As long as I've been teaching I've been trying to find ways for teachers to share what they are doing. Yes, I knew it made sense for us to use technology to help each other avoid recreating the wheel. I knew my colleagues had wonderful, creative ideas and if we could carve out time, they might share a folder crammed full of student samples. As a new teacher, my motivation was not purely for the greater good. I needed help! I needed ideas!
My first career in technology had shown me that there were many efficient and effective ways to share information. Using wikispaces, I created wikis for each grade level I taught. No one but me contributed content. I co-created a Ning to share PD discoveries across our small district. We got up to 39 members, of which about 1/3 were contributors.
Then I moved to a new district. I was pleased to see there were servers for sharing data which were regularly used by all staff! However, the files are not really owned or maintained which makes it somewhat challenging to find what you are looking for.
Last year I joined a group of six women in a 1:1 iPad pilot and we started out using Edmodo extensively to share experiences and information. We put some information in folders but the folders didn't meet our needs. We still rely on Edmodo for communication. We also created a wiki for our iPad ideas.
Still, though, it seemed that our collaboration was limited to a small group of early adopters and innovators. Earlier this week I was sitting in a meeting and we were talking about some of the creative implementations of GLAD (Guided Language Acquisition Design) strategies in our district. We talked about the irony that a program so rich in visuals did not have any visuals on their website. We brainstormed ways to share our ideas and of course, I suggested a wiki. My fellow 5th grade teacher, Nina, suggested Pinterest. She hadn't used it but it 'seemed reasonable'...Reasonable? Brilliant!
I went home, created a GLAD board on Pinterest, added pictures from my classroom and shared it with a few teachers. All of a sudden I had teachers from every school in my district contributing to the board. We are sharing ideas and connecting using tools that were already being used socially.
It seems so obvious now.
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