Extending your reach

Education’s Latest Secret Trend: Networking

Networking is nothing new in schools. Most teachers have networks. But are teachers utilizing technology to expand their networks?  “Networks offer the best path to avoid every school attempting to reinvent the wheel.” Lydia Dobyns.  Often when introducing new topics in school, like study technics or study methods like we did in our school this week, you will hear teachers say that it looks good but does not apply in their particular subject. By the way; watch this video below where Olav Schewe explains why this is important and every subject, and how being smart can help you get better grades. He visited our school this week and talked to teachers, parents and all our students.

But back on the topic of networking. Every time I hear I hear teachers say that this particular method or change does not apply to them, I wonder why, or more accurately, how they know that? Have they tried it out, heard about other teachers or whole schools that are doing this? Have they studied research on the topic? Either way, if you work on networking you might have more sources when you form an opinion. And you might actually learn from others.

Lydia Dobyns, CEO of New Tech Network, along with co-author and long-time education pundit, Tom Vander Ark, believes deeply that school systems need to learn collectively. In “Better Together: How to Leverage School Networks for Smarter Personalized and Project Based Learning,” they write: “Networks offer the best path to avoid every school attempting to reinvent the wheel.” Dobyns’ experience, both as an executive in the private sector and now as head of the New Tech Network, which involves about 200 schools across the U.S., takes readers through a tour of how schools can work together in both formal and informal networks to better support student learning.

Who You Know: Unlocking Innovation that Expand Students’ Networks,” she writes about how students build their own networks of relationships. “Whom you know turns out to matter across all sorts of industries and institutions,” she writes. But by design, schools have wound up “limit[ing] their students’ access to people beyond their embroyic community.” This isn’t just about giving students access to social networks. Instead it’s about how educators can purposefully help students create relationships inside of schools that will widen their opportunities when they go beyond the school walls.

Source: EdSurge News. They also offer an interesting conversation on this topic. Like this comment here:

Kim: We find learning happens when three networks exist: an expert network, a peer network and a transfer network. [Imagine creating a graph of learning]: It’s like a sloped upward line, and a plateau. Then another slope and a plateau. An expert network helps you accelerate the consumption of learning and content. It helps change the slope of your learning. The peer network allows you to shorten the plateaus: Sometimes when you hit a plateau, you might fall off or need just a little bit of encouragement to continue. The transfer network is what deepens the line. When I can teach somebody else how to learn content or transfer that knowledge to somebody, it allows me to deepen my understanding of it.

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