Jellyfish Blogger - Radical Transparency

Listening to Dr. Scott McLeod's excellent presentation on Can schools regulate cyberbullying, harassment, and social networking?, I was dismayed--but not surprised, no never, surprised--to hear again the admonition that employees can get fired depending on what they blog about. Students are virtually indestructible with one tech director sharing with me after I recommended she listened to Scott's presentation:
Thanks so much Miguel. I did listen to the entire podcast and was completely enlightened as to what a school can and cannot do, which apparently isn't much. LOL
And, of course, I encourage you to listen to Scott share his knowledge about this issue. 5-10 minutes into the presentation, I couldn't stop listening...folks, it was the most useful audiocast for K-12 administrators I've heard in a month, and I've listened to quite a few. As we move towards more transparency, I have a sense that there's big monster waiting out there in the dark where the light doesn't quite reach.

Bloggers are the jellyfish floating along, sharing everything and the way we look is incredible with the light on us, but the monster is out there...waiting. For educators, that monster is a puritanical public that believes in they are the moral authority, and educators aren't measuring up when they foster 2-way communication, shared responsibility and trust in "the world out there."

There can be no negotiation with that darkness that is the world. Everything must be standardized, made uniform, and discipline enforced...not unlike a District telling teachers how they can use technology, and that if technology doesn't meet certain standards, then it doesn't work just so--to match their needs, expectations, know-how--it should be discarded. Instead of subordinating the technology to teaching and learning, technology and its caretakers decide what is to be used. This is problematic, especially in certain situations. The District is completely justified in taking action, but what room is there for exceptions?

Chris Anderson writes about radical transparency....
The default communications mode of companies has traditionally been top-down, with only executives and official spokespeople permitted to discuss company business in public. The standard rule, explicit or not, was "That which we choose not to announce is not to be spoken about." Aside from some special exemptions, such as conferences where those employees trusted enough to go chatted guardedly with outsiders, employees were cautioned that what happened at work should stay at work. Loose lips sink ships, etc...
The way it has been...if blogs and audiocasts continue to be about what is permitted, then who are we fooling? We need to part the curtain of secrecy, be transparent in our work as much as we realize we're NOT being transparent. In a connected world, holding onto secrets just means you're the last one to be recognized, the last to be heard, the last to realize that your ending point is just the beginning. If that's what Chris Anderson means by radical transparency, then it's a call for action...especially in education.

Do you see the following working in K-12 education?
Not just transparency, but Radical Transparency. The whole product development process laid bare, and opened to customer input. Management in public, via blog. CEOs venting, without benefit of legal counsel, in late-night postings.
Allow me to reword this...
Not just transparency, but Radical Transparency. The whole teaching, learning and leadership process laid bare, and opened to critical input from teachers, students, parents, and administrators without censure or penalty. Educational administration in public, via blog. Teaching and learning in public, via blog. Superintendents talking straight, unafraid of where the chips may fall, in mid-day postings.
Skeptical? Definitely. Hopeful? More than you know.

Beth points out that...
If they are not experiencing the technology and its impact on the classroom and learning there will not be any change. So I make a point of letting principals know when I have worked with a teacher, what new things the teachers are trying, what tools they are using and such.
Radical Transparency means documenting it all, hanging it all out there, being a jellyfish blogger...hoping that if the monster is coming out of the dark, it will pause when it sees that beautiful, transparent host of jellyfish floating along.

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Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin's blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure


Mr Biornstad said…
Thank you for your blog. I just subscribed yesterday and so far I've saved each one to Evernote. Yours is some of the best writing on education currently.
doug0077 said…
Hi Miguel,

Good post. My response is here:


PS. The first commentor is a suck-up.

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