Instagram best of 2017

Instagram best of 2017Instagram supports learning and endeavour. It encourages care, commitment, colour and creativity. On March 6th 2016 I had 6 followers and I blogged about it. Today I have 514 so I have come a long way. These photos don’t represent technology as such, but then again they do. I have been learning a lot in the last two years and I have been rewarded by support on Instagram. The photos represent the encouragement I have had learning to spin, to be sustainable, to support local, to care. The tiny teddies were my contribution to a group project to get 100 knitted for a pastoral program in a school. The blanket with the 4 white feet were when I had finished a baby blanket and then had the big challenge of crocheting an AT-AT . On Instagram you lead by collaborating and engaging. You learn by sharing and seeing. My photography with my phone has improved,  I have good followers and it is a very  positive part of my life. It’s a space where I am using my devices to share what I am doing but then get more ideas . I put myself out there and am calibrated against the rest of the world. You can get your own Instagram best nine by going here : 2017bestnine . This is a snapshot. Instagram is still adding likes to older pictures because people come and go on Instagram as they feel like it these days and it is common practice now to do a digital detox. By next week or the week after these images might change because the rhythm of Instagram participation has changed.

Transferable skills

transferable skillsskillsyouneed has a list of transferable skills which are essential to surviving in our current world. What better way for me to verify them than to see if they apply to my current situation of skills transfer? It is essential to have transferable skills and a concept of lifelong learning or you are not able to easily change as life and the world requires. Adapting means you need to have some understanding of what it takes to adapt and then put yourself in situations where you test out your skills transfer.

I have joined a group so I can learn their skills and expertise. In exchange I have been running a blog and social media for them. We are all on new learning ground and we have all had to have those connected conversations so we can progress and lift our skills. It has been one of the best learning experiences of my life and technology has made that possible. So how do these portable skills work?

Team Work

We have had to share ideas and approaches and we have had to discuss what we think, what we want, what we need to achieve. They have looked at me and worked out what I need to learn and how. I have looked at the group and worked out how I can showcase the skills and talent but none of that is done without open and constant conversations.

Leadership

The group has taken on new members and each week they talk about the things which can be learned. They show and tell. They invite others in with skills. They occasionally offer opportunities for excursions to learn and grow. I have had to use that and work out how to make that live and come alive on the internet. I have been able to show them that their knowledge is valued by the world. I have had to work out how we get followers on Instagram, and then, the biggest challenge, Twitter. We have had to lead each other and all of that is done by example and talk.

Personal Motivation, Organisation and Time Management

We encourage each other. There is always something to know and learn. We motivate each other by showing the good things which can be achieved. We look at what people are doing and share their successes and trouble shoot the difficulties. There has to be a lot of good will and there have to be ideas. You have to be prepared to pull things together for a show and tell so people can see what you are achieving and how it works. You have to have examples and so you have to organise yourself to find the tools and tricks which work. We do not over commit ourselves. We acknowledge what we are doing is a part of life and living. It isn’t life and living. My blog posts usually come out every day and from those the rest of the group can see what they have achieved and how others are reacting.

Listening

When you listen you know where the learning gaps are. If you are trying to create change then you have to listen without prejudice. You have to accept what you are hearing and move that person on. By listening I worked out the group had some good mobile skills which could be improved and that I needed to focus more on mobile skills to help them grow. Some of them just want to use a computer so then I had to accommodate that as well. In terms of teaching me,  they worked out I just needed to be filled with information and pointed in the right direction with some tips, magazines, books and then left to work it out until I had questions.

Written Communication

We use email to communicate primarily. That is how they feel most comfortable. The blog, though, and Instagram , have had high appeal for them. They don’t understand Twitter so much and I have explained they don’t need to. I interpret the data for them in blog posts so they understand exactly how what we are doing is impacting the internet. The blog has been helpful since there are members who are not always there and they now feel a better sense of connection to the group when they have to be away.

Verbal Communication

We never stop talking and the other preferred method of communication is to pick up the phone. These people are not fond of texting. They would rather talk to you. In our group meetings we just talk as we work. We share our ideas, thoughts, plans. We plot and plan creativity. We discuss how you do things and what you can do. We look at events and whether we want to participate and how we want to do things. We sit next to someone and help them. I have run mini tech sessions on Facebook and how to access the blog on a phone. I have explained what some of the icons are. There is a lot of one on one  verbal communication to further knowledge.

Research and Analytical Skills

I am blogging and running social media accounts in an area I am not familiar with. I am learning the skills. I have really had to listen and follow up on names and places. I have really had to look things up on the net, especially You Tube to find out what I am talking about. I have had to find the global leaders in the things we are doing and the global responses to what we are doing. I have had to analyse blog data because we were very successful very quickly. I have had to look at stats, work out SEO tactics and then work out who to connect to on the net to further us . Instagram was an instant success so I have had to run hard with that to ensure we keep up the momentum and interest.  With Twitter I have had to look at what has been popular and address the gaps to ensure that account is more solid. The net gives you a lot of data feedback. You can use it to improve yourself and position on the net. The group gives me things to pursue and find out about so we keep that feedback loop going because I show them what the world is reacting to and that really motivates them to grow and respond.

Numeracy Skills

We need them to run the financial side of the group. We also need numeracy skills to make alterations and changes. I need them to analyse data.

Personal Development

When you have a focus you can then have opportunities for personal development. No one in this group is pushed to change. What we do is bring along ideas which people can run with or not. Putting myself in the situation where I am doing technology representation about something I am concurrently learning has helped me learn very effectively and efficiently. All of this is education because we are bringing each other out. We are all showing each other there are things to know and what things to know. The choice then is up to the individual whether they wish to pursue that or not. We constantly offer the opportunities and by being on the net we have also helped others learn.

Information Technology

“Many jobs will require that you use word processing, spreadsheet and web-based software on a daily basis. However, think beyond these basic IT skills. Are you confident using a computer? Can you learn how to use new software and new technology quickly? Can you troubleshoot basic computer problems and do you understand the importance of data security and privacy?”

I have made the group far more confident with technology and they have made me confident with what I wanted to learn. This has been of mutual benefit. I can freely ask them what I want to know and they can sit down next to me and ask me something about technology that they want to know. The ideas and expertise exchange is the thing which makes this so successful and in the process we are all better for it.  Technology enables lifelong learning. They can get out their phones and tablets to show me things and I can get my phone and take pictures of what they take for granted and show them they know a lot and have specific skills which are valued. It then comes down to trust. We trust each other to be helpful and positive.

2 x 2 Leadership Matrix

No claims to being able to explain the real mathematical import of a 2×2 matrix and its implications. There is, however,  work being done around 2×2 matrices for leadership. Even with a limited understanding of maths, the import of the 2×2 leadership matrix is worth exploring for its merit. A 2×2 matrix establishes the determinant of a matrix and is an inverted matrix which means it can reverse another function. It’s about balance and the relationships between the elements. Inverted matrixes can be used to decode or to help solve other mathematical functions. The argument for a 2×2 leadership matrix has been put forward by J.R. Bailey and it centres on the tension between good and great leadership and how that affects the power and impact of a leader . Leaders can be good or bad. They can be effective or not but to have vital, positive leadership the great leader needs to be held accountable by positive good leaders:

Great leadership is powerful, dominating, often overwhelming. It can sweep people along through sheer animation. Great leadership excites, energizes, and stimulates. It’s a rousing call, shocking complacency and inertia into action. It’s one of the most potent pulls in human history, and as such accounts for much of humanity’s progress, as well as its suffering. While it ignites collective action and stirs passion, its direction depends largely on those that wield its power. Great has no inherent moral compass, and thus its unpredictable potency can just as easily be put toward pugilistic and peaceful purposes.

Leadership is not a continuum. You can work on the skills but the outcomes are determined by the other elements of the matrix and how they operate. A very clear version of this is explained by Justin Bariso. The video about the 2×2 matrix on the Harvard Business Review site clarifies it further.

The key elements of leadership are discussed on the onlinelivingblog. The three elements which would impact positively or negatively on the inherent relationships within the 2×2 matrix would be:

1. your own motivation
2. transparency
3. responsiveness

aitsl has the downloadable leadership reflection tools so that you can work on:

locate your current leadership practice
identify strengths and areas for development
view your developmental pathway
access targeted leadership resources to assist your professional growth.

The aistl interactive leadership profiles also give you an opportunity to mix and match different aspects of leadership so that you can work to strengths and positives and notice the weaker spots you have . It looks at relational and systemic impact so that engagement with others is broadened and enhanced. That contributes to vital leadership and one that is in balance with the 2×2 matrix. The matrix gives you a way of looking at leadership. aitsl gives you the tools to do something about itso that you engage with others. Leadership is not in a vacuum nor is it on a continuum. It is in a matrix and as you work on your skills you have to be mindful that the impact of others with determine the sort of leader you are. The corollary is also true: the impact of leadership is the responsibility of others and so it is always important to develop the skills of others. It’s a  dynamic state.

Why should leaders blog?

Why should leaders blog?Blogging builds social capital. It is not a deficit model where you know and others don’t know. You launch your ideas and thoughts into the blogosphere and you will receive ideas and thoughts back which can help you, challenge you and move you on in your ideas and thinking. Education comes from the Latin word educere – to lead forth, to raise up, to erect. We are educators. Anyone involved in education is an educator. They are in the position to lead people on from where they are and raise them to a newer level so they can build the things they are capable of building. Leaders in education are in a prime position for forging connections globally, nationally , regionally and creating influence with regard to educational matters. They have laptops. They have devices. They are no longer locked up in offices far from the madding crowd creating policies, guidelines, structures and memos. They are all now netizens and can take their skills and knowledge out on the Net to further the interests of education. Blogging is a mainstream skill now. Big media and software sites have blogs to support their websites. Blogging puts a human face on an organisation and it allows that organisation to clarify what it is doing, add to what it is doing, troubleshoot, explain, gain ideas. Blogging can be used to problem solve and crowd source ideas and people for projects and plans. Add blogging to a presence on Facebook and Twitter and you can connect with a lot of people to further your aims and gain support for what you are doing. Our national curriculum body, ACARA, and our professional standards body , AITSL, both increased their social media presence last year. They have made some big inroads into connecting with others both locally and overseas and have the figures to prove it. We have got to know them in a more personal way and they are no longer disembodied websites or bits of paper with instructions. They are now real people with real agendas and we can connect with them in a real way. Leadership and Influence has ranked the top 100 Leadership Blogs. It might interest you to see what the web thinks is a top leadership blog. Podnosh has written a good blog post about why leaders should blog and it looks at how leaders can use blogging for problem solving. Blogging adds to personal resourcefulness and strength. It also adds to organisational robustness because it creates connections to strengthen the sense of purpose and clarity of direction. So, if we are all blogging, will we all connect with each other? No. There’s a thing called calibration. You come out on the Net and float your content and some of it sticks and some of it doesn’t. One of the invaluable lessons you learn as a blogger is how to connect with others in a way that gets your content heard and seen. Some are better than others at it. Experience is a great teacher. Does it matter if you are not a big success? Not in my opinion. I have one blog about positive thinking which doesn’t get much traffic. I have had it for a long while. Some of the posts take off. Mostly the posts are for me and my information. They add to me and if they add to others , that’s a good thing but it in no way diminishes the real value they have had for me over the years. Take a look at George Couros’ blog. He knows what he is talking about and there is an authenticity there which will lead you into finding the real value of blogging as a leader. He is a Division Principal and he has taught other educational administrators about the value of social media and how to make it work. Everything on his blog post is linked to more information and practical, contextual help. He is doing what I wrote yesterday in my post as to why teachers should blog. He is sharing all he has learnt and knows and you can see just how strong he is as a leader in an online context. Blogging gives you a voice . It increases your reach and therefore your capacity to influence. I think, therefore I blog.

Josefine Grimm-Blenk

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