Sunday, 14 September 2014

Leadership, Kidsedchatnz & Sharing Knowledge

Three qualities that describe me perfectly are passionate, hard working and reflective but I must admit that there is a healthy dose of red-blooded kiwi male ego that is mixed in amongst these qualities and the many others that make me who I am. As one of the coordinators of @kidsedchatnz it's success has been a great source of excitement and reflection but it has had many hours of my life poured into it. It's similar to the time the time that goes into my Miss 2 really and as such, is a source of much pride. 

It's with these qualities that I have viewed the introduction of other chat sessions for children and when these people have turned to @Palmyteacher, myself and the other coordinators, all three qualities have been boosted. But @kidsedchatnz success hasn't come without great effort. Bouncing ideas the other day, Stephen reflected on one of the factors in this success - it's the team.
I've recently enjoyed the intrinsic rewards of spreading the knowledge I've gained from Kidsedchatnz. I've presented at the Edchatnz conference, helped Amanda Rogers set up USAKidschat and shared Kidsedchatnz with #EducampAkl and WAPA. We've been getting lots out of these sessions to help us improve Kidsedchatnz for the benefit of the students, this ultimately helps the teachers who use it as a tool in their class.

One of the most valuable lessons was that chat sessions with children on twitter need to be very carefully managed. A chat session that was attacked by the spammers would cause all sorts of trouble and if you're running hashtags, this is always going to be a risk. Hence, we use a subscribed list with Kidsedchatnz. Amanda Rogers, responsible for #USAkidschat blogged about her hiccups, including spam and it prompted my first foray into producing infographics as I attempted to share our knowledge. This feeds both my passion and reflective nature (and the ego).

Stephen and I have been sending emails, tweets and DMs back and forth over the last few days as we discussed other ideas and how to translate these ideas into what we hoped could be a go to resource for creating successful kids chats using twitter (How to Run a Twitter Chat for Children, attached). The result, we shared with the world earlier today (September 14th ) and we were stoked as it quickly found popularity amongst educators. It is a fantastic example of the leadership that is to be found in teams and what can be done when people are wanting to share their knowledge. My experience in life (not just teaching) has shown me that this isn't always the case.

The Kidsedchatnz leadership model has been highly beneficial to my development as a teacher, not just within the confines of the chat sessions and its planning, but throughout my professional and classroom practice. Keeping this thought uppermost in my mind will be an easy mechanism for ensuring that my students, peers and wider school community can all be kept empowered, involved and engaged.

It's too easy to hold knowledge close and not share, but there are so many others that have shared their knowledge with me that it is only fair that this favour is returned tenfold. Hopefully, I'll inspire a few others to share too and that would be a fantastic form of leadership.

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