Share With Your Colleagues And It Will End Up Coming Back To You
More and more teachers are now asking how they can use different types of technologies to enhance their teaching and learning. They also use the Internet as a tool for professional development and curricular ideas; however, one of the most challenging parts about being a teacher is really finding those resources that are up to date and engage the students. The amount of information available online today is overwhelming.
Create a resource hub
Teachers, pedagogical advisors as well as IT REPs are looking for ways to share the creative, innovative and successful practices that teachers have used to integrate technology into their learning environments. For example, teachers who have spent hours “mining YouTube” looking for the perfect video to illustrate a concept might be able to share some of the useful resources that they have come across.
A very effective way of sharing best practices is to create a resource hub which is constantly evolving and which provides among others a collection of teaching resources, digital tools, and expert tips. Basically it should include any content that you wish to share with your colleagues.
- Most colleges have a learning management system. Omnivox, for instance, allows you to store a directory of recommended websites and is accessible to your students and also to selected colleagues.
- Moodle is not only a file repository, it allows for collaborative interaction among teachers.
- Padlet is a digital corkboard that you can add virtual sticky notes to. Invite collaborators to add content, comment, like and make edits in real-time.
- Create a website on Weebly who provides the hosting. Add videos, pictures, maps and text by drag and drop.
- Canvas and Schoology are easy-to-use, cloud-based learning management systems (LMS) that allow users to create, manage, and share content and resources.
- Email is “old school,” but it works so easily sometimes.
- The Hypothesis Project is open source software that allows you to collaboratively annotate readings and other Internet resources. Its features:
- Select text to annotate.
- Add tags and post publicly or save privately.
- Reply to or share any annotation.
- Link to notes or whole pages.
- Annotate together in groups.
- Collaborate privately with others.
- Search your notes.
- Explore all public annotations and profiles.
- Scoop.it (for a fee) allows users to create, manage, and share content and resources. Here is how Martin Bérubé, Pedagogical counsellor at Cégep de La Pocatière, uses it [in French]. Rafael Scapin, Coordinator of Educational Technology at Dawson College uses Paper.li to collect the content that he shares.
Start Your Teaching Blog
There's a vibrant online community of educators sharing their expertise in writing, and the topics that get covered offer insights into just about everything, including practice, policy, education technology, and many more. Summer is the perfect time to join that conversation by starting a blog of your own.
- In the article Start Your Teaching Blog: Resources, Advice and Examples there are some of the best guides and sources of inspiration to get you started.
- Profweb’s Web Space provides a web hosting environment free of charge to college network teachers to enable them to create and upload various educational resources. To guide you or for some inspiration as you get started, read this article on Profweb that presents different tools and tutorials that will allow you to personalize your Web Space.
Teachers who don’t wish to invest the time needed to create a blog can often share their lessons or reflections on the blogs of others. On this page Top 30 Canada Education Blogs and Websites on the Web you can find blogs on a variety of subjects.
Share Content Through Social Media
Twitter is an excellent place for teachers to consume and learn. Therefore, if you’re a teacher and have something to share with other teachers, why not tweet?
Start Your Own Podcast!
Do you have more lesson than classroom time? Do you have a passion for something that you can talk about at length? Do you have stories that might inspire others? If so, then it's time to start that podcast.
In the article Start that Podcast! the author explains that with a strong vision, simple setup, and plan for content, format, production, and promotion, you can turn your expertise, unique approach, and enthusiasm into a podcast.
Colleagues are the best coaches
The advantage of doing something alone is that we get it done our way, on our schedule. As teachers we’ve learned to trust ourselves and develop strong opinions about our perspective. Have you heard about the Wisdom of Crowds, the idea that large groups of people are collectively smarter than even individual experts when it comes to problem solving? If you believe that there is some truth underpinning the idea that 2 heads are better than one, why not invite others into your task? If you’re developing a new project for your classroom, invite others to work on this with you.
It may involve a little bit of your letting go of the specific vision you have for the project but enable you to pick up new ideas and approaches.
Use Google Docs to Collaborate in lesson planning
There are many reasons to use Google Docs for collaborative projects. Some are:
- Any group member can work on the same project from any computer. Even at the same time as someone else.
- Google will automatically save your work.
- A group member does not have to wait on another member to finish their part.
- It is compatible with Microsoft PowerPoint and Word. Files can be imported or exported. Here are 2 videos that explain how to use Google Docs
- Basic use of Google: Google Docs: Collaboration Tools
- More advanced: Collaborate and Store Files with Team Drive
If you’re one of those teachers and are willing to share freely, in the digital age you can do so in many different ways. Why would any teacher share for free? There are many reasons, but the best one is this: Sharing, because it promotes reflection and learning, makes you a better teacher.
Would you have any other tools that you could recommend for teachers to use when they want to share with other teachers? Please share them with me.