The key to any success lies in collaboration. With vision and persistence, people can set goals and inspire others to join in pursuit of them.
Katie Bouman recently shook up the world of physics. She developed the algorithm that would enable them to triangulate image points in a collaborative effort to take a picture of a black hole. The Event Horizon Telescope was not launched in a silo, and Bouman didn’t work alone. Bouman led the competent teams stationed around the world in capturing the first image of a black hole. Her need to collaborate didn’t lessen her achievement; it made it even more notable.
The black hole imaging project is not the first collaborative effort that integrated technology. The Human Genome Project and the Millennium Seed Bank Partnership are also global efforts to better understand our environment and improve the quality of life for everyone. Successful technology integration depends on collaboration.
The same is true for edtech.
When edtech entrepreneurs collaborate
Tech startups have long depended on accelerators and incubators to promote rapid growth and catalyze disruptive innovation in the edtech industry. These programs bring together like-minded people who want to provide immediate solutions to the most pressing problems in today’s field of education.
The mainstay of these programs is the networking, mentoring, and coaching that lifts participants in reaching their goals.
Edtech entrepreneurs who have participated in accelerators and incubators recognize the power of collaboration. Organizations like the EdTech Collaborative attract edtech leaders and innovators who seek to work with the best. Collaboration improves productivity.
Working together in schools
Healthy collaboration does the same thing in schools.
Too often teachers close their classroom doors, keeping themselves and their students isolated from others. Instead, by harnessing the power of collaboration, especially in technology, they are more likely to expand their knowledge and skills.
The concept is based on Vygotsky’s Zone of Proximal Development: collaborate first with others to improve your own independent level of learning.
Like any collaborative effort, teacher who work together when using edtech experience multiple benefits, including:
Improved data analysis – Data Analysis can feel overwhelming, especially when the instructional day is over. You need to get home to take care of your family, and you still need to analyze summative assessment results to plan for next week’s instruction. By collaborating with other teachers, you share the workload and the responsibility for improving student achievement. It’s possible that the collaboration will reduce your workload, getting you home sooner.
Greater creativity – teachers may use the same tech in their classrooms but have different ways of deploying it. Through idea sharing, teachers can learn different strategies for everything from technology management to developing active learning activities that engage students.
More satisfying professional relationships – Not every teacher will find edtech solutions intuitive. Having colleagues with whom you can collaborate allows you to go to someone for help and support.
Similarly, students benefit from collaborating with their peers. Thanks to technology, these peers may be in a classroom at the end of the hallway or halfway around the world. The students learning to work in teams today may well be the next generation of visionaries who lead global teams and make scientific breakthroughs.
It all begins with collaboration.
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