Tech as a Tool for Teacher Collaboration

Part of teaching is sharing your knowledge and experiences. We can’t forget that. You may have heard people say, “Teachers should not teach in isolation.” (This couldn’t be farther from the truth for me as I teach in a modified open concept school. I am the opposite of isolation!) Opening your doors to your colleagues can be scary sometimes, but we need to do it. Collaboration is one true key to success in education and with technology, we really have no excuses. Other teachers are only a few clicks away and are often very willing to share stories, camaraderie and ideas.

Twitter has been a huge part of this extended collaboration for me. I have a PLN (personal learning network) that spans the world – really, the world! I connect with teachers around the corner and from miles away: building relationships, sharing ideas and exchanging tools to use in our daily teaching.  I invite you to follow me, @eliza_peterson and  @inspired_clsrm.

Through my blog, I’ve been able to open up the doors here at The Inspired Classroom as a way to collaborate with other teachers.  For every series, I have invited guest bloggers to post on topics about which they are passionate.  Personal friends as well as Tweeple from my online PLN have joined me to create a much more complete series.  Instead of just one point of view (mine), we’ve been able to create a forum for many perspectives on various topics.  Check out the tags on the side bar to peruse these topics, and click on “guest bloggers” to see who has and who will be posting here.

In the past weeks, I was fortunate enough to collaborate via Skype with great educators from my PLN.  For one project, I met online with @michellek107, @kylepace and @doremigirl to collaborate on a presentation idea for #iste2011 (International Society for Technology in Education).  We not only were able to conference together and brainstorm ideas via Skype, but were able to simultaneously create our proposal using Google Docs.  We now await the approval of “Music and Tech: Harmony in the Making”…cross your fingers!

I also recently used Skype to work with @band_techie to collaborate on a presentation on music integration and teacher collaboration titled “Beyond the Notes.”  It was presented just this past week at #NMSA2010 (National Middle School Association).   Keith, (@band_techie) Skyped me in near the end of their presentation in Baltimore, Maryland and I, in New Hampshire, showed up on a screen in the room and discussed ways I have used teacher collaboration to enrich students’ learning experiences, specifically The National Anthem Project.

Speaking of presentations, technology can be a great way to get your ideas out to other teachers during presentations.  I’ve just started using YouTube to do this.  In fact, as a back up plan for my presentation with Keith, I video taped my presentation using my webcam and uploaded it onto YouTube.  You can see the full presentation on music integration and teacher collaboration here in two parts.

Glogster is another tool I’ve found very useful when giving presentations and sharing ideas.  I use it as a living handout to participants – one that has every link they need and that can be accessed from any computer connected to the internet.  The first example is for a workshop I give  on using Audacity, a free audio editing software and the second is one I used for my presentation at #ntcamp on integrating music Active Listening experiences in your teaching.

Tech is not just a tool to think about using for your students, but it is one to use for YOU!  From virtual conferencing to sharing of ideas, you can use technology to open so many doors to other teachers who have so much to share, as well as to share what knowledge, expertise and experiences you have.

How have you used technology and Web 2.0 to collaborate with other teachers?

~EMP

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Article by Elizabeth Peterson

Elizabeth Peterson has devoted her life to education and to reaching out to other teachers who want to remain inspired. Mrs. Peterson teaches fourth grade in Amesbury, Massachusetts and is the host of www.theinspiredclassroom.com. She holds an M.Ed. in Education, “Arts and Learning” and is currently enrolled in a C.A.G.S. program through Plymouth State University with a focus in “Arts Leadership and Learning.” Elizabeth is author of Inspired by Listening, a teacher resource book that includes a method of music integration she has developed and implemented into her own teaching. She teaches workshops and courses on the integration of the arts into the curriculum and leads an arts integration PLC (PLaiC). Mrs. Peterson believes there is a love of active, integrated learning in all children and from their enthusiasm, teachers can shape great opportunities to learn.
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3 Comments

  1. Deborah Fike says:

    Tech can be a great part of working in a classroom. If you’re teaching in secondary school, you can also use task management tools to have students self-manage team projects. Student team projects can fall apart if there isn’t clear responsibility over who is in charge of what. By using project management tools online, teams can self-select projects, and the teacher can see exactly who is doing what.

  2. Sal says:

    A great tool for students to manage their group projects online and learn some project management skills is;
    enterthegroup.com.
    It’s also free.

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