Wednesday, October 23, 2013

eLearning Coach Community

The world continues to get smaller, and some days you can actually feel it happening.
Yesterday was one of those days.

We're nearing the end of a Connected Educator Month that has lived up to its title in the State of Indiana. Educators with a passion for improving their craft have sought one another out, and are empowered at a new level through the connections they have made. Specifically, members of this highly connected community have shared their stories, read books together, pinned their resources, and engaged in some fantastic conversations. Did I mention that this tight-knit group is spread across some 36,000 square miles?

This month has been an awesome demonstration of the value of digital communities, and it also makes a fantastic backdrop for starting a new collaboration.

We know that with the advent of 1:1 learning environments, one of the most pressing needs is for quality, embedded professional development. To help teachers and administrators envision and achieve new models of learning in our classrooms, eLearning coaches - talented educators skilled at integrating technology - have been a vital piece of the puzzle. Naturally, as more and more technology finds its way into our schools, districts large and small are adding coaches to ensure that it is not only adopted, but also implemented in thoughtful ways.

A few months ago we sought out the names and emails of the educators currently in these roles, and the response was overwhelming. We had more than 130 immediate responses, and the majority of these were just assuming the role this school year for the first time. It became instantly apparent that this was a group eager to connect with one another.

Yesterday, we gathered 20 representatives of this group in a room donated by Project Lead the Way, and we discussed the tremendous potential of this group to share resources and professional development ideas. It was a very exciting start to something that has great potential to unify our efforts. If you are working in the capacity of an eLearning coach or technology integration specialist, you won't want to miss the opportunity to connect with this group.
While we've gathered information in a number of ways - we'd encourage you to put yourself on the map so that the group can connect with you.

Exciting times are ahead! Even as I write, members of this community are taking it upon themselves to build a Google+ community, establish a listserv, and plan a larger gathering of all our coaches. Just imagine what might be envisioned as this collaboration spreads to more than 20!

Can you feel the world getting smaller?