Monday, April 13, 2009

There is Value in Collaboration

When Jarrod asked me to co-author this blog I was extremely flattered. Why would a teacher from southern Australia think I would have something to contribute to his educational network? Yes, we did contribute to each others blogs through the book "Holes", but really what can we tell each other that is helpful considering we literally live on the other side of the world from each other?

When I started my class blog ,Mr. C's Class Blog, I had intended it to be a way for me and my students to communicate with each other that would leave a record. As I noticed visits from different countries popping up on our Cluster map I became excited. It was amazing that people from all over the world were looking at what we were doing. This changed my perspective about the purpose of my class blog. Instead of using it to communicate with each other, we began to use it to communicate with others outside our classroom, even outside our state. I began to understand the power of the internet for my students' learning.

I had read a tweet by Alec Couros on Twitter that pointed me to a vlog on Kim's Blog. In the vlog she describes how uncomfortable it was for her to create a video of herself. This led me to think how important it is to model reflections I expect my students to do. I have been emphasizing that skill to them for several weeks.When I responded to Dr. Couros about my "light bulb" he responded:

This brings me to my point. We all have something to contribute to each other. Without the advantage of my PLN (personal learning network) I might never have made the connection between reflection and modeling. That is why I am contributing to this blog.

Wm. Chamberlain


Jarrod Lamshed said...

Coming into the blogging world a little later than you, I was able to the potential for international collaboration from MY day 1. I guess this is the bonus of being able to see what others have achieved before me. Seeing the fantastic learning on some great class blogs from around the world gave me a good model for my class to use. I guess that's where the idea for this blog comes in.

The kids in my class get so much out of collaborating with other learners from around the world, so surely we, as educators, would also benefit. We have an opportunity to 'take down the walls' and examine how we teach. There is NO reason this should happen only in a local setting for teachers when we are now expecting a world wide view for our students.

Michael/@teachernz said...

We've had a class blog since 2005 and I originally saw it as a way to share children's work with their families. When I added a counter and then a Clustrmap it became an even greater motivator. With a few exceptions we haven't moved into real collaboration yet, though I know we will.

My own blogs have been half-hearted personal stories, a few tech and "how to" posts and some attempts at humour. I have reflected very little and collaborated even less. How right you are. We must "walk the talk" for our students in self-reflection, collaboration, creation and co-creation.

I don't like the sound of my recorded voice and appreciate my video-self even less, but I have to get past this. How can I realistically ask students to do what I do not? I've done the flying fox, abseil, kayak and BMX as modeling and encouragement. Now it's time to strap on my helmet, get over my nervousness and do some audio and video.

Thanks for the collaborative kick up the proverbial.