I can’t believe it’s already done! It went by so fast 🙂 I’ve already been able to meet fellow COETAIL-ers in person and love that my PLN is expanding exponentially. Although I’ve been “connected” for about 2 years, my PLN consisted of mostly American educators. COETAIL has given me the opportunity to connect with international educators around the globe and we’ve just begun!
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.