This post most definitely comes with the disclosure that ‘all opinions are those of the writer and not of any Directorate/school/thing other than me”.
I have had a level of frustration today which is unusual for the last day of term. This morning I spent a bit of time on twitter and various blogs looking at some resources for next year (I know, I am a bit ‘special’ like that), and what I found didn’t really make a lot of sense to me. I don’t think that there is any denying that the rise of social networks and online sharing which happens through mediums such as twitter, the numerous blogging platforms and Facebook has had a huge impact on the way that teachers connect and share ways of doing things and seeking support. Indeed, one of the things which I would like to do in my upcoming break is to get some new connections made internationally to introduce a level of communication not only personally and professionally, but also down the track between my classes and others around the world.
But back to what didn’t make sense. I am reasonably well known for my opposition to many of the security settings which exist on the network at school. I do actually think that there needs to be some level of security, but there are times where it is inhibiting or limiting the ability for people to make professional connections, share ideas and resources. Before I go any further yes, there is a procedure for sites to be made available within the school, however, I would argue that as a system we need to make a decision to break down the barriers and encourage people to share and reflect.
Here are today’s frustrations…
- Shortened links on Twitter. Using link shorteners when you only have 140 characters to play with is necessary. Unfortunately hitting on any one of these links brings up a “red screen of do not pass” and you are unable to go any further. Regardless of what the link is to.
- Blogging sites. There are a number of blogging platforms which are available online, but precious few which I am able to log into at work to blog or edit. Now while traditionally this may have been seen as something which is/should be done from home as it is a personal thing, there is a growing number of contributors whose input is central to the professional development, reflection and sharing which happens in teaching. I have been blogging at WordPress for quite a while now, and don’t really want to change platforms just to be able to do this at work. You see, I am able to read blogs, but I am unable to log into my blog and manage it.
- Facebook. Okay, a contentious one. I have worked in contexts where Facebook is allowed and opened on school networks, and I do know that in some schools within our system is it allowed. My issue is that if on the Department’s internal and external sites there is a button to “like us on Facebook”, you are inviting staff to participate in a social medium, you should therefore allow them to access it.
If we want a digitally engaged professional community then there needs to be some encouragement of it, or at least there needs to be less things standing in the way of it developing.
And here endeth the rant…
Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year. xox