Breaking Down Isolation

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The journey towards becoming a 1:1 school district in Burlington has been an exciting and rewarding experience. Although this is a technology initiative – the program has always been driven by our unwavering commitment to improving the learning environment for our students. One of the most beneficial opportunities from the endeavor has been meeting educators from around the world. We have had educators from hundreds of schools visit Burlington to discuss learning and technology. Each conversation has provided something new to share and learn from. Each interaction with educators from other schools has helped us continue to move towards our goals for learning in Burlington.

We don’t do enough of this in education. We don’t spend enough time visiting other districts, states, or countries. Many educators don’t even visit schools within their own district or classrooms within their own school. We need to break down this educational isolation. We need to visit each other more often – and not just during meetings or workshops – we need to visit during instructional time and school activities.

I believe that building an online learning network is extremely powerful but we also need to see others lead actual classroom instruction in order to grow as educators. The simple task of visiting during classroom activities can provide a great deal to learn from and share. The opportunities don’t need to be structured or formulated shows either. We need to visit each other during the normal day to day interaction of students and teachers. Professional development and personal learning networks are not enough. We need educators to explore the work of various classrooms, grades, and content areas first hand.

Seek out the opportunities to visit other classrooms in your school. Try to set up field trips or release time to visit other schools in your district. Collaborate with schools in other states or countries. You are likely working in education because you love to learn and enjoy the work of collaboration and sharing. Being an educator comes with the responsibility to help connect with others and include folks who may not already be connected – both digitally and traditionally. These connections are critical to improving the educational experience of our students.

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