It's about people.


Yesterday I spent a considerable amount of time renaming my Google Reader feeds. While I’ve come to recognize many of the titles in my Reader, I did not often associate the blog title with the person behind the virtual pen.

I didn’t like that.

I love scouring these feeds for inspiration. Educators (and students!) from all over the world post their ideas, stories, projects, what they’re reading, and what influences their practices. Their words jumpstart my professional drive and often make my heart swell with admiration for the work with children these educators do.

Computers don’t compose blog posts. People do.

I read a lot of “About” pages and learned more about these blog writers than I ever knew before. And to be honest… if I couldn’t find an author’s name via the blog or a link to Twitter, I re-evaluated keeping the feed in my Reader.

I more closely relate to this

Screen shot 2010-10-11 at 6.48.59 AM

than this

Screen shot 2010-10-11 at 12.00.25 AM

At our school we host events like Moms and Muffins and Dads and Donuts -healthy, I know 🙂 -because there is nothing more gratifying than having hundreds of people packed into your gymnasium, engaging in conversations about loving our kids.

1:1 programs, iPads in the classrooms, Smartboards… schools are investing hundreds of thousands of dollars into the latest and greatest technologies for their classrooms and student/teacher use. Without quality professional development with connections to learning, are the investments worth it?

Technology/curriculum/standards/programs/policies don’t ensure our children learn. People do.

We’re embarking on a year-long professional development series this week with our elementary teachers focusing on “the shift” in teaching and learning and how we can utilize various technologies to help students delve more deeply into their learning experiences. I will be working with teachers that teach in my building, but also those from two other elementary schools within the district. Teachers in our cohort have been asked to complete some prerequisite activities before our meeting this week, one of which was to watch Shift Happens: 3.0 and reflect upon its contents. Their comments were quite impressive. While some expressed anxiety about potentially becoming buried in an avalanche of new technologies and others were concerned that we will “never catch up,” this insightful reflection reminded me of how the tools are just a small part of what we need to bring to our students:

I think that one of the major implications of “the shift” is that students need guidance and practice in developing strategies to acquire, analyze, and act on the information and communication opportunities that are available through technology so that they will be prepared for whatever technology, tasks, and challenges they will eventually face in their careers. -jhixson

Can technology do this? No.

People can.

You and I can. We can.

Remember that people, and relationships, come first when our shared goal is to provide the best possible learning experiences for students.  Sustainable leadership will only result when people come first.

13 Replies to “It's about people.”

  1. Lyn,

    I love this idea and am partway through implementing it.

    I got to one blog that I follow called, “The Principal’s Post” and could not find the author’s name anywhere. Any ideas? 🙂

    Thanks for the idea.

    1. I’m trying to insert a “blushing” smiley but can’t find it. Thanks for catching I’m not explicit with my name on this blog! I did add the About page recently and didn’t realize I wrote in the first person! 🙂 I included the Twitter and email links so people could “find me” if needed, but adding my name is the right thing to do. Thanks for reading and commenting!!

  2. Lyn,

    Great post. I think what you said about technology is so true we can’t loose the focus that in the end it is the learning that matters and technology is a tool used by good teachers ( good people ) to achieve their goals

    Thanks for sharing

    1. Akevy, thanks as always for your comments! With so many different tools to choose from, we always have to keep student learning as the focus!

  3. What a great idea with Google reader!
    I set my feed up so that my name comes up before my blog name, but of course I no longer remember how I did that? ;-p
    But most people don’t do that, and yes it is about the people, not the name of the blog.

    Speaking of relationships… it has been amazing connecting with leaders such as yourself on Connected Principals, and I am blown away by some of the amazing things you are all doing in your schools. Your staff are lucky to have you help guide them on ‘the shift’!

    1. Thanks for your comments, David! I did notice your name was already inserted in the front of your blog title, that’s a great idea! I agree, connecting with everyone from CP and those who read and comment on the site has been such a worthwhile experience for me. I feel like I’ve really grown professionally in the past few months because of these connections!

  4. I love this reminder! I think that it is the people and relationships that makes the difference between a PLN and research and articles. We are in a profession that is about people, if we forget that and focus on just information and data we are no better than the so called “reformist” that are in the news everyday. That is what makes a good educator, the people come first, not the rest of it. Thanks for the reminder!

    1. “I think that it is the people and relationships that makes the difference between a PLN and research and articles.” So true!! Perfect point, Amanda!

  5. Just bookmarked your post, Lyn, and one of the tags I used was “reminder”. Now I read Amanda’s comment and see I’m not the only one:
    These days there’s a lot of techtalk in my country, Argentina. They’ve started to distribute netbooks in schools. However, the talk is about the software and the hardware and the activities. No talk about the people and few people (teachers and students) connecting and sharing.
    So, thanks for this fresh air and for the reminder.

    1. Gabriela, the technology is great, but you’re right, the supports need to be in place to develop the teachers and students as learners with those tools. I’m most excited about our student blogging initiative this year… looking forward to having students use the tech to connect with others around the world!

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