I have to confess that I don’t think I’ve really shared to my best capability as a young, millennial could. I have all the knowledge, and the tools and yet I don’t feel like my lessons or ideas are valuable enough to share or for someone else to use in the online world. This is funny, because I don’t hesitate to hand over lesson plans, ideas, binders, or
USB sticks of information to fellow teachers in my building. If there is ever a need, I oblige and give any of my colleagues what they need, in hopes that one day the favour will be returned if I ever need it. In my short 5 year career, I’ve taught a whopping 18 different curriculums at a high school level. I know, in my earlier years, teachers handed me lots of resources and now it’s my turn to help some young, stressed out teacher play the part. In Sharing: The Moral Imperative, Dean Shareski talks about how it is our responsibility to share these resources not just with our colleagues in the building, but with the world and I totally agree. I think that main reason I haven’t, is because I’ve never actually thought about it! I should. I’ve had many compliments on my plans and curriculum. I’ve made a bunch of “original” projects that would and could be useful to many teachers, especially in Saskatchewan.
We discussed in class one night about who owns our lesson plans? Us? Or the division? In some cases, it is the division, but I know in Prairie South, sharing is encouraged and I don’t think I would ever be reprimanded for sharing resources online via Twitter or my blog. I think my personal barriers is thinking that my work will not be of benefit to others, even though I’m sure this is not the case. As Dani stated in her vlog, she didn’t think her post would be noticed even though she should have known better. I feel the same way. I think I get caught up in the idea that the internet is SO big, how would my tiny footprint, make a difference. I also think I haven’t shared online because in my busy day, posting an assignment or idea to Twitter seems irrelevant and like more work sometimes. It’s super quick and easy, but it’s just not something I consciously think about on a day-to-day basis.
The benefits to sharing work and collaborating online are incredible! Dean discusses a few examples in his video and the one that stood out to me the most was Dan Meyer’s Math Stories. He put over 18 hours of work into one lesson. ONE. And he felt validated by it because he shared it and had over 6, 000 people download and use it within a couple of weeks. I think as educators, we get stuck in our bubble and in reality, there is SO much information out there that can help ease the stress and pressure on teachers to be innovative. If teachers learn how to use the information, filter through resources and had time to collaborate together, I think there would be a lot more sharing going on. Teachers need some professional development and education geared toward how to share, why it’s so important, and the benefits that can ensue. I think that the younger generation of teachers is a lot more equipped to help this movement become a reality, however I think there needs to be support by divisions and maybe even time in a day, week, or month to collaborate with others in their buildings to help develop a sharing network for teachers. The movement needs to begin small, and with an implementation like that, I think it would be possible to create a culture of collaboration.
Sharing students work is another story. I think it is great to get their ideas out there and
amazing things can happen. Students can learn more authentically and understand how to navigate social networking sites and be able to filter through information. I’m starting a project with my ELA B30 class as we begin Hamlet. In the past, I’ve struggled to make it authentic and get them to really buy in. I created an assignment after browsing a few websites on making Hamlet relevant. I decided to use social media to help them relate to the characters (with some motivation from this class). I want them engaged so I’ve decided to get them to create character profiles for the whole play. They have the option of doing it alone or in groups and they have the option to interact with each other online as characters or as an omnipresent narrator. Here’s the link to the assignment (also my first attempt at sharing my work online): http://bit.ly/2AYEYJO. I’m pretty proud of this assignment already and I think the students are already engaged with it as I had two new Instagram followers (Hamlet characters) yesterday immediately following me handing it out! I will keep you posted as we progress through the play and I hope to actually share some of their posts if they are good! Of course, I’d love to know what you think of the assignment? Maybe a fellow Senior English teacher like Kelsie could chime in? Anything I could tweak? And what do you think would get teachers more involved in openly sharing resources online?