More than two dozen educators from across New York City schools experienced the benefits of team learning when they descended upon Philadelphia, PA for the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) conference.
You can read the insights of these attendees below to discover the benefits they realized as a result of participating in events as a team. If you like what they shared you can click on their name to learn more about them and follow them on Twitter.
Being together as a NYCDOE team made such a difference. The discussions went on all day and night about how we can all be better. I loved being part of our team. It made ISTE 100 times better.
Overall the level of support, technical assistance, and collective knowledge made us all more effective.
I felt supported and welcome in the group. The conference was not isolating or overwhelming like I imagined, I had a group of people I could turn to when I needed help, directions, advice, session ideas. ISTE with #NYCSchoolsTech inspired me more than anything else in my teaching career.
It was powerful and energizing to know that we have each other for support, collaboration, and good conversations.
Having a team there enabled us to attend one another’s presentations and provide a supportive environment for colleagues.
We discussed what we learned, what we shared, what help we might need, what we will do when we get home. All of those discussions happened in Philly when they couldn't have happened anywhere else.
We had in depth discussions that I would not have had with strangers- the tech trends we foresee in NYC, different ways to foster community among teachers, and how to implement more digital inclusion in our practice.
A Part of Something Bigger
In my school I often feel very isolated, an island struggling to make connection with the mainland classroom. The group always give me a sense of being part of something bigger.
Making District-Specific Meaning
It was most important to turn to my colleagues and say ”what do you think of this... in nyc?” To grow we need to collaborate on a level beyond the day to day. Being there as a group helped us to do that.
This atmosphere allowed for conversations tied to relevant and current content which we could discuss in terms of how it relates to or work at the NYCDOE.
Conferences are a chance to learn from others and bring back actionable practices to your school, but attending as a group is so much more fulfilling. At one point I mentioned something I was considering doing at my school and was given advice and model schools in NYC to look to for inspiration and best practices.
Attending ISTE as a group meant being with like-minded and bold educators with a vision to prepare students to be future ready.
Benefits to Non-Attendees
Attending as a group allowed DOE members to record my sessions and allow DOE staff not in attendance to benefit from being able to view the material.
Meeting colleagues/collaborating from across the NYCDOE from our online PLN (#NYCSchoolsTech group) in person helped me feel closer to the community, gave me a sense of who to seek for crowdsourcing. There are so many incredibly talented educators within this group each with a unique skill and experience.
The group helped me find sessions that I might not have considered which benefited me greatly (I even sprinted to a session!).
Being a part of the group enabled me to be aware of sessions and learning opportunities I didn't have time or the availability to make.
A Sense of Belonging
I attended the last ISTE in Phili years ago, and felt very detached. This year, it was the opposite. I felt closer to the whole Network of NYCDOE Tech people, and to EdTech as a whole. I came back so much richer than I went. It also helped me clarify what I want to do with the next phase of my career.
This was my first ISTE and being a part of the group made this experience non-isolating and helped expand our network to share ideas and resources.
What do you think? Have you attended a learning opportunity with others? If so, did you realize any of these benefits? Anything missing? What are some strategies you’ve put in place for successful team learning?
Lisa Nielsen (@InnovativeEdu) has worked as a public-school educator and administrator since 1997. She is a prolific writer best known for her award-winning blog, The Innovative Educator. Nielsen is the author of several booksand her writing has been featured in media outlets such as The New York Times,The Wall Street Journal, Tech&Learning, and T.H.E. Journal.