An (aspiring) Educator’s Blog

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Archive for the ‘Community Management’ Category

Coursekit: An essential tool for engaged Professional Learning Communities

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Whenever I meet educators at EdcampNYC or engage in Twitter chats (#scichat, #edchat, #edtech, and #kinderchat are my favorites), I shake my first at the sky and say “Man, I wish there was a way to engage in a structured and collaborative Professional Learning Community with these people!”. I have similar needs during in-house professional development, Professional Learning Communities, and grade level meetings. By the time we’re really digging into a topic, it’s time to leave. There isn’t a central place we keep notes, action calendars, or resources. Engagement needs a place to live. This week, I’ve been experimenting with Coursekit – an engagement manager that’s useful for a variety of digital and in-house professional learning communities.

Coursekit has features we’ve seen before – gradebooks, a place to submit work, and calendars. The innovation is the focus on peer to peer interaction. The case studies on Coursekit’s website feature professors teaching hands-on classes in a university setting. As a primary educator, I am drawn to Coursekit because I can use it to support my Professional Learning Communities whether participants are at my school or the other side of the world. I’ve created a mock Professional Learning Community coursekit called “Professional Learning Community: Integrating Social-Emotional Content into K-2 Lessons“. I’ve left the coursekit open so anyone can join. Have at it! Pretend you’re a part of this learning community – post questions, links, and media.

Coursekit is free. Create your own and comment with the link. Do use Coursekit? Are you as excited about it as I am?


Pro-teacher tips: People engage in communities when they feel a sense of belonging, significance, and fun. (Crosspost from Candaceopinion)

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I wrote this post for my new blog that has a digital community management focus.

Ryan Arndt’s post 7 Ways to Put LOVE Back Into Your Community Management has great advice for community managers AND teachers (it turns out Ryan used to be a teacher! Go figure.). This post made me wonder which elements of my teaching philosophy and practice I apply to new community management roles.

I’m lucky enough to teach at a school that has a social-emotional approach to education. All classrooms use a community-building model called Responsive Classroom. The end goal of Responsive Classroom is to create  engaging communities of intrinsically motivated learners who care for the social, intellectual, and emotional health of their classmates. I can (and will) write many posts about how my classroom management plan is similar to my community management plans. The focus of this blog post is the core belief of Responsive Classroom. In order for learning to happen, people must be engaged. For people to engage in a community setting, they must feel a sense of belonging, significance, and fun. Belonging is the feeling that we are important to our community. Significance is the feeling that what we say matters to our community. Fun is when we experience joy with our community.

In my experience, most brands go for the joy factor first. Schwag, booze, and food are thrown at potential community members in the hope that they will engage. The Responsive Classroom framework helps us understand that this approach is superficial. Slightly better brands combine social opportunities with joy: exclusive and intimate networking events (with booze, schwag, and food). This is better but not sufficient. Brands tend to forget that people will not engage in a community if what they say or do isn’t significant. In the past few years, we’ve seen brands start to tackle significance with their customer service outreach (JetBlue, for example). In the past year, I’ve noticed brands take this a step further and create opportunities for community feedback to change brand operations. Mashable’s article 5 Fitness Brands Kicking Butt on Social Media gives a case study of a contest by Under Armor that ended in users being crowned social media experts for five weeks.

What are the innovative ways your brand (or brands you love) make you feel significant? (Please comment!)

Written by TeacherC

17 February 2012 at 5:30 pm

BTW, I blog about Community Management now (and education too, LOLZ!)

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I’ve been in sick in bed for 6 days. After exhausting all of the “Sh*t _____ say” videos, I decided to clean-up my social media outlets. I found a post in the draft section of my dashboard: “2009 Resolutions: Work out. Blog more. Survive student teaching.”

Well, I survived student-teaching and 3 years of teaching in my own South Bronx classroom. I have a healthy approach to fitness – long Bed-Stuy walks and longer 5 boro bike rides. I’ve decided to change the focus of this blog so it’s a relevant place for me to facilitate meaningful conversations. My Classroom Management Plan on Scribd has over 20,000 hits and continues to start conversations about what it means to create lively intellectual, social, and activist communities in our classrooms. Community-building is the foundation of my professional practice. On the side, I’ve begun to engage in the world of Community Management. In the digital world, Community Managers are people who build and facilitate communities around brands and causes. Most think  social media is the primary focus of Community Managers. Like good teachers, good Community Managers foster meaningful collaboration amongst small groups of people. They help members build community norms and roles generate meaning and value for participants. From now on, this blog will focus on community-building from a teaching perspective, a digital perspective, and of course, an edtech perspective. Stay tuned, folks!

Written by TeacherC

16 February 2012 at 10:37 am