Wednesday, April 11, 2012

A Social District?

I keep stumbling onto books that aren't written for education but seem to have a practical application to what I want to do in education. I am following and interacting with more authors out of education than inside it now.

And I get frustrated trying to implement these techniques into classrooms and getting frustrated by the overarching system of education. It tends to overwrite innovation.

My thoughts are moving now toward putting these elements into the overarching system. The top book is my current read (The Social Organization) and I am wondering why we don't have a social organization in our districts, state education systems, or even at the federal level.

How can we consistently try to tap our students as a mass collaboration tool on projects while neglecting the power of social organization in how we run school business?

Why aren't we using social media to tap into the collective genius of our employees?

The authors define the aspects of a social organization:
The people invited to collaborate are the community.
The place to collaborate is the site or the social media.
The purpose is why we collaborate.
Mass collaboration - large and diverse groups of people seek mutual purpose that creates value.

Do we create value in our system?

The key to creating value, as the authors point out, is PURPOSE. This is what attracts people to create and contribute.

Often we state goals but we rarely establish purpose for the things we do.

And maybe we lack the ability to distinguish between goal and purpose. They seem very similar. I would like more input from the reader on the different between goals and purpose.

For me, goals seem more tactical - where specific results are expected. Goals can be checked off and forgotten after they are completed.

Purpose is more strategic - where focus is on what we need to accomplish. Purpose can't be marked complete as it isn't as tangible as a goal. And purpose may be an internal want or need that can't be described in a goal.

STRATEGY is a word I have replaced with POLICY.

And I believe, like the authors, that this error is what reduces the value of our community.

An example is the district Acceptable Use Policy - a document establishing the rights of the IT department and what staff can and cannot do within the system established already. Does this description boil down an AUP correctly?

What if it changed? What if it became a Technology Access Strategy? And the purpose was to educate staff on the network they connect with? Instead of a document, it was a wiki and all year long, staff could build on it with questions, answers, suggestions, comments, polls, pictures, videos, etc.

There would be no hierarchy. Everyone has the same rights to influence or change this strategy.

We start with what we have now with an added purpose that establishes the value of what we are trying to create as a community?

How could this be replicated in other "policy" systems we have in place?

Whew! I have more to read. This is only 3 chapters into the book! :)

1 comment:

  1. Joel,

    I love this. Love your "AUP Access Strategy' too. Sounds like a book I need to read. But you are right--even within our own districts, why aren't we crowdsourcing more? Challenges the status quo, but if our purpose is really to have a collaborative environment top to bottom, it has tremendous impact.

    Love it!