04 January 2011

Crowdsourcing: Staying Local

[I am a member of the Zeeland Public Schools Technology Plan Implementation Team (TPIT) which is charged with rolling out handheld technologies to all students in grades 3-12 in the coming years (alongside other additions to classroom technologies). As a part of that transition in teaching and learning, TPIT has launched the ZPS 1:1 - Transforming Learning blog. This post is cross-posted there.]

In her post on crowdsourcing, Jackie shared a few examples of how one could get started. I'd like to continue the conversation sharing a few ways that crowdsourcing helps me in my role as a 5th grade teacher.

At a local level (let's say within ZPS), crowdsourcing can be as simple as sending an email. When I have a question or a need for a particular resource, I often choose a few teachers from my grade group (and usually Shari Moore, the elementary literacy coach, when my question or need is literacy-related) and ask for some help. Once my email is sent, I usually have what I need within a day, if not minutes or hours.

For instance, a few weeks ago I was looking for quality nonfiction mentor texts that I could use with my 5th grade students. I shared this need at my weekly 5th grade team. Shari Moore was present at this meeting and by that afternoon had given me a copy of a chapter on nonfiction mentor texts full of all of the great examples that I was seeking. I was able to use the examples with my students and then began typing up a list of the texts in a Google Doc (a student who is a fast typist and hates recess finished the list for me). I was then able to send the list on to the staff in my building where colleagues have told me that they have pulled texts to use in their classrooms.

At the heart of successful crowdsourcing is the idea of sharing. What could a colleague share with you today if you asked? What could you share with a colleague?

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