This morning I had a great conversation with Tim Boundy, who coordinates videoconferencing for JANET in the UK. We compared notes on projects we’re running, the trials and challenges of scaling collaborations, and the different ways to partner classes. In the course of the discussion, I realized there are three main ways that I make my collaborations work.
Matching Events in CAPspace
One of the easiest ways to have a lot of classes participate in an event is to participate in a project that’s coordinated by someone and matched in CAPspace.
- Read Around the Planet is an obvious one. I usually have 70-80 classes participate annually.
- Partners are assigned by the project coordinator (randomly matched by the system in CAPspace).
- I have to do test calls with 70-80 different places (unless I’m lucky to get some overlap in who we matched with).
- Materials for the project are already created for the teacher.
- Other examples include TWICE’s We the Kids, Michigan Week Exchange, and Monster Mayhem that we do with Whirlidurb.
- These matching events account for about 125 of our collaborations annually.
- I post 7-10 collaborations a year looking for partners for various ideas by my teachers. On most of those I need one or two partners.
- I have a few schools – maybe 5 out of 70 – where the teachers respond to collaborations on CAPspace or post their own collaborations. In most cases they then ask for help on connecting the videoconference.
- These account for maybe 20-30 of our collaborations annually.
Asking VC Friends
The final major way that I find partner class is to ask friends.
- For some projects (like EcoConversations), I have a list a people we partner with every year.
- For some projects, I pick someone I know at a regional level (i.e. Dallas ISD) and try to get all the partners from that region. It makes it super easy because then I don’t have to do any test calls!
- For some teacher ideas that are just one or two connections here and there, I may also ask friends. I also have some VC friends who email me and ask for one or two partners for this or that idea.
- These types of collaborations probably account for another 30-40 collaborations annually.
My Email List
Want to get on my email list? Sometimes I use that advertise for partners just for people interested in specific projects that we run (MysteryQuests, etc.). Sign up here.
What about you? Do you use more than one method to find partners for your teachers? Which works best in which situation? Do you have a favorite method? Please comment!