The network

This article gives 10 good reasons to join a social network. For me, this power has been exemplified through the new blog Connected Principals started by George Couros a principal from Alberta. Now, the thing that really grabbed my attention was that this blog has just started and, through the power of the network, has grown and is getting a huge amount of publicity via twitter through retweeting, the use of hashtags and such things as blastfollow.

I’ve been following George for a short time and it has been interesting as he has used the network to build a PLN of administrators in a relatively short period of time through his connecting, following and writing. I juxtapose this with some of the other administrator‘s who I know who have been  writing and working via the web for the past few years and to my own attempts to build a network for administrators and to help administrators through various other online activities.

Building your network

With the use of hashtags and the use of twitter and other social networks, educators have the opportunity to connect and join together to share, discover and learn. There is no reason for any educator not to be using these tools to enhance their knowledge and grow their learning network.

Word of Caution

My one word of caution is that educators need to keep build balance into their lives and with all the opportunities that are available, it is easy to become overwhelmed by what is going on. I don’t know about others but I know that I’ve had whole days go by as I spent time online. It was great learning and wonderful but, being a father of 8 children, I have to remember that there needs to be time for all areas and, sometimes, the drive to “globally involved” needs to be tempered with a larger view of life. So, as much as I’d like to be doing, reading, participating, writing, publishing, making videos and coordinating all sorts of different learning opportunities for administrators, I also realise that I will not get these years back with my own children who deserve to have as much face time as I can give them.

Learning from my Past

As an educator, I realize that I have the opportunity to influence students in so many ways. So, as much as I spend time working online, I also realise that working with students directly is the most important thing. Once again, it is so very important to realize that, as educators, we need to spend the majority of our time with students, building relations and developing a rapport. It is the relationships with the students, parents and other people in the community that are the foundation for what will happen in the school. All of this takes time and educators, as social networking grows and becomes more important in their lives, must learn that there is no way to “do it all” and be selective on how they spend that precious time. As an administrator and someone who has been using technology for the past 15 years or so, the one thing I make sure is that teachers’ time is valued and guarded. As I introduce new strategies and work at building their familiarity with technology, I constantly check to ensure that what we are doing is, indeed, not wasting their time.

So as you build….

The network that is developing, especially for educational administrators, and the opportunities for sharing and connecting are seemingly exploding, it is so important to ensure balance. Now, for me, that balance means spending as much time with my own children as I can – someday I’ll write a post of what I’ve learned from having a large family – really 2 families and knowing that, although it is important to grow and learn and get better, it is also important to not let things get out of balance in that pursuit. The network is a very powerful thing – one that each educator needs to tap into but it can also become very time consuming which requires one to reflect on the importance of balance. A piece of wisdom that I reflect on more and more – “No one has ever looked back on their life and declared “I wish I had spent more time at work!” Be sure to identify what is important in life and allocate your time accordingly” Enjoy the power of the network – don’t be consumed by it.

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