#etmooc – Becoming a Networked Educational Leader

Today’s session was presented by George Couros. I missed the first part as I was out of the office but the live notes below are from what I did catch in the second half of the session.

For full disclosure, I do not work within a school or educational setting, so I find that it was more difficult for me to connect with the information. On the other hand, I homeschool our children, so I am, technically, the administrator. I do blog a bit about my experiences as a homeschooler on my personal blog (but not sure if it really is a connection here).

Anyway, the notes below are my understanding of what George presented. Any mistakes are mine alone (and if you find any, let me know so I can fix them!).

Presenter: George Couros (@gcouros)

The Evolution of a Lead Learner

#cpchat – administrators use this hashtag to share what they are learning and connect with others

– not many people were using it but now it is a constant flow of information

– not waiting for a book to be published, I’m learning from a principal that implemented something that day

– a way to share articles and information, a bat signal for administrators

– a facebook page where he could connect wit parents, a twitter feed for announcements and to talk back and forth with parents, and then have blogs

– many different outlets to reach people

– may do things differently if going back in time = not many people engaging at that time (no one was doing Twitter at the time)

– ultimately what was really important was students having portfolios of work

— an online blog portfolio, private to their community, but was shared to communicate their interests and what they were doing

— this does not happen if my staff do not go through the process as well (practice using digital media)

— need to immersive yourself to understand the pitfalls

— we have to get going because these kids need this right now and we will learn it all together; so if there was something a kid did that an adult didn’t know how to do, get the kid to teach you how to do it

– each kid has a digital portfolio, from K to 12

— every teacher knows the kids email, google app. blog

— implemented over 3 years

— focus on PD in these areas to create a huge community where we learn from each other

— believe in teacher autonomy = encourage innovation but use these consistent apps (google, blogs)

Question: Why should you or your school administrator connect? Please tweet answers to #cpchat and #etmooc or take the mic.

People are watching what you (the admin) are doing.

Couros – Hey I’m doing this, I’m learning along side staff and students. Sometimes the problem is that staff use one set of tools and students use others. Why not use all the same tool so we can learn from one another?

Kirsten Tschofen – we need to be accessible but not necessarily synchronous. Yes, we need to be connected but have boundaries as well.

Couros – you should have some boundaries. As a teacher or whatever, you have those convos “Hey I might not be able to get back to you immediately, here are the hours that I can.” Do you have balance if you don’t use technology? You need to balance by having connectedness through technology.

Our world is different than when we were kids. Our pre-service teachers do some inappropriate things online which could keep them from having a job because I know how to do a Google search. We need to understand the world in which we live, and help people be able to do this. Not be inappropriate but be creative to share their great work and have opportunities that we didn’t have as kids.

I want to ensure that when my students walk out of my school I want to make sure they are equipped to be successful in life. I didn’t have the same opportunities as a kid growing up in a small town did in a big city but now that is possible.

Bernard – one of the great affordances of social media is that admin can connect by passion rather than proximity. There is value in diversity of opinion, but when admins can find others that share passions, it’s amazing what can happen when they inspire one another.

Couros – harder to be a mediocre admin these days because of social media.

We only put the strong points in our resume, but when you know others are looking at your work, you do better because you know others are seeing it. You feel like other people care what you say so you don’t want to throw junk out there.

teachertrishu (from chat) – yes you feel more accountable for what you say or put out there.

Slide: Should your school admin connect?

Character and Credibility

Covey says that great leaders have great character and credibility.

How character and credibility can be amplified through social media.


– What is your vision?

– I want to know that the people who are running the schools can tell you what it looks like in the class. What is the vision broken down?

– Good boss, bad boss – we have this grand goal that we talk about but we are not able to break it down into smaller steps and talk about it.

–  8 Things to Look for in Today’s Classroom & What Makes a Master Teacher (two blog posts)


— http://georgecouros.ca/blog/archives/267

Teachers say about amdinitrators that they don’t get teaching anymore. Admins should know what the classroom looks like, how it works, how it progresses forward


– something that is very important

– Our knowledge has made us cynical. Our cleverness, hard and unkind. We think too much and feel too little. More than machinery we need humanity. More that cleverness we need kindness and gentleness. Without these qualities, life will be violent and all will be lost.” – Charlie Chaplin, The Great Dictator

School has become a cold enterprise (call the school and got the answering system). The first thing we do is press 0 so we can talk to a person. Social media can help bring out the humanity in what we are doing. A lot of schools will say they need Twitter and Facebook, but they are only pushing out info. It’s dehumanizing rather than connecting.

Example – tweeted back to a parent who had an upset child on a Friday night

Notter and Grant – Social media wasn’t growing like gangbusters simply because Mark Zuckerberg built a better widget. It was growing because as human beings we all have a deep connection to openness and authenticity.

It isn’t about “doing” social media but changing how institutions act. How social is important, not about pushing things out. This doesn’t happen overnight but we can show authentic pieces of ourselves.

Story – blogged about the death of a pet. School treated him as a person rather than a principal; allowed them to connect with each other within the community.

— it shows the character that you are just like them and connect with people in a different way

Through social media I have been able to connect with people that I have not been able to do before.

I spend a good chunk of my time reading their blogs and commenting. Admins need to do that because teachers are thinking why am I doing this? Admins can help change the dynamic and build the community (something you may not have been able to do without social media). I can comment on students work/blog, something I couldn’t do 5 years ago

What would you expect out of a principal? being open, being collaborative, and being accessible are expectations.

Question: What are something you could do/have done to get your administrator connected?

– become an admin myself

– post about positive things going on at school

Chat question: How would you approach an admin you wanted to see connect? George – the further up you are on the ladder with authority, the more I would push you to connect. I understand about teachers needing more time, but administrators need to be connected. I think its really important to work with admins. One thing I do is focus on what they could bring to others. I understand you are busy, but there is so much I can learn from you if you share your thoughts. IMagine how much better education would be if you shared your thoughts. Ultimately its always about whats best for kids. To improve the profession, tap into what they can share rather than focus on weaknesses.

Be willing to sit with admins and go through it with them. I wouldn’t push someone unless I was willing to sit with them, side by side, and guide them.


3 thoughts on “#etmooc – Becoming a Networked Educational Leader

  1. Pingback: Connecting: Moving Forward « Solve4Why

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