Collaboration focus of The ISA Mathematics Fall Gathering & Yammer Community Launch
By Abner Oakes
ISA's National Director of Outreach and Engagement
On Thursday, October 30, 2014, eleven math coaches from The Institute for Student Achievement (ISA) gathered at the Teachers College, Columbia University in New York City for the ISA Mathematics Fall Gathering & Yammer Launch.
With the end goal of building a larger sense of community among ISA math teachers, ISA created the math educators group within the online ISA Community of Practice (COP) to inspire collaboration. Launched at ISA’s Summer Institute in 2014, ISA’s COP was built on the social network platform, Yammer. As part of the math gathering, attendees watched demonstrations and learned how to use the new Yammer site to share content, tools, news articles, and classroom resources. Yammer will not only serve as a portal for educators to share activities and student work, but could ultimately change the way educators interact with each other. No matter the size of one individual’s math department, the online platform helps them to feel part of a larger organization by providing support and sharing of resources.
“Our long term goal is to impact where education goes in the future,” said Nathan Dilworth, math specialist for ISA. “Our teachers are going to be the next generation of people opening schools and moving into policy positions. We want to give them an understanding of what collaboration within education can look like so they are better equipped to move into larger roles within school systems.”
While ISA coaches create math curricula for schools to use, not every ISA math classroom is the same, leaving teachers to differentiate and tweak lessons to meet different student needs. Teachers can now share these modifications through COP, which may help other teachers in similar situations. The COP supports collaboration and sharing of best practices among principals, teachers, coaches, and other educators in the network.
“Our ISA Mathematics Fall Gathering & Yammer Launch was a great opportunity for the ISA math community to come together to share memorable experiences from the year and launch our online collaborative site,” noted Dilworth. “We’re looking forward to the journey that’s before us this year and celebrating what this year brings at the ISA Math Symposium in the spring.”