This week I am prepping my curriculum for teaching a week-long class as part of the New School‘s Institute for Urban Education. I will be teaching the teachers enrolled in the class how to use a variety of digital tools that will allow them to quickly and effectively communicate with one another, collaborate on the work that they do, and ultimately promote the successes they achieve as they work on improving their respective schools over the next two years.
I’m especially excited about this class because it is giving me an opportunity to help teachers take on the task of implementing school reform, but in a way that helps them work more efficiently so that they are not over-burdened on top of the already demanding work of educating hundreds of children and young adults each day. Plus, I am looking forward to talking to the teachers about developing an online presence that allows others to see the great work that these educators are doing in their schools. So often, the only public persona teachers have is that of the union representatives whose job it is to work with “the media.” I’m excited about helping educators–who have traditionally shied away from “branding” what they do–create an online presence for themselves so that the public can understand the great work they are doing–and learn how they are doing it.
Some of the tools we’ll be working with next week:
- Typewith.me and G+ hangouts, for online collaboration and discussion.
- Twitter, for creating an online community of educators within and outside of the IUE project.
- WordPress and Tumblr, for the teachers to work with simple blogging platforms that meet their needs.
While there are many teachers who have an active online presence and who embrace social media, many of the teachers I’ll be working with will just be getting started when it comes to creating a public identity online. I’m thrilled to be a part of that journey with them, a journey that I think will lead to greater innovation in schools beyond those where these teachers currently work, and greater empowerment for each of them in terms of helping others outside of education understand–and further appreciate–the work that teachers do every day.