Creating an Online Sharing Space for Staff

The thinking behind the Monks Walk CPD network and why we chose MakeWaves.

With the increasing use of online networks such as Twitter, TES, VLEs and others by teachers and schools, it was only a matter of time before schools started to look at the potential of harnessing, using and archiving the multitude of ideas and good practice sharing that is happening online for use by their staff.

At Monks Walk, as well as full staff CPD, weekly teaching and learning briefings and regular practice sharing sessions take place across the year. However in a school with a large and very busy staff, the sharing of ideas outside this dedicated time can be confined to snatched conversations by the photocopier or worse still, don’t happen at all.

A school local to us has set up Sandagogy, a platform for all staff to blog, reflect and share resources. Staff are given a log-in and are encouraged to use the site to share ideas and access resources. This is embedded into all staff training and slowly the site is becoming a thriving online space for staff and SLT to share their best practice. Twitter is also used to gather and share ideas more widely.

Looking at this model, we felt that this could be something that would help Monks Walk staff to embed and innovate with ideas developed from whole school CPD as well as a place to find and share new things to try in our teaching. However, in discussion with the member of SLT running the Sandagogy site, whilst teachers are happy in principle to use it, in a profession where every second counts, what is actually involved in taking a photo, connecting the camera, uploading the image, filling in the information can mean that it’s just too much extra work for many to contemplate in addition to their already heavy workload.

As active members of the MakeWaves community with our students and those from local primary schools, we wondered whether this could be the platform for us. With simple usability, blogging function, the ability to personalise the site as appropriate and strongly visual design, it seemed a straightforward solution to some of the issues that Sandagogy have faced. Above all, the app enables users to upload content straight from their smartphone or tablet, cutting out the additional steps required when using a VLE or other site. Embedding our Twitter feed into the front page also enables us to gather and promote resources picked up from the Twitter community.

MakeWaves also includes the option to add badges which can be used to log the CPD that teachers have attended visually on their home page and badge missions make it possible to devise tasks to be done by way of follow up from a session. These are earned and evidenced through the creation of resources on the network for others to use and to track the impact the sessions have had on classroom practice.

The next steps for us will be to plan a launch to staff and decide how to embed the use of the network into CPD and teaching and learning staff development for next academic year. However with the support of SLT in using mobile technology and social media to create a buzz around teacher CPD and good practice sharing, this is an exciting development that could revolutionise staff training in the future.
Sorry! Name can't be blank
Sorry! Email can't be blankYour email address doesn't seem to be valid. Best check that!
Nobody has left a comment yet ...
Spark the discussion - leave the first comment!
More Like This
Page error detected - the developers have been informed.