Friday, June 6, 2014

Tri-State Connectivity Promoting Collaboration

The key to interstate collaboration is to cultivate 
a culture of listening, learning, and empowerment. 

Tuesday night's #NJNYCOL was born out of collaborative union of three state chats, #njed (New Jersey), #NYEDChat (New York State), and #COLchat (Culture of Learning from Michigan), and ten moderators. What started with two quick messages from Billy Krakower of #njed and Michele Corbat of #COLchat to me and several weeks of collaboration between our three lead moderators and moderating teams turned into a history making event. Much to the delight of the moderators, the first Tri-state chat was a Twitter success. Midway through the chat, Billy Krakower tweeted that #NJNYCOL was trending on Twitter while @trendinaliaUS provided tweeters with backup data on the success of our chat. "64 users and 102 tweets (41 RTs) in 17 seconds made #NJNYCOL a trending topic in the United States. 102,219 people could have seen #NJNYCOL since its first mention until it became a trending topic."

From a moderator's vantage point, accountable talk and quick conversations centering around six questions focused learning. Passionate educators around the country and Canada joined in to#NJNYCOL to converse and connect making the new tri-state chat a fast-paced, amazing venture in collaborative learning that set a high bar and exceeded expectations. The fun began with a tagging activity as select educators from across the states were asked to join the rapid conversation that was creating a buzz in the Twittersphere. Tweetdeck was alive with connectivity and collaboration as 770 tweets paraded across the screen and were storified at the end of the night by Billy Krakower. Excitement at being part of a new collaboration across states was expressed by a myriad of active participants whose positive spirit was grounded in a collective growth mindset. 

Following each other is a beginning. Tweeting together is progress.  
Learning together is success. 

Question 1 opened the chat with an interesting statement from Michele Corbat.  "A virtual collaborative learning culture includes sharing ideas, feedback, and pushing thinking. Most importantly: relationships develop." What started as a statement turned into a reality. During the NJNYCOL conversation, ideas about ways to impact teaching and learning were shared openly and relationships developed in turn. Replies to Q1 set the foundation for a collaborative threaded conversation about a virtual learning collaborative learning culture that "removes physical location as a restraint" (@Sgaglione) and looks beyond boundaries and fixed ideas to provide "non-judgmental and supportive" (@DRich0696) "24/7 source of learning with virtual collaboration," (@JayBilly2) "funneling all best practice into one platform" (@DaSirotiak) and "...using everyone's knowledge and perspective for a common goal." (@robert_kalman) Following this was a conversation about how collaboration across states build cultures of learning. "Working together is about building capacity, momentum, and best practices. Learning is not only across the states. It's universal." (@DJr Schug)

Question 3 allowed educators to provide interesting collaborative projects that would  build a culture of learning across the country.  Some ideas floated were:
  • Run virtual debates @AngelinaShy & @elissamalespina
  • Students collaborating across the states-Imagine what students can do if they work with people they don't know @AJBianco
  • Mystery Skypes for elementary students @Sgaglione 
  • Edmodo for a book discussion or a Facebook discussion @brennanamy
  • Tri-state Edcamps @syndesn2
  • Youth participatory action research that lets students investigate their communities together and analyze and interpret the data @MissCas22
  • Talks with Teachers Challenges that nurture the soul and provide PD @TalksWTeachers
  • Virtual Gallery Walk via Skype or Facetime @DRich0696
  • Using Voxer to connect with other educators 
  • Multi-media project about how NJNYCOL educators are connected using Vine videos @mssackstein 
  • Students blogging on Kidblog @thereadingzone
  • Collaborative iBook with one class from every state & country in the world contributing @theipodteacher
  • Showcase of Teaching and Learning for educators to share their best practices through photos and links - June 16, 2014 8:30 pm hosted by #nyedchat & #njed - All educators across globe are welcomed to participate for an active shared learning experience.
  • #COLchat invites all to join them in Michigan on June 29, 2014 for @COLchat2Action with keynote @gcouros Smore
As connected educators, we know that collaboration is important in education. "When educators are connected and collaborating, everyone wins!" (@rickrowe) On June 3, 2014, #NJNYCOL proved that "sharing with people from different backgrounds enriched the teaching tapestry." (@jeffreyderdad). As I walked away from the collaborative venture, I was on a new found high, as were many other educators. What better way to understand the magic of connectivity than this retweet: "I have a little fire lit under me now...PD at my fingertips...literally...thank you for tonight." @CarrieLueker1 

"The future is bright in our field as long as we are committed to collaboration." (@snydesn2) 
Collaboration Counts
(As evidenced by the First Tri-state chat, #NJNYCOL)

May our tri-state journey continue to fuel the collaborative spirit across state lines with the hopes of improving teaching and accelerating learning. 

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