The Reflective Educator

Education ∪ Math ∪ Technology

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Day: April 2, 2010

New social network for Canadian teachers

Just this night I started a new social network for Canadian teachers.  Although there are some national organizations for teachers already, there does not appear to be any free social networks for teachers to join.  There are some regional social networks, for example BC has an Edtech network and Ontario has a social network for teachers from their province.  This new social network is hopefully filling a void in Canada, although it is entirely possible that such a network exists and it is cleverly hidden from my internet searches.

Canadians do not have an educational secretary like the US does.  Education here is divided into provincial and territory regions and each region handles education differently.  There is some oversight from the Federal government, but it is mostly focused on specific issues, and does nothing to connect teachers from across the country.

It is important that educators join together, in large numbers we have a stronger voice.  We also need to be able to communicate with each other because it will help improve our individual practices, and this will be good for our students.  

If you want to join this network, it is free to do so.  All you need is to go to the following website and sign up.

http://canadianteachers.ning.com

Massively collaborative educational research

The book Wikinomics has really got me thinking about how collaboration happens in our society.  One of the area where I think massive collaboration would be really useful, but where it is underutilized is in the area of educational research.  Imagine the power of collaboration that we could have if hundreds of educators collaborated to run a research study.  I’ve written about this before, but I have a new perspective since reading Tapscott and Williams.

Let’s look  at some of the benefits of being involved in such an undertaking.

First, each educator would have their name attached to a valuable piece of educational research.  So much research in education is done with tiny sample sizes that tend to invalidate the purpose of the research.  A large sample size does not guarantee that the research is valid, it still needs to be done with care, but it does tend to reduce things like selection bias, small sample size effect, etc…

Second, we could do research on a wide variety of different socioeconomic backgrounds, different parts of the world, and be able to analyze our data from many different perspectives.  We might even have enough data to spawn multiple educational research papers on our chosen topic.  We could release our data under a Creative Commons license, and let other educators remix and look at the date in different ways.

Finally, the amount of work each educator would have to do would be a lot less.  Designing a study, collecting data, researching sources, analyzing data, and writing an educational research paper are all time-consuming tasks.  Dividing up these tasks over a larger group, even with the additional overhead of maintaining coherence in the research, would greatly reduce how much work each educator would have to do.

If you are interested in participating in such a research study, please sign up at this form.  There is no specific topic or agenda set yet, just an initial examining of the interest from the educational community.