140 characters = $15,000

I know, I am preaching to the choir, but tell me again that Twitter isn’ effective for educators?!?

A few weeks ago, I had a problem.  Back in June, I ordered a new reading series from a national company.  The order was for around $50,000.  While we were patient though July and mid-August, teachers were getting panicked being that we had no new reading materials for this fall.  I also given the go-ahead to discard previous materials.

The first week of school comes around, and we still don’t have our reading materials.  My BA and purchasing staff made numerous phone calls to no avail.  We finally made a breakthrough, and found out that the entire order was sitting in a shipping warehouse amid a label error and was on its way.  We received the items the following Friday, two weeks into the school year.

Upon unpacking the order, we found out that what was shipped and what was ordered was way off.  WAY off.  We came up with a missing list and called the company.  And called again. And again. And again. We were getting nowhere for weeks, and my teachers and students did not have the proper tools to implement their program.

Then the lightbulb went off.

In a mere 140 characters, taking around 30 seconds, I tweeted this:

Within 40 minutes, I got this:

I was put in touch with one of the regional vice presidents of the company. We spoke on the phone and pinpointed what was missing form our order.  It was also followed up with multiple apologies, an offering of in-person professional development, and a partial refund.

All of this was accomplished through the publishing of 140 characters.

A couple days later, when everything was finalized, this happened:

So, let the uneducated keep telling us that Twitter is a giant educator love-fest laced with unicorns, puppies, and rainbows. Those will be the same folks who will be sitting on the phone for hours, not getting anything done.

Onward.

I finally made a Symbaloo!

Symbaloo is a visual bookmarking tool that makes it simple and fun to organize the best of the web. You have all your favorite websites at your fingertips. With an account you can access your bookmarks from everywhere with any device and share your online resources with others.
Create your personal startpage for your District / School / Classes and connect your social media, read RSS feeds.  Mine below has all of my resources I use daily:

https://www.symbaloo.com/embed/21stcenturysupts?

Carrots, sticks, and Wii – rewards still have their place.

@DanielPink – please don’t hate me.  Pink’s book, Drive, talks about motivation factors and how the carrot and stick are so 20th century.  I love this idea so much, I bought copies for every teacher in in my District.  Then, I come across the the scenario that no administrator wants to face: the student who does not want to come to school.

The student has had a myriad of issues that surely isn’t ideal by any means – family issues, frequent moving, and overall lack of stability.  All hands are on deck, and everything is fine once the student gets into the door.  It’s getting the student IN the door.  How can we?  What’s carrot on the stick?  An oldie but goodie in this Superintendent’s eyes: the Wii.

Child playing Wii

I made a deal.  Come to school and we’ll bowl on Wii.  Getting to that point was easy this time.  We both have a passion / addiction for video games.  We talked about every game known to man; the student thought I was pulling his leg about me liking video games, and then when I started naming characters, plots, and leveling up, the student was shocked.  The student also then let guard down and the conversation commenced.

We played for a good hour today; the student was relaxed and proceeded to class.  Hopefully on Monday we get to do it again.

So, yes, the Superintendent was sitting around playing video games today. I am proud to say I did; this carrot worked out just fine.

Onward.

Positive Branding = Positive School {insert #GO(your school) here}

#GoLAC

If you’re on Twitter, you see it EVERYWHERE.

IMG_2077

Me after taking the ALS ice bucket challenge… and using one of Joe’s (@joesanfelippoFC)  towels to tidy up!

#gocrickets

http://t.co/t23mA3weR3

Courtesy of Tony Sinanis (@TonySinanis)

#Cantiague

imgres

#Go(your-school-here)

More than ever, branding your school and linking it to something positive is paramount for your school’s image.  Social media has been the lightening bolt that makes a school go from a 1 to 10 (or sometimes sadly a 10 to 1) in a matter of hours.  Administrators love controlling the message, and why not be one step ahead and create the positive school climate online and not be playing defense when something bad comes up?

While I typically turn to Twitter & Instagram and tweet cool stuff whenever I can (always with some kind of image), I also take the time to create an iMovie trailer every couple of weeks.  Simple to use and professional results… it’s the best $6.00 you can spend in the App Store.

If you haven’t yet, School Leaders and Teachers need to start using social media and web tools in ways that positively promote your school climate and image. It’s essential today that you learn and collaborate with one another in new ways. Areas that are considered crucial to thrive in today’s school image / social media society include:

  • Creating a brand name, symbol or design to positively correlates to your school(s)
  • Sharing great events using iMovie, blogs, FaceBook, Twitter, Instagram, SMORE, Google +, and other sites
  • Empowering all stakeholders, including students (#STUVOICE)
  • Teaching digital citizenship to all grade levels

Branding online also requires the buy in of the potential of technology to fuel lifelong learning.

Wait, now school leaders have to be marketers and positive storytellers too?

YEP!

… and yes, there are books for that too.

You can find Brad Currie’s book (one of the founders of #satchat) here and you can fin Joe’s / Tony’s book here.

As Brad (@bradmcurrie) says, “Tell your story, or someone else will.”  I have a feeling that you want to be your school’s storyteller, and not someone else.  Take the time and invest in these books.  They will help your building(s) move onward.

#FutureReady

Future Ready District Pledge

I, Jason Eitner, Superintendent of The Lower Alloways Creek School District, do hereby affirm the commitment of this district to work with students, educators, families, and members of our community to become Future Ready by engaging in a wide range of activities such as:

Fostering and Leading a Culture of Digital Learning Within Our Schools.
Future Ready district leadership teams work collaboratively to transform teaching and learning using the power of technology to help drive continuous improvement. We work together to protect student privacy and to teach students to become responsible, engaged, and contributing digital citizens.
Helping Schools and Families Transition to High-speed Connectivity.
Future Ready districts conduct comprehensive diagnostic assessments of the district’s technology infrastructure and develop a sustainable plan to ensure broadband classroom connectivity and wireless access. Future Ready districts work with community partners to leverage local, state, and federal resources to support home Internet access outside of traditional school hours.
Empowering Educators With Professional Learning Opportunities.
Future Ready districts strive to provide everyone with access to personalized learning opportunities and instructional experts that give teachers and leaders the individual support they need, when they need it. Future Ready districts provide tools to help teachers effectively leverage learning data to make better instructional decisions.
Accelerating Progress Toward Universal Access for All Students to Quality Devices.
Future Ready districts work with necessary stakeholders to ensure that all students and educators across the district have regular access to devices for learning. Future Ready districts develop tools to support a robust infrastructure for managing and optimizing safe and effective use of technology, so students have opportunities to be active learners, creating and sharing content, not just consuming it.
Providing Access to Quality Digital Content.
Future Ready districts align, curate, create, and consistently improve digital materials and apps used in the support of learning. Future Ready districts use carefully selected high quality digital content that is aligned to college and career ready standards as an essential part of daily teaching and learning. Teachers are able to share, discover, and adapt openly-licensed materials and teaching plans.
Offering Digital Tools to Help Students And Families #ReachHigher.
Future Ready districts make digital resources available that help access expanded college, career, and citizenship opportunities. Future Ready districts promote ways to leverage technology to expand equity through digital activities such as completion of the FAFSA online, virtual counseling services, college scholarship search tools, and online advising access, all of which help to return America to the nation in the world with the highest college completion rate by 2020.
Mentoring Other Districts and Helping Them Transition to Digital Learning.
Future Ready districts work to design, implement, and share their technology plans. Future Ready districts join regional summits, participate in an online Connected Superintendents’ community of practice, and publish their Future Ready technology plan on our website.
Never have I been more happy to sign such a pledge. Find more all about it at http://tech.ed.gov/pledge/ 

I’m looking forward to making this the best school year ever.

The Two Worlds of Education

iSuperEit:

If you are in the education field but don’t read Tom Whitby, start.

Originally posted on My Island View:

Being connected as an educator offers a unique perspective. It is almost as if there are two different world’s in education, and a connected educator must travel within both. Technology in our computer-driven society has enabled collaboration to occur at a level and pace never before available in the 19th and 20th century versions of education. For the modern educators who have embraced the idea of connectedness, the world of education looks very different from it has been in previous centuries.

Regardless of technology, many educators express a curiosity about what it would be like to talk to and engage people from history. How often have we heard the expression “ I wish I could pick his/her brain for ten minutes”? The whole idea would be to collaborate with individuals who in some way have made a mark on history or education. We could all benefit from discussing…

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Leaders Need to Learn Too

iSuperEit:

Nailed it.

Originally posted on Evolving Educators:

On Monday, August 4, 2014 educational leaders from around the United States will come together in Philadelphia for Edcamp Leadership (#edcampldr). It’s a wonderful opportunity for educational leaders to connect, collaborate and learn. Too often educational leaders preach to those in their charge about the value of professional development and the need for others to engage in it but they themselves do not do so. The opposite is true with Edcamp Leadership. Those who will attend are committed to the professional development of all educators, including themselves.

Here are 5 things all educational leaders should commit to when it comes to their own professional learning:

1. Be a role model with your own learn for those you lead. It is vital for all educators to stay current with professional development training. As educational leaders we can not promote its value if we don’t engage in the learning ourselves. By committing…

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