It is not enough to have a strong trunk and roots…if we prune away the very branches that provide us the blossoms of growth and renewal…
Welcome one and all…for the doorway to the age of the learner has been unlocked and thrown wide open. We’ve been given an all access pass, as well as keys to the store and all it has to offer. And boy, is it busy and bustling…gaining more and more customers and offerings each and every day. The only problem…many of us still fail to notice the open sign hanging from the front-door window.
In fact, many of us are so inundated under the weight of the information already bearing down us that we would hard pressed to see around the corner for the learning curve lying in front of us. In fact, many leaders are working so hard to survive the deluge of information and initiatives standing before them, that they have neither the time, will nor energy to even entertain access…let alone invest in ongoing learning and growth.
Unfortunately, many of today’s leaders are being buried under this ever fluctuating and erratic information storm that is raining down upon them.
So much so, that many fail to ever engage in the necessary time, effort and steps required to increase their capacity and ongoing development as a leader. In fact, much of our leadership learning ends up being a rickety fly-by in order to keep up with the increasing and current demands that already exist in our organization. For many, it is all that they can do to keep from drowning in the data…
It is this limited time and energy that will requires today’s leaders to search out other options for keeping their learning and leadership relevant. Leaders can no longer stay squarely focused on the initiatives and programs they have been tasked to implement…they must also be prepared to lead their organizations with forward-focused around the corner thinking.
With the advent of social media tools and platforms such as Twitter…leaders now have an open opportunity for access. A twenty-four seven never ending scroll of learning…a digital plethora of professional development that sits at their fingertips, or often in their back pocket. A learning and professional development platform and tool that can not only be accessed when time permits…but tailored to meet your own various learning needs. Which I consider to be a social media learning tree…
This Social Media Learning Tree allows leaders to branch out beyond their current knowing-level to exponentially increase their capacity of and for learning…
In most organizations, leaders spend any available learning time focused on improving their craft as a professional…which I consider the roots and trunk of their professional learning tree. Which is incredibly important and vital to improving their professional practice in leading their organization. However, no tree has reached its full capacity, when it remains only as a trunk and roots.
For a tree to reach its full capacity…it needs to branch out and bloom and blossom…
Which is where social media and tools such as Twitter can provide expanded access that allows leaders to grow beyond just roots and trunk…to create the branches of our professional learning and development. For leadership to grow and bloom…it needs to branch out, to constantly search out new ideas, practices and perspectives.
We now have the tools, the platform and the opportunity to differentiate our learning anywhere and at any time…to add those branches to the trunk and roots we have established. We can actually create our own social media learning tree.
We can ultimately fashion and fine-tune our PLN to meet our individual learning needs…allowing us to engage in thinking and conversations that drive us beyond our current capacity and circumstances. To engage in that “around the corner thinking” that not only enhances, but keeps our leadership relevant and fresh.
As an educator, I can not only learn from the top thought leaders in my own profession…such as consultants, principals, administrators, teachers… or even librarians. Which I consider the trunk and roots of the learning tree. However, the learning does not have to stop there…I can move beyond that learning to engage, collaborate and glean learnings from practitioners and thought leaders in a variety of other professions. From design thinkers, to systems and organizational leadership gurus, to technology wizards and beyond. The list is endless. It becomes the branches to the trunk and roots of your learning tree. It is where you expand your thinking. It is where growth flourishes and blooms.
It is your Social Media Learning Tree…
Thank you for this piece, David. It is nice to see #socialmedia gaining ground as a genuine tool for learning, connection, and positive change. We’re building a “Social Media Ambassador” team of staff and students at my school this year – each of us using FB, Twitter, Insta (and what else?) to engage in a dialogue with the whole community on our daily work. Here’s our invitation: http://www.tamdistrict.org/site/default.aspx?PageType=3&ModuleInstanceID=6198&ViewID=7b97f7ed-8e5e-4120-848f-a8b4987d588f&RenderLoc=0&FlexDataID=11695&PageID=5345
In fact, much of our leadership learning ends up being a rickety fly-by in order to keep up with the increasing and current demands that already exist in our organization. For many, it is all that they can do to keep from drowning in the data…
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This line really caught my attention, David, simply because I’d never thought of the impact that keeping up with current initiatives and challenges are having on the ability of an individual or an organization to be forward thinkers.
You are exactly right, though: Current initiatives literally cripple learning in my school. There is SO much going on and SO many new projects and programs to “get up to speed” on that there is little space for learning beyond the curve.
I’ve always been judgmental of my peers who weren’t ready to learn with me in social spaces. I literally questioned their willingness to be learners and viewed them as stagnant.
In reality, they WERE learning — but that learning was constantly connected to one of the 8,000 other things that our school, district, state or nation had required us to tackle all at the same time.
So the question becomes how do we protect teachers and schools and school leaders from being buried in initiatives? I’ve been in education for 21 years now. The sea of change has always been there. Is it even possible to imagine anything different?
Hope you’re well,