Forging Connections Through Collaboration

Posted by: Sheryl Place, High School ESL Teacher, Miami Killian Senior High

October 26th, 2015

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I thought I was pretty well connected with other educators in my district until Ms. Kaelin, physics teacher extraordinaire, walked into my classroom for our usual afternoon chat. She was super excited to tell me about a great LMS she had been introduced to – Edmodo. I was happy to hear the excitement in her voice as she demonstrated the platform to me.

Up until that moment, I had used email, text, and an occasional phone call to work with other teachers. Our district did not create much time in our Professional Development calendar for networking and the idea of a PLN (professional learning network) or PLC (professional learning community) was not providing me the support I was seeking.

I was used to staying after school long hours working with colleagues or tutoring my students, often neglecting my workout routine or family, in order to collaborate on projects, grant writing, or just look at our work critically. I thought that was just how teaching was supposed to be.image_7

Ms. Kaelin and Edmodo unlocked an entirely new world for me by sharing and showing me another option for connecting and collaborating with other teachers and students on my own time schedule. Using Edmodo and the power of global collaboration helped me realize that I had really been toiling in futility and isolation with a very small group of educators in my district.

Because of the connections I made on Edmodo, I was also exposed to Twitter, which I believe has provided me the greatest global PLN readily available to any teacher who is interested in this platform. I believe that 15 years from now educators will look back and say that Twitter had a huge impact on connecting and collaborating for teachers. I am involved in Twitter Chats, Edcamps, and I even use Twitter to share news articles with my PLN worldwide.

Because of the WeChat, introduced to me by a colleague, I am now able to chat with teachers and students in China before my school day begins in the United States. I am able to quickly collaborate with a colleague in North Dakota that I met at EdmodoCon 2014 during my lunch break using Facebook Messenger. I am able to connect with students who can message me after they get off work from their part-time job, or even collaborate with me on home-learning during their break time using the Edmodo App.

Being a connected educator is an essential part of any teachers’ tool box. Connected Educator Month, led by the American Institutes for Research, Powerful Learning Practice, and Grunwald Associates LLC, is an initiative that seeks to create a more fully globally connected, evidence-based movement that fosters collaboration and innovation to transform professional learning and effect educational change.

What kind of connected educator are you? How has connecting and collaborating transformed your teaching? Connect with me! I am just a mouse click away.

Twitter: @place_s

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