Friday, June 4, 2010

Using Digital Tools to Facilitate Learning Teams

I have been a fan of Bill Ferriter, who blogs at The Tempered Radical, for a long time. Not because I always agree with him, but because he always makes me think.

His recent post on Using Digital Tools to Support PLCs got me thinking, mostly because we have been having the same conversation here. We have a few classes at our Summer Tech Institute in August that focus on how technology can facilitate our learning teams. We have some phenomenal teachers that will share ways that they use MOODLE, Google Docs, and video conferencing to share data, discuss student assessments, develop common assessments, and much more.

Bill does such a nice job of explaining how he and his team are using a wiki to accomplish this same thing.

"Over the past six years, my own learning team has had to learn how to coordinate the following actions:

  • The development of common assessments.

  • The development of shared sets of essential outcomes.

  • The publication of shared sets of lessons and materials.

  • The organization of team-based collections of web sources.

  • The organization of team-based websites for communicating with parents and other interested parties.

  • The development of team-based approaches and philosophies about key issues like remediation, enrichment, grading and homework."

Our learning teams are working on the same actions. Often, I hear people complain about the time, energy, and organization needed to make their learning team work effectively. This is true, but, like Bill, I believe that technology can increase productivity and save time. Having an online repository for resources means fewer meetings, less chance of losing materials and recreating them, and less chance that people use outdated material because that is what is in their file cabinet.

I encourage you to read Bill's post (as well as his follow up posts in this series) and consider signing up for a Summer Tech Institute class!

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