In the mid 90s, Gwen Solomon began directing her Well Connected Educators online. Her idea was to get educators to write and talk about what they were doing in their districts with technology. I was one of many, who joined in to share beyond the faculty room and classroom walls. A lot of educators, who were local pioneers in teaching with technology, and wanted to share, had a chance to do it because of Gwen Solomon.
Today, there’s a group of principals and other administrators doing the same thing online. Connected Principals http://www.connectedprincipals.com/ is all about principals sharing ideas—and as you’ll read, with the Internet and social media, there are no boundaries for sharing.
Question: Why do you connect on Connected Principals?
Burlington High School in Massachusetts
Connected Principals has become one of my most valuable resources both in the content and with my connections with the contributors. I get a daily dose of best practices in leadership from innovative Principals. In addition, the connections we have made also allow me the ability to interact with these great leaders and gather insights help me in my school improvement efforts in my own school. I never imagined that this collaborative blog would become such a vital resource for me. There is no other magazine, newspaper, blog, etc. that I consider more significant than this blog!
Forest Green School and Connections for Learning
Stony Plain, Alberta, Canada
Connected Principals was created as a way of having school administrators from around the world share best practices and learn from one another. Through this transparency of our own learning and focus on doing what is best for kids, we also wanted to show that administrators were aligned with educators working in the classroom directly with students. Connected Principals was created to not only share learning with administrators, but with all educators. I personally have learned that I am never limited to the ideas of a school or even division; I now have access to ideas from any part of the world. This wealth of knowledge from so many can really help improve learning for our students.
Illinois' first Cooperative High School
Connected Principals has allowed me to be exposed to a diverse set of views on many different issues in education. If you are a committed life-long learner, connecting with other practicing professionals is a must. I think what makes CP unique is that we choose to exchange our thoughts and ideas here because we are bound by a passion for our profession, the use of social media to connect, and the need to make education work for our local learning communities. I have not found a dynamic learning opportunity that fits my needs as well anywhere else. The ideas expressed and the ensuing dialogue that accompanies them continually challenge my mindset and make me a better educator!
Dalian Maple Leaf Foreign Nationals School
At first it was just to get to know some colleagues from all over the globe. My colleagues here in China have very different situations than me, and live in different cities, so I saw this as a great opportunity just to connect. Now, I find it indispensable for not just learning, but also guiding my practice. I’ve read many things here that I feel like I could have written, as it sits so well with my own philosophy and yet I’ve also read many things that I could not have written because I lack the wisdom and experience and even insight to come up with the ideas shared. I once read that technology doesn’t isolate us, it just extends our reach. My professional reach has been extended in a very powerful way with Connected Principals.
W. Erskine Johnston PS
Connected Principals provides a forum in which we can share our ideas as we shape and refine our vision of education. The blogging community brings together a diverse collection of voices from educational leadership across the globe. We don’t always agree on all points, but the conversation is that much richer for the diversity. There is a shared commitment to students and learning that draws us together. Reading my colleagues’ posts, I find my thinking being pushed in new directions, which gives me constant fuel for professional growth and learning. I have also appreciated the support that I have received from other CP bloggers. This support is what helps me stay focused on the big picture and how the local changes that I am working towards fit within it. Finally, I like to be inspired, and the CP blog provides that on a regular basis. On many occasions it has provided me with reading recommendations, information on new approaches, and innovative ideas for addressing challenges at the local level.
Kent Elementary School
Agassiz, British Columbia, Canada
Connected Principals is an opportunity to share some of the positive things that are happening at my school; too, it provides me with the opportunity to be challenged and encouraged by a larger audience of educators from around the globe. In addition, by subscribing to the feed for the blog, I gain further inspiration from passionate administrators whose ideas I borrow, adapt and modify to benefit the students of my school. The CP is more than a blog, it has been a door that has led me to enhanced relationships with a network of educational leaders whom I can turn to (through the blog, Twitter, email, Skype, Facebook, etc) for advice, encouragement, and critical reflection. This collaborative tool is irreplaceable in my practice.
St. Gregory College Preparatory School
I was already blogging regularly, on my own blog, but I began noticing as I became more active on Twitter that my solo blogging was a little bit lonely and a little bit sterile, lacking in exchange and discussion. On twitter I found increasingly exciting the opportunity to expand my PLN beyond its previous, far more narrow, parameters, but I wanted to do more to strengthen my new network and take the conversations deeper. Having always been a private school administrator and watching the broader, multi-national conversation about education reform, progress, and advancement happening from the sidelines, I felt the wish to raise my voice and have a forum in which I can do more to contribute to that larger conversation, and I immediately saw CP as an opportunity for that. That is why I chose to connect in the first place, but over time I have been stunned by the extent to which my thinking and understanding of critical issues in education have grown by leaps and bounds by the posts, comments, and ongoing exchange that is happening at CP among both the writers and the readers of CP, which I believe has fast-become a very valuable hub for educators internationally who share, to some extent at least, the CP Guiding Principles.
(Editor’s Note: If you’re curious about what happened to Well Connected Educator, it morphed into something called TechLearning ;>))