Build a Co-op

We began Cooperative Catalyst as a collaborative venture to encourage one another to think, probe, and suggest changing education and our personal practice as we speak. Cooperative Catalyst is a place where we share our beliefs and ask one another to question them. It is a place where we share our actions and ask one another to push further for our students and their authentic learning.

As much as we enjoy reading one another’s weekly posts, we value our conversations around those posts even more. We began our work together drafting and revising our philosophy and mission statement online, recruiting our first teammates through Twitter and enacting it through Skype, Gmail, Google Docs, and WordPress. Originally, we came to that work without any kind of agenda or turf apart from a shared vision of making public education safe, engaging, and meaningful for kids. Consequently, each week we dedicate ourselves to bringing a spirit of inquiry, push, and support for ourselves and learners to our posts and comments.

While Twitter helped us become aware of one another’s work and trade resources and ideas, Cooperative Catalyst has given us a forum for deeper conversations and contributions to our lives as educators. By writing on common topics from our own view points, we’ve enriched our work with students and gotten to realize a deeper potential for social media underneath the surface of 140-characters and monoblogs. We’ve created an authenticity, audience, and accountability for ourselves that leads to better learning for ourselves and our students. (Of course, we remain active tweeps and bloggers; without Twitter or our own blogs, we may never have started Cooperative Catalyst.)

All of this goes to say that we’ve discovered in our blog a form of collaboration new to us that we hope others will enjoy, as well.

We encourage you, tweeps and bloggers, to reach out to one another and continue the conversations cut short by other forms of media. Blog together; help one another explore the nuances of education and niches of learning. Make a safe, engaging, meaningful, and dependable place for your shared professional growth. Decide on a schedule of topics and a schedule for posting. Stick with it. Challenge one another to experiment with teaching and learning – to redefine your understandings of what school can be.

Find those bloggers you love on Twitter. Recruit bloggers from the pool of amazing educators in your division. Work together to build trust and faith in a commonly held vision of what education should be, and help one another find ways to get there.

Please let us know how we can support you in starting a collaborative blog to catalyze one another and your students’ learning!

Suggested Steps for Collaborative Blogging

  1. Recruit coauthors with whom you share a common vision, but different notions of how to achieve it. Try to assemble a team that will push itself forward toward a common goal with constructive criticism and questioning.
  2. Use email, Twitter, or whatever social media works best for you to define your blog’s mission and how it will operate.
  3. Plan out a series of topics or posts to give your collaboration a definite direction, but don’t set your plan in stone.
  4. Agree on a name and blogging tool that every feels confident using, and build your blog. At this point you might also want to consider buying your domain and setting up hosting.
  5. Agree on a posting schedule, whether you and your coauthors publish simultaneously or in a staggered way.
  6. Pick a topic, set a start date, and get drafting.
  7. Tweet out your start date and post a blurb on your blog about what’s coming next.
  8. Publish your first posts, converse with one another via comments, and be sure to respond to guests.
  9. Actively engage with your readers and invite their contributions in several ways – as commentators, guest authors, or new members of your collaboration. Make sure your site gives readers information about how to participate in different ways.
  10. Adapt to the what’s going on in education, to your reader feedback, and to your group-members’ needs. Remember that consistency and dependability will help your blog gain momentum, but switch topics, add features, and juggle posting schedules if need be to keep up the good work.
  11. Never be afraid to add new members as people read, connect and want to become involved!

Discussion

One thought on “Build a Co-op

  1. Here is a blog of mine with direction but is wide open by design.. Read the description. Contact me if you’d like to collaborate on this..
    Thanks
    jim

    Posted by James Gallagher | February 14, 2011, 8:31 pm

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