Way back in October 2010, I began talking with my team about finding a way to track how we support the learning in HWDSB from a system, school, classroom and individual staff member standpoint. How do we do this effectively so that we can begin to analyse patterns and trends from a pedagogical and technological standpoint. Never losing sight that the priority areas in HWDSB are: critical literacy, higher order thinking skills, 21st Century fluencies, the TLCP Process, comprehensive literacy / literacy intervention strategies, differentiated instruction / tiered intervention / universal design and problem solving in math. Keeping these priority areas in mind, the requests for support vary immensely, especially when it comes to leveraging technology to serve the learning of today. Hence, the importance of keeping track of how we support the system and schools. We need to do this in a way that allows us to build data for understanding how best to build our services to support HWDSB in a sustainable way.
We wrestled with many initial ways. We tried first class using the calendar function to aggregate data and exporting it to excel. Yikes! We discussed using a collaborative document and thought about it being not as accessible for others who are not on our team. What about our team wiki? Truth be told, we tried a few of these but none of them seemed to really allow us to be transparent, authentic and truly collaborative as we hope to eventually go public with our stories and data.
It is with great enthusiasm and pride that I share members of our 21st Century Fluencies Team launched our team blog entitled: Supporting.theclassroo.ms. Here is a screenshot of the header:
As you can see, we are each able to post our experiences with schools, classrooms, system and more! Even better, we can categorize by panel, cluster, school and tag our supports and this allows us to understand the data of who, when, where, why and how we are building capacity in HWDSB.
Here is a screenshot of our tag cloud. Take a look at it before you read further.
Now, you tell me what this tells us?
The tag cloud allows us to see where we are spending most of our time and how we are building capacity with staff. Amazing! Not only that but our blogposts facilitate authentic sharing within our team. We can review each others posts, comment and learn from each other in a very ongoing and sustainable way. Even better, we have added an anthologize plugin that will allow us to build specific content into a book or report. How powerful will it be to organize and collate specific posts for specific reasons.
So here’s the good news, it’s working and we are very excited. The bad news is that it isn’t public yet. It will be very soon. We are working on polishing our voice and wanted to ensure that all our team members have had time to create posts and feel comfortable with the wordpress platform. This is learning and coaching in action!
- the tool / technology does really serve the learning and the pedagogy
- you must really think about what it is you are trying to accomplish and/or learn before you determine how you are going to do it when it comes to technology and web 2.0
- always think about how you can leverage the technology to improve efficiency and efficacy
- spend time exploring the options with your team and be open to changing course when a better idea comes along
I thank my team! They are creative, innovative, persistent and always thinking. It really makes our working and learning environment fun, stimulating and models how it should be for our students!