Here is our latest PD, and it addresses all of the elements above. The first meeting was a great success, and the shared experience of doing something new and exciting, like a twitter chat, really brought the group together. It was one of the best icebreakers I have done. The norms were established together as well, with some help from the #ConnectedTL group’s voxer norms. They like the way it elicited more discussion and not just a piling on of nonsensical comments.
The closure event is something I have been planning for a while, and when we are discussing how to best use these new tools, I have included the times and dates of the #educahts that best line up with each teacher and their current assignment. I have also included a link to the #educhat google doc that is constantly maintained, so they can explore and feel comfortable enough to at least lurk in a chat or two. We will continue with our own voxer group as well, posting new classroom set ups, lesson ideas, and I hope to make it a resource for our teachers to come back to, get advice from,a nd participate in.
Community is best when ruled by Norms, and mostly, these norms should be mutually created at the time of the community’s creation. This can be an online or blended community, as we have seen in this week’s lessons. With the community that I am trying to establish at BUSD, we made sure to come up with some good expectations and norms for our chats and interactions. The fact that these interactions are based upon a workshop series tied to pay makes this community a little inauthentic, but you work with what you have.
There are many ways in which an online or blended community would be able to provide better support. One would be in terms of availability. If your community is spread over many campuses or locations, than online would be best. Online community is not location dependent, and is not constrained by time and location constraints like many traditional communities are. Also, the online community tools which I am using allow for verbal communication, not just visual, which I think has an advantage to making connections. There is something about hearing someone’s voice and intonation that cannot be beat by type or text communication. I will definitely take that forward with me from this module.