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Friday, September 18, 2009

Collaboration

I am totally excited about this coming Monday. Last year we started an intra-district collaboration team that met twice a month during our collaboration times. We started creating a wiki for our group and we got ExamView up and running for the majority of us. There were just four of us last year, but This year we have 1-2 more people joining our group and at least one other that can't make it to our meetings, but still wants to collaborate. We might eventually use Wimba to get him in our meetings, but we'll burn that bridge when we get to it.

What I really am excited about is being able to work on what I have been doing this pat month with other people. Even if I can get someone else to go onto Google Docs and write up the questions and tasks, that would be huge. I don't min creating the tasks myself. My wife does say that I am CDO (that would be OCD, however the letters have been alphabetized), and I know I can sometimes get a question done really quick, so I don't mind doing that part.

What I've also started thinking about is distributing the tests to other teachers. This is one of my biggest goals is to be able to collaborate on the test results with other teachers. Years ago a few of us from our school went to Provo to hear Richard and Rebecca DuFour who I see as some of the "fore-fathers" of PLCs. It was a pretty good day, but the one thing that I still remember (and it has been about 6-7 years) is their explanation of the DRIP problem.

DRIP stands for Data Rich, Information Poor. Or in other words we have a lot o data from student test scores and other items, but what do we do with it? They suggested that if we had common assessments and then compared our students results with other teachers that gave the same assessment, we could then see what strengths other teachers have had and learn from them what they did to help students learn that subject better.

We did this two years ago with our group one day. I had the other two teachers that gave the same State test that I did send me their results by student. I then created a spreadsheet that showed how many of their students were proficient 80% or above) on each standard that was tested. We could then compare our students' proficiency rate as a group to the other teachers. What ensued was a great discussion of what we all did to help our students do so well on those questions. It was very exciting and enlightening.

As the "leader" of the team I want to be able to have some common assessments with the other teachers in my team so that before the state test comes around we can know if our students are ready. I would also like for more teachers to be able to have their students take the IC3 exams. If more will do that, then I think that our great CTE people at our district (and for those of you who know me, I am NOT being sarcastic about that--they really are great) would possibly help flip the bill to havestudents take these tests. In fact, it could even go viral and we could follow Hawaii in having every student in the state be IC3 certified. However, I've got to calm down and stay focuse on our little group of collaborative teachers.

I will of course send out the invitation for any other computer teacher out there who wants to join our collaboration. The only requirements will be to submit test scores for inividual students when you have them (no names are required, just test scores), and a willingness to help keep our tests and trainings up-to-date as possible.

You may contact me through this blog, or you can find me on Twitter or Facebook (both use the username of pbhanney).

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