Thursday, January 17, 2008

Old Style Networking

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of receiving a phone call from Bryon, a Faculty of Education candidate at the University of Toronto. The call came out-of-the-blue regarding one of many Rich Performance Tasks that my colleagues and I have written over the past few years. This call triggered some old-style networking to assist a young teacher in preparing to engage students in a rich cross-curricular task.

The story of the task being completed actually began two years ago, when I invited a number of forward thinking teachers to join me in writing performance tasks that would be modeled on the WebQuest format. Since having written the tasks, one colleague, Bill (the most talented hands-on technology educator I've ever met) has relocated to the mountains of British Columbia; others (like Todd, who wrote the Future City task) continue to work within the district; and I've moved on to a regional position representing the e-learning needs of regional school boards. While I'd lost touch with these folks, I'm thankful that Bryon's phone call, nudged me to reconnect with these talented colleagues.

An 'antique' form of communication (the telephone), led me to use an 'aging technology' (email), to update the City of the Future task... and it all happened within 12 hours. Pretty quick, but it pales in comparison to the wiki networking project that was completed in a similar period of time, thanks to a Twitter request a day earlier from Will Richardson.

It's richly rewarding to know that educators are still accessing these learning materials, and more satisfying still, to know that our work is impacting teachers and students around the globe. In a given 10 day period, our site receives almost 3000 page views from upwards of 60 countries! What is less satisfying, is that I'm well aware that the work of my local team has been under-utilized within our own district.

Networking to update resources on the site gave me a chance to smile at a few of our more popular tasks... Those interested in project based learning whether web-based or not, may well be interested in reviewing the differentiated tasks still hosted at the London District Catholic School Board:

Find out more about the history of this project in this week's Teacher 2.0 Podcast.