I have been absolutely pounding Twitter and working my professional network for my "Becoming a Digital School Administrator" collection housed here at this site and on iTunes U. I started the collection in 2013 and it needs a major refresh. I went back to the original contributors and learned that many had moved on to central district posts or were now full-time consultants and presenters. This would not do because I hold to a strict criterion-- All exhibits must represent school building admins in the trenches.
Some of my former contributors were clearly done with me, which was fine since I needed new blood and new technology. I have sent emails, direct messages, tweets to literally hundreds of prospects:
1) The great majority ignore me.
2) Some show passing interest but don't answer my pesty follow-ups.
3) Others suggest I read their book or blog, which on any scale is sort of out of the question and not really usable at the site. One chap sent me his dissertation.
4) The three responses above would be pretty discouraging if I did not strike gold every so often with reactions from digital admins such as....
"This is a great resource."
Thanks for sharing"
"Fantastic stuff, Larry."
"Honoured to be mentioned on it.."
Actually it has been my honor to learn from and be connected to the many generous person featured at this site. Despite the tough plowing, this has already been a gratifying project.
"Thank goodness for Twitter ... would love to connect some students" was recently the tweet that I received from @NancyinLux1 This would be Nancy Lhoest Squicciarini, Assistant Principal at the International School of Luxembourg. We had crossed paths on Twitter and we are hoping to connect our student tech groups at The Student Tech Team Hub that the Mercy iWizards are developing.
Folks are often surprised when I tell them that nearly all of my professional development as a school administrator is through Twitter. In the last month I booked speakers from Massachusetts, S. Korea, Canada, and Dubai to make virtual presentations at Mercy's Tech Talk in February. I also did a podcast with an educator in Ottawa and had Google Hangouts with principals in Illinois and Jakarta. In each case my initial connection with these interesting educators was made through Twitter. For me, social media is most often intellectually stimulating, professionally gratifying, (and fun).
I am pretty sure our Dean of Students and Athletic Director would not say the same thing. I work closely with both individuals and social media-- particularly in the form of Twitter and Snapchat often lead to major hurt and headaches. In the "old days" a student might be mean to a peer or a parent rude to a coach. But on social media these remarks get shared and go viral. It is much harder to get past being stupid or inconsiderate when the messages or photos get seen by dozens or hundreds of others. When this happens, it's awful...and guess what, social media is not going away soon. In fact it's changing our world.
So I am not naive about Twitter but I think we really need to consider as schools what obligations we have to instruct students about this form of communication. A one hour assembly every couple of years is probably not enough....but what is the best way?
I'll make sure that I will follow the best educators on Twitter who have something to say helpful to say about this important topic.
Larry Baker -- Cross-published at
Assoc Principal. ADE '09. Presents on PD, tech teams, admin tech. Moderator of iWizards. Founded Tech Talk at MHS. Love family, sports, cycling, music. @labcbaker