I had an interesting interaction with a former, and recently reconnected thanks to Twitter, colleague just yesterday who was telling me that there were amazing things happening in her schools. That’s awesome and a great message for everyone in the community to hear so I asked “Where can I read about it?”. Well, “it is definitely not visible online”.
That’s a shame.
Especially when everyone is espousing the benefits from “visible thinking” for students.
It doesn’t take long poking around educational resources to find lists of benefits for students from making their thinking visible.
I really like the Visible Thinking NZ website and a quote from there…
When thinking is visible in classrooms, students are in a position to be more metacognitive, to think about their thinking. When thinking is visible, it becomes clear that school is not about memorizing content but exploring ideas. Teachers benefit when they can see students’ thinking because misconceptions, prior knowledge, reasoning ability, and degrees of understanding are more likely to be uncovered. Teachers can then address these challenges and extend students’ thinking by starting from where they are.
That nicely summarizes things for me.
But, let’s step back a bit. Replace the word student with teacher. Imagine what can happen when a teacher makes her/his thinking visible to colleagues worldwide.
- Imagine how richer their understanding of topics and would be.
- Imagine the feedback.
- Imagine the connections that could be made.
- Imagine a learning community helping with details and providing resources that would otherwise go unknown.
If you’re not connected, how do you get started?
Just start poking around. And being visible means being actively engaged doing something.
For Ontario folks, look at the wide variety of Ontario Educational bloggers. I try to keep up with who is blogging here. When you start blogging on your own, there’s a form to submit your details.
If you’re looking to make connections, check out the continuous flow of wisdom from Ontario educators on Twitter. I try to keep up with things here, here, and here. I take pride in acknowledging that it’s a losing battle. I add to the lists as soon as I find them but freely admit that it’s just scratching the surface. Why not find someone whose thinking you respect and see who they follow? It’s the perfect way to share wisdom.
Stay connected 24/7. Or, if you can’t look for alternatives. There are some awesome newsletter creation tools to do the job for you automatically. Consider Rebelmouse or Paper.li to do the heavy lifting for you. Rebelmouse collects my shares and Paper.li collects those that I value – here, here, here, and here.
Forget cat pictures. Facebook is a great place for connections and learning. Search for groups that exist and join them. Some may be private and require permission but that’s OK. Usually, it’s worth the effort. You might check out:
- Ontario teachers – resource and idea sharing
- ETFO Voice Magazine
- OECTA – Ontario English Catholic Teachers Association
- Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation (OSSTF)
- TpT Forum for ONTARIO TEACHERS
Even search out your district’s name there. There may already be specialized forums and areas in operation.
It’s the nature of the beast. We’re all leaders – that’s what education is about. Check out the OSSEMOOC project at their WordPress site.
Quite frankly, this is just scraping the surface and a list of things that I know exist. I just know that there’s more to be found.
Returning to the origin of this post, it begs the question – why aren’t you open and sharing? We all understand the concerns about oversharing and certainly nobody is recommending that you put head and shoulders pictures in public forums if you don’t have the permissions or are not comfortable doing that. Even more powerful though are your thoughts, ideas and wisdom. Others can benefit from your openness and sharing and you’ll benefit with the feedback and leads to additional resources.
Isn’t this the year to be more visible?
Finally, one last bit of inspiration from the CBC – Why teachers and principals should be on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram
Please share your thoughts here. I’d enjoy reading them.