Leveraging the Network

    Writing a tweet is really not that hard.  You click the feather and then pops up a little white box, you type in it, and then you press the “tweet” button.
    Adding hashtags is not that hard.  You press the hashtag key, add it in front of a word or phrase, and voila, you have a hashtag.
    #EasyEnough
    The hard part is the habit.
    When we are searching information, it is easy to go to something like Google and filter all of the items on a topic that you are interested in, and trying to find the good stuff.  The disruption in the routine is looking to people to help filter that for you.
    Here is an example…
    One of the administrators that I was working with wanted to learn more about “growth mindset”, so I sent out the following tweet.

    I am wanting to learn more about “Mindset” for K-8 students. Any suggestions? #edchat
    — George Couros (@gcouros) November 16, 2015

    Here are only some of the responses:

    Now some will argue that this is unfair to share because I have a very large network, and that is a totally fair statement.  So let’s say you wrote this instead:
    I am wanting to learn more about “Mindset” for K-8 students. Any suggestions? #edchat cc @gcouros
    If you have no followers and tweeted that out, and I saw it, I could tweet it out to my network.  By simply tagging myself or someone else that you think might be willing to help, it is possible you can up the opportunities of getting a great answer. I am more than willing to do this as long as it is connected to learning. Although I do not see everything and I can’t help every time, it is important to remember that everyone starts with zero followers on Twitter.  Many people are willing to help if they think it will help the learning of yourself and your students.
    The point of this post is to show that there is power in going beyond simply finding information, to learning how to leverage a network.  The trick is getting into the mindset of doing this and thinking this way.  The more you add to a network, the more you can get out of it and if you do not get the responses we are hoping for, we need to be willing to try again. One of the things that I always say is that it is important for us to create these connections for our students, but it is more important for us to teach them how to do it themselves.  If we are willing to disrupt our routine, the habit can be formed sooner than later.

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