Sunday, March 04, 2007

CUE 2007: Teacher Collaboration in the 21st Century

Dr. Joy Lopez: Bishop O’Dowd High School, Oakland, CA

Dr. Lopez did a good presentation on how teachers can use many different tools to facilitate collaboration between teachers within disciplines and schools. The steps she gave created a scaffold onto which teachers can build relationships with each other and create a richer and deeper sharing of resources.

The students we teach live in an ‘on-demand world.’

As we look at the teachers presently in schools, we find several types:

Veteran Teachers:

- Jurassic Teachers: These teachers are completely reluctant to using any technology that may be available to them.

- Tour Bus Teachers: Will try something, but will not stay with something unless they see an immediate value in what they are doing.

- Converted Teachers: These teachers have it. They see the value in the use of technology in education and have integrated its use into their teaching repertoire.

Newbie Teachers:

- Gap Teachers: These teachers have had professional experiences other than teaching. Most of these people have a working knowledge of technology and its use in business, but do not understand the process of using technology within education.

- Tweener Teachers: These are the recent college graduates, who may have used technology while they were in college, but are making the transition of using technology as a teacher.

The teachers that will be entering the profession over the next few years will be: Net Gen Teachers. The Net Gen Teachers are fully integrated in using technology in the professional and personal lives. These teachers have already created a positive transfer of personal technology skills into their professional lives.

As a technology leader, how can you be all things to all teachers? The short answer is that you can’t. Therefore, you create a ‘360 degree – reciprocal’ teaching/mentoring program for teachers to assist each other and begin the collaborative process. Collaboration takes on many forms in education and among teachers.

- Share Knowledge

- Capture Learning

- Build Community

- Track Growth

- Modeling the skills needed in 21st Century learning.

As teachers, or others, begin the process of collaborating online, they take on one of a few different roles.

- Lurkers: Look, but don’t contribute due the fear of the unknown in cyberspace.

- Newbies: People, who have looked and watched for a certain length of time and now feel comfortable in contributing to the conversation. Students spend less time in this role than teachers or other ‘Digital Immigrants’ do.

- Experts: These people feel comfortable in contributing in many different online areas.

In order to get teachers to collaborate, you must provide an online area for the collaboration to take place. The three places Joy, identified were:

- Course Management Systems: Like Blackboard or Moodle.

- Blogs: Like Blogger or Word Press

- Wikis: Like PBWiki and Wetpaint.

All in all, I thought the session gave structure to a process that many people are already doing, but it allows those who are not yet doing it a path to follow in their own schools.

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