As an educator, I have always shared my teaching resources freely with my colleagues. Why? Well, there are many reasons…but I suppose the most important reason for sharing is because it promotes reflection and learning. It makes me a better teacher.
With teachers, the sharing of resources is almost second nature. For many of us, it makes sense to share resources rather than to build something from scratch or re-create existing ideas, especially if you are teaching the same grade(s)/subject(s). Like Marley states in her blog for this week, “there is no need to reinvent the wheel”. Teachers rely on sharing resources as it promotes collaboration and saves on the cost of teaching materials. Within my nine years of teaching, I have yet to come across a colleague who has not been willing to share their resources with me. Perhaps this is because it is a teacher’s natural instinct and passion to share knowledge. Although I cannot speak for every teacher, personally I feel a desire to share ideas and communicate concepts on a daily basis.
After watching Steven Johnson’s video about the innovation of open networks, I started to ponder what deep thinking really looks like and how great ideas are formed. Johnson explains how an idea is a network and that great ideas are often produced within a chaotic environment, where ideas may be bounced off one another, resulting in innovation. I found this to be really interesting as well as ironic as a chaotic environment can sometimes be a teacher’s worst nightmare! Naturally, we assume minimal learning will take place if our students are too distracted. But on the other hand, we encourage our students to share in their learning by collaborating amongst their peers. I suppose my questions is…can we successfully achieve both chaos and discovery within today’s classroom?
Johnson also speaks about the importance of supporting a space for creativity. This lead me to think about educators and how difficult it can sometimes be to sit down and share ideas, due to our very busy schedules. Throughout the school year, there are a number of days specifically dedicated to professional development. However, these days usually include a demanding schedule with very little preparation time. Therefore, I agree with Ashley when she explains that more time should be dedicated to sharing and collaboration within schools, as it is already lacking.
I understand that not everyone benefits from online sharing as they prefer face-to-face interaction or possibly do not have much experience with utilizing open networks. But personally, I have learned so much through the use of online sharing. Through reading my classmates blogs and interacting with my PLN on Twitter, I have been able to share my ideas and resources, collaborate and most importantly, build connections with people who share in the same profession as me. Online sharing is definitely an experience I’d like to offer to my students. I would like to teach my students how to create digital portfolios for themselves so they may share their learning with the world, reflect on their learning over time and create a personal sense of ownership over their accomplishments! Open networks provide a space for creative thinkers to thrive! So, let’s continue to share in our learning through open networks and watch our students achieve their highest potential, goals and aspirations!
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