don’t do it for extrinsic rewards. The intrinsic rewards should be good enough.

12) Don’t always expect comments or replies.

13) Don’t expect all your teachers to blog. Do encourage them to be reflective about their practice – whatever form that may be. Blogging is not part of a teacher’s job. It’s just one of many ways to share.

14) Realize that sometimes, you have to stop, and even though you set out to write 15 tips, sometimes 14 will do.

A nudge was asked for. The  book Nudge is a book about the psychology of choices.

The philosophy called libertarian paternalism is what the authors of the book say works best in designing choice architecture.
I’m just a teacher who likes to think about education and share what I’m thinking: I’m not a philosopher, psychologist, or even a Head of School. To blog or not to blog? I’ll keep you posted.