Flight: teacher networks in the sharing economy

Paper PlaneIn many ways my career so far as a teacher and educator has been shaped by the use of online sharing and social media networks. I’m not the only one; increasing numbers of teachers are getting online to share their practice, ideas, and even influence policy.

In my book ‘The Thinking Teacher‘, I argued we need teachers who take the time to think, to explore alternative scenarios of what their schools and their lessons could be and who seek out the challenge of points of view that contrast to those they have internalised. Often teachers find such a space is lacking from their hectic days in school, but significant numbers (although perhaps not percentages…) of them are finding this space online through communities that have formed on twitter and in the blogosphere. For some time, a growing number of teachers across the world have brought this online sharing offline in the form of TeachMeet events, where enthusiastic teachers get together to share stories and ideas from their classrooms.

I’ve been fascinated by this phenomenon for some time and this fascination was shared by Nesta and Clore fellow Tom Doust, who recently conducted a research project exploring the character of TeachMeet events. On 26th March at Nesta’s office in London Tom will be sharing his findings from the research, analysing the power of these informal networks and their online/offline relationship. I’ll be joining him to present a talk on my experiences of the teacher sharing networks I have been a part of, and suggesting what they might mean to teaching and learning as they continue to grow. We are privileged to be joined by David Price OBE, whose recent book ‘OPEN: How We’ll Work, Live & Learn In The Future‘ explores the wider picture of open learning of which these networks form a part. Dame Mary Marsh from the Clore Social Leadership Programme brings her experience of how networks and sharing are facilitating the achievement of young people.

It’s a free event, so if you are in London on the 26th then you can book your tickets here. If not, we will be making videos of the talks available after the event, all in the interests of open learning…

 

Image: CC BY Garry Knight

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