Why do we need communities more than ever?
Why do communities matter? What does a community do? For me, they help me take risks because I know I can go to them for help, inspiration, ideas, and even instruction.
Communities help me create, they helped me learn, and they help me share. Since I have a variety of hobbies, I am constantly connecting with people all over the world. As a learning chef, I religiously follow a variety of blogs and have a collection of bookmarks that I can go to for help. I subscribed to a variety of channels that I can go to for ideas and how to’s. I follow key chefs on Twitter and follow them using Facebook as well. I need to be connected with them. In my quest to improve my potential for being a smart and creative chef requires it. However, it doesn’t stop there. I follow a similar structure for my love of bicycling, skateboarding, drawing, photography, filmmaking, and even parenthood. Because I contribute to these communities, people are more willing to connect with me. This makes me feel safe, comfortable, and it helps me build the necessary confidence to take risks.
What do your communities look like?
Education should not be as complicated as it is. It is a structure created to provide students the necessary skill sets to learn to lead, solve interesting problems, and learn to tell the stories of the experiences along the way and afterwards. Unfortunately, politics, adult issues, school reputations, etc. provide the clutter and noise that blurs the personal intention of our education. Because of this, many new moving and complicated parts are thrown into our algorithm to get students from point A to point Z in the most efficient, effective, and empowered way possible.
Because of this, we need to not feel alone. We need a community to help us rethink things, get inspired regularly, if not daily, look at ideas or share your own, and learn how to survive daily with strategies, tips, techniques that can help us get through the day or the lesson.
What are your needs? What are the questions you need asked or answered to help you feel safe, comfortable, and confident enough to take risks today, tomorrow, and so on? Who can you talk to about this? Are your colleagues limited to the people around them? Maybe, you have more colleagues everywhere who can provide the necessary perspective to help you boost confidence. Communities do this. They create a sense of belonging. This is a human need that education today needs more than ever. Students, too, need to see and learn from the teachers on how they leverage people and resources throughout the world to help meet and immediate and/or long-term need.
As we sell the idea to engage people in our schools to connect with each other and share ideas, we need to think about our essential question here: are we asking them to connect to their selected community using social tools we created for them? Or, are we helping them understand that they are not alone, that there needs and concerns and ideas are similar to people beyond the school property? And, because of this already existing environment of empathy and our digital promise schools ecosystem, how can they leverage tools to help them navigate their needs to the right resource, person, idea?
What is the need we need to organize around? What is the goal for this group? Why should they connect with each other? How can we help facilitate these connections? How can these groups help reduce the clutter and shift the noise into signals that mean something as opposed to be seen as more work?
How can we make the Digital Promise community even more effective, efficient, and empowered? How can we be the modem that helps connect the necessary nodes of your needs, wants, concerns, victories, lessons?
Think through your communities. Why do they work for you? What do they need in order for them to better work for you? Please share!