Yesterday I had the pleasure of spending four hours in Elluminate with Sheryl and a dozen or so of the schools that we’re working with from the Southeastern states for PLP holding a “work session” around the culminating projects they’ll be presenting next month. And though I know the idea of spending four hours doing anything online is overwhelming for a lot of folks, I do mean it when I say “pleasure.” Their projects, by and large, blew me away in terms of their scope and thoughtfulness, and it was apparent that most of them were really beginning to understand the network creation and expansion part of this. And it was great to see the extent to which these ideas seemed to be taking hold in their schools. (We’ll be sharing these out down the road.)
But while it wasn’t a central focus of most of the projects, for some reason what’s really stuck in my head are the conversations we had about those that revolved around using these technologies for articulation. And the more I thought about it, the more natural a starting point it seemed for schools who are trying to adopt (or adapt to) these technologies. I’m often struck by how many times I hear about the lack of communication, the isolation of teachers, the inconsistency of the teaching and pedagogy in schools and districts. And those are all things that teachers lounges and monthly department meetings can’t really assuage.
I know it would require some front end loading, but if districts were using wikis to house curriculum and encouraging teachers to work off of them as they move through the year, noting, tweaking, fine tuning, reflecting, etc., it would be one way that they could begin to make good use of a Web 2.0 tool and make it easier to connect to what other folks are doing. Not to mention the growing of some very important local network connections (which then, of course, could be expanded out.) And the other piece, of course, is that it’s a “safe” way to get started at least in terms of not having to deal with student participation issues.
And when you think about it even for just a few seconds longer, it’s not hard to come up with all sorts of other ways to create a rich curriculum “text” if you will that could include videos of lessons, links to resources and artifacts, and the general throwing around of ideas that could potentially deepen the impact of what’s happening in the classroom.
Or not. There is the time issue, the buy in issue, and other issues. But I’m sure there are some good examples of this already out there, aren’t there?