Pay Attention

May 4, 2008

Was reading Darren Draper’s blog about “the impact of social media.” Most of this post is the same as what I commented there, but this thinking has stuck with me all day and I am feeling the need to again post it here. He speaks of the need for educators to ‘pay attention.’ I so agree. But I think ‘educators’ is much more than teachers. More than innovative technologists. Administrators, at the building and district level need to be paying attention. Shift happens, and is happening. I wonder… when will we figure out how to embrace it in the public schools and step out of the way?

Right from Darren’s blog: “I prefer to call it the ‘umpteenth reason why educators need to Pay Attention report.” Well stated! I can’t help but wonder, though, if the slow speed of shift at the teacher level is that online communication/ collaboration is not job embedded. It is much easier to pay attention when that attention will help you better do what you do. Most districts require email… and people pay attention to that, but that is not connectivity, it is memo-ing. Many encourage web pages and blogs, but as ‘ways to show you are human’ and additions to your job responsibilities, not ways to better get your job done. I think the real shift will show in our schools when teachers use these tools as part of our daily learning… blogs, twitter, videoposting as ways of connecting with and learning from each other. Something will have to give, though. When will we realize that persisting with face to face staff meetings, stand and deliver professional development, and administrative-only evaluation cycles, only keeps us locked in this top-down structure and interferes with connectivity and ultimately true professional learning. Shift is happening. And will happen. But I think before we can expect it to truly happen in our classrooms on a real and productive level, it needs to happen in our faculty meetings and adult learning with one another on a professional level. Until then shift may be happening but we are swimming against the current.

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