Firewall vs Adminwall

On my posting the other day about our school setting up a YouTube account Jeff Dungan left the following comment:

…any tips you can give me to take to my administration/board since they are not receptive to the idea of allowing this to be unblocked/used at our school? Anything that you can offer in terms of support for our argument why we should be able to access it aside from the obvious would be fantastic.

Getting through the Adminwall is a lot harder then through a firewall, but not impossible. How do you get Admin to buy in, to recognize the opportunity these tools hold for learning. I’m not sure, but here’s the approach that has worked for me time and time again.

1. Work your #*& off
2. Praise loudly and reprimand quietly
3. Fill their e-mail box with examples educational or funny of things you find on YouTube

I knew I had them when our V.P. invited me into his office one day as I was walking by to show me a video he found tear jerking funny. His buddy had sent him the link and he was crying laughing at the video. At that moment I knew I had them hooked.

There really is no secret here. Everyday I tell teachers who I’m helping that my job is to work myself out of a job and that’s exactly how I feel. I can not wait for the day that education does not need a technology specialist in the building because technology just is. Until then I have a job, but I strive to help teachers learn new skills, fix their own computers and think outside the box (said that 10 times today) when it comes to teaching.

I’ve had some teachers say to me that I work to hard and their is no way they would ever stay up to 1am making sure a podcast was posted, or up until 2am upgrading the Moodle site. That I think is the difference. The administration knows how hard I work for them and our students, and the passion I have for technology and the amazing things it can do comes through in every conversation I have. Some people call it tooting their own horn, I call it letting people know how much I believe these tools can will are changing education. Yes I’m insane, I love this stuff and I work way to hard to do it, but i wouldn’t have it any other way.

Every time a teacher does something with technology I send e-mails like they won a gold metal. Admin gets e-mails, teaching partners get e-mails, and other teachers who I think might benefit from the e-mail. I alway include my thoughts, my kudos, and how this truly impacts learning in the e-mail. The more you can play it up the more others want to be in the e-mail, want their name mentioned and see how hard you are willing to work to help them ‘get it’.

From the start of this year every time someone put a video on YouTube that was educational and got pasted around the blogosphere I made sure it made it into the admin’s e-mail box talking about the impact of this social-network. First semester I uploaded the student made digital stories to my personal account (without admin permission) and waited for there to be something to share. The first was the history of IBM video where someone who works at IBM commented on the student’s video. Then the history of Firefox video which has been viewed over 3,000 times. Again I sold it to the admin, I shared with them the K12 group set up on YouTube and encouraged them to browse some of the great videos there.

So this semester when the timing was right I walked into their office and said “I’m going to set up a YouTube account for our school.” To which they replied “OK”.

I will say that I do have some amazing administrators. Andy Torris my current principal and I have had many conversations around these tools and how they can be used in school. We’ve worked together now for 5 years so we’ve built that trust that if I say something will work, I get more OKs then ‘whys’ and ‘what about…’. It’s a trust issue. Once you have their trust then you can have the tools. I’m lucky, I know, from my principal clear up to my Superintendent. They (I think) trust me and know that at the root of who I am, I am an educator and have the best intentions of our students in mind. I’m not perfect by any means, and have ran into my fair share of Adminwalls, but that doesn’t stop me from pushing. Seriously, there are times I send e-mails wondering if I’m going to be sent a pink slip. We’ve got to keep pushing, keep expanding educators horizons and not settle for where we are…the world is changing too fast for that.

[tags]youtube, 21st Century Learning, adminwall[/tags]

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