We held the inaugural session of Tech Cafe this morning. The idea is a simple one -- get faculty, field supervisors, teachers, and graduate students together to share innovative pedagogical ideas in teacher education that involve technology in one way or another. The issue that complicates matters is that engaging in this kind of community-building is not necessarily rewarded (or even recognized) in higher education contexts. Thus, there is a critical need to nurture a community in which members participate because they want to -- intrinsically motivated and inspired by sharing and learning from one another.
So what does this emerging community look like? I am hoping a lot like the group that gathered today. A diverse crowd -- 2 faculty members from the field experience office, 3 PDS colleagues, 2 graduate students, the director of EDUCATE, 3 colleagues from Altoona, 3 colleagues from the methods block, and one classroom teacher via Skype. Several members of the group shared their uses of blogs to organize course content, capture negotiated ideas from their courses, engage preservice teachers in reflecting on their developing understandings and practices, and more. The discussion that followed was one of genuine interest in the blogs and their applications, as well as intentional ways to address professional publishing considerations in our teacher education program.
We have a lot to learn from each other, and I am excited by the prospect of carving out the time and space to do it. Stay tuned to see how the community evolves.
Note: This was a magic wand event. The actual wand can be spotted in the group photo. Whenever you see it, you will know that the Kahn endowment was involved in some way. Thank you Donna and Gilbert!