I have participated in three different Google Hangouts to date. A "hangout" is very similar to Skype or Facetime. It allows mutliple users to view and hear one another at the same time without being anywhere near each other. In fact, the last Hangout I did was on Friday. I joined in while in my office, Tim Goree joined in while at the Central Office, Geoff Belleau joined in from his office in Sacramento, and two teachers joined us from San Bruno. We were able to continue our conversation in prepping for our presentation we will deliver together in April. We were able to capture all of the different ideas we want to address in our presentation. Since we were also all on the same Google doc, we were able to add in links to documents and videos as we were having our conversation. We have completed our presentation documents for our Lead 3.0 presentation, without ever meeting in person.
The Innovation Team from Crystal presented back in October at the CUE Conference in American Canyon. We had a similar pre planning experience. We did meet in person on one occassion and started a Google doc with all ideas, suggestions, and a basic outline of our presentation. From there, we never met in person again until the morning of the actual presentation. What we all did was add to the outline and notes via Google docs. Then, one member of the Innovation Team created the Google presentation with his slides complete. The rest of us on our time added in our slides to the presentation. We were able to still get feedback from one another during this process via the "chatroom" style comments section in Google presentation. We were able to complete a quite amazing presentation using this format. The day of the CUE conference we all knew what each person was going to present on, but it had not been rehearsed. It actually went extremely well and in my opinion was more authentic and real than a "canned/rehearsed" presentation can be.
Many people use time as an excuse to not collaborate. This form of collaboration can be done at any time and therefore "time" doesn't get in the way. Many people use the excuse that someone they may want to work with is in a different location. That excuse can no longer apply. All you need is to make the initial contact with the person you want to work with and then you can build a collaborative document, collaborative presentation, or just have a collegial conversation with the other person. Your options are truly limitless.
Right now you have educational experts at your finger tips. I have been encouraging all staff members to create a Professional Learning Network since last year. There is immense value in creating a PLN. I have had the opportunity to communicate via Twitter with some highly esteemed educators, merely since I am on Twitter. I have met a few in person at conferences and presentations. However, it is not necessary to meet in person to be able to communicate, collaborate, read ideas and articles, and begin to change your outlook on education in the 21st Century. Take some risks and step out of your comfort zone. I think you will be pretty amazed what happens when you do.
Here are a few Youtube videos that speak to the New Face of Collaboration.
INTERPRET: Interpret is to explain the meaning of something.
Many more great things are in store for Crystal!
Continue to be innovative, creative, and a model of excellence!