Creating Relationships in Education

My digital humanities project is related to the field of education, teacher improvement, resource preservation, technology integration and student success. More specifically I am working on creating an interface that allows educators to “find their match”. It will mimic an online dating website, but with educational professionals.  The goal of this project is to connect teachers to other professionals who use technology in their classrooms. After they make the connection, the experts will act as a mentor to the teacher. In turn the resources that are shared will allow both to benefit from this connection. 

The basic premise of this site, which will be named in my proposal, is for teachers/educators to create accounts with the purpose of making connections with other educators. I would like this to begin small and grow. I have selected nine districts to pilot this project. I will elicit experts from each grade level and content area from varying k-12 school districts. It will be on a volunteer basis only. I will work with these “experts” to create their online profiles. They will have basic details associated with their profile like grade, content area, technology used etc. Linked through these experts, will also be a blog, wiki, video tutorials, online resources and chat feature. These will be the constant interactions that the expert will have with the connected teacher/instructor.

The first stage of this interface will just be a simple web page with the pilot. It will eventually turn into a social media site. The webpage interface will have a picture and profile visually for anyone to find. A basic search will allow the educator to pin point their match. This will be a manual process at first. The second stage will be a little more in depth. A team of coding experts will build a social media site that allows every user to create a profile. After they create their profile after answering many questions, the educators will be given a list of “matches”. The match is based on how many aspects they have in common with the other educators. The search will rank their best matches. The educators can then request to be connected to that educator. They will specifically share through chat rooms, blogs, and resource pages. These will comparable to the first stage web site resources.

The site will require authentication and constant data collection of activity. Several connections can be made but the interaction will be exclusive from person to person. I understand this in my mind logistically, but haven’t nailed it down with the technical side yet.

It will be a free resource that securely connects educators with other educators and the innovative techniques they are engaging their student with in the classroom.

Content analysis will be done on the interaction and message boards. Negative and positive phrases will be defined, charted and documented on a timeline by date. The goal is to see excitement initiated in the teaching of the teacher. The teacher will increase technology use more effectively and more positively. I want to see that their attitude change through the collaboration with the other teacher. They can see first hand from other teachers how the technology is working in their classroom and then learn how to do it in their classroom.

The difference between this and other professional development is the collaboration and control. The teacher is learning from his/her peers by choice. They have chosen this path and pursue it. They engage in the communication and initiate the learning for themselves. Both educators are accountable for each others improvement.

The last data that will be collected relates to student improvement. Journal posts and communicative interactions will acknowledge any comments based on the student reaction to the new technology integration. So certain phrases and words in the teachers communication can/will reveal if the students like it or not, are improving or not, are more engaged or not. The other way data will be collected is through teacher surveys and focus groups. Since it is being done in a small area of Northwest Ohio, the teachers can be asked questions face to face to see how the process was for them.

This type of project has not been done in one site. I find some of these features in other educational resources pages, but nothing to this extent.

More will be revealed in the grant proposal.

3 thoughts on “Creating Relationships in Education”

  1. Tonya, this is such a fantastic idea! When I taught first-year writing, I was always looking for ways to integrate social media and other technologies into my assignments and lessons. Something like this would have been a great resource. One question that occurred to me as I was reading, and maybe it’s not appropriate for this stage of development so if that’s the case, no worries – but I’m wondering about the “match” process. Will the matches be made based on trying to put together people who are as alike as possible? Or will different but complimentary experiences/skills/etc. be factored in?

    I love this!

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