Leadership Day 2011: Networking 101

This is my third year participating in the Leadership Day blog carnival, organized by Dr. Scott McLeod of the University of Kentucky or Iowa State University (depending on which online bio you read), or maybe both; I’m not quite sure.  In 2009, I wrote about my experiences working for an effective school leader, and in 2010 I suggested that meaningful leadership (technology-related or otherwise) doesn’t necessarily have to come from administrators.  I’m taking a slightly different approach this year, the success of which relies heavily on input from my readers.

I read an article not too long ago (which, to my chagrin, I am unable to locate at the moment) that stated that while teachers are using online resources such as Twitter and blogs for professional networking purposes, school principals (and, presumably, other administrators) are not.  From my admittedly small sphere of reference, I find this hard to believe because I’ve been following the blogs and Tweets of principals and superintendents like Eric Sheninger, Michael Smith, Pam Moran, Patrick Larkin, Dave Sherman, Scott Elias, Melinda Miller, and many others for what feels like ages.  Beyond the text-based world, Scott and Melinda also host the excellent (but far-too-infrequently updated) Practical Principals podcast.  I assume, however, that the article author knows better than I (because otherwise I’d be writing for major blogs and magazines, right?), and that the vast majority of US school administrators are not connecting with each other online.

The summer I started Tweeting, blogging, and generally involving myself in this world of online networking with other educators (four years ago already, sheesh), I was asked in a Skype call what I felt was a barrier for other teachers to get started in these activities.  My answer then (a lack of a real clear “point of entry”) informs my contribution to Leadership Day 2011: I have created a Google Doc to which I invite you, blogging and Tweeting and Skypeing principals and administrators, to add your online info.  Feel free to add as much or as little info as you desire.  I’ve left columns for Twitter & Skype usernames, blog URLs, and specific areas of interest, among others, but please add new fields if I’ve left something important out.

My goal here is to create a document that you can hand to non-connected administrators (physically or digitally) and say, “Here’s where to start” when it comes to reading administrator-specific blogs or Twitter feeds, or who they can contact if they are interested in making connections for x or y purposes.

My thinking, of course, is that in addition to the general benefits networking affords, when more administrators understand and use these tools, there will be more support for teachers who wish to do the same, especially with their students.

Will you help build this “point of entry” directory for our yet-to-be connected colleagues?  If so, here it is.

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