T is for Community? - Building community among online educators through TECHNOLOGY education.

Concurrent Session 2
Streamed Session

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Session Materials

Brief Abstract

How do you build a collaborative community for remote educators separated by space and time? What if a solution to community building was founded in technology education and application? This presentation will showcase how empowering educators to leverage technology can bring them together as a collaborative, supportive community.

Extended Abstract

Working remotely can feel isolating for those of us who teach online. While we take great joy in the relationships we develop with our students and the knowledge that we are impacting lives, there is often something “missing” that we need in order to make the teaching experience complete. That missing piece of the puzzle is a meaningful relationship with our peers – a viable, and tangible, connection to other educators. In a traditional setting this is more easily achieved when dialogue can occur within impromptu meetings, breakroom chats, or even simple conversations in the hallway. Those interactions often lead to developed friendships and collaborative efforts. The challenge for online educators is that chance encounters cannot occur in a virtual world with clearly defined spaces and boundaries. Even when common spaces are provided, working collaboratively and squeezing in conversation with people located all across the country is not always embraced. This is often because remote educators have limited time to accomplish all the tasks necessary to support their students. As such, they do not always see the tangible value in collegial conversation.

The hurdle to overcome when building community for remote educators lies in generating excitement about community, establishing immediate value for time spent (personal investment), and showcasing benefit of collaboration to help each individual’s efforts in the classroom. Over the course of two years, this initiative has worked to generate excitement about technology use in the classroom with remote, online educators. Each week, educators are exposed to user-friendly classroom technologies and ways they can be implemented to support students and teacher’s alike. Additionally, a video initiative has also been put into place to teach and help educators explore how to use video in the classroom. Through the development of technological skill, and a dedicated space for sharing educational artifacts and strategies, a vibrant, friendly, and supportive community has emerged.

In this session, we will take a closer look and examine how and why this approach to community building, through technology education, has been successful. We will closely examine the following:

  • How to generate excitement about technology use in the classroom
  • The importance of supporting educators in their efforts to learn technologies
  • The impact of celebrating successes and positive reinforcement
  • The importance of showcasing and sharing classroom artifacts
  • The value of working together to save time
  • User-friendly technologies for the classroom to get started


Activities integrated within presentation:

  • Short paired discussion:  Provides session attendees the opportunity to further explore and exchange ideas and thoughts about community.
  • Participation in real-time polling: Participants will have an opportunity to take part in polling to gather information about group experiences with community building and technology education.
  • Review of curricular materials: Participants will review curricular materials provided and integrated into the presentation.


Additional material on community:

Holcomb, J. M. (2016, July 14). No One Is an Island, But How Can We Build a Continent? (Part 1). Retrieved May 18, 2017, from http://evolllution.com/programming/teaching-and-learning/no-one-is-an-island-but-how-can-we-build-a-continent-part-1/

Holcomb, J. M. (2016, July 21). No One Is an Island, But How Can We Build a Continent? (Part 2). Retrieved May 18, 2017, from http://evolllution.com/programming/teaching-and-learning/no-one-is-an-island-but-how-can-we-build-a-continent-part-2/

Holcomb, J. M. (2016, July 28). No One Is an Island, But How Can We Build a Continent? (Part 3). Retrieved May 18, 2017, from http://evolllution.com/programming/teaching-and-learning/no-one-is-an-island-but-how-can-we-build-a-continent-part-3/

Holcomb, J. M. (2016, August 03). No One Is an Island, But How Can We Build a Continent? (Part 4). Retrieved May 18, 2017, from http://evolllution.com/programming/teaching-and-learning/no-one-is-an-island-but-how-can-we-build-a-continent-part-4/