Passionate About Collaboration

When my husband convinced me to join Twitter in May of 2010, I didn’t know the opportunities for collaboration that it would provide me. I started as a lurker and was astonished by how many educational resources were being tweeted about on a daily basis. In August of 2011 I decided to become a contributor – I started my blog and was actively looking for a French class to connect with my class. I found @freddav our adventures began! From connecting with teachers on my Twitter account to connecting students using class accounts, the last couple years have been extremely rewarding.

As I’ve transitioned from being in the classroom and in control of my lessons to my role as a technology coach, collaboration has continued to be my favorite form of technology integration. I saw how tweeting with students halfway across the world affected my students and I believe that education would be much more meaningful if all students could have those experiences on a regular basis. Connecting students to each other is just the beginning – Skype Classroom has also been working to connect classrooms to experts around the world. Every time I read about ideas to make collaboration easier, I get excited about the future.

As I was reading World Without Walls: Learning Well with Others by Will Richardson, I almost made my neck sore from all my nodding along. There are an incredible number of challenges when putting technology in the hands of kids and letting them communicate with others in the name of education. However if students are given the right tools and skills, the educational value is infinite. Through collaboration, we can “bring the world” into our classrooms. Student learning is no longer confined to the four walls of their classroom.  Wow! Talk about education reform!

The opportunity to control my own collaboration and classroom exchanges is almost enough to entice me back into the classroom. Instead, I hope to be able to have an effect on many more teachers and students. Like Will Richardson, I believe we’re in the ‘Collaboration Age’ and it’s our job as educators to harness this powerful tool for the good of students worldwide.

11 comments

  1. Jason Graham · February 9, 2013

    Hi Lissa
    Love your post, it brought back many memories for me of my journey. I began really connecting 3 years ago this March. I too was a lurker and this was an integral part of my learning. So I thought my comment might connect us in a story of journeys and exploration. I wonder how many of us out there have had similar experiences?

    Our journey sounds similar. I started by following blogs and tweeps like Kim Cofino, Jabiz Raisdana and Julie Lindsay. Then I started commenting on blogs and tweeting sometimes. After a while I started to get some confidence and tweeted. I was a lurker on Twitter for about 5-6 months until I found the confidence to share my thoughts and ideas about education. It was anything but easy, especially in only 140 characters. That was the crazy part!

    Going from individual connection and taking it a step further to the classroom and connecting my grade 1 kids with others @tashacowdy from Yokahoma IS and @maumickey in Canada was a huge learning curve for me.

    I also followed @SkypeClassroom and took part on a few projects. Being involved in flatclassroom projects last year really showed me the power of connection. The ‘Collaboration Age’ is certainly one where even 6 year old learners can connect to on different levels of engagement. The meaningful and authentic connections were so powerful me, and I am hopeful for my learners as well.

    By the way I tried to put in links to resources in the comment but I’m not sure your theme supports links. Or maybe I’m doing something wrong?

    Like

    • Jeff Utecht · February 9, 2013

      You two are great examples of this connected world and I’m glad you are here to share your stories with others and hopefully through COETAIL create some pretty cool collaborative projects.

      Like

    • Lissa Layman · February 10, 2013

      Thank you for sharing Jason! I definitely wish more teachers around the world would acknowledge the “Collaboration Age” and help connect students for more authentic learning experiences.

      I did a little searching and I think you can add hyperlinks if you use HTML coding. Hopefully that just worked 🙂 Click my link to see the coding required!

      Like

      • Sanne Bloemarts · February 11, 2013

        Thank you on the hyperlink tip! Love it!
        And am going to try it out if you don’t mind….

        Have you read the book Public Parts? Public Parts

        It’s all about why we share and why we should share online. Which to me is also a form of collaboration. I agree that there is so much power to global connection. Great post 😉

        Like

      • Sanne Bloemarts · February 11, 2013

        Go ahead and change my trial in the comment above … but now I do see how leaving hyperlinks works. Once again thanks for sharing.

        Like

      • Lissa Layman · February 14, 2013

        Thank you for the book idea Sanne! 🙂

        Like

      • Lissa Layman · February 27, 2013

        Glad you found the hyperlinks tip useful Sanne!

        Like

  2. learnit2 · February 15, 2013

    Hello Lissa,

    This sounds very much like my journey and along the same lines with Jason Graham.
    Lurking around twitter 8-12 months ago was probably an understatement…I almost resented twitter because I just couldn’t see what relevance it could have in my world. I, of course was only exposing myself to the ‘stars’ who use twitter and really didn’t understand why anyone would want to know what I had for ‘breakfast’!
    However, my journey has evolved and 5 months ago I pressed ‘tweet’ with my eyes closed (in fear!!) and since then haven’t looked back! In fact, have even opened up a 2nd twitter account for my students to being discovering the amazing world around them and help them to build their own PLN – and they are only 6!!

    Through now following and being followed by some amazing people on my own twitter account I am (as I love to do) continuously learning and my students are connecting and collaborating with classes from around the world. They are using language that wasn’t heard from their mouths 5 months ago and wanting to share their learnings with others on a regular basis but the most wonderful of all is that they are becoming more curious and have many wonderings about their world – wondering why @LiveFromRoom5 has a ‘pattern day’ and what digital tool @LRKindergarten used to create their graph.

    Wanting to collaborate has also led me and my class to #kinderchat where we are now on the around the world project with a class from Canada.

    Thank you for sharing and I am glad we are not just lurkers anymore!

    Like

    • Lissa Layman · February 27, 2013

      It’s great to find others who have had a similar journey 🙂 Good luck with your twitter projects Carlene!

      Like

  3. Claudette Keevan · February 25, 2013

    Thank you for your adventure. I’m retiring this year
    from Fairfield Central HS in Winnsboro, SC. I’m leaving
    as much for my colleagues to work with as is possible.
    Stay well.
    Claudette Keevan

    Like

    • Lissa Layman · February 27, 2013

      I’m sure you’ll be leaving them invaluable knowledge and material Claudette. Enjoy retirement 🙂

      Like

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