Collaboration is key.
In any sector it is vital to collaborate in order to create work of a better quality. Who would not want to produce better work?
It is thus essential as educators that we show the right example, that we model good practice for our students to ameliorate their achievement and help them enter a world where collaboration is now common practice.
One of the tool I use for collaboration, among others, is Twitter, like a lot of teachers nowadays. I will not explain here how Twitter works as others have done it before me and have done it perfectly. I would like to point out here what was the process of collaboration I followed.
Let’s go back maybe 2 years ago. On Twitter I started to follow Marielle Lange, aka @widged, a francophone (someone who speaks French like me) Flex Developer who is extremely interested in education in general. We met once in true life :-) in Auckland during the Educamp2010 organised by Fiona grant. (wonderful event which will be held again this year again in Auckland, Wellington and Tauranga). During our non-virtual meeting, we shared our views on education and what we are capable of doing.
Here is I think an important step. Around a cup of coffee, or tea if you prefer, it is pivotal to discuss what each person is bringing to the collaboration. I am a teacher of French, so I know the students (or at least I think I know- another post needs to follow this one I reckon), what they want, how they learn and of course what they should learn (as in content- e.g. to prepare them for NCEA). As for Marielle, she brings in her knowledge of encoding (e.g. CSS, HTML etc…) which is a foreign language for me and she also brings an extensive understanding of how one learns and of education in general.
During numerous times, Marielle has helped me during the last two years, so many times that there is not enough space on the web to cite them all !!! But she has particularly helped me this year. Let me explain why and especially how.
I have always wanted to create an online course for a Year 11 French class. In this course I wanted the students to be able to find resources which could help them to gain good grades at NCEA independently and activities monitored, or not, by a teacher. This year I have decided to take the big step and put my fear aside and start the course.
Once again Marielle has been of a wonderful help. She has helped by creating activities well suited to the needs of my students. Marielle has kindly shared the codes in her wiki that teachers (or any educators) can reuse and use on their platform of choice. However, you need to keep in mind that her Wiki is only at a early stage and more activities will be added regularly. I have also chosen a Wikispace for platform and you can see Marielle’s activities in action within a language environment. The course I have created is far away to be finished and once again you need a bit of patience as I work full time, so I create the course at night :-) What is funny anyway is that our job as a teacher is never finished. Since the beginning of my career I have never known a moment where I could think “ah I have finished, my product is as good as it could be”. When one is a teacher there is always room for improvement.
So here you have it true collaboration in true context !