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Distance Learning Educators - A Model of Global Collaboration
Distance Learning Educators - A Model of Global CollaborationBy Mia Young-Adeyeba and Michelle Touceda
Mia Young-Adeyeba is a veteran English teacher and Data SEL Coordinator at Hamilton High School. She has a passion for helping students develop into lifelong learners and for cultivating collaborative partnerships among educators.
In addition to being a high school English teacher at South Gate High School, Michelle Touceda is also an Instructional Faculty Lead Mentor for new teachers in the District intern program, and a past LAUSD Teacher of the Year.
Together they created Distance Learning Educators, a community for educators to collaborate, share resources, and support each other.
As we look ahead to the beginning of a new semester, it is important to reflect on all we have experienced as educators. You probably remember exactly where you were on Friday, March 13, 2020 when you heard the news that schools would close without any indication of when they would reopen. You might have left your classroom or office, picking up a few things to last you a couple of weeks, not realizing we would be here, at the beginning of 2021 facing possibly another semester online. How are you though? And how did you make it through?
Teaching, managing staff, and running a school seemed like an unimaginable feat in March when we were all trying to wrap our minds around how we would do it all. As teachers, we fumbled around on Zoom, attempted new digital tools alongside our students, all while we endeavored to adapt our curricula for a new era of distance learning. We learned to use new vocabulary such as synchronous, asynchronous, and leverage -- buzz words that are embedded into your brain if you completed the LAUSD Future Ready program. The silver lining and saving grace for ourselves and educators around the world have been creating our Facebook group called Distance Learning Educators.
What began as an attempt to gather as many resources shared among educators in a “How to Teach Online'' professional development course through Stanford Online High School,” Distance Learning Educators quickly shot up the global collaborator continuum and evolved into an international collaborative community of educators supporting each other and sharing resources, a core value of the ISTE Standards for Educators. Collaboration between educators was an essential part of learning, growing, and developing engaging curriculum. Sherimaria Bacon, a counselor at Hamilton High School said that Distance Learning Educators is, “[t]he most supportive and informative page I’ve come across for helping educators navigate distance learning. Any and all topics are covered, from dual monitors to Schoology and google classroom and zoom/Microsoft teams/google meet and everything in between! I have saved so many posts and learned so many practical applications from fellow educators' posts; I think I’ve learned more than in “formal” PDs for sure!”
Another member, English teacher Kavita Kajla explained, “This amazing platform has been extremely resourceful! Everyone jumps in with superb suggestions which are instantly applicable. I felt lost prior to joining the community and the discussions helped me realize that I was in the same boat as everyone else. My concerns and situation were similar.”
Distance Learning Educators’ members encompass not only teachers but administrators, counselors, superintendents, personnel from various departments of education, etc. In addition to our main group of 24,000 members from more than a dozen different countries, we have nineteen subject-based breakout groups and a dedicated Google Drive - a repository for materials and lesson plans.
Our chance meeting in a Zoom breakout room in July during a Schoology training turned into a partnership that has created a space for organic professional development and global collaboration.
Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/distancelearningeducators