Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Establish a Culture of Learning With the Faculty

Among the members of your faculty are folks who are currently taking Graduate courses, some even for a Doctoral degree. They are reading current literature on topics ranging from classroom management to school law to technology and resiliency. You also have teachers who are just simply fascinated with technology and the impact it can have on teaching and learning. Still others are reading for pleasure. The sad part is that, in most schools at least, there is nothing in place to help those teachers share what they're learning.

Think about this a minute. What if there was a way to easily share their learning with the rest of the faculty? And, what if that sharing lead to more sharing and discussions at faculty meetings? We're talking about a culture of learning. Those of us on twitter are there for that reason. We enjoy learning from others. We read blogs and follow the links and suggestions of other educators. Why not do that in your own faculty?

What tools would I consider for this? You could certainly use something like Twitter. In fact, once they got into a habit of checking in on twitter every now and again, your faculty might then begin to follow other educators from around the globe, and wouldn't that be wonderful? The only piece to using twitter that would not make it first on my list is that it's difficult to save tweets and refer back to them later. Yes, it can be done, but after a while the tweets just aren't in any sort of manageable format.

You'd have to use something else in addition to twitter - I'm thinking of Diigo, in particular. Imagine having your faculty on Diigo and into various groups according to disciplines or interest. You could have a Science group, and a Math group, etc. You could also have a group called Classroom Management or Tech Ideas, etc. Then, as they happen upon a good website they could bookmark it, tag it, and share it with their group members via the Groups option built into Diigo. The ability to leave notes on a page that other group members can see means that they can discuss their findings with each other - right on the site. What happens, then, is that they're sharing their discoveries with other staff who have the same interest. They're sharing their learning. This would then give them the understanding in order to get their students using the tool, thus creating a culture of learning among your students, as well.

I'm thinking that a Ning site, or its equivalent, might be ideal. There, in a private environment, the staff could share the articles, have discussion posts about them, share photos, share videos that they've found online, and much more. If not Ning, then maybe a site like a Drupal site on your own server might work well with a little planning.

But, the bottom line is that I think the dividends are many from working toward this goal. You've got a building full of educated people. Why not let them share their learning? All buildings seem to have their own 'culture', so to speak. Why not make it a culture of learning and sharing?

Edited 9:36 PM
This isn't a new idea, by any means, and I'm not the first person to say it. But, it's not being done, either. I just talked with a teacher today who made me think about how much we're missing by not learning from each other.

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1 comment:

Heather Weisse Walsh said...

Hi Jim - - so funny you just posted this. I was just brainstorming a post on a "Culture of Collaboration" between students and teachers who teach at a distance, and how to do that. You've given me more to think about! Thanks!