Share - Practice What You Preach

Practice what you preach Picture Quote #1

Like Laurie Binder (a grad school colleague of mine working on her Blog startup), I saw some excellent Blogs. The more I started to read, research and play around on different sites, the more I felt comfortable with organize my own page. Finally, I've discovered how to embed video and photos to spruce up the posts. Hopefully as you follow me you'll notice continued improvement on the aesthetics, content and resources.

Morality. Ethics. These concepts tend to evolve around opinions more than facts. They are established from personal backgrounds and evolved with life experiences. Dean Shareski’s video on the morality of sharing below is the focus for my discussion as it pertains to education.



Should I Share?

Yes. I agree with Dean’s sentiments that as educators it is our moral obligation to share. I believe this because we teach our youth the benefits of sharing at a young age. We ask them to share their toys, share their feelings, share their accomplishments. It is imperative to be the example you want your students to become. So, practice what you preach. But a bigger question then might be: Do we know how to share? In the past this was familiar. Borrowing physical property, write in journals, presenting in front of peers, and discussing ideas in class meetings. While many of these are still good practices, sharing has evolved, like most things, with the advancements of technology. Sharing, or teaching as Dean refers to it, has expanded. There is a wider network of learners, a broader market of listeners and vast array of ways to share. So in order to practice what we preach, we must first help others learn how to share.

What's the Price?

Which leads us to a discussion about selling intellectual property revolving around education with sites such as Teachers Pay Teachers. Dean believes that there is something unethical when teachers do not share. He mentions that learning isn’t constrained to an individual's classroom, and neither should sharing. So is selling what you’ve created unethical? No. However, in the selfless field of education it is a fine line. It is important to give credit where credit is due, yet the goal of sharing in education is to improve students’ learning. On sharing websites and social media platforms you can find resources for free. This is an option and having options is great.

Drawbacks

Sharing is not without potential drawbacks. One issue is the overwhelming number of platforms on which to share. I personally see this issue with my own computer. “Where did I put that STEM activity? Did I add it to my Google Drive? Did I store it on iCloud? My hard-drive? Where was that article on difficulties parents experience when helping their students with math homework? Was it reposted on Twitter? Facebook? Blogger? Apps and platforms are coming out to solve these issues before new ones arise.

Another drawback is whether or not teachers embrace sharing. Eric Sheninger in his book Digital Leadership (2014) prefers embrace instead of “buy-in” since embrace is more conducive to an effort to change. Since change takes time, so will teachers’ embrace to share. Some may be apprehensive to start, lack self-belief in their work, intimidated by technology or not know where to begin.

Time, money and geography are considered significant restraints, but with the advances of technology this is becoming more obsolete. There are many districts currently without this ability to reach others, but in many scenarios it is coming. With the potential to overcome these restraints, so to should come the potential to share in greater numbers.

Benefits

Yet, the benefits strongly outweigh the drawbacks. Sharing creates the greatest wealth of information the world has ever seen. There are endless resources available especially in education. Teachers are sharing free resources to improve the lives of children. These resources are readily available, but can create greater traction through social media sharing.

The benefits of one shared idea can push creativity for others to improve and build upon. This pushes learning forward. It is rare to find a resource that fits a teacher’s objectives and standards without tweaks. However, many times searching for these resources helps you create, add, build, improve and personalize the material shared to meet these goals. When that new resource is shared, innovation sparks in others.

Sharing fosters relationship building to clarify and relate with each other. It creates that human interaction with the resources shared to discuss and collaborate. In fact it advocates for a collaborative environment education which is the practice we want to preach. The more global ideas are shared the more students can be reached.

Implementation for Lead Learners

An education leader is responsible for scaffolding this process. Lead learners, a term coined by @Joe_Mazza and discussed in an article by ConnectedPrincipals.Org, are responsible for demonstrating how information can be shared, identifying some of the benefits sharing, and encouraging collaboration amongst staff. Creating a safe space where teachers can learn how to share would be an excellent first step. Establishing a vision to broaden this concept to the district and eventually to a bigger social scale will help teachers get comfortable sharing and see the benefits outweigh the drawbacks.

Lyn Hilt (@L_Hilt) mentions (2015), "the eventual goal should always be to contribute and give back to the community as soon and as often as possible. The acts of sharing and contributing are essential to helping the community thrive." Dean Shareski would agree. It is our moral obligation to share. Before getting there, lead leaders need to be assisting teachers in this professional development can help build an arsenal of best practices to help teachers take the next step in their careers. Community members can stay up-to-date, informed and involved. When sharing and learning happen globally the students benefit.

So let’s practice what we preach and share in order to make a difference.

☞"Practice What You Preach" Image from: Picture Quotes
☞Lyn Hilt's discussion on Social Media in the Classroom

Comments

  1. Taylor, great title for this unit. I, for one, need more practice on sharing the resources and techniques that I have used, developed, or molded throughout my tenure as a teacher thus far in my career. This past summer, I met with my teacher mentee and the first thing I did was “add collaborator” to all of my teaching folders within my Google Drive and shared them with her.. I wanted her to have access to everything that I already had access to. I encouraged her to modify them as she wanted. Lessons that I spent improving over the last few years, were now lessons that she could use and improve upon. I recall my first year teaching, the retiring teacher that I was replacing took all her materials with her to burn. Yes, that’s right. Instead of sharing, she created a bonfire. Was this action symbolic or selfish? Whatever it was, it didn’t help me. The ability to share saves the teacher time creating and increases the time they can spend on improving the material for the next person to use or personalizing it for their particular group of students. Kristen Sawnson (2013) explains it as “user-generated learning.” This means to “actively participate in the process (of sharing) through searching, evaluating and sharing….everyone has something to contribute.”

    A drawback to sharing in this digital age is the number of platforms which can be intimidating and frustrating. Do you think it will become easier or more difficult with time? The sharing platforms will increase making it more difficult but the way we share and organize them will hopefully continue to improve. I’ve already replaced my Twitter bookmark for Tweetdeck and extensions like can help Diigo. I recently took a class with Rich Kiker (@rkiker) and he shared Google Drive’s vision of not keeping anything in folders which contradicts every inclination I have when organizing my files. He proposes that the search bar in Drive eliminates the need for folders. Though I still keep my teaching folders tidy, I’m starting to let go of personal files and using the search bar instead of searching through folders.The information available to teachers is nearly limitless but we must be able to organize our resources to use them effectively.

    Here is part 1 of 3 on using Diigo for social media bookingmarking.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cmhGmMNY4y8

    Swanson, K. (2013). Professional learning in the digital age: The educator’s guide to user-generated learning. Larchmont, NY: Eye on Education

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sharing on Google is so simple it's almost an insult to teachers when they have to ask you to share it with them. With everyone working towards a similar goal, collaborating on files can save time and benefit everyone. I agree with the search bar on Google, it's great. Yet, I folder everything. Why? I always forget what I call documents and media!

      Although your colleague may have burn their materials, it is most likely obsolete at this point. However, years ago it would have been very beneficial to allow you to make the decision on what was valuable and what was not worth using. Some of that doubt may have crept into your colleague's head. "Is it too old?" "Will he judge me?" "It was my hard work." Unfortunately these things mater to some.

      Thanks for the suggestion on Tweetdeck! It will help me with my folder "fetish" as I mentioned I liked to keep things organized!

      One last thing, I'm trying to reply with my Google Username, but it always makes me try to sign in and says my "admin" has me blocked. This happens both at home and school, on my private computer and my school computer. Any idea what I can do to change that?

      Thanks,
      -Taylor Good

      Delete
  2. Hi Taylor! Great blog this week and very thought provoking. I agree with your points on sharing and "practicing what we preach". But the line that really resonated with me was, "When that new resource is shared, innovation sparks in others." This is SO true! When I was in the classroom and needed ideas for units that I was trying to plan for, I would reach out to others to see what they had done in the past. Even now, when I am required to do something for our courses, I search online for examples. I have reached out to other administrators to see what they have created as well. I do this not because I intend to plagiarize, but that by seeing what others have done, I almost instantly become inspired. When someone shares something as simple as a template, it lessens the burden so that I can focus my creativity. My lessons were better because someone gave me a starting point and my students were the ones who benefitted. I whole heartedly agree that the pros for sharing definitely out weigh the cons.

    And thanks for the shout out this week :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You got it! "Lessen the burden so that I can focus my creativity." This is perfect. There is a ton to do as an educator and an administrator. Lessening the load and focusing efforts on what best can help your students and staff makes an effective and efficient leader.

      Laurie, I also mentioned this above to Ralph, so I'll paste it here as well to see if you know:

      One last thing, I'm trying to reply with my Google Username, but it always makes me try to sign in and says my "admin" has me blocked. This happens both at home and school, on my private computer and my school computer. Any idea what I can do to change that?

      Thanks,
      -Taylor Good

      Delete
  3. Taylor,
    I completely agree with your sentiments that as adults, and for those of us that are parents, we teach our children to share at a young age. However, as educators we are so hesitant to share our “intellectual property” out of fear that someone may critique it or possibly even steal it. We consider the negative attributes of sharing before thinking about the endless positive results that sharing elicits.

    I also like how you explored this idea of ethical practices pertaining to teachers selling their intellectual property on sites like Teachers Pay Teachers. I agree with you that this practice is not unethical. But to your point, selling knowledge or the process with which to attain knowledge does somewhat undermine the whole innate aspect of education’s purpose which is bestow knowledge on everyone. If you want a decent article pertaining to how the site Teachers Pay Teachers may not necessarily examine copyright infringement, take a look at this: http://www.ascd.org/publications/educational-leadership/oct14/vol72/num02/Who-Owns-That-Course¢.aspx.

    As for the educational leader’s role in sharing knowledge, I agree that they need to demonstrate how information can be shared and the benefits of doing so. I think It is a great first step and idea to create a safe space where teachers can learn how to share. Many school districts even do this now. For example, the following link discusses how a school district in Canada uses an online data base where teachers can create discussion post like you would see on Twitter, as well as, upload specific pieces of work to enhance the instructional practices of all teachers in the network.

    http://ucalgary.ca/utoday/issue/2018-06-01/class-2018-werklund-grad-student-needed-new-online-tool-so-she-built-one

    -Steven Bilski

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