- The postETMOOC reading group had chosen Hybrid Pedagogy to read for the month of June 2013 and the conversation began.
- This conversation is a mix of elementary, junior and senior high school teachers and professors from across the globe. Notice how much we have in common as we begin to discuss our goals for our students and for our desire to be better educators.
- So the Hybrid Pedagogy Unconference discussion on June 7, 2013 attracted a number of higher ed teachers but few K-12 teachers probably because of the time it was offered. I was guilty of this sin as well when I offered a Twitter chat at 1:00pm EST for your Brain is 6 on May 29, 2013. Sometimes we forget that the people we want to participate in the conversation aren't available. Most K-12 teachers are in the classroom from 8-4:30 and are not on Twitter (at least I know I couldn't have left my elementary class for an hour long twitter chat!)
- I decided that I would look at a sampling of conversations across the chat spectrum dealing with education in my search for some clarity on the subject. My methodology was simple. Since most of the people I follow are either academics or K-12 educators I just randomly picked chats that other people I follow tweeted in the week of June 10-June 13. I've also added to the mix the deliberately guided conversation in #etmchat of June 12, 2013 that asked what can each of us bring to the discussion.
- It's pretty clear from the discussion that we all want to improve as teachers, to help our students at all grade levels to embrace the concept of being a life long learner and that we believe that collaboration and sharing is a medium for that to occur (for both ourselves and our students.) It's also clear that we do know there are barriers between us.
- So I think that one of the places to start breaking down the barriers between educators at all levels is by creating relationships with pre-service and new teachers in the K-12 community. After all, the re-occurring theme in these chats is that teachers want their students to be successful. I choose #ntchat as it has a regular chat presence that is archived, though there are lots of other great teacher preparation/new teacher chats.
- Here is a Storify of the chat. http://storify.com/karenatsharon/ntchat-new-teacher-chat-june122013 …
- I also monitored and created a Storify of #sbgchat and the GLS conference 9.0 chat to round out my survey of a small slice of what teachers are currently discussing.
- As you can see the #sbgchat had a lot of lively discussions about how and what we assess.
- Finally the Gaming and Learning Conference added an element of what happens when teachers are exploring new ideas to add to their repertoire. http://storify.com/karenatsharon/games-and-learning-society-2013-conference-dani-he …
- All of these conversations have many elements in common but the most pervasive one is the desire on the part of all of these teachers to be a good teacher and to do the best they can for their students. This is common to all levels of teaching.
- So what is stopping us from bridging the divide between us? Language for one. We've become a profession of jargon that creates artificial barriers between us. Standards based learning? I was taught that in teachers college years ago as formative evaluation. I've mentioned backwards design and some teachers are familiar with it and others not. Pity the poor parent that is confronted by teacher jargon these days.
Assessment is another barrier between us. Standardized tests are the burden of the K-12 teacher while most professors do not have to worry about teaching to the test (not yet anyway.)
Curriculum standards are another area of dissimilarity as curriculum is mandated by the government for K-12 and varies from location to location. This is coming or has arrived in a modified form in some provinces and states for higher education institutions.
If you have an opportunity to spend a little time on any educational Twitter chat you'll see that we are all passionate about our profession. The focus of that passion is our students and their learning. And that's a pretty good starting place for having a conversation about how Higher Education and K-12 can all work and learn together.