Sunday, August 17, 2014

We want more! More! More!                       

That is the overall theme of feedback from the this year's Summer Institute. We could all feel the excitement and energy that developed through the day. So what is it that everyone is getting so excited about?

Believe it or not: educational leadership in the digital age. On Wednesday the leadership team had our eyes opened to the potential that Web 2.0 tools and social media offer. Now we want to grab hold of the possibilities and run with it.

The highlight of the day and what everyone was so excited about, was the presentation by Patrick Larkin, Assistant Superintendent of Burlington Public Schools, who spoke about Burlington's journey: Social Media as a Powerful Tool. 

Our thanks and gratitude go out to Patrick, whose presentation was engaging, enlightening, honest and inspirational.

Some key take aways:

  • social media isn't an option
  • if you ensure you carry out due diligence with safety social media has enormous benefits
  • "My kids are illiterate most likely yours are too..."
  • educate parents, teachers, administrators and students about digital citizenship
  • be sure to show off your students' work to a worldwide audience
  • use your students as technical support
  • create a culture where your teachers feel they can take risks and try new things
  • read 'Its Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens' by Dinah Boyd
  • sign up for Google Alerts
  • let the students help set the boundaries
  • create a Communication Plan to keep all stakeholders informed 
  • develop policies for social media- try not to be too restrictive
I feel that at Westford Public Schools we are now on the threshold of a new and exciting journey which I am so happy to be a part of.  How do do you feel? What was your reaction to Patrick's presentation? What were your key take aways? How do we ensure we support and sustain the current momentum? Let us know what you think.......
View the website for information about the day.                             Julie Elkan @elkanj 


  1. Listening to Patrick Larkin discuss his infusion of technology in Burlington was invigorating. Julie has captured a small essence of how eye opening this presentations was for our Leadership Team. I look forward to collaborating with our team to bring in new and exciting technology experiences to enhance our teaching and instruction here in Westford.

  2. I appreciate that Julie does "practice what you preach". Having choice on learning more about the technology we are interested in and then the ability to apply through hands-on experiences was exciting. It definitely sparked my interest! I appreciate that professional development will focus on the leadership team this year so that we are able to model for teachers and students the following years. I agree with Michelle-I'm excited about future technology experiences!

  3. It was wonderful to listen to Patrick Larkin describe Burlington's digital journey - his pride and enthusiasm and humor were infectious. Excitement was apparent as members of the group had an opportunity to learn new digital tools they might not have used before.
    Lucy Smith @WPS_LucySmith

  4. I too was inspired by Patrick Larkin's presentation and the hands-on opportunities to learn how to use social media. I look forward to more professional development this year and to utilizing more technology in my role as a curriculum coordinator.

  5. Patrick turned a sometimes overwhelming topic into a very manageable roll-out plan. As he said, if we infuse one piece at a time, it builds naturally. We need to "meet the students where they are," and embrace digital citizenship with open arms. It makes sense to join in on the fun!

  6. I am excited about this journey and enjoyed the meeting on Wednesday. Patrick's presentation was captivating. I appreciated and was motivated by having choices in the afternoon and time to practice something new. I look forward to follow up sessions during leadership team meetings to dig deeper, practice with support, ask questions and work alongside colleagues. Thank you, Julie!