Isolation is a choice.

As part of a MOOC, I’m revisiting The Innovator’s Mindset: Empower Learning, Unleash Talent, and Lead a Culture of Creativity, by George Couros.  (#immooc).  Our first assignment was to reread the introduction and comment.  I’ll be all over that assignment, but for this blog post, I’m going to jump ahead in the book a bit because of what happened this weekend.

Consider these two passages from Innovator’s Mindset:

“Now, I am not saying that if you are not on Twitter, you are ineffective. Being on Twitter doesn’t make you a great teacher any more than not being on Twitter makes you ineffective. There are a lot of great teachers who do some pretty amazing things despite choosing not to connect online. That said, having 24/7 access to great ideas and forward-thinking teachers through Twitter and other social media increases your interactions with others and provides access to new ideas. A network helps people become better. How could it not?

Today, isolation is a choice educators make.

Our connectivity and learning opportunities have changed in recent years, and, thankfully, many teachers are taking advantage of those changes to benefit themselves and, more importantly, their students. We have access to information and, equally valuable, to each other. We need to tap into that.”
This weekend, I was messaging with one of our experienced teachers.  She has made the professional decision to challenge herself to grow and learn.  She has made twitter part of her professional learning network.  I mentioned that NCTE was having a twitter chat.  So, she checked it out.  She then sent along this message,  “There’s a secondary ELA chat tomorrow at 8 that I’m going to check out. I also love the Edtech videos. I’ve become a Twitter fanatic!”  This veteran teacher has made the decision to not be isolated.  She is learning about what she wants to learn about, on her own schedule, based on her own professional interests.
Back to the introduction assignment.  This quote, from the introduction,  has gone bone deep, “We forget that if students leave school less curious than when they started, we have failed them.”  Searing in its truth. But you know what?  That same idea holds true for teachers.  If teachers leave school less curious than when they started, we have failed them.  Let’s keep that curiosity alive.  Let’s do all we can to knock down isolation. Let’s light the fire.
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Author: Jeff Nelson

Jeff Nelson Fife School District Assistant Superintendent:Teaching-Learning-Innovation 36 years as an educator. 16 years teacher 3 years assistant principal 12 years principal 5 years Assistant Superintendent BA, Washington State University MAEd, Washington State University Previous member of AWSP Legislative Committee Previous member of UW Tacoma PEAB, Administrative Certification Established and maintained Fife’s first website for 7 years Present work includes establishing the first Teaching/Learning/Innovation department in the Fife School District. Examples of responsibilities include: teacher/administrator professional development, assessment, TPEP, curriculum/materials review, 24 credit requirement, technology levy leadership, teacher/administrator bargaining. Initiatives underway in Fife, as a result of new TLI Department: AVID, OER, Curriculum and Materials reviews, Student Perception Pilot with CSTP, Google Expedition Cofounder of Educational Internet Communications, LLC. Marketed and sold one of the first online grade checking programs in the US. Consulted with Seattle Educational Internet Company for 2 years. jnelson@fifeschools.com twitter.com/jeffnelsonTLI

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