Friday, February 13, 2009

Putting the 'C' in I.T

There aren't too many things that come along that make you wonder 'How did I ever get on without this before?' But the power of Collaborative applications like Google Docs and wikis is such a situation. What further amazes me is the awe that comes from people when you introduce them to the simplicity and efficiency of working this way.

I'm currently introducing and training a cluster of 10 schools in using Gmail, Calendar, Docs and iGoogle, believing that having a sound infrastructure and tools established early on is what will build and maintain our professional learning Community.

What we have managed to do so far this year:
  • Nearly everyone has a gmail account and we use a convention with names so that we know who we are Communicating with either via email, chat or Video-chat.
  • The facilitators work calendar is shared publicly.
  • We collaborate on planning documents and schools are able to share longterm plans with the facilitator to inform him about future training or resource support.
Where this is heading:
  • Effective professional development is regular, focussed and meets the needs of the individual as well as the collective. There is an abundance of quality material online through blogs and it makes sense to introduce teachers to it. At this stage I am only sharing my reader favourites with lead teachers in the cluster. It is possible to view my reader profile page publicly here . Feeds can also be added to a teachers iGoogle page.
  • iGoogle - The ability to aggregate data into a single web page is an extremely useful and powerful tool in a cluster situation. In the not too far future teachers will be using blogs and wikis and using online accounts for a number of applications. The iGoogle pages will make sense of that chaos, giving us a snippet of what has changed within our community and a choice of what we want to view or not.
  • I have started a Diigo group for our cluster as well. Social bookmarking is a powerful way of sharing ,storing and explaining resources on the internet. I'll keep it simple at first and provide links to good quality web 2.0 resources. With some PD members will learn how to use the internet as a planning assistant and will start adding their own bookmarks in Diigo for everyone elses use.
That's the beginning of our infrastructure setup for communicating and collaborating. The motivation for wanting to use these tools I hope has come from reinforcing the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Heath,

    You should check out Google Apps ( That gives you all this and more within a personalisable 'google universe'.

    Rob @ Fendalton, Christchurch