The Savvy Teacher’s Digital Tool Kit: Join a Global Community

By Alix E. Peshette


Cross-posted from EdTEch Gold Rush


In this digital age, the staggering amount of electronic print and media has provided a gold mine of resources. Many teachers are mining the web for resources to support their curriculum and engage their students. The question is how to get what one needs efficiently and in a timely manner. The answer is: join a community of educators in your subject area or grade level and reap the benefits of collective consciousness!


This doesn’t require attending meetings or even leaving home – do it digitally. Join a listserv – a digital discussion group. A listserv enables a large group of people to communicate effectively with one another through email. Topics (called threads) are initiated and commented on by anyone in the group. People ask for help, point out great resources or suggest strategies for success. Since the group is bound together by common interests, members have something to learn and contribute. All these groups have great archives of past topics. Just a sampling of my favorites:


EDTECH

Get the nuts and bolts of educational technology for all levels of education. EDTECH is one of the oldest and most useful listservs available. The membership includes many national and international leaders in educational technology along with regular teachers in the trenches.


NET-GOLD

Not a discussion group per se, NET-GOLD is a steady source of great online resources.


MIDDLE-L

MIDDLE-L has been the lifesaver of many a new teacher in middle school and junior high. This list is one of the most supportive and informative groups for teachers working with adolescents.


TeacherArtExchange

Sponsored by the Getty Museum, TeacherArtExchange offers lesson ideas, resources and practical tips on teaching art. This group also provides opportunities for art teachers to make and exchange art.


For more information on finding a listserv that meets your needs, take a look at this Education World article. or read Email Discussions Lists.


Know Your Listserv Etiquette

Before you send that first message to the new listserv, lurk and learn. Like any community, each listserv has a set of expectations, rules, social norms and etiquette. While you read current posts, visit the recent archives and read through a thread or two. This will reveal who the players are and how people communicate with each other. Usually a first posting is an introduction of self, along with a polite question or a recommendation of online resources. Before long you will be considered one of the regulars.

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