I always love a good collaboration or "collabo" as I call it. Whether it be two musical artists coming together to sing a song or a well-thought-out lesson that requires my students to divvy up work and develop an end product. I do however realize that not all people think this way. For some reason, unapparent to me, there are people out there that think life is all about your own individual accomplishments and self-generated ideas. I would argue that no one's ideas are their own. They are surely a compilation of all the life experiences and people that this person has encountered. Now, you may ask....what is she ranting about? I'll tell you....
I am developing a theme for all the workshops and activities I do this coming semester. It goes a little something like this: redesigning/reimagining your classroom for student engagement and collaboration.....focusing on students generating content together.
Both my degrees are in Education and I know quite a bit about education theory and how the brain works. I truly believe that learning is social. I believe it because I've been told....and I've also experienced it. Perhaps the latter was the most powerful to me (by no surprise since we know that experiential learning is a very powerful means to learn). I just came to the realization that it is my network of colleagues that has allowed me the opportunity to be successful in my career. It is this social network of colleagues that teaches me new things -- we have created our own social networking arena online and in person. As I push my faculty to embed these social networks into their classroom, I can speak from experience that they aren't just "fluff," they are sometimes the most meaningful learning experiences a student will have. Sure, I could go out and do some research online, attend a conference, and read some journals pertaining to education technology, but it is the reflection and dialogue with my colleagues that adds meaning to this content. It's almost hard to express the impact this social network has had on my career. All I can say is that it's been amazing. I know that if I don't have the "answers," someone in my social network will. So, with collaboration, it's not always about knowing the right answer off the top of your head, but knowing where to go and who to go to in order to find it. Isn't that what life is all about?
These social networking technologies are ones that I can't live without in order of importance to me: