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Connecting Teachers Online: Let's Get This Right

Peter Nilsson (Deerfield Academy, USA)
Session Information
October 14, 2015 - 3:45pm
Faculty and Professional Development & Support
Areas of Special Interest: 
Major Emphasis of Presentation: 
Practical Application
Major Emphasis of Presentation: 
Theory/Conceptual Framework
Institutional Level: 
Multiple Levels
Audience Level: 
Session Type: 
Featured Session
Southern Hemisphere III
Session Duration: 
45 Minutes
Concurrent Session 4
Virtual Session

This talk aims to support teacher collaboration.  It explores the landscape of online platforms; identifies what works; discusses relevant research around collaboration, design, and other topics; shares new solutions; and proposes opportunities for further growth.

Extended Abstract

The promise of connecting teachers online around content has yet to be fully realized. Most online tools for teachers miss the mark for best serving teachers; how can they get it right so teachers can collaborate online in ways that are inspiring, effective, and professionally enriching? This talk explores the landscape of online platforms; identifies what works; discusses relevant research around collaboration, design, and other topics; shares new solutions; and proposes opportunities for further growth.

Among the key focal points for the talk will be an exploration of the concept of a professional memory for teachers (Must we keep reinventing the wheel?), a systems look at the work of teaching (What are the processes teachers engage in? How can we make them more efficient?), an understanding of what makes good PD (What is online? What is in person? Where do conferences fit in?), and more. All of these inflect the conversation of what works and what doesn’t in online collaboration for teachers.

Come to this talk for new ways of thinking about teaching, and a look at tools for teachers, both familiar and new. Attendees can expect to leave with not only a deeper understanding of the issues regarding teacher collaboration online, but also practical information for teachers, school leaders, and technical personnel.

Lead Presenter

Assistant Dean of Faculty at Deerfield Academy and Editor of the weekly newsletter "The Educator's Notebook," Peter Nilsson has taught English at Deerfield since 2000 with a four year hiatus as a musician in New York City. Peter's courses have focused on Paradise Lost, intersections of literature and science, New England poetry, British literature, and American literature. A fan of Anglo-Saxon and Renaissance poetry, Peter often uses verse as a tool for teaching writing. Peter currently teaches a senior elective on the evolution of literary form.

With grants from the Robertson Foundation and the E. E. Ford Foundation, Peter is leading efforts to build a platform for teachers to create, share, and improve practices across a network of schools. His talk today draws from research and lessons from that experience.

Outside of teaching, Peter maintains The Educator's Notebook (www.educatorsnotebook.com), a newsletter that promotes innovation in education by collecting education-related news from around the web. He writes occasionally at Sense and Sensation (www.senseandsensation.com), a blog about intersections between creativity, cognitive science, and education. He is a member of the Advisory Board for SXSWedu and the Center for Curriculum Redesign.