A Challenge to Share

A Challenge to Share

Cross posted to the Langwitches Blog

I believe in sharing. I really do... I would like to propose a Challenge to Share...for two reasons...

image licensed under Creative Commons by ryanr (Thanks for sharing :)

Sharing is defined on Wikipedia as:

Sharing is the joint use of a resource or space.

Reason 1: Many in the blogger- and Twittersphere are realizing and understanding that their PLN will give them back what they put into it. Sharing resources, ideas, and help is part of something bigger and only contributes to our own learning and growth as educators. Back in November 2008, I wrote Sharing in Education. Is it changing?

There is no doubt, that we are in the process of changing the culture of sharing in education. The online version of sharing among educators seems to be at the fore front. We are learning about the power as more and more people are joining the network to take but also to give.

Great examples of sharing are Tom Barrett's collaborative "Interesting Ways" slideshows on Google Docs. They exist because of educators who share their best practices for different types of tools in their classroom. Another example are blogs like Kim Cofino's Always Learning, Brian Crosby's Learning is Messy, and Chrissy Hellyer's TeachingSaggitarian. They are teachers...in the classroom...in the trenches...daily...with students...choosing to share...

Reason 2: We need to share what we do in the classroom, not only to give other educators fresh ideas and new ways to look at teaching and learning, but also to collectively show that schools and individual classrooms ARE changing and preparing students for a different future. Just think, what if... Chris Lehmann and his Science Leadership Academy would have taken the "quiet" approach and do what they are doing WITHOUT sharing their ideas, process and successes. We would not have someone to look up to, we would not have a leader as an example to point to and say: "If they are doing it... it is possible."

We need to reach out and get "traditional" media involved like the local newspaper and television station to report what is going on in our classrooms. That might be the only way to reach "the rest of them" who are not reading blogs and who are not on twitter. We have to reach out and share examples of projects, learning examples and opportunities with other local schools to allow them to realize that teaching semester long keyboarding lessons to second graders might not be equivalent to bringing in 21st century skills. Sharing what we are doing in the classroom might wake up other schools and make them realize that they no longer can sit still and rest on their laurels of having students prepared the same way for the last 50+ years.

We need to support teachers who want to upgrade their curriculum content and assessments to include 21st Century skills and literacies but are facing reluctant or unsupportive administrators or districts that block tools and their efforts in moving ahead. We need to equip the willing with background data, research, examples, experiences and ammunition that "everyone else is doing this". It is a responsibility to share what we are doing in the classroom! Maybe you have your own reasons for sharing ideas and best practices (feel free to add them by commenting below), but I do hope that you are willing to take my CHALLENGE to SHARE. Take the time to:

  • describe a 21st Century learning project you have undertaken with your students
  • share anecdotes from the classroom
  • take images or video of students in action
  • do action research in the classroom to collect data
  • conduct a pre- and post assessment
  • interview students and or other participants in the project
  • share the final product or creation

Document your best practices in a public place (blog, wiki, ning, twitter, website, photo or video sharing sites, podcast etc.), share them at local, national and international conferences, work with your school's marketing director or your district's public relations and media coordinator. Do whatever it takes to get the word out that WE ARE PREPARING OUR STUDENTS for the 21st century!