Let’s Show Our Work with the #PowerOfPublicSchools

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Created by Kristina Holzweiss

When I speak at conferences or lead workshops, one of the ideas that I try to stress to educators is the importance of showing our work.  It’s something I’ve always believed in but my belief has strengthened each year.

One of the books that I got a lot of encouragement from is Austin Kleon’s Show Your Work.

So many of his ideas resonate with me. As educators, we truly have an opportunity to show the world what is happening within the walls of our schools.  I share at least one thing every single day on Twitter, Instagram, and/or Facebook about the work that is going on in our public school library.

Kazoo parade #librariesofinstagram #steam #makerspace #ccsdmaker

A post shared by Barrow Media Center (@barrowmediacenter) on

I do this for many reasons.  The biggest reason is that it amplifies the work of my students, teachers, and families.  It shows that the work that they are doing matters and deserves to be seen and heard by a global audience.

Another reason I share is to inspire other educators to take risks and try something new.  I’ve gained so much from reading the tweets, pictures, and blog posts of fellow educators around the world. People like Jennifer LaGarde, Tiffany Whitehead, Matthew Winner, Sherry Gick, Kathy Burnette, Nikki Robertson, George Couros, Todd Nesloney (and many more than I can list) inspire my thinking.  They push me to innovate, to try something new, and to offer more opportunities to my community.  By sharing my work, someone else out there will see something we are doing and twist that idea into something new.  Someone out there will try something they weren’t even thinking about.

Finally, I share my work because it defines for the world what is happening in a public school library.  Without sharing, many assumptions are made about what happens in public schools.  It shouldn’t be a mystery to the public.  You can look through my blog posts, Instagram pictures, and Tweets and see that our library and school are filled with miraculous things.  Everything isn’t perfect, but it has value.

Usually, when I share my work, I add hashtags like #edchat, #edtech, #studentvoice, #tlchat, #istelib, #makered, and more.  This sends our work to specific audiences.  This week, a new Secretary of Education was sworn in. There has been a lot of controversy around Betsy DeVos and her views of public education.  There has been a lot of controversy about her lack of experience with what actually happens within public schools. So…I decided to occasionally share with her on social media some of the things happening in our public school library.

When I did this, several people in my professional learning network started having a conversation around showing the great work of public schools. Sherry Gick, Rebecca Flowers, and more started brainstorming a hashtag.  Many suggestions were offered but the brilliant author/illustrator Matthew Cordell offered this one #PowerOfPublicSchools

 

Kristina Holzweiss created a graphic, and we all started sharing it along with our posts of the great work of public schools.

 

I hope that you will join us.  Show the powerful things that are happening in your school and use the hashtag #PowerOfPublicSchools

 

Use our graphic within your networks to encourage others to share.

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Also, consider tagging people who need to see the power of public schools.  Perhaps it’s local, state, and federal government.  Perhaps it’s businesses in your community.  Perhaps it’s someone else.

Regardless of who you might tag, show your work.  You never know who it might inspire, influence, or change.

 

 

Taking Over Georgia Department of Education Instagram: A Lesson in Trust

A few months ago I was alerted to an opportunity by one of my favorite collaborative partners, Gretchen Thomas. The Georgia State Department of Education was inviting educators to apply to takeover their Instagram account for one week. I filled out the quick application, and within a few weeks, I was notified that I was selected for the week of January 18-22, 2016.

When I applied, I really didn’t give a lot of thought to what the state DOE was actually doing, but as the week neared, I was really struck by this opportunity. Social media accounts have a lot of power. They allow organizations or individuals to really show the day to day realities of what we all face. Those accounts have influence and help create the brand of an organization. Handing over an account to someone who is for the most part a complete stranger is a big exercise in trust. How many organizations will just hand over their account and allow people to freely post?

This honor, of course, came with rules to follow.

  • Always use the hashtag #gadoeteachertakeover
  • Reply to comments, but indicate who is replying
  • Post photos that are representative of the profession
  • Anything deemed inappropriate could be deleted by the DOE
  • Post 2-5 photos per day
  • Follow any local policies on posting to social media

I took the responsibility very seriously, and I’m sure that every educator who was chosen is doing the same. In fact, if you scroll through the #gadoeteachertakover tag you’ll see the amazing opportunities our students in GA are receiving every day. Since I was allowed 5 photos per day, I thought very carefully about what to post because I wanted to show a variety of opportunities our students have in our library program.  It isn’t just about technology or just about books. I hope that the photos I chose show that it’s about giving students a voice and giving them opportunities to explore a variety of topics, interests, and passions and share those with the world.

Now that I am at the close of the week, I can back up and collectively look at my week in 25 pictures. It’s very easy for me to get lost in the day to day bustling library and focus on all of the things in my head that I’m not able to get to. When I take time to look back at blog posts, tweets, or pictures, I’m reminded of what is actually happening. This was honestly my first time doing this with Instagram, and I loved seeing a visual of images that showcased one week. In  my head I know what’s missing, what problems we faced, what moments of frustrations I had, but the images remind me that there were miraculous things happening all around us.

I would like to thank the Georgia State Department of Education for this opportunity. Thank you for trusting the educators of Georgia to show their work. Thank you for empowering the voices of educators and students to define what education looks like in our state. I hope that other professional organizations will consider how this type of campaign empowers the voices of its members and amplifies the work that is happening on the front lines of the organization.