As an educator I see lots of ideas come and go. There always seems to be the ‘next-big-thing’ that will revolutionize the way education is done. What the reality is more like is there are solutions to specific types of problems that only work if there is enough buy in from the faculty within the building where you work. Sometimes there is complete buy-in and the solution works. In other circumstances, there is an environment of resistance, either from poor planning on the part of administrators, or by an inflexible faculty who are scared or simply unwilling to try a new approach.
Twitter has become an essential part of my growth as a connected teacher. It has influenced how I approach my personal reflections on my process and how I get ideas for becoming better at what I do in the classroom. Recently there was a podcast on connected teachers having a better idea of what someone is doing in Manitoba, California, or Massachusetts rather than the teacher down the hall who teaches the same content. It’s a problem that most of us encounter often in our careers.
How do get teachers to buy-in and get connected? How do teachers shift their perspective about connected education from a one-way dissemination of information to a two-way conversation about process?
I have a solution. It combines the use of Twitter #edchat and the weekly faculty meeting. I have asked an administrator in my school to consider a once a month change to the meeting. One Tuesday a month we would have an evening faculty meeting from 6pm-8pm. The first would be a meet-and-greet where PTO, students and faculty, and a facilitator would be invited. The first hour could be a social mixer. Drinks (non-alcoholic of course…) and food could be provided by the PTO plus volunteers. All attendees would be encouraged to bring their devices (iPhones, Android, laptops) to have access to the school network. Parents and students who have no access would be invited to share with a teacher or use a school device.
From 6:30-7pm the facilitator would instruct attendees how to set up a twitter account and go over some basics about what being on Twitter is like. Then at 7pm The group would take part in the weekly #edchat. The group would live tweet pics and share ideas about the questions for the week.
This idea really can work if there is enough buy in at a school It also takes the support of an administrator to open the school network to allow parents and students access to devices and to allow BYOD in the building.
Teachers will be able to connect with educators from across the country/world.
Students and parents gain insight to the motivations and realities that teachers face and can provide valuable perspective.
Administrators would have built a connected community of learners that support each other and build a common vision through constant communication.
This really could work. I wonder if it has been done already somewhere in the country? If it has, I would love to learn about how it went and what problems had to be addressed and what those solutions looked like (if they were able to be solved).
Let’s get connected!