ISTE, the International Society for Technology in Education, wrote a set of standards specifically for educators to help them achieve academic and technological empowerment. The last quarter of my Digital Education Leadership program had us focusing on the ISTE standards for students. This quarter the shift is from focusing on the student standards to focusing on the standards that educators should meet. The fourth educator standard is titled “collaborator”.
ISTE Educator #4: Collaborator
Educators dedicate time to collaborate with both colleagues and students to improve practice, discover and share resources and ideas, and solve problems. Educators:
4a. Dedicate planning time to collaborate with colleagues to create authentic learning experiences that leverage technology. 4b. Collaborate and co-learn with students to discover and use new digital resources and diagnose and troubleshoot technology issues. 4c. Use collaborative tools to expand students’ authentic, real-world learning experiences by engaging virtually with experts, teams and students, locally and globally. 4d. Demonstrate cultural competency when communicating with students, parents and colleagues and interact with them as co-collaborators in student learning.
What a time to be focusing on collaboration and specifically concerning digital education! The model for our day to day schooling has been flipped on its head, and is forcing educators around the world to become more technologically savvy on a whim. This “remote learning” can be quite challenging without the tools for student and teacher collaboration.
When my class was shifted from in-person learning to teaching a group of 24-5th grade students through a screen, I needed to up my tech game… not only did I need to collaborate with my team on a more efficient basis, but I also needed to find safe and effective means of collaboration for my students.
When researching teacher collaboration, I found myself reading articles on schoology.com. Lauren Davis wrote an article titled “Teacher Collaboration: How to Approach It In 2020”. Davis writes about the importance of teacher collaboration leading to the sharing of student learning responsibility. Where one teacher can make some change, a group of teachers can make a world of change! One important effect of teacher collaboration is more creative lesson plans. This piece drew me in – especially during this “remote learning” era. Not only do I want to have more creative lesson plans, I am now being called to work more creatively just to create those plans! Another vital part of teacher collaboration is less isolation. Which also, is crucial to address in these times.
If you’d like to read more, you can find the article here.
This piece led me to the realization that I needed to look at the ways I was already collaborating, and how I could improve my collaborative methods.
What I was already using:
Teacher collaboration –
For most of our teaming we used the apps in Google Drive. It has a range of applications that are all available through the internet! You can create documents (Google Docs), spreadsheets (Google Sheets), presentations (Google Slides/Jamboard), and many more. All of these are available to collaborate with others instantaneously!
Find all the G Suite apps for education here: link.
While Google Drive has some amazing programs that are easily accessible to many at once (or on their own time), it is still challenging to collaborate in a quick way – the way that you could if your team was in person working together on their docs. Once schools were closed, we needed to find a way to talk to one another while working. Like many other school districts, this led us to Zoom.
Zoom is a video conferencing tool. Most of the features are available with the free version, however as an educator. It enables my team to connect to one another remotely. I immediately fell in love with the idea of video conferencing – it is an effective and efficient way to collaborate with my teammates remotely!
Interested in Zoom? Here’s the link.
While Zoom is a great way to meet with people – others have to be available at the same time to talk to each other. With many families having to work around one anothers schedules, not all students are able (or willing) to all meet at one time to sit and watch a lesson be taught through a video conference.
Teacher and student collaboration –
Zoom is still working in my class as a check in strategy, but to teach my students, I needed to find another tool. This led me to Flipgrid.
Flipgrid is a website that allows you to create video responses to topics, other videos, or questions. All of the videos are saved within a “grid” that is created by an educator. This website provides a safe way to create, edit, and post videos of their classmates and teachers! My favorite part; a preloaded topic that supports students in making an introductory video!
How I am going to use it:
- Post instructional math videos for students to watch and have students create a reaction video solving math problems
- Post read alouds with accompanying comprehension strategy lessons and have students represent their learning with comp. strategy practices through a video
- Have students create check in videos (virtual show and tell, teach your teacher a skill, student storytelling, etc)
- Have students create videos with their own ideas of collaboration methods using Flipgrid!
Want to learn about all the awesome ways to use Flipgrid for remote learning? Here’s the website.
While one app won’t solve our remote learning shortfalls, researching and taking the chance on new educational technology can help us work towards bettering our collaboration.
What apps are you loving during this new “normal”? I would love to hear about them!
Bristol, J. (2019, June 24). Google Drive Review for Teachers. Retrieved from https://www.commonsense.org/education/website/google-drive
ISTE Standards for Educators. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.iste.org/standards/for-educators
Powers, M. (2020, April 13). Flipgrid Review for Teachers. Retrieved from https://www.commonsense.org/education/website/flipgrid
Schoology. (n.d.). Teacher Collaboration: How to Approach It In 2020. Retrieved from https://www.schoology.com/blog/teacher-collaboration
Tewalt, A. (2020, March 13). Remote Learning with Flipgrid. Retrieved from https://blog.flipgrid.com/news/remotelearning