Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Collaborative Planning using Web 2.0

This year I am beginning in a new role as Curriculum Support Teacher at my school. I am very excited as I am absolutely passionate about curriculum and I love to share my enthusiasm with others and (hopefully) help them to ignite a passion for teaching and curriculum too.
I will have three days a week in my new role and two days a week in my Year 2 classroom - the best of both worlds!
This will mean that I will have to relinquish a lot of the responsibility for the classroom goings on. My new teaching partner is enthusiastic about coming on board so hopefully she will survive the first little part of the year while I am learning not to be such a control freak. After (more than) 10 years of being able to do my own thing, I am going to need to adjust to the idea of sharing. It will be good for me. ;-)
After the huge learning curve I experienced last year when my life was opened up to the world of blogging, twitter, pinterest, dropbox, evernote and other ways of reflecting on, organising and sharing my teaching experiences, I am keen to support other teachers at my school to take the plunge!
I have just set up a collaborative Pinterest Board for the Life Stages topic that we will likely be studying in first term. 
I invited my fellow Year 2 teachers but so far I haven't had any responses. (Most probably because they are enjoying the last moments of their holidays before we have to come back to work!) I am hoping that this will be a new way of sharing our ideas that will be quick, simple, fun and collaborative. I don't expect that any of us will be able to do even half of the activities that I have pinned already but Pinterest is a nice visual display of resources. The collaborative board will be kind of like a menu of ideas that people can pick and choose from, and if there is nothing there that they like, they don't need to choose any. Hopefully they will add to the ideas as well.
In the past we have shared links in emails but sometimes we get a lot of these types of emails from each other and it can take a while to check all the links and try to work out what idea on the page the other person thought was relevant. Often I get one of these emails and read the first part and think "I'll check this out later" and then bury it in my disorganised inbox, never to be seen again. 
I have tried searching my inbox (either using the approximate date, the person who I think I can remember that sent it to me, or a possible keyword) and this sometimes works but can be very time consuming. I am hoping Pinterest will open up a new and better way for us to collate our ideas so we can retrieve them easily when we need them.
My teaching team are wonderful, and even though they think I am a little crazy, they usually give things a go just to humour me.
If this works, I am hoping this will be an effective and time-efficient tool for supporting the curriculum in my school.
I am also in the process of setting up a blog for my new role that will be situated within the walled-garden of our LIFE Learning Management System. Hopefully using LIFE like this will help me to get used to it so I can apply it more effectively in my classroom as well.
My hope is that I can share information with my colleagues about curriculum matters in a way that is easy for them to access when they need to without overwhelming them with too many emails which may or may not be of interest to them.
I think this year is going to be full of challenges for me, learning to use these tools in new ways and supporting others in beginning a journey to more collaborative practice using Web 2.0.
What tools do you use for collaborative planning?
How do you share your ideas with your colleagues at your school?


  1. Have you read/heard much about content curation? I have some links in Diigo at
    Workflow using Buffer was an interesting idea that I might try - see

    1. Thanks. Now there's another list of things I can learn how to do!
      I'm looking for a way to send a weekly email summary of my CST blog to staff members. I haven't made effective use of RSS in the past but I am thinking there must be some way of doing this.

    2. Have you looked at or or one of the other services that takes material you select and bundles it up into a fancy newsletter more or less automagically?
      Some blogs might support what you want directly but if your CST blog is within LIFE it might not allow much of that. Perhaps you could write the content elsewhere (EverNote?) and push it from there to the CST blog and whatever weekly summary you want to produce. Buffer or IFTTT might help with that process.

    3. Thanks. I had thought of - yet another thing to learn how to do. And I am considering using LIFE for the blog to set a good example and to help myself and others get used to the process. If LIFE can't do what I want to do and it is going to be frustrating for my audience then I might use another platform.
      I'm thinking WordPress now for my class blog because I am hoping it will be easier for people to comment. Many of the parents couldn't work out how to comment with Blogger. Once you are set up it is easy but if you aren't a tech user then it is too many hurdles to have to set up an account and log in each time.

  2. Hi Jane, I love the idea of having a group Pinterest board with your teaching partners. We each use Pinterest separately and then also email ideas, but like you said it's hard to then keep track of things.
    I use PBworks for my class blog. If you want it to be a private closed blog it allows you to create individual accounts for students. I usually use their first name for their username and the surname for the password just to make it easy!