Networking with teachers from anywhere can allow a teacher to find resources or ideas that they may not had been exposed to otherwise. However, it is also important to collaborate with fellow colleagues on resources and strategies to help the specific types of learners you may have. If your school does not set aside collaboration time for the teachers to work together to come up with ideas, then networking can be a great way to connect about the issues that affect your school and classrooms. Professional Development of the staff may be necessary to teach the administrators and teachers how to use these tools. Below are some tools on how to get started with networking within your school.


Tools for networking within your school


There may be challenges with using social sites for networking in your school if your school blocks sites like twitter or Facebook. Below are some other resources that can help with staying connected with the teachers within your school and they are "school friendly" and are not likely to be blocked.


Moodle


Moodle is a free Open Source Course Management System. It just needs to be hosted on a web server within your school. If you have moodle at your school, a teacher moodle section can be created to allow teachers within the school to interact with each other. Moodle has discussion forums to provide an easy way to interact with the teachers at your school. It can also be used with students to have them "socialize" in an educational setting by allowing for discussion on specific topics. The teacher can post resources, quizzes, and other information to all of the students in the class. To learn more about moodle, watch the video to the right.








Class Connect

Class Connect is a site that allows teachers to share files with each other. The files can be organized into folders then shared with other teachers. You can also tag the resources for common core standards especially if you are sharing common formative assessments. You can connect with just the teachers in your school, or connect with teachers outside of your school.


Google Docs

If teachers in your school have a google account, they can share documents such as word documents, powerpoints, spreadsheets, and other files through google docs. Documents can be "live" so when it is edited, the edits are automatically shared. No more emailing and downloading documents that are still in the editing stage. Google docs allows users to simultaneously edit the document at the same time, and it includes a chat window for more discussion. You can also organize the documents into folders for easy access. See why google docs is a great way of sharing documents in the video below.










Final Thoughts


Today, learning does not just have to come from a face to face interactions. The use of online networks for learning will be a common practice for 21st century learning. Using social networks, social bookmarking, and blogs can expand the collection of resources available to the teacher. Building and organizing a network can take a little time, but with the right tools, it goes a long way in helping the teacher stay connected to the latest developments in their practice to benefit their students.




Personal Learning Networks Navigation
Home
Introduction to Networking
Ways to network
Curation
Building a Network within your school


References

moodle.org (n.d) "About Moodle" Retrieved from http://moodle.org/about/