Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Collaboration...not just for students!

We talk a lot about collaboration and how it is important that our students should be collaborative and co-operative with each other. It is one of our 'Key Competencies' and an important part of our e-Learning classroom.
This is also the case with the teachers who are part of the e-Learning Cluster. Through the wiki I have seen an increase in collegial support between the teachers as they post comments on individual pages, offering advice and praising achievements.
I organised an evening chat on Skype last week, where we managed to get 7 participants available at the same time. We started at 8pm and it went for an hour but I think the teachers were quite keen to talk for longer.
It was wonderful to hear them asking questions, getting answers from each other either verbally or by posting links and downloads onto Skype.
Reading some of the updates on individual wiki pages was great feedback

'I found the Skype conference both reassuring and encouraging. So good to hear others discussing aspects that I too am working with.'
'Following the Skype discussion I have decided to brave Google docs for a "bus stop activity".'
'Thanks to everybody for the wonderful chat we had last week. It was great to be able to bounce ideas off each other.'
Jane who is one of the observers said 'was interesting to hear others and to see that people in our school are implementing ideas from the conversation, great way to collaborate across the country'

Since then I have visited some of the teachers and they have commented how useful it was for them and how they are looking forward to more 'conversations'.
The main theme that came out of the discussion was how difficult it is to get the children 'self managing' and the conclusion was that the teachers have to come up with some better management techniques. This will be a new page on our wiki where we will all contribute what works and what doesn't!

We have classroom visits coming up soon, where the teachers are giving up their Saturday to share their classroom environments with us. The participants who are 'geographically challenged' (by a few 100kms or so) will participate via Skype, so that they can be with us as well. We will visit 9 classrooms in 5 schools. I think this is going to be a great learning and sharing opportunity for us all.

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