Teachers Teaching Teachers #42 - What infrastructures do teachers need?

Bud Hunt and two staff members (technology leaders/thinkers/organizers/teachers) from the National Writing Project (NWP), Christina Cantrill and Paul Oh got together with us to discuss questions that Bud had raised on the NWP’s Tech Liaison Listserv.

This was a discussion between Bud Hunt, Christina Cantrill, Paul Oh, and Jeff Lebow–along with Paul Allison, Pat Delaney, Susan Ettenheim, and Lee Baber.

We invite you to listen to the podcast, and also read the collection of voices on this post, dealing with similar questions:

Many of us who are innovators at our schools and local Writing Projects, would agree with Alice Mercer when she writes in the EdTechTalk chat (2/28/07): “The JOY of what I do (the anarchist approach to blogging, I do my own thing within district rules with “free” stuff) is that I don’t have to do deal with ISET (district techs).”

But what about the next step, what about early adopters (the wave after the innovators), and what happens when we become the district techs? In the chat, Bud responds to Alice by asking, “Can we set up tools and resources for students and teachers that both build on the success of Writing Project programs — and also serve as recruitment tools forNWP and other situations?” Bud also hopes that these tools and resources can “free folks [the innovators] from the limitations of their nights and weekends spent doing this stuff on their own.” Bud would also like to use these tools and resources to “further… some of the good ideals of theNWP.”

Sharon Peters adds (in the chat): “Tonight I was at a pres[entation] by Teachers Without Borders - they are seeking ways to find teacher to train teachers in developing nations - I am seeing a number of different org[anizations] all trying to achieve this - looks like the wheel is being reinvented with a lot of people setting up their own ’shop’.”

One such “shop” are local and National Writing Project initiatives, another is EdTechTalk and WorldBridges. Tech Liaisons in local Writing Project sites, such as Bud in Colorado and Paul Allison in New York City, have been working to provide the teachers at their sites with the infrastructure they need to bring blogging and other technologies into their classrooms. And the local sites have had a lot of support in this work from people and funds from the National Writing Project.

This week’s webcast was a discussion about how these — and many other — communities can work together.

At the end of a WorldBridges/EdTechTalk planning meeting that was webcast live last week, Dave Cormier, envisions the kind of support that he and Jeff Lebow hope to be setting up at WorldBridges as they incorporate:

I’m very concerned about setting up any kind of system that’s going to take a lot of people hours to keep running. I’m hoping to help develop a streamlined system that gets teachers with really good ideas to people who are going to save them weeks and weeks in pain and misery that they’re otherwise going through now. Because I know myself when I first started using technology in the classroom, I wasted months and months of my time learning how to do stuff, and then someone went, “Well, why don’t you just use this?” And I went, “Because I didn’t know it existed!” … I want to have a place where people can go to that is non-aligned, as agnostic as possible, and is just interested to help those [educational technology] projects come to fruition.

GO DAVE! Seriously, many of us who are technology innovators and leaders in our schools, districts and Writing Projects hear echoes of our own thinking expressed clearly here by Dave Cormier.

“Teachers Teaching Teachers” and “Youth Voices” are two projects where Writing Project teachers have found “non-aligned, as agnostic as possible” support and community. In this webcast we began to look at how the Writing Project networks support the work ofWorldBridges/EdTechTalk, and at how valuable it has been for Writing Project teachers to participate in the WorldBridges/EdTechTalk “community of communities,” as Jeff Lebow likes to describe their project.

There’s so much more! Please listen to this podcast, and tune us in this week at 9:00 PM (Eastern) on EdTechTalk.com as we pick up this conversation again.

Joining us this week to discuss these questions will be Lynne Culp, UCLA Writing Project, Eric Hoefler, Northern Virginia Writing Project, and Troy Hicks, Red Cedar Writing Project.

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