Monday, November 17, 2008

A Call to Action

While scanning through the thoughts and ideas pouring into my Google Reader, I encountered Clay Shirky’s comment ...
“Social tools don’t create collective action –
they merely remove the obstacles to it”.

In the 2008-2009 school year we have expanded local workshop offerings to include a variety of tools to support collaborative projects and discussions. Several curriculum areas have created blogs and/or wikis to encourage online conversations between teachers spread across the district. Multiple training sessions have focused on Web 2.0 tools teachers and students can utilize to move beyond paper and pencil reports and worksheet activities.

But are those tools moving from the training room to the classroom? Creating a site doesn't guarantee site participation. Requiring site participation doesn't guarantee true collaboration or communication. We have to convince participants that these tools have value. We have to make it worth their time and effort. We have to provide ongoing support to assist new users of technologies new to them through the bumpy stages.

District Instructional Technologists are here to help. We are happy to provide training and support. School level administrators and curriculum/technical staff are also key players. Teachers are more likely to determine a new approach is worth the effort if it is valued and used by their peers and encouraged by administrators. To enhance the probability of success, teachers must be supported on all sides (administration, curriculum, technology). We need to go beyond removing the obstacles and actually move forward. Collectively we can make real progress.

Let's pull together and truly make a difference.

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