Friday, April 3, 2015

#youredustory, Week 13: PLNs and Echo Chambers

Prompt: The world of connected educators can be an echo chamber at times, how WILL you grow the conversation so that we bring more people and perspectives along the journey?

I’m going to Andrew Thomasson this prompt for #youredustory and disagree with the premise of the prompt. Andrew pushed back - very eloquently - on a couple of the prompts so far. Let the Thomasson channeling begin…

My people: edcamp organizers at #cue14, photo by me
Before I start, by no means am I implying that a group of connected educators needs to be an echo chamber. If you're not following people who think differently about education than you do, by all means start doing that. Divergent voices are absolutely necessary for progress to be made in education, for progress to be made in your classroom or at your site.

As I engage with more and more groups of edufriends, many of whom seem to be a single person at their school really pushing hard on making school different and better for our students, I know that these educators' PLNs provide a place of support and comfort for them.
Weird look or snarky comment from a staff member? No worries. Get called in to talk to your principal or superintendent? Hey, we've been there. Let's troubleshoot this together. Got an angry email from a parent because you're doing school differently? Because your class isn't what they experienced in school? Yup. We're that shoulder to cry on.
I think that those like-minded people are incredibly crucial for support. For the 'No, you're not crazy' talk. For the ‘No, you’re doing what’s right - keep fighting the good fight’ talk. You NEED like-minded people if you're going to survive while trying to make change in education.

You need some cheerleaders.

You need people who see education the way you do. People who have fought similar battles. People who know and see the value of doing it another way.

Some days, you need a room full of them. (Or at least a Voxer group of them.)

Some days, you need an echo chamber.


More information on #youredustory can be found here. Consider joining in the fun!