I am doing some work with the Rockyview School district just outside of Calgary on citizen engagement. This focus on reaching out to communities to engage in a conversation about the role, responsibilities and relationship of public education to the larger community is laudable...and very exciting.
The leadership of Superintendent Greg Bass and the support of the Trustees, administration and teachers is quite energizing to someone like me. Conversations are game changers. Not every conversation is a game changer but I am pretty sure every game changing event started with a conversation.
Here is a link to blog started by a teacher who is embracing the spirit, intent and the new territory of social media. I encourage anyone interested or just curious how social media can be used for students, stakeholders, community and citizens engagement to follow the journey that the educators in Rockyview has started. The twitter hash tag for this emerging on-line community is #rvsed to get in touch and keep in touch with what is going on. Also search Twitter hash tags #abed #inspiringed #abfuture
There is lots more happening in the area of social media as a means to communicate the place and purpose of pubic education too. There are a growing number of Trustees who have taken up the cause of being in touch with constituents and communities using social media. Check out some of them here, here and here. There are many more.
There are broader, deeper and more meaningful relationships about the future of public education in Alberta happening all over the province but, like any major change, there are early adopters and early adapters. Soon what seems unique will be quotidian. Some of that face to face conversation will be happening in #yeg (that's Edmonton for newbies to Twitter) March 17 at a public lecture as part of the Learning Our Way to the Next Alberta work we do with the ATA. Join in the conversation with Michael Adams and Jean Twenge and meet other Albertans with a passion for public education. Learn more here- and to order tickets on line
When citizens of all kinds and concerns start to appreciate the quality and contribution of our Alberta public education system with information and connections they made online then we have a game changer. That game changer is part of the new creative economy the Internet and digital media is spawning. Alberta is perfectly poised to be the Petri dish to grow this new inter-related, networked and interdependent social, political, human and even spiritual culture. With the SuperNet we have the best fibre-optic connectivity infrastructure on the planet to foster a community based creative culture. We just have to unleash our imagination on how to use its potential.
It is all part of the whole about Alberta moving past the competitive race to the bottom and shifting to larger goals, greater dreams that are the emerging focus on the Alberta Aspirations. One of those new Alberta Aspiration is in the realm of public education. The Alberta system is already the best in the world, along with Finland. Now we should aspire to use our BEST IN THE WORLD world public education system with a renewed imagination and enthusiasm. We need to expand our consciousness to leverage our public education as an exportable asset and aspire for it to be the BEST FOR THE WORLD.
The educational leadership of school districts like Rockyview, the Canadian Rockies and the Edmonton Public are the scouts on the new digital frontier. They are making new paths, with new excitement but based on traditional values that has empowered people to make Alberta's public education system amongst the best anywhere. Now with high speed high quality and quantity connectivity, we can make it the best everywhere.