One of the reasons I became engaged in twitter chats in 2011 was to break down silos in education. On twitter all views are welcome, the audience weighs the views on their merit rather than looking at who or where the ideas come from. Twitter was a tool that leveled the playing field. A student’s ideas carried was equal to a school superintendent’s ideas. Twitter chats had diverse groups of participants and ideas were freely shared and debated.
As we fast forward 7 years to 2018 the twitter chat landscape and mentality has changed vastly. While there are still some broad chats like #michED, #mschat and #edchat there seems to be a huge surge in audience specific chats. Whether they are administrator chats, building chats or book chats. There are very specific chats now that maintain narrow focuses. Some districts have used twitter chats to replace parts of staff meetings with leaders posting questions and monitoring responses. It appears we are retreating to the comfort and easy organization of the silos.
Looking around the education landscape most organization seem narrow in focus. There are leadership organization, technology organization and subject specific organization. Most conferences seem to focus on one of these areas as well. This structure seems to rebuild the silos that education should be breaking down. Few organization like AMLE have a broad focus. AMLE focuses on all aspects of teaching in the middle level.
If education is going to be transformed, the silos need to go. Twitter, conferences and organizations supporting education need a broad scope and inclusive conversations. All teachers need to be talking about reading, math, social studies and science instruction because they all relate. Sure teachers should specialize into the areas of interest but they all need to be aware of how their content connects to others. Time for educators to be on same page and stop meeting in isolation.
Our world is one where ALL content areas come at us at once. A job rarely focuses on one content area or speciality area. Students need to see the natural connections. Best way to do this is make sure all educators are on the same page and have similar training.
Let’s stop building silos. Time to bust them down.