Sharing and Amplification Ripple Effect

What Do You Have to Lose?  was a blog post I wrote 4 years ago…

It is a new idea for many classroom teachers/students to move from writing, reading and “doing” work, not only for themselves, supervisors/parents or for a monetary compensation/grade, to share their work openly and freely with others. The idea of putting oneself “out there on the internet” (on a larger scale than the teacher lounge) and publicly “brag” about successes, admit failures, ask for help or document one’s learning and teaching process, feels unnatural and even scares many of them.

A lot of water has gone under the bridge, a lot has changed in terms of technology… It has been 4 years and my belief in sharing to amplify teaching and learning has grown stronger, even when the work I share gets taken, plagiarized and used for profit by others.

I am continuing to make the benefits of documenting (for reflection,  metacognition and connection purposes) visible, but the documentation can not be the end all. The next step must be sharing and disseminating that documentation. It is about sharing conversations, resources, model lessons, student work, reflections, innovative ideas, action research,  etc. Sharing in service of benefiting the educational community and advancing eduction. Sharing in order to be part of a network that supports each other and and pushes thinking forward. Without individual parts, there is no network. The more parts, the larger and stronger the potential network.

In the last few weeks, there have been many examples at Graded, the American School of São Paulo, that show the power of sharing and the ripple effect it created:

  • Teaching others you will never meet
  • Authentic audience
  • Feedback
  • Personal Branding
  • Remix & Added Value
  • Building a Personal Learning Network


Let me share three specific example when educators reached far beyond the walls of their classroom, school, direct colleagues and students.

Claire Arcenas, started her own professional learning blog to document, share and grow her understanding of Visible Thinking across subject areas. Not long after she started blogging, Ron Ritchhart’s (one of the authors of the book) on the Making Thinking Visible Facebook page shared the link to one of her blog posts, validating to a certain degree her work in the classroom and demonstrating that her work is being read by others.


Shannon Hancock  allowed me to video record her as she was facilitating a Socratic Seminar and a Backchannel. Through blogging and sharing the video and the lesson via the Langwitches blog, Shannon taught and reached many teachers (around the world) and colleagues (at school) who did not have come into her room to observe the lesson. In turn through them, she reached many students beyond her own classroom.

Re-tweets or posts on Twitter

model-lesson-reachor “sharing counters”on blog post


as well as blog reflections like the one Terry Eichholz shared on  What would Socrates do? help demonstrate the ripple effect started by simply sharing.

Even if you do not have enough digital devices to exactly replicate Shannon’s lesson, I encourage you to take a look at the article, which includes a wonderful video of the class in action, as well as examples of comments made on the backchannel.  I love the way Shannon introduces the lesson, as well as her encouragement of the students to collaborate by having a short discussion with partners at the half-way mark.

Watching Shannon Hancock inspires me to work harder to make our classroom Socratic Circles more meaningful and deep, whether we use technology or not.

This kind of evidence of dissemination and inspiration to others are helpful in receiving feedback of our own teaching and learning, as well as gauging interest on a particular topic or discussion and finding potential educators to grow your PLN and to connect and collaborate with in the future.

The third examples is from a Math teacher, Laurel Janewicz, who did action research about Metacognitive thinking in her Math class. Sharing the student created screencast videos about making their thinking visible as well as documenting the process in the classroom created far reaching ripple effects. Not only did she present her work at the AASSA  conference (Association of American Schools in South America), but her work was also retweeted by Scott McLeod , someone with over 30,000 Twitter followers. Think of the reach such “seismic network dissemination wave” of a resource can have.


A few days ago, another school in Brazil having read the blog post, contacted our principal to ask if it would be possible to come and visit our school  in order to talk with Laurel about her work. Laurel’s sharing is producing waves in thinking and action, inside and outside of her classroom.

In the spirit of sharing and amplifying…

I am sharing with you the image of the ripple effect below, before, I added my perspective and interpretation of amplification by sharing.

Download it, remix, reuse and re-share your thoughts and ideas of a ripple effect in education. Leave a link in the comment section to your new image.

PS. I used the iPad Paper app to draw the ripple effect background and Perfect Captions app to add the text to the image.