wasting bandwidth since 1999

Taking A Risk In Learning

In the last couple of months I’ve done several of sessions on the new tools we have for creating blogs and wikis and more importantly on why you’d want to use them with students.

I’ve also been throwing out the idea to our trainers of encouraging principals to give communicating directly with their communities a try.

Not in the walled garden of Blackboard (where these web 2.0 “light” tools are currently shoehorned) but right out there in the real world.

So far, we have a few administrators who have expressed an interest in the concept but none have actually taken the plunge.

And I wonder if the fears Scott writes about in his Dear Superintendent letter might have something to do with it.

Dear Superintendent,

I lost one of my principals in our Principal Blogging Project today. I’m not very happy about it. You see, it’s your fault.

She was a fabulous blogger. She used her blog to share great things that were happening in her school. She uploaded photos and graphics to create student and parent interest. She hyperlinked to helpful resources. She was a master at using her blog to enhance communication with parents and build school community. Parents and students loved it. She was even featured in the newspaper for her blogging efforts.

It’s not just negative attitudes that prevents people from going forward. It’s also ambivlence or ambiguity.

But then you came to the district. Its new superintendent. The person who is supposed to lead the way. And you shut her down. Why? Because of a few negative parent comments on a few blog posts.

Scott goes on to talk about how we in education claim to embrace change and openness, how we we want our teachers and students to use “21st century technologies”.

But then, at the least little hint of criticism or controversy, we fold back into our standard “walled garden” mode of defensive education.

I hope that’s not the message our superintendent and his assistants are projecting when it comes to blogging. It’s hard to know when our “leadership team” is so far removed from where I sit in the organizational table of this overly large bureaucracy.

They certainly talk a lot about teachers and students using technology to communicate, about how the world is changing and we must also alter our ways of doing business.

However, coming back to the here and now, I would just like to find one courageous principal in our district who is willing to attempt a practical application of these abstractions.

Someone who’s willing to take a risk with the possibility of learning something new.

blogging, school, administrator, fear

1 Comment

  1. Alicia Stritenberger

    I find the call to administration to directly communicate with parents compelling when it is often encouraged and expected of teaching staff to forge this communication themselves. Many theoretical experts in education stress effective communication and genuine authenticity to be the very essense and heart of teaching and learning; however, it is hard to believe that administrators who would shut down blogs and communication were ever teachers or could shoulder the courage it takes to communicate in this way.

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