Friday, December 31, 2010

The Power of Connections

This school year has produced a lot of changes in my professional career. I have taken on a principal's position, built new relationships at a new school, embarked on the Professional Learning Communities journey, joined the Twitter world, and started a blog. It has been a rewarding year. My professional library has expanded to include other educators' blogs and I have learned so much from them and I will forever be indebted to those people. If you don't yet subscribe to blogs, I highly recommend doing so as soon as possible. I have read more this year than ever before, which was a goal of mine for this past year.

Recently I started following an author, William M. Ferriter on Twitter. He is the co-author of Building a Professional Learning Community at Work, A Guide to the First Year (my administrator's PLC is currently using this book for our book study). He is an author for Solution Tree which is a publishing/professional development powerhouse in the education world. The company's headquarters is located in Bloomington, Indiana.

When Mr. Ferriter noticed that my Twitter bio states that I am a principal in Bloomington, it sparked a nice conversation between the two of us. What comes next is the powerful part. Mr. Ferriter offered to help our Faculty PLC at an upcoming meeting. He also offered to Skype in to one of our meetings if we wanted. I was floored by his openness and willingness to offer his time and expertise to a total stranger. What a great opportunity to learn from the man who literally 'wrote the book.'

No final plans have been made but I know with certainty that we will take him up on his offer. What other way can a principal in Bloomington, Indiana get to speak directly with the author of the book he has been studying for three months? This opportunity presented itself through the Power of Connections.

Are you connected?


  1. What's really interesting, John, is that the connections are equally valuable to me. I don't see myself as "the guy who wrote the book." Instead, I'm a learner just like you.

    What's cool is that we share a similar interest in PLCs, and finding you in Twitter means that we can pursue that interest together.

    Hearing from you and your teachers will help me to think through my own understandings of collaborative learning. I'll be challenged, see gaps in my thinking, find places where I can be more clear, and walk away with tons of new ideas to polish and to incorporate in my continuing work.

    The connection is just as powerful for me as it is for you. Connected learning is symbiotic. We're equally important to one another.

    Powerful stuff indeed----and you're right: Twitter makes it possible to learn with more people about more topics than ever before.

    Anyway...looking forward to the conversation,
    Bill Ferriter

  2. Great to see this post and this 'conversation'... it just begs the question, "Wouldn't our students benefit from these connections too?"

    This exemplifies and models exactly why kids need to be connected and socially networked as well!

  3. I am thrilled to see more and more education administrators embracing all the wonderful tools and resources to share ideas, similar problems/solutions and goals.

  4. I'm newbie, too with PLNs. I am a fairly new ELL teacher and just starting tweeting about three weeks ago. My kids can manipulate the Ipad faster than I can, but I'm learning fast. One of my goals for the school year is to incorporate more technology in the classroom with an emphasis on encouraging my students to read more. Less than 25% of my students actually check out books on a regular basis and enjoy reading. My students read 3 to 4 grade levels below their current grade. My plan is to use more technology like Skype, ipads, ipod, and interactive whiteboards to ignite them into believing that learning is valuable.