“I love it already.” Those were the words of my Superintendent as we introduced him to Flipboard on his new iPad2 this morning. He continued to download more apps from our list, smiling as he tested each one. Orwell Kowalyshyn, District Helping Teacher, created a list of apps specifically for Administrators. We had used Twitter to get recommendations from those in the field. We weren’t sure what to expect in return; it was a bit of an experiment. We wanted to know: What are the best apps for a superintendent?. And, whom should a superintendent follow on Twitter? Of course, I have a small group of followers, and probably the best gift they gave to me was to retweet it out to their own lists. Some of the people following me have over 2,000 followers. That’s the amazing power of Twitter. Then the suggestions came chirping back in and I wondered what the etiquette for Twitter should be. Was I supposed to respond and thank them each individually? My opportunity to thank them is through my blog (thanks @HHG et al.). What I ended up getting back in return were some very helpful suggestions; not just for my Superintendent, but for me as well.
The ideas for apps were great. Some I have on my iPad and some I will now get. The tweets looked like this: Flipboard, Twitter, TED, Google Earth, Kindle, iBooks, Pages, mobile RSS, 2Do (for his to do list), Evernote, Hoot Suite, Simple Goals, Get it Done, and memefy (just for a laugh). We didn’t want to overwhelm him so we decided to make a summary list of the “must haves.” The list is broken down into three categories: Information Retrieval, Social Media Connections, and Content Creation and Collaboration Tools. I think anyone in a position of leadership would find the list helpful.
Who to follow? One of the first suggestions was to start local and follow teachers in our own district to get a flavor for what is being exchanged (use hashtag #sd36learn). Right now our hot bed of Tweeters seems to be coming from Sullivan Heights Secondary. Most of the Helping Teachers are on Twitter now too. The rest of the suggestions for whom to follow were mostly those involved in some leadership position or individuals considered thought-leaders: @birklearns, @tomschimmer, @darcymullin, @chrkennedy, @johnnybevacqua, @aakune, @vicit, @gmbondi, @k_timms, @jbellsd60, @remi_collins, @datruss, @larryespe, @GrantFrend, @myrondueck, @bbeairsto, @myphronesis, @sbenwell1, @UMAKADIFF, @MrWejr, @davidwees, @russeltarr, @cyberjohn07, and @missnoor28 . Of those individual recommendations, I was only following about six of them. I have now fixed that! Chris Kennedy, West Vancouver Superintendent also gave a summary list of BCSSA colleagues that he could follow.
I have to say, I was very appreciative of those twitter colleagues that responded to my request. The Internet is flooded with information. I don’t want to get swept up in the tsunami. I am looking for help to navigate efficiently through the water, for the sake of my learning and that of others. For me, that is what makes twitter great. My learning is accelerated from the wisdom of those in the field. Special thanks to Orwell for taking that information and giving us the key essentials. Our session with the superintendent was supposed to be only an hour. The tutorial took one and a half hours. I already have an iPad but I learned so much sitting at the table with Orwell. After we left, the Superintendent even tracked us down in the parking lot. “Orwell, just one more question,” he called out. I think it was a hit!