Share - Practice What You Preach
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.
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.
DrawbacksSharing 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.
BenefitsYet, 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 LearnersAn education leader is responsible for scaffolding this process. Lead learners, a term coined by @ 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