Sunday, June 5, 2011

Social Media Accessing the Knowledge About Teaching

How do teachers, collectively, improve the common standard of teaching? How do they build the professional knowledge base for teaching?

Currently and traditionally results of research are first validated, then communicated in research journals to educators who in turn have to figure out how to apply the research themselves in a classroom situation. The model below shows the cycle produced by research.

Lesson Study

The key to lesson study is accumulated in a different way. Lesson study is carried out in a classroom; therefore the problem of applying findings to teaching is eliminated. First teachers describe the lesson to be shared with sufficient detail to other teachers so that they can actually use the lessons. We avoid the barrier of having to communicate in journals or try to apply what we have read. Instead this sharing of lesson can be replicated at different levels and promote discussion at staff meetings to see how students are faring.

The use of technology can greatly enhance knowledge about teaching in that the most useful information that can be shared can include examples of classroom lessons linked to theoretical understanding of teaching. We already have the tools to link together video, audio, images of student work, and commentary by researchers and others into a single integrated database.

Social Media Database:

With the above database:
* Curriculum developers could establish large archives of lessons that are organized around the specific structures of the curricula.
* Teacher groups could work on perfecting lessons, then post results of their study, including a complete video record.
* Other teacher groups could access these archives to inform their practice.

The idea is not new, but it needs to be streamlined more. The use of twitter , facebook and other social media might be the grass roots movement to these larger databases. It might even begin in your own school. If it is I would love to hear about it.

What's your story?

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