At TPN, we’re really excited about how virtual communities are transforming teacher professional learning and collaboration. Way too many teachers are isolated by remote locations and uncommon subject areas. Many have few, if any, opportunities for peer-driven learning and compelling collaborations. Lately, virtual communities have been driving unprecedented access to peers, experts, resources and leadership development.
At this year’s ACTE CareerTech VISION, CFTL director Tracy Huebner sat down with our friends at ISTE, NCSS and ACTE to learn about how they’re using virtual communities to create amazing opportunities for the teachers they serve to learn and collaborate on improving the teaching profession.
CONNECTING TECHNOLOGY STANDARDS TO COMMON CORE
- ISTE supports teachers who are passionate about technology. With national calls for student digital literacy, they saw a prime opportunity to use virtual communities to connect their national network around the future of teaching in the digital age.
- They worked with the National Center for Literacy Education (NCLE) to build Project ReimaginED, a community of 800 K-12 teachers and coaches working with peers and experts to redesign instruction for Common Core that incorporates the technology skills of the ISTE Standards, the leading standards for technology education.
TEACHER EXPERTS COLLABORATING ON RETHINKING SOCIAL
- After rolling out the College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Framework for Social Studies Standards, which rethinks social studies as a multi-disciplinary field where civics, geography, social studies and economics are taught through inquiry and investigation, NCSS recognized a great match between C3 and Common Core’s focus on using informational texts.
- They leveraged their state council network to build a virtual network of teacher experts, whose grassroots efforts are leading to new inquiry-based, literacy-rich curricula aligned with both C3 and Common Core.
INTEGRATING COMMON CORE INTO CAREER AND TECH EDUCATION
- ACTE serves highly specialized career and technology education (CTE) teachers, who teach subjects like agriculture, engineering and health sciences. They’re often the only ones of their kind in a school, making peer collaboration challenging and all too rare.
- They partnered with UCM to launch CORE Community, which connects ACTE’s CTE peers with one another to collaborate on integrating Common Core into their unique classrooms.
While the reasons for building virtual communities seem obvious in this day and age, making them successful and sustaining them is another thing entirely. Check back next week to learn how ISTE, NCSS and ACTE are sustaining interest and participation in their virtual communities.
Co-authors Pamela Fong, education researcher, and Clay Willis, communications specialist for the Center for the Future of Teaching and Learning at WestEd, report on innovative approaches involving digital technology to improving teaching and learning.