Collaboration... Are you available?

As a teacher, It is obvious that collaboration is more important AND more accessible than it ever has been before. If that is the case, why are there still so many teachers that keep their doors closed during the school day, refuse to even try to use Twitter as a professional development tool and only ask questions when they are in dire need?

My district is finally a GAFE district, and with that comes new chromebooks (1:1 in the HS, carts throughout MS and Elem) for our students to use. This is the first year with GAFE and many teachers are trying really hard to integrate this new technology into their classes. Some are doing really extravagant things, while others are using it as an extension of a notebook (using docs to write papers, slides to create presentations, etc.).

As a tech coach in my district, I want the teachers in my building to come to me with questions, concerns or new ideas that they want help implementing. I want these teachers to come visit my classroom and see how I use technology. I want to be able to sit with my colleagues during our free periods to discuss how to create amazing lessons that use some outstanding technology. While this is what I want, many people don't take advantage of our services. Teachers don't want to use their time for this. That's what gets me upset about collaboration... It's almost non-existent.

Maybe I am different than a lot of people within my school and district. I have embraced Twitter and the amazing educators that are there on a daily basis. Without Twitter, I really don't think I would be teaching today. Over the past 7 years that I have been using Twitter as part of my Professional Development, I have been rejuvenated by great conversations with people through a variety of chats and personal connections. I have tried to get educators involved in these chats but there is still a stigma that surrounds Twitter. I am going to change that stigma soon as I have a PD class ready to go in February with another colleague. I hope that people take a chance and come to the workshop to see how Twitter could benefit them, both personally and in their classroom.

What are your thoughts on collaboration? What have you noticed in your school with teachers that are not as connected as they could be? How do you help those teachers? Please feel free to leave your comments below. Let's continue this conversation.

2 comments: Leave Your Comments

  1. I agree with you - Twitter revolutionized education for me, and I know I wouldn't be the same teacher I am today without it.

    What if you held a tech show and tell for your teachers? Have a drop in time (before school, lunch, after school at a happy hour, etc) and have teachers show how they're using GAFE tech in the classroom or other awesome lessons. They brag about themselves in hopes of enlightening someone else.

    Just a thought.

  2. AJ,

    Great post. I understand your concerns and see a lot of parallels in the different places I have taught.

    In my opinion, to improve collaboration there needs to be common planning time structured into the day. Also, last year my district held a PD day where Ts set up mini workshops on a variety of tech tools (Gafe, Twitter, Edmodo etc.) The problem here was the PD was in June.

    Lastly, I will agree with everyone, I joined Twitter 3 years ago after being a #hater (I can admit it) and have not looked back. Finding meaningful/authentic connections is what has rejuvenated my ability to teach.

    I think the opposing view I once had came from my own stubbornness and lack of knowledge to how Twitter (and most tech for that matter) has the ability to improve communication, relationships and student engagement.

    I look forward to collaborating in the future.

    Josh Zagorski
    6th Grade Math