I have a problem. It’s really a simple problem. I’d like to get more teachers at my school “connected”. Now, I don’t really like that term “connected” because it sometimes implies a superiority over those that are “not connected”. Regardless, I’d like to see my friends and colleagues from work reading the best blog posts, seeing the most up-to-date research, and understanding how our practice is evolving.
That’s not to say I don’t work at an awesome school. I do. We are one of the top rated academic high schools in our area. We are a top 25 high school in PA, and ranked in the top 500 in the nation. We also are running a true 1-to-1 laptop initiative at the MS and HS. My colleagues are bright, enthusiastic, and instructionally awesome.
Yet, we could be so much more. And I’ve tried many different ways to encourage connecting and sharing:
- Last year in my new role as K-12 Tech Staff Developer I worked one-on-one with a number of different colleagues showing benefits of getting connected online. Usually the ideas I had for projects and activities came straight from my PLN.
- I ran an “Edcamp” style in service called “Wisscamp”. It ran very successful with 10 of my colleagues presenting to other teachers (who wanted to be in their session) and lots of discussion around best and next practices in the classroom.
- I routinely shared out with my colleagues some of the best post I read, and other educational research that was important over email and in department meetings.
- I ran a “Summer of Twitter: Teacher Challenge” where I set up a way for teachers and schools to get connected over Twitter this past summer (again it was a nice to see near 100 school sign-up to participate!).
Some great things have come out of the past year. Teachers in my school are innovative and allowing for inquiry in the classroom (we wrote Genius Hour into our Common Core curriculum!). We’ve been great at sharing with each other inside the school and spreading the best practices within our district top to bottom. Yet, my main goal for the 2013-2014 school year was to get more teachers “connected” and I’ve failed at that…rather miserably.
There are many reasons for my failure to get more people connected, but I think the biggest two reasons are a lack of consistency on my part, and being able to get different teachers I know in my school connected with teachers I know online.
If you know me, then you know I like tackling problems like this and trying to find a solution. Sometimes they work…and sometimes I learn. I talked in depth with a few of my friends about this issue and we each harped on the same point: It may be asking to much for our colleagues to take the time to come online.
Think about it. Usually there are three reasons why teachers don’t connect online:
1. They don’t have the time.
2. They are afraid (on some level) of jumping into an online forum whether it be Twitter, Google+, Facebook Group, Pinterest etc.
3. They don’t care.
There is not much I can do about the “I don’t care crew” but for the other two groups of teachers we need to “push the content” out to them. That is, we need to send them blog posts, links, new research, and book/tool/app reviews on a consistent and regular basis.
I know some people (maybe a lot people) will disagree with me. But I think it is time we push this content to our colleagues and stop complaining. If they don’t have the time to get online and see some of the latest posts and news in education, then we should send them that news and great blog posts. If they are afraid to jump into Twitter (or any social network) and join the discussion, then we should send the best of that discussion to them to spark an interested.
I know there is most likely at least one connected educator in each school who would like their colleagues to get involved in the discussion outside their institution. You are probably like me, and want to share as much as possible without seeming like a nag… Well we’ve got something for you.
It’s a digital magazine.
And it’s called “The Best and Next in Education“.
Here are the details:
The Best & Next in Education
A Free Digital Magazine for Teachers, Leaders, and Learners.
Format: Digital including PDF, Kindle, iBooks, and other ePub
Distribution: Through email. New issue every two weeks!
Each Issue Includes:
- The Best Stories: Our team picks four of the best blog posts from the past two weeks to share in the magazine.
- The Best Books/Tools/Apps: We review new books, blogs, and tools for teachers. All reviews are by actual teachers in the classroom.
- New Research: What’s next in education? We bring you the latest research in our field, so you don’t have to search for it.
- What’s Hot in Ed Tech: Education technology is always changing. We keep you up to date…with only the good stuff.
How Does it Work?
- Step One – You Sign Up
You (the lead learner) sign up for the digital magazine (for free). You’ll get our latest issue delivered to your inbox (and all future issues).
- Step Two – Receive & Share It With Colleagues
Once you receive the digital magazine you can forward it along and share it with your colleagues. It comes from you, not us.
- Step Three – Lots of Formats for Reading
You and your teachers can download the magazine as a PDF, Kindle book, iBooks book, and more!
- Step Four – Learn, Grow, and Start the Dialogue
Sometimes it is difficult to connect and find time to read all the great work teachers are doing online. We bring the conversation to you and your colleagues.
Do You Want to Be a Lead Learner and Sign Up for Your School? Use the form below: