Take USies not Selfies

You say the word selfie and so many images come into your mind (and some you don’t want). But mostly it is ONE person taking a photo of themselves. By definition, a selfie is a self-photo done with a smartphone held in your hand so you can share on social media. I mean really, we as a society have designed a tool (selfie stick) to take better and more scenic self-photos.

I do not want to get into the psychology of a selfie, but people are drawn by how easy and speedy they can create and share. Moreover gives the photographer control on how they present themselves. I see four categories for selfies.

  • Show what you look like on that given moment.
  • Build a brand.
  • To get attention, “look at me”.
  • You are bored.
  • Or really to have fun and share with friends who might not be with you and that is cool – and I have done it!! The word social is in social media. Social media is about being social! Some people don’t need a real reason to do it or have a negative spin, they do it because they like to do it, it’s fun, and it’s a cool way to document a trip or an event. Been there done that.

However, this notion of “self” got me thinking a lot this week after attending #LearnFestATX and #runandrant topic of “impact.” The impact of both of those experiences is PEOPLE. Not just ONE of us. Some or ALL of us. Reid Hoffman wrote, “No matter how brilliant your mind or strategy, if you’re playing a solo game, you’ll always lose out to a team.” So this notion of Self, why are we highlighting it? Especially in a profession where we go to work and often shut the door and are by ourselves.

When teachers work in a silo, it limits the collective thinking or brainstorming that is critical to innovative ideas that can transform teaching and learning. Change is hard, and sometimes schools are unwilling to change due to many factors (already high achieving, possible union push back, consistent turnover, and so on). However, moving outside your comfort zone and into the learning zone is a step to breaking down school silos. With skilled educators and the digital resources of today, we have ideas and strategies available 24/7. We have the power to shift a school into a collaborative community and to have critical conversations about exciting and innovative change in schools.

So this brings me back to USies. With all the events coming up or even moving forward. Take more photos with MANY people. You can still use your phone and point it at you, just do it with “all of us” to share the moment not only on social media but in live time. Better yet, take USies and don’t post them to show off what you are doing, SHARE so others can learn. The power of social media is bringing people together. Use that to share the experiences and knowledge. As #TLtechlive and #ISTE is about to kick off (and boy am I going to miss seeing my peeps, I will be at #modelschools #MSC2019) take some USies with as many peeps are new and share the experience both in the moment and with those who could not be there. Some recent USies that maximized the shared experience.

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