Sunday, July 14, 2019

9 Platforms & Techniques for Successful Team Learning

The logo for our buttons
and hashtag for the work.
There are many benefits of attending events as a team and learning together. Doing so successfully takes preparation, planning, and the right tools. If you are coordinating an event for you and others, the strategies, tools, and platforms below may help you do so successfully.  

Facebook event

A Facebook event allowed those across New York City schools to find and/or inspire other colleagues to attend.

Face-to-face proposal writing session

Educators came together for a one-day session to create proposals to submit to the conference. More than a dozen educators presented as a result of the presentations submitted at this session.  

MS Teams for planning and collaboration 

Educators used an MS Team to share files, discuss how to volunteer to cover the cost of registration, sessions, and more.  

Facebook group chat

During the conference we used an ongoing group chat to share what was worth seeing, events folks may want to attend, thoughts about the keynote, etc.  

#NYCSchoolsTech buttons

One of the educators created a logo for our group and another turned them into pins that we all wore proudly during the conference. 

Friend locator 

The Friend Locator app enabled us to easily find each other throughout the conference.

Google Maps

We had customized Google Maps that indicated where we were all staying as well as important points of interest for conference goers.

Google Sheets

A Google spreadsheet enabled us to easily coordinate travel, accommodations, attend each others sessions, etc.

Twitter

Everyone was on Twitter. We used the hashtag #NYCSchoolsTech to share our learning.

Your Turn

If you've attended events with others you may have experience with some of these strategies and platforms. What has worked for you? Have you tried something that is not listed here?

Friday, July 12, 2019

Quick Guide to Accessible Social Media

Responsible social media use means being a good digital citizen. Good digital citizens know the importance of sharing inclusively. When you share inclusively, what you share is accessible to everyone. Not sure what that means? 

Mindy JohnsonDirector of Digital Communications & Outreach for AEM Center & CAST, created a useful graphic that explains how to share accessibly.

Social Media Accessibility: Plain Language represented by a speech bubble, CamelCase Hashtags represented by a # symbol, Image Descriptions represented by an icon of three people, Captioning & Audio represented by closed captioning & audio description icons, and Link Shorteners represented by the WWW abbreviation. | Mindy Johnson @min_d_j CC-BY-NC-ND
You can learn the specifics and find resources for each by visiting "Best Practices for Accessible Social Media."

Monday, July 8, 2019

Better Together: 9 Benefits of Team Learning

A collage of group photos of the educators who attended ISTE together.More than two dozen educators from across New York City schools experienced the benefits of team learning when they descended upon Philadelphia, PA for the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) conference.

You can read the insights of these attendees below to discover the benefits they realized as a result of participating in events as a team. If you like what they shared you can click on their name to learn more about them and follow them on Twitter.


Better Together

Being together as a NYCDOE team made such a difference. The discussions went on all day and night about how we can all be better. I loved being part of our team. It made ISTE 100 times better.

Overall the level of support, technical assistance, and collective knowledge made us all more effective.

Supportive Environment

I felt supported and welcome in the group. The conference was not isolating or overwhelming like I imagined, I had a group of people I could turn to when I needed help, directions, advice, session ideas. ISTE with #NYCSchoolsTech inspired me more than anything else in my teaching career.

It was powerful and energizing to know that we have each other for support, collaboration, and good conversations. 

Having a team there enabled us to attend one another’s presentations and provide a supportive environment for colleagues. 

Deeper Discussions

We discussed what we learned, what we shared, what help we might need, what we will do when we get home. All of those discussions happened in Philly when they couldn't have happened anywhere else.

We had in depth discussions that I would not have had with strangers- the tech trends we foresee in NYC, different ways to foster community among teachers, and how to implement more digital inclusion in our practice.

A Part of Something Bigger

In my school I often feel very isolated, an island struggling to make connection with the mainland classroom. The group always give me a sense of being part of something bigger. 

Making District-Specific Meaning 

It was most important to turn to my colleagues and say ”what do you think of this... in nyc?” To grow we need to collaborate on a level beyond the day to day. Being there as a group helped us to do that.  
--Clay Smith

This atmosphere allowed for conversations tied to relevant and current content which we could discuss in terms of how it relates to or work at the NYCDOE.  


Conferences are a chance to learn from others and bring back actionable practices to your school, but attending as a group is so much more fulfilling. At one point I mentioned something I was considering doing at my school and was given advice and model schools in NYC to look to for inspiration and best practices.

Attending ISTE as a group meant being with like-minded and bold educators with a vision to prepare students to be future ready. 

Benefits to Non-Attendees

Attending as a group allowed DOE members to record my sessions and allow DOE staff not in attendance to benefit from being able to view the material. 

Strengthen Relationships

Meeting colleagues/collaborating from across the NYCDOE from our online PLN (#NYCSchoolsTech group) in person helped me feel closer to the community, gave me a sense of who to seek for crowdsourcing. There are so many incredibly talented educators within this group each with a unique skill and experience.  

Awareness

The group helped me find sessions that I might not have considered which benefited me greatly (I even sprinted to a session!).

Being a part of the group enabled me to be aware of sessions and learning opportunities I didn't have time or the availability to make.

A Sense of Belonging

I attended the last ISTE in Phili years ago, and felt very detached. This year, it was the opposite. I felt closer to the whole Network of NYCDOE Tech people, and to EdTech as a whole.  I came back so much richer than I went.  It also helped me clarify what I want to do with the next phase of my career. 
--Eric Kollin

his was my first ISTE and being a part of the group made this experience non-isolating and helped expand our network to share ideas and resources. 

Your Turn

What do you think? Have you attended a learning opportunity with others? If so, did you realize any of these benefits? Anything missing? What are some strategies you’ve put in place for successful team learning?