#DBC50Summer 29/50: Social LEADia

Before I even start this blog, I feel the need to set the scene around me. I am sitting in a super uncomfortable chair that I slept in for about 45 minutes last night (so don’t be too harsh about a typo here, there, and everywhere; I’ll fix them after some sleep) wrapped up in a hospital blanket (because anything above freezing seems to be too warm), listening to the beeping of the machines (seriously though, why are they so loud?). The preschool/daycare my 5 year old daughter attends called me yesterday afternoon to tell me that Sophie was showing signs of an infection. My husband left work to take her for a quick check-up anticipating antibiotics and a relaxed evening. However, when Sophie’s blood sugar came back at over 330 when suggested range is 80-180, we were referred to the pediatric hospital in city about an hour away. By the time we reached the hospital and did blood work, her blood sugar had elevated to 775! We were admitted and Sophie was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. Today we learned all about her treatment plan and are quickly becoming versed in the vocabulary that surrounds juvenile diabetes.

I tell you that story to tell this one. The support of my PLN has been tremendous. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate every single text, Voxer message, DM, tweet, and facebook comment/message. I valued my PLN before as a professional group of amazing educators who push me and hold me accountable for implementing the insane ideas I have. After this experience, I hold my PLN close to my heart as part of my extended family. Taking just a few minutes of your time to share your well-wishes, your stories, or just to send a digital hug during this unexpectedly wild ride means more to me than any of you will ever know. Sophie is finally resting in her hospital bed (she is clearly the captain of this little ship) and I wanted to take the few minutes I have to share Jennifer Casa-Todd‘s incredible addition to Dave Burgess Consulting, Inc because it just has to be now! She authored book 29 titled Social LEADia.


You can sense Jennifer’s passion for connecting students with the world through social media from the very first page. She shares countless stories of classrooms that integrate social media, not only incorporating positive digital interactions, but moving beyond that to developing leaders! The tremendous thing is that these leaders in the digital world are often not the leaders we would expect in the physical world. Frequently it seems that leaders in the digital world found their voice by impacting others through social media. Jennifer shares the thoughts and inspiring stories of individual students from kindergarten through high school. The power behind these voices would lead you to believe you were speaking with mature adults, but a deeper look would show that, in fact, these are children. At the end of each chapter is a Student Vignette in which Jennifer gives these students the opportunity to further amplify their voice. There are also summaries, discussion questions, notes, and a “meet the student” at the end of each chapter. Using these “meet the student” segments of the book allows educators to inspire their own learners to make an impact through the power of social media.

The power of twitter will forever be a topic I will yell from the mountaintop. After the encouragement, support, and genuine empathy I’ve felt from educators I’ve never met face-to-face while my youngest child has been in the hospital the last 20 hours is something I will never forget. Why shouldn’t we want our students to feel that same connection and empathy for others around the world? Why wouldn’t we want our students to feel that encouraged by people they’ve never met? Every child deserves a champion, and that champion just might be someone in their own network!

There is no way that I can possibly share all of the incredible points made by Jennifer in Social LEADia. In fact, I literally STOPPED highlighting in the book because I was highlighting every other sentence. Some of the a-ha moments I had are listed below:

Curriculum and IT should be working together in order to develop the foundation for teachers to create the best lessons possible. No longer should these two entities operate parallel; they should intersect at every possible opportunity. This better allows IT to know the WHY behind the need to open the floodgates and curriculum to better understand WHAT tool could meet their needs, as well as HOW to troubleshoot simple technology issues to create a more fluid environment with less interruptions.

The foreword by George Couros (author of The Innovator’s Mindset, book 9) is superb and Jennifer references multiple times the GC quote that has circulated Twitter multiple times (I add to that circulation because every time I see it, I feel a moral obligation retweet it.).

We need to make the positives so loud that the negatives are almost impossible to hear.

Another huge takeaway is that we, as educators, should treat discipline over digital matters in the same manner we would treat discipline in analog matters. It’s not a reason to take the devices and opportunities away from each and every student, or even the one or two students who made a poor decision. Rather, this is a time to have an authentic conversation in which we teach that student(s) how to make more appropriate choices. If a student is cyberbullying another student, it is a bullying issue. Just because the computer is involved doesn’t mean that it’s the computer’s fault. Artificial Intelligence has come a long, long way, but giving an automation feelings, empathy, love, hatred… not happening. It’s the person behind that device that should be removed from the situation at hand, pulled into a conversation, then placed back in the situation with the opportunity and freedom to make better choices… not the device.

I could go on and on! I also love the chapter “Building Bridges”! This chapter is a must-read for those who are fighting the good fight to include social media outlets in education. Jennifer gives many talking points to share with district leadership, school teams, and parents! These are really points that no one can argue as they are rooted in sound logic. I posted a few of my other takeaways while reading using #BookSnaps (Check out Tara Martin‘s BookSnaps website if you are new to this idea or want to know how to create them for yourself! Great stuff!)

So after all of this, what is my implementation? We know that reading all of these books means nothing if I just store the knowledge and don’t share it with learners, whether those be my students or the teachers I’m honored to work beside. I am really excited to get started on this implementation; in fact, I may start on this one before students arrive back on campus! I am going (after years of pondering, stalling, and second-guessing myself and my super country accent when I get passionate about something) to start a YouTube channel (I will link it here when complete) and share my voice there. I will share tech tips and tricks with staff and students using screen-casting, I will include the voice of my students, and I will share some of “those” stories that I spoke of in the #EDUPassions blog from earlier in the summer (with permission, of course). This implementation will be so much fun!

Be sure to check out the hashtag #SocialLEADia to follow along with the Social LEADia community! You can find more information on the Social LEADia website and on Jennifer’s website. Jennifer started a podcast this summer and has three fabulous episodes, which feature some of the students we heard from in her book! Check it out here! Speaking of podcasts, Jennifer has been featured on several including Brian Costello’s The Teacher’s Journey, TL Talk Radio by Randy Ziegenfuss and Lynn Fuini-Hetten, 10 Minute Teacher Podcast by Vicki “CoolCatTeacher” Davis, and many more. Simply Google and find several more! As always, the flipgrid is a place for global collaboration and reflection. My sweet friend, Andrea Paulakovich, suggested this amazing idea at the beginning of #DBC50Summer and I couldn’t help but to jump on board as quickly as possible! Andrea and I copilot this space and hope that you will join us here with your reflections, questions, and ideas!

Well… here we go again rounding off another set of ten books! Book 30 is another book that I was, unfortunately, not aware was a DBC, Inc book until I began forming this idea of #DBC50Summer in June. However, I did start following the author immediately and I have been seriously inspired just seeing the things he tweets and retweets on a constant basis! Ramsey Musallam, EdD (yep, THAT Ramsey… from THE TEDtalk with nearly 3 million views… yeah, I felt like I’d been under a rock, too) brings us book 30 SPARK Learning! If his tweets (and almost 3 million views) are any reflection of his book, I will be flying through this one itching to reflect and share! Blog coming soon!


4 thoughts on “#DBC50Summer 29/50: Social LEADia

  1. Pingback: #DBC50Summer Book 21-30 Recap | AliciaRay.com

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  3. Pingback: #DBCBookBlogs: Be Real | AliciaRay.com

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