Category Archives: kayla delzer

Communication and Community

open culture

When people first jump into social media, specifically Twitter, there seems to be this inclination from administration to start a Twitter handle (ie @sampleschool) so that they can communicate what is happening in their school community.  This is a great idea and nice way to give an audience quick snippets of the day, but this is also limiting in the view of what we can actually do with the medium.

The way I compare the “handle” (@sampleschool) versus the hashtag (#sampleschool) is that one is about communicating, and the other one is about building community.

For example, a school might share events, things happening in classrooms, news, etc., to a hashtag, but the view of the organization is limited to the view of one or sometimes a few.  Yet encouraging others to use a hashtag says, “your voice matters in our journey and we want you to share it”.  I have been proud of the #psd70 hashtag (from Parkland School Division) that started with only a couple of educators in the district using it relentlessly, until now it has so many voices sharing a variance of samples from what is happening throughout the community.  Burlington Schools in Massachusetts uses #bpschat, but I remember the days when Patrick Larkin was the only one using the hashtag.  He wasn’t trying to control the message; he was trying to get others involved. Communication versus community.

This is not to say that communication isn’t important and that we shouldn’t try to reach people on the mediums in which they use. It is saying that we can (and should) do more.

One school in West Fargo is using the #legacyK5 hashtag to share their story from many perspectives, which also builds community.  Leyden School students use #leydenpride to share the great stuff that is happening from the viewpoint of students, and I bet if you asked principal Jason Markey about this, it has been a great way to build community.

A challenge I have been giving schools is to encourage their community to use a hashtag for the rest of the year. Share things they are learning, things happening in the classroom, and compile them into something like Storify to make your newsletter with many different perspectives and viewpoints.  Educators can share what they are learning at conferences by tweeting back to their school hashtag. There are a million ways that this can be used, and what I have encouraged these same schools is to start off their next school year with a poster in the front of their school encouraging the entire community to see and share to said hashtag.

What impact would that have?


“Good Enough” Is Not Good Enough

Consider your students’ learning experience from their point of view. Do the learning experiences you create mimic the type of learning you expect to engage in-

Just something I have been thinking about…

In a conversation with a principal the other day, she was sharing how they are moving away from the traditional desks in her school, to more of a “Starbucks” type of environment (differentiated seating, wifi that works well, spaces for both collaboration and individual time, etc.) in her school.

What I said to her (and she agreed with), is that you will probably send out an email saying that you are getting rid of those desks and another school will take them right away.  The appeal will not be in doing something better, but having a “newer” version of the old.

Although there are assumptions being made here, in some cases the reason they would take the desks is because the school still sees the “old way” as the best way.  And in some cases, the old is the best way, but this is not a case of the old versus the new, but ultimately about the question, “Would you want to be a learner in your own classroom?”  I didn’t like sitting in those desks as a kid, and I certainly would not want that as an adult.  Why is it good enough for our students?

What this highlights is that this is never about the “stuff” (again), but is often about our way of thinking.

(“Would I want to be a learner in my own classroom?”, is  a question featured in this post as well as the book, “The Innovator’s Mindset”.)