ISTE Standard 5: Evidence of Participation in an Online Educational Community
Part of becoming an effective educator is learning how to collaborate with others in order to share ideas, gather new techniques and strategies as well as develop a support team among educators. Over the past decade I have been part of such communities in a bi-lingual/bi-cultural setting. I love the face-to-face collaborative interaction and growth that I have experienced in my own educational journey because of this, but have often felt limited in what I have access to because of where I live. This year I began exploring online learning communities. Even though it is difficult for me to access a number of websites I persist in finding them because I know the value in having online educational learning communities. There are three that I have found most helpful and applicable to my situation:
I have been criticized in the past for using this website because some believe all teaching resources should be free, however, I am a firm believer that you should pay for quality, effort and time that other gave in putting together lesson materials. I have found so many wonderful resources on this website.
What I like about this community is that they offer lesson plans, unit studies, printable resources and so much more! I have zero access to such resources where I live, so being able to go to a reliable website, look at what other teachers have put together and pay a small price for what they have to offer is well worth it.
I am so happy I discovered storybird.com. I made this discovery early on in the Technology class while I was researching my triggering events question for ISTE standard 2. Storybird.com is a fun and easy-to-use tool for creating short, visual stories. This
collaborative group of teachers, artists, and students share their individual stories by selecting artwork, dragging and organizing photos into a story template. Then they add their own text to create beautiful digital stories. Have been able to use this tool in my class and look forward to helping my students become connected with other students who are published in storybird.com.
I have had a Skype account for several years and it was the primary way of talking to friends and family while living abroad. It was not until doing research during Technology class that I realized they offered virtual field trips. I look forward to getting more connected with this learning community in order to support and engage students in the content we are learning.
There are so many wonderful learning communities to explore and be a part of. My one caution to new educators is to narrow down online learning communities to 2 or 3; beyond this it may get to time consuming and take away from preparing effective lesson plans. Overall, online learning communities are an excellent way to stay connected, supported and prepared.