Friday, January 24, 2014

Innovative communities?

I've had this debate for a while with myself and others in the EdTech field. However, the discussion seems to still go round. How do we get educators connected and how to we go from innovative pockets to innovative communities.

In helping organize an EdTech Women chapter and EdTech Austin, I see different communities developing. On one hand, EdTech Women is full of women in the EdTech profession - like me, a few teachers, and almost no developers. However, EdTech Austin consists of almost all developers, few people in the EdTech profession and almost no teachers. So, what's the difference? The goal is the same - to create and foster an innovative community. So, why are the communities heading in different directions? Location and promotion.

In EdTech Austin, we meet downtown (in a great space for innovation). However, it's not as convenient for teachers to reach and allows for excuses on reasons not to come. With EdTech Women, we meet in casual spots in and around Austin and the surrounding areas. We also do not have planned presenters. Instead, we have informal opportunities for building authentic connections. In those two differences, two different communities have arisen.

So, in trying to get teachers connected and build these innovative communities with developers and teachers alike, how do we attract teachers? What entices the best collaboration and the most authentic connections? Do we start with sharing and connecting those in "EdTech" and branch from there?

Stay tuned for ideas as we launch GEGCENTX - one of Google's pilot Google Educator Groups!

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