A few short weeks ago, a most amazing thing happened: 52 educators from all over the United States contributed articles about teaching to a project that EdSurge sparked. (If you have not read any of the articles, push pause on this one and visit some of them right here.)
Now, imagine if this sort of thing happened on a daily basis--if educators and administrators shared best practices and amplified all of the positive things that are happening in schools every day. Take a few moments to consider all of the things that you, educators, do in your classrooms to help students learn. If you shared those things with teachers all over the world with a picture and the click of a button, that would be, as I like to refer to it, #1CoolThing!
But #1CoolThing isn’t just a hashtag I’m using flippantly… it’s actually a movement on Twitter, born and bred here in Oklahoma. It’s #1CoolThing when your school has a community service project and the students do more than you ever thought possible. It’s #1CoolThing when your iPad lesson has the students creating their learning in ways you never thought possible. It’s #1CoolThing when administrators to share pictures of student athletes signing letters of intent. Get the idea?
Share what you and your students are accomplishing
Using the hashtag (#) symbol followed by 1CoolThing on Twitter (or any other social media) will group related posts into an easily viewable stream. My personal #1CoolThing: Making awesome relationships with some of my cool kids--just look at the photo at the top of this article.
What else are educators sharing? QR Code book reports--ever tried that or seen it in action? Educator Kris Gore has, and she is proud of it.
Are you an administrator who is proud of what your school has accomplished? Take a picture and tag it with #1CoolThing. Here's Oklahoma Superintendent Kevin Hime sharing a picture of Pre-K classes singing Christmas carols at a school board of education meeting.
Did your school just win their first state title in a sport? Take a picture of the team with that shiny new trophy and tag it with #1CoolThing. Leedy Public Schools are the Fall Baseball State Champs, just check it out below.
Those of us involved in educating young people need to amplify all of the positive things that our schools are doing. Too much negativity can that split communities and drive wedges between schools, parents, administrators, and teachers. If we can drown out all of the negativity and use social media (and really, all different social medias) to show off our great schools during 2015, just imagine what positive change that may spread.
Find great teaching ideas for 2015
But this isn’t just about sharing. It’s about finding practices that you can emulate.
After Tweeting, Facebooking, Google+-ing all of the #1CoolThing’s that are happening in your classroom and school community, search the hashtag on social media. Reach out to those educators who posted #1CoolThing and get the details so that you can try those things in your classroom or building.
Why? You might get inspired about things that you had not thought about trying, or were nervous to try first. You might see real life success stories from classrooms around the world and mold them to your own learning community. For example, if you search #1CoolThing right now on Twitter, you will see how a classroom teacher had her students come up with a song to learn about continents that’s now posted on YouTube. Or, you will see how a classroom teacher is using code.org to teacher her students important logic skills.
Taking the plunge
When it comes to “strutting your stuff” online, it can be difficult to start; it is not a habit that most humans (especially educators) have. Teachers can be shy creatures, and posting those pictures of the #1CoolThing can be tough. But as teachers and administrators, we are community leaders--take the risk and make this part of your school culture. Make this something that you do on a regular basis. Why? Because you matter! You make a difference every day.
Start now, today--right after you finish reading this. Post it on Twitter, Google+, Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, wherever. Tell parents to search for it. Have your school board members be aware of it. Let the local newspaper know about it. Share your innovative ideas, share your lesson success, share the #1CoolThing that you do, share it every week.
Be the positive force of change that you have the opportunity to be.