I share therefore I am…

Always Thinking by KJGarbutt, on Flickr
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 2.0 Generic License  by  KJGarbutt 

One of the things I learned real early in life was the need to learn from my mistakes so they could be experiences rather than things I would do over again. This has helped me become reflective as an educator and I think helped me to make mistakes learning experiences for me and my students.

In fact, on October 10, in my blog I made the following statement:

“Can I simply take from the group…the last two #eci831 classes I have been keenly interested in the recurring theme of community with Dr. Richard Schwier and Shelly Terrell.  I want to believe that any group of people that share ideas and knowledge (not to mention common interest and passion) essentially become a community – digital or otherwise. While the class readily shares ideas and knowledge through their blogs I wonder what I contribute to the group if I don’t blog as much as I would like or respond to more blogs in comments. Is this being a bad digital citizen? Perhaps, like the real word people give to the group when they can and take from the group as they need. Socialism in a digital world – I think I like it.”

Less than a month ago, I was reluctant to share – to be a contributing member of my own larger digital network. After this week’s class with Dean Shareski I was very inspired to Shareski…I mean share.  I have been a regular blogger and I have become well versed in the Twitterverse. I am consistently finding more resources than I can possibly reflect on in my blog. So I have made a vow to share once a day for the month on twitter (or 30 times as I know that daily is sometimes not realistic) to develop the habit of being a “sharer” – now that I have created this amazing PLN – I need to expand the circle for others…in the same way people in my PLN have done for me! My tweet this morning sharing handouts on #authorspeak was my 700th tweet. Certainly not a huge number, but it will be as I share with others.

If there is no sharing.... by shareski, on Flickr
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 2.0 Generic License  by  shareski 
In conversation with a colleague at school the other day I referred to my PLN and he asked what a PLN was so I explained to him what it was. He then asked the difference between a PLC (which he had heard of)  and the PLN – I was actually a bit perplexed – although in hindsight the difference is clear. I engaged @tomwhitby with the question and he responded:

Funny, that I have found my PLN far more accessible than any PLC I have ever been a part of, in large part because it is always accessible through Social Media like Twitter.
I have been using a few tools like Summify to track my twitter feed and it works well for filtering information but I still need to filter that further as I do not always have the time to get through everything in it. One of the things I am learning is that I will not get everything from Twitter but what I do get will be great including this cartoon I was sent:
A huge obstacle we need to get over is the idea that what we create is simply our own…when we share we can reinvent and help make each other and our students better. The idea that working collaboratively with colleagues in the same building (PLC) or even across the globe (PLN) is one that will allow us educators to be better and in turn creates better learning situations for students and ultimately that is what we all want.
One of my the most enjoyable experiences I have had as a teacher/educator was the opportunity to work collaboratively with a team of five other teachers to create a locally developed Literacy course – it was certainly a risk sharing at first but as we all worked together and shared our expertise – our students were richer for the experience and so were we as we learned new techniques and skills that became part of our own skill sets.
Please watch my twitterfeed (@mickpanko) for what I hope will be some useful resources. If you can help me embed tweets in my blog I would love to know how to do that too. What do you think of the idea that “if there is no sharing…there is no teaching?”

About mickpanko

New HS vice-principal...trying to figure it all out. I would like to wax poetic but it is more like leg waxing - I think.
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21 Responses to I share therefore I am…

  1. I am going to join you on your quest to tweet 30 times. I have not been using it like I should but now see the benefits of putting myself out there. Thanks for the challenge!

  2. sjphipps says:

    I love your opening statement. What a wonderful way of looking at mistake making! I am sharing this idea with my class come Monday! I also love your challenge. Recently I challenged myself to take a picture a day of each of my kids. A friend of mine on facebook has done this now for a year and a half and I love her pictures. She is a semi-professional and therefore her pictures are great, but I was also inspired by Alec who said he did this and showed us others as well. My goal for the next month is to get through all the sites from twitter that I have tagged as favourites and either retweet them or post them on my blog page. Good luck to you and can’t wait to see all you are sharing!

    • mickpanko says:

      I started using Evernote to try and organize these things on my phone, iPad and computers…I hope this helps me manage a bit better too.

      So many tools available – simply need to make it work. Glad to have you on the challenge.

  3. Thanks for your post, Mick. Great as always.

    I just wanted to get back to you on how to include a tweet. You need to get some sort of screen capture tool. On the Mac, I use Skitch and it makes things really easy. I am not sure what is on the PC other than the PrintScreen button. Once you get the photo captured, then you can upload it to WordPress, and then bring it in like any photo.

    If you use a Mac, and Skitch, it’s really easy because you can do this all in one step (capture a screen shot and upload).

    Anyways, let me know if you need help with it.

    • mickpanko says:

      Thanks Alec – Tannis sent me a help video using the built in html – I have updated it using the tips. I am going to check out Skitch too for the Mac. I appreciate the help…

  4. I really like your opening as well, about learning from mistakes. I believe that is a key that many people forget, including those who are in charge of education. It seems to me that in school we were taught that there’s only one right answer and you don’t want to mess up, so we develop this sort of complex that we can’t be wrong. I think that making mistakes is one of the best ways of learning. Thomas Edison once said “Results? Why, man, I have gotten lots of results! If I find 10,000 ways something won’t work, I haven’t failed. I am not discouraged, because every wrong attempt discarded is often a step forward….” I think we all need to start having your perspective on mistakes and bring this mentality into our classrooms, because then we will truly be able to teach our students how to problem solve and grow critical thinkers. I also like your idea of setting a goal to tweet once a day. I have also seen different versions of this on facebook, like the photo one that someone already mentioned, and also one that is popular now here is writing one thing you are thankful for every day (because of Thanksgiving coming up). I think these types of things can make you really reflective and are really learning processes. Great post, thanks for sharing!

    • mickpanko says:

      One of our major hangups for making mistakes in the classroom or anywhere is pride…I think. So we simply need to get out of our own way an understand that like it or not we are going to make mistakes so we may as well take risks too and if the mistakes happen (as they inevitably will) we learn from them and make this part of the reflective process.

  5. alison says:

    Great post! I have observed the same thing about the PLC/PLN differences for me as a learner/sharer but another thing I’ve recently realised is that I haven’t been fully utilising my PLC to share back at my workplace. In the last two weeks I’ve connected with a colleague who is keen with Ed Tech, another colleague who is Instructional Designer in Ontario who is involved in the #change11 MOOC andl another counterpart in Montreal who is studying for a Masters in Ed Tech. I’ve invited them to the #ECI831 hashtag. I have also invited a consultant that I work closely with to my blog and I’m going to follow suit with the others I mentioned above. Sharing is good!

    • mickpanko says:

      Thanks for the reminder to not forget my PLC even though they are not always as directly engaged. It is easy to discount them, consciously or not, from our growth if they are not as engaged – this is a part of leadership.
      Great to hear that you are having success networking what you are learning.

  6. Tannis Emann says:

    Thanks for this post! I look forward to following your Twitter challenge and the resources you share. Aweseme! As far as embedding tweets in your posts, I found this super easy way and it works beautifully! Looks lovely in the post too! http://jamcarthur.com/2011/10/12/embedding-a-tweet-in-your-wordpress-blog/

  7. Brian L says:

    Well done Mick. I too am going to look at sending out more via twitter. Up until now, I have been doing a great deal of ‘catching’ and not enough ‘throwing’!


  8. taylorm says:

    Another thought provoking blog Mr. Panko. I liked the comparison between PLC”s and PLN’s. I think the people in PLC’s should be more readily accessible because the people are in the same building, but I agree with you that PLN’s seem to fit into our busy lives better these days. Less time wasted waiting for meetings or finding time to meet.

  9. mickpanko says:

    As leaders in our buildings we do have a responsibility to build the PLC even though it is sometimes difficult – I am struggling with my role in my PLC right now in my new job.

  10. gcyrenne says:

    As a new administrator, like you, I found that when it came time for creating our school goals and PLC’s I made suggestions about what we could do but tried to leave it in the staffs’ hands of what we would focus on for the year. I wanted them to own it and then maybe it would take off. I try to give them time during the week to meet and do not put a lot of pressure on them to get together. I am lucky that I have a very enthusiastic group that they get together on their own but PLN’s are another way for them to connect with teachers not in our own schools. Great post Mick.

  11. mickpanko says:

    Gail thanks for your words – our staff is great too and work really hard both individually and as a group. I just haven’t found my place in the PLC yet…I am sure it will happen.

  12. Mick, thanks for your post. One of your comments (among many) that stood out for me was your explanation of wanting to share more and to “develop the habit of being a “sharer.” This is a “habit” I have been working on for my entire career and your post has helped me to identify that this is an area I need to continue to focus on as an educator. Why? I agree wholeheartedly with your last statement and I think that by not sharing we are not fully engaged with our colleagues and without this engagement and sharing, are we doing all that we can for the students we serve? Next topic…why aren’t we sharing? Your post and others have touched on this topic, but I think some work in this area will lead to better understanding of the benefits of sharing. Have a great week!

    • mickpanko says:

      Thanks for the read and the comments Dean – I think every teacher would tell you they want what’s best for students but not everyone would say they want to work together to get it – we need to change that idea.

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