What is one way you could collaborate with your professional peers or students?
Collaboration for the benefit of our students and professional peers adds to the advantage of ALL. Collaboration in the digital world is user-friendly, quick, economical and helps to unite the world as a single unit/ global nation. There are so many numerous ways of collaborating with peers/ students, however, one important way in today’s time is collaboration and making connections through the web.
Sharing of ideas, thoughts, strategies, games-skills, drills, lesson plans with peers is very beneficial for educators. Using Google Docs and allowing access to the stakeholders is a very useful means of collaboration in Physical Education. At the Elementary school, we use the Google docs for various purposes. An example is Fun and Games day document where all the elementary PE teachers share games and activity description, along with creating an equipment list, set up lay out plan and other details for the event. Such a collaborative feature in the digital world, helps save a lot of time emailing the attachment back and forth to each other. I am very impressed with the newness of this method of sharing in the digital world, and admire the utility behind the process whole heartedly.
Working on Understanding By Design Units in the Atlas Rubicon, our department works collaboratively while working on various units we teach during the year. We have common assessments, where we need to work jointly. Color coding thoughts or adding teacher names within parentheses to identify ownership is a good idea and works well for our team.
The SPARK PE website is a great site, and they share webinars, PE strategies. They offer free membership. I find their mails and website very useful. Any information, I find worthwhile, I share it with our team. Our Department meetings are yet another effective evidence of collaboration. We share with each other whatever works best, issues that need to be addressed, plans that need to be modified/ revisited, all in the best interest of our students: in terms of curriculum, assessment and instruction, that can be imagined to be the three legs of a table.
Image taken from Google Images. Website is transformed.com
Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment are like a three legged table. These are inter-connected, since to stay balanced, all have to work in collaboration with each other. These should not be considered to be written/ set in stone. Educators must have the flexibility of using the above in the best interest of the development of the learners. As an educator we have big responsibilities on our shoulders, and collaborating with each other works as an asset.
Sharing of pictures of students in action during PE classes in our shared folder is exciting, and a great way of sharing the student learning with each other. The pictures along with a brief description of the unit, serves as a positive mode of communicating with the community, about the activities being learnt in PE classes. We are able to share our thoughts with each other.
I appreciate the idea of writing blogs and reflections and peers or students being able to comment on it, and learn from each other.
I am super impressed with the technological collaboration for various reasons, as listed above. Besides those, I feel that the collaborative documents and other work in progress files, may serve as a great resource for new teachers to join our department. The COETAIL site is yet another avenue of collaboration. While reading through the blogs and ideas of other educators, one comes across strategies that might be useful in their school set up, and they might wish to try. I feel by giving due credit to them for their work, appreciating them and commenting on their blog, seeking their permission to try out their project, it will serve as a way of building up the learning process further, rather than reinventing the wheel each time.
Ultimately, learning is a dynamic process of progressive change from little or no knowledge to increased understanding and knowledge. The educational environment and atmosphere should be supportive, relaxed, caring and comfortable, so that the nurturing in learning and teaching takes place at its best is my conviction. Positive and constructive collaboration amongst professional peers is motivating and helps achieve better performance.
Besides the suggested readings, I found the following links on the internet useful for educators.
http://vocserve.berkeley.edu/centerfocus/cf2.html This link shares with us the below information:
Teacher collegiality avoids the sink-or-swim, trial-and-error mode that beginning teachers usually face. It brings experienced and beginning teachers closer together to reinforce the competence and confidence of the beginners. Schools benefit from teacher collaboration in several ways:
- Through formal and informal training sessions, study groups, and conversations about teaching, teachers and administrators get the opportunity to get smarter together.
- Teachers are better prepared to support one another’s strengths and accommodate weaknesses. Working together, they reduce their individual planning time while greatly increasing the available pool of ideas and materials.
- Schools become better prepared and organized to examine new ideas, methods, and materials. The faculty becomes adaptable and self-reliant.
- Teachers are organized to ease the strain of staff turnover, both by providing systematic professional assistance to beginners and by explicitly socializing all newcomers, including veteran teachers, to staff values, traditions, and resources.
Digital collaboration tools for teachers worldwide, http://www.zdnet.com/blog/education/digital-collaboration-tools-for-teachers-worldwide/782 “Teachers Without Borders rolls out easy to use, open source software to facilitate open courseware, content authoring and collaboration. Collecting and disseminating information is often the province of developed countries, but Teachers Without Borders hopes to bridge the Digital Divide by allowing educators worldwide to share information and teaching materials, reports All American Patriots.”
I am hoping through collaboration amongst professional peers and our students, there will not only be growth in academic learning and achievement levels going up higher, but, the world also will become a better and a more peaceful place to live in. Let’s ALL collaborate.