Peer-to-peer collaboration? Meh.

Tom Whitby said:

Technology has provided us with the ability to communicate, curate, collaborate, and (most importantly) create with any number of educators, globally, at any time, and at very little cost. One would think educators would be celebrating in the streets at the good fortune of advancing their own learning while helping their profession evolve.

That jubilation does not yet exist in many educators.


5 Responses to “Peer-to-peer collaboration? Meh.”

  1. Globally? How about within our own district or building?

    There was a report about the Pittsburgh Public Schools that stated that the single most effective thing that the district could do was to give the teachers more opportunity to collaborate, and they the report authors expected this recommendation to be ignored. Just as many teachers prefer to lecture at students rather than have them work together, most administrators would rather PD at teachers than allow them to work with other teachers. I’ve tried for years to get common planning time for departments, or even “bring your best” PD… needless to say, this does not happen. That’s not restricted to the school or district that I work for, it’s pretty much universal.

    • Thanks for noting this universal challenge, Bill. There’s a difference between teachers not wanting to collaborate together and administrators not allowing them to collaborate together. What do the teachers in your system want? Are they hungry for collaboration or relatively indifferent?

      • As with any group, it’s a mixed bag. Some already see the advantages of collaborating, especially when they teach the same course and the benefits to sharing ideas and materials are obvious. Some understand that sharing procedures, processes and strategies work across different classes and fields, and I suspect some others would see it if they had exposure. Of course there are always the “I’m going to close my door and do my thing” but I’d say that they are in the minority.

        It’s hard to want something when you don’t know what it is, or what you can do. As an example, one of the teachers that I work with was preparing a Powerpoint (when we first got our projectors and computers) of birds and their calls. He was showing the images, and playing the calls off of a CD. When I told him that he could record the tracks off of the CD and include them in the slideshow, he was thrilled, wanted me to show him how to do it, and literally by the end of the week was taking the audio tracks off of concert DVDs to have a program transcribe them to sheet music so that he could learn to play them. He had no idea that he wanted to learn how to extract audio tracks from discs, but he did once he was shown what was possible. I’ve converted a number of teachers to assignments by Google Docs just by showing them examples of how I’m using it in my classroom and they immediately see the advantages and potential. It’s often a case of not knowing what you’re missing.

  2. There’s still the work/life balance to consider. Educators don’t just collaborate and communicate with other educators perpetually. Even the professional who basks in connecting with others at work, in F2F contexts, still needs to save time for them self and their own family.

    Please, let us draw a line somewhere.

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