By Linda Ashida
This year the Collab Lab enjoyed a new way to facilitate learning connections beyond our school walls using Zoom. Among other ways we used this technology to collaborate virtually with educators across the district and country, we also created a Virtual Learning Cohort to more intentionally foster our community of learning across schools.
The first 3-week Learning Cohort connected over 30 learners from across District 214 and beyond. You can read about it here:
We were so inspired by our conversations in the first Virtual Learning Cohort, that we decided to connect again for a second 3-week session. In the first cohort, we were fortunate enough to have one of our favorite Twitter PLN colleagues (and and "neighbor" in District 25) Joy Kirr, join us. Since in we were exploring ways to involve students more in their learning, it seemed only fitting to use Joy's recently published book, Shift This! to guide the conversation for our second Virtual Learning Cohort. Joy graciously agreed to participate again and help lead the conversation.
Each week Joy kicked off our conversations with insights from her book as well as her current practice. She was candid about what worked and what didn't; we were so inspired by the way that, at heart, she is a learner herself, always reflecting and shifting her practice to do what is best for kids. Her examples and relfections served as a great springboard for us to share ideas for shifts in our own practice.
Across the two 3-week Virtual Learning Cohorts, The Collab Lab team connected with over 30 colleagues representing every District 214 school, neighboring school districts, and even with educators for other states! And students joined us too! Between our weekly meetings we stayed connected on Twitter and we also collaborated using Google Docs to curate and share even more ideas.
Using Zoom gave us a great new way to strengthen our professional learning connections across schools in our new Virtual Learning Cohorts; it was a new great way to connect, learn, and share!
We're looking forward to keeping our conversations going on social media. And. . . YOU can join the conversation too! Just follow the the hashtag #ShiftThis on Twitter. You will no doubt be inspired and you can even jump in on some Twitter chats, like the one that will happen just tonight!
And, to learn more about Joy's book, including information on how to get your own copy, check out this previous post: "Looking to Make Changes in Your Classes? Book Rec: Shift This!"
A huge shout out to Joy for being so generous with her time to join us and inspire our learning, and to all of our colleagues and students who participated. We're looking forward to continuing similar collaborative learning experiences across schools in the year to come!