A Piece of the Puzzle

Collaboration is most definitely the piece of the puzzle that is needed in any organization who wishes to go from good to great.  In fact in May 2004, Richard DuFour authored, “Professional Learning Communities at Work.”  In his book DuFour describes PLC’s and provides an outline as to how schools and all major stakeholders can achieve the benefits of collaboration.   DuFour states, “To create a professional learning community, focus on learning rather than teaching, work collaboratively, and hold yourself accountable for results.” The one, and I believe ultimate way I can collaborate with my professional peers, is by supporting the atmosphere of creativity and collaboration.

The image chosen for this post displays uniqueness, collectivity, unity, and while yes, collaboration.  Within any organization you have individuals who possess a myriad of personality traits.  Journey if you will into this photo and meet the individuals who are in attendance at today’s PLC on Updating Technology at Anywhere School System, Universe and see how all of them use each others perspective to work collaboratively.

Mr. Mellow-Yellow calls the meeting to order and raises the discussion question for the hour, “What is needed to bring our school system’s technology up to date and what professional development is needed to facilitate this process?  Mr. Green aka GROUCHY quickly responded, “It is always changing so why bother?”  Ms. Red who is known for RESPECTING everyone’s opinion quickly retorts, “Yes Mr. Green but why not create an environment that creates powerful on-line experiences?” Mr. Brown known to his colleagues as b squared (BRIGHT and BRILLIANT) says, “Life as citizens of the web can be liberating and empowering, but also deserves some self-education.  It will be in our best interest if we not only educate our staff and students, but the parents as well.”  Mrs. Orange, Mrs. OPEN-MINDED herself, replies, “We also need to think about what the web is, and what it might become. What kinds of features and applications would we, as users, find fun, useful or even indispensable?” Mr. Lime better known as Mr. LAZY speaks his mind, “This sounds like a whole lot of work.  I mean constantly updating not only the technology but our skills too?”  Ms. Lavender, LOYAL to the cause of being a life-long learner responds, “If you are speaking about web apps, they update themselves automatically, so there’s always just one version: the latest version, with all the newest features and improvements.” Mrs. Cloud known as the COURAGEOUS one amongst her peers weighs in.  She says, “I believe that we need to make sure our students and staff have the latest technology.  We are talking about preparing learners for the 21-century and it is our job to make sure they are prepared.  And how are we going to prepare them if we do not know ourselves?”  Mr. Purple aka PRUDENT seconds her notion only after adding, “Most of us don’t realize how much an old and out-of-date web browser can negatively impact our online lives, particularly our online safety.”  Mr. Blue who is often in the land of BEWILDERMENT says with a look of exhaustion, “This all seems like so much to tackle. Where do we begin?”  Mr. Mellow-Yellow who had been keeping an account of everyone’s concerns summarized, “For the most part I believe most of us see the importance of having the latest technology accessible to students and staff as well as training.  I appreciate and acknowledge the concerns we may encounter in moving forward. Recently a website was shared with me that speaks if not confirms the concerns I heard around the room today,  I would like everyone to visit the site, http://www.20thingsilearned.com/en-US/foreword/2 and be prepared to discuss your own aha moment when we meet next week.

The exchange you just read was a fetal attempt to combine the benefits of working collaboratively with the many personalities any organization possess while addressing the wonderful world web.

3 thoughts on “A Piece of the Puzzle

  1. It’s incredibly hard to break away from the traditional concept of collaboration amongst individuals who come together in an institution where the organization acts as the vehicle for collaboration to take place, but according to Clay Shirky “We are in a world where most American citizens over the age of 12 share things with each other online.” In his Ted Talk “Institutions vs Collaboration” Shirky illustrates “how closed groups and companies will give way to looser networks where small contributors have big roles and fluid cooperation will replace rigid planning.”
    The future of education as described and researched by masternewmedia explains that “Live teaching and learning marketplaces are a new emergent set of online exchanges where independent teachers and educators can easily share or sell their know-how with those looking for it. Independent guides and experts can deliver live and recorded lessons using a full set of web conferencing and e-learning components. (Originally prepared by Robin Good for MasterNewMedia, and first published on January 2nd, 2010 as “Future Of Education:The Best 2009 Articles And Reports From MasterNewMedia”.
    Link: link to masternewmedia.org)

  2. I really enjoyed the creative way in which you shared your thoughts on collaboration. I’m not quite sure which of your characters I would most closely identify with, but through collaboration, each character had relevance and their voice was heard.

    I believe that collaboration seems to make the most sense with most things. From the time we are small children, we’re told to work together and to share with others. The technological advancements that we’re fortunate enough to use today only reiterate what we’ve been taught since we were small. With so many mediums in which we can share, and the vast audiences that we are capable of sharing with, it seems that we have a real chance at fixing some of the world’s problems if we would just work together. With all ideas being heard and all people contributing, each outcome should have more value.

    The only reservations that I find myself coming back to are the Mr. Lazy’s of the world… Everyone should contribute to the making of pie, before they get a bite. It’s just not fair if some people give and some only take, and then everyone receives the credit. I think collaboration is great, as long as there are checks and balances, and ways of ensuring that everyone provides contributions.

    Very nice post. Thanks for sharing.

    Luke

  3. Lovely weave of words, applied to explain collaboration and what all it takes to move together in one aspired direction. Lots can be achieved with team work but the ground work of having to move all together for a common goal can be intimidating at times. Its collaboration truly when everyone does their fair share of job expected and revels in accomplishment.

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