I want to write a little bit more about the database I've put online for educators that want to collaborate directly with other classrooms.
I got the idea from interacting with teachers on ning. I've been
trying to contact as many teachers as possible through many networks and it dawned on me that I'm making connections that a lot of educators need but can't make on their own because they don't have the time. I also noticed that a database of these people doesn't exist anywhere yet. So, the database I've put up at http://www.oratiobrevis.com
is basically a service to connect teachers that don't belong to the same networks.
I think a lot of educators go to sites like ning's classroom 2.0
and stay for a while with relatively little connection to other networks. They end up talking and sharing ideas a lot, which is great, but it's rare for me to see teachers take off and really connect their classrooms together. I think this is because there are too few teachers to fill a relatively large demographic range. However, I might be wrong about that. I know of one project on classroom 2.0 where a group of educators have come together for the purpose of creating joint virtual field trips. The idea is to expose students to places that are otherwise unavailable, and to make those connections between classrooms. There may be many other projects like this that I'm unaware of.
I'm building the database by talking to university administrators,
direct email, local educators, college friends, and online networks and communities. This isn't a process educators have time to take on individually, so I think the value is pretty clear in creating the database and promoting those distant connections that are hard to make as individuals.