Learning Together

A few years ago I was involved in a collaborative project called Learning Mathematics Together. We explored the idea of using technology as a tool to reach our learning goals together and engaged our students. Using video conferencing technologies we planned collaborative learning opportunities to connect our students and engage them in real world problem solving. We built a technology enabled learning environment with our students where we felt safe to explore, discuss, question and share our learning with each other and the world.

It was inspiring to be part of a team of co-learners that had similar beliefs about learning and technology. I learned new things every day from my students and colleagues about collaboration, problem solving, explaining our thinking and using technology as a tool to enhance that learning. I saw a big change in the learning environment that year as we shared our stories, learned about each other as learners and ourselves. Hearts and minds were connecting. Throughout the project I learned about myself as a teacher and a learner. I was motivated to learn more, not because I had to but because I wanted to. This was just the beginning because when the project came to an end, the learning continued through the relationships we built. Jaclyn Calder was an incredible source of inspiration throughout this project and continues to be as she shares her learning through virtual communities and networks. If you would like to learn more about co-planning and co-teaching between schools, you can watch the video Connecting Classrooms with Technology from the professional learning page on MathGains.

Photo by benhazzard

Photo by benhazzard

My thinking and perspectives were challenged even further that summer during an opportunity to connect with educators from around the world at UnPlug’d. Many emotional stories and conversations were shared, which resulted in my continued reflection on the importance of listening, vulnerability, taking risks and sharing my beliefs. I was inspired to step outside of my comfort zone and learn together with a group of amazing educators. Thank you for your inspiration and leadership Donna! To put it simply: you change my path.

Every day I see the power of connected learning through relationships in schools, teamwork, technology hubs, collaborative inquiry and my growing online professional learning network. I am grateful to the people who have impacted and will continue to impact my learning journey by sharing their thinking, asking questions and engaging with me in conversations. It is exciting to be part of teams that support my growth because we can do so much more together, than we can in isolation.

Photo by Marci

Photo by Marci

At the EdTech Team Ontario Google Summit we were challenged to find our passion and then make a step toward that goal. The first part of that challenge was easy for me. I am passionate about learning, connecting learners and technology in education. This blog is my next step – a canvas for sharing my thoughts and making my learning visible. I believe that the more we connect, build relationships and learn together, the more opportunities we have to grow!


About Marci Duncan

Technology Instructional Resource Teacher K-12 for #SCDSB; Google Educator; Co-chair of #edcampbarrie. You can contact me at mduncan@scdsb.on.ca
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2 Responses to Learning Together

  1. Marie Swift says:

    Your post was inspiring! First of all, congratulations on taking the step into blogging about your learning and teaching practice! I know you were already a blogging pro with your students. This is definitely taking it to the next level!
    Your reflections on the importance of truly connecting, really hit home. As a classroom teacher, I knew that my students needed to feel truly appreciated and accepted in order for them to be able to learn. You’ve reminded me of the importance of that for ALL learners.
    Thank YOU for inspiring me with your enthusiasm, to always keep learning and pushing myself to grow.

  2. Marci,

    I’m so glad that you have started sharing in an even deeper way. For the past few years I have enjoyed learning from you through microblogging and social media. Its great that you now have a space to share your thoughts in more than 140 characters.

    That “Learning Math Together” project is still, in my mind, the most effective professional development I have ever been a part of. It partnered teachers up with a coach/consultant and was entirely individualized based on the teachers and students involved. Teachers from across the county (hours apart by car) co-planned lessons that were then co-taught via whatever technology was needed. The teachers chose the student learning projects, then self-directed the teacher learning and the tools needed. We used whatever tools made sense for the learning. It was never about using a specific tool or device. Purely about good learning.

    In addition to creating a truly productive technology enabled learning environment, the teams modelled effective problem solving in front of their students. As new tools were tried (and sometimes failed) with students, they watched us fumble through them and got the message that its ok to learn through mistakes and that resiliency is important.

    Years later, I can still remember your class that year vividly. 🙂 We all learned so much that year because we could truly develop trusting relationships with each other and push each other beyond our comfort zones. We could also feed off of each others energy. 🙂

    Thanks for sharing!

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