As you navigate through the rest of your life, be open to collaboration. Other people and other people’s ideas are often better than your own. Find a group of people who challenge and inspire you, spend a lot of time with them, and it will change your life. -Amy Poehler

What do educators talk about?  Even when not in the classroom, getting a bunch of educators together means “school talk”.  At a recent social gathering, I found myself huddling up with my teacher friends and commiserating with them about the ending of summer and the beginning of another year.  It is ironic that in a profession so centered around human interaction, teachers often find themselves feeling very isolated.

Spending time with other educators, engaging in meaningful conversations and talking through ideas is critical for effective teaching.  With the addition of new and ever-changing technologies, that collaboration is more necessary than ever.  Some teachers push through new ground effortlessly and others may need a little more guidance.  When experiencing difficulty, some teachers may feel reluctant to ask for help.  Others may feel they are the only one having difficulty.  We are quick to encourage collaboration with our own students and less likely to engage in it ourselves.

At the school district level and at my school level, we believe firmly in the “Train the Trainer” model.  Empowering teachers at their own schools builds a cadre of knowledge.  With the implementation of the iPads, the 3 of us who participated in the original pilot worked with our staff to train them.  We created a vanguard of sorts by also working closely with our school technology committee.  This committee consists of one teacher from each grade level.  This way, each grade level team had a point-person to check with first if questions or problems arose.  Our technology committee meets monthly to go over what is working and what needs attention.  Grade level teams meet weekly. During these meetings, we have a “Ten Minute Tech Time”.  We share what we are doing in our classrooms with the iPads and discuss any questions or issues that we may be having.  This built in time ensures that teachers are voicing their ideas, questions, and/or problems.  Our school district’s Ed Tech team are frequent visitors in our school and in our meetings.  They are quick to offer support, suggestions and solutions.

Teaching today is hard enough.  Collaborating with your colleagues and other educators can broaden ideas, provide support within the system and sustain teachers as we all navigate through the Technology Turnpike.

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5 thoughts on “Collaboration

  1. Our school is really trying to get to more collaboration and less cooperation (just sharing, instead of rethinking). This is tougher than most people realize because so many are accustomed to doing what works well for themselves only (not that that’s bad).

    • Matt,
      I understand. It seems we find it difficult to tell about what we are doing. No one wants to look like they are tooting their own horn or that they think they are better than others. Often, I feel like my stuff is just normal and surely others are doing cooler things than me. Once we find our comfort zone of sharing, it will hopefully get easier. Thanks for stopping by.

  2. Hi Kristi,
    Are you familiar with any great collaboration apps that would allow teachers who share students to “see” students’ accomplishments in different subject areas? Similar to a running record, or grade book, but accessible thru a database or app for teachers to see? Thanks for all your inspiration and ideas! You sound like an amazing teacher, and all your kindergarteners are lucky to have you!

    • Jenny,
      I have not heard of such an app…but it would be awesome if there is one. I will ask around my Apple Distinguished Educator community and see if anyone there is familiar with one.
      Thanks so much for stopping by!

    • Jenny
      I just thought of the Box app. It lets you upload work to the cloud and you have 10 GB of free storage. It allows you to create collaborative folders so others can see. It is free…just set it up online and then download the app.

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