Saturday, August 31, 2013

Definitely Worth Mentioning

I have a difficult time explaining why I have the passion for social media that I do.  Sometimes it's just best to include the details that lead me to that "tough to describe" place.  A training we facilitated last week led to one of those special moments.

Members of our team were conducting a training focused on a tool we use called Schoology.  The trainees included district professional learning representatives, instructional coaches, department coordinators, building instructional technology coordinators, and many others.  I had a few moments at the beginning of our training to check in on Foursquare to say where I was and what I was doing at the time.  I do this as I go to different buildings throughout the district.  For one, it's fun.  It also can serve as an informal record of support at the same time.

Presentation focused on @Schoology for coordinators, coaches, mentors, and building techs. #CCSDTech
A couple of minutes after that I snapped a picture and described a little more about our audience for the day.  Tweets with media embedded/shared within them are just plain better.

CCSD instructional leadership learning how to integrate @Schoology into all the great things they already do.

Here's where the magic begins.

After another tweet or two I received a notification that one of my tweets had been retweeted by a user named Ryan Hwang.

I have been on Twitter a while and know there are many different reasons why someone would retweet something of mine.  He/she could be a spammer or someone looking for a new followers/someone wanting to sell something to me or whatever.  I decided to check his profile to make sure this was someone who was legit.  Here's what I found out:

Okay then...

Not only was Ryan Hwang not a spammer, he was the founder and Chief Product Officer for the tool we were training people on!

Moments after that retweet I received an alert regarding my newest follower on Twitter:

Now we're having some fun.

Next was a tweet mentioning my colleagues and me (with the appropriate hashtag):

Awesome! We're excited to have you all on board. Good luck with the rest of your presentations. @JayVeanCCSD @Schoology #CCSDTech

During the training I was sharing the Twitter details with my colleagues as well.  My new follower, as well as knowing the company was following what we were doing live, kept me motivated to share more, while obviously staying engaged with our in-person audience at the same time.

Then, the official Schoology Twitter feed chimed in:

Loving the updates from the #ccsdtech training, thanks @nmezatechlearn @jayveanccsd @kellie80!
After a little more "play-by-play" our training concluded.  It was the least I could do to thank Ryan and Schoology for the unexpected surprise.

@Schoology Thanks for following our training sessions today! #CCSDTech @nmezatechlearn @kellie80

Thinking about strategic mentions as tweets are created can be a powerful thing.  I had obviously heard of Schoology before our training, but the name of Ryan Hwang meant nothing to me.  I'm sure my name, initially, meant just as much to him.  As he began to see some mentions from my account  things took shape and before long there was excitement and motivation created.  I would like to assume that he shared his side of this story with some of the colleagues around his office.  I know I did.

UPDATE: This tweet came through the next afternoon.

Jen is Schoology's Community Manager, so it was confirmed that more people than Ryan were aware of our tweets and training.  That's pretty powerful considering that we're in Colorado and Schoology is based in New York City.

These mentions and interactions are a way to share valuable information (about a tool that we use and love) while, simultaneously, creating potential social connections that otherwise would not have had the opportunity to happen without the use of a tool like Twitter.

Above all, while using Twitter in a meaningful way (and while you may not realize it at the time) the "right" people may playing much closer attention than you ever thought.

So, for obvious reasons, my passion for social media rolls on.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Selling the Sizzle...

I have a former Aurora Public Schools colleague (and great friend) who is one of the biggest Seinfeld fans out there.  He shared a Seinfeld clip with me long ago.  It features Kramer being in the right place at the right time and accidentally getting a job.  One of our favorite lines from the episode is right here.

I have a long list of reasons why I enjoy what I do, and toward the top of that list is "selling the sizzle" rather than selling the steak.  This actually happened recently as my colleague and I were meeting with a principal and a technology teacher at one of the elementary schools in our feeder area.  "Sizzle" words like "collaboration", "PLCs", "formative assessment", and "alignment" starting working their way into our conversation so we naturally went to our current steak, which is Schoology.  Let's just say that this was a very simple sell.  This meeting ended with possibilities and excitement.  Not to brag, but most of our meetings with building leadership end this same way.

I'm not sure how long Schoology will be around, and my guess, thinking big picture, won't be forever.  Very few tools (if any) last forever.  But the sizzle, no matter the tool, keeps selling itself.  Sizzle is collaboration, efficiency, working "smarter" and not "harder" and the list goes on and on.  Tools that lend themselves to these 21st Century skills allow us to sell the sizzle rather than the steak.

That's what we do, and that's what I love.

Friday, August 2, 2013

One Week Down...

...and many, many more to go.

As I complete my first week in Cherry Creek Schools I find myself very excited and motivated about this school year.  I have been extremely impressed by the professionals I am working with directly.  We definitely have a dynamic group.  There have also been many new faces I have met in the past week.  I have been impressed by those CCSD colleagues as well.  This is a powerful district with a lot of pride, expertise, passion, tradition, and potential.  I'm extremely honored to be here and have very much enjoyed being a part of creating our future as a department.

What exactly does the future hold?  No one is quite sure yet.  But one thing is for sure, it is going to be a lot of fun.

Here we go...