a mile stretched a lot farther back then

In 1994 I was teaching just a few miles from Debbie Bjorna, an extraordinary science instructor. Students still talked about her lessons and class investigations, years later.

Site of an exceptional science classroom for many years.

She was a leader in the district and a force among the science faculty. Even the National Science Foundation recognized her as outstanding. Yet, I failed to understand or appreciate what her experience offered to a new teacher…like me, struggling for years to assemble a decent curriculum.

A few miles stretched a lot farther, in those days. I saw her only occasionally, at district events or science committee meetings. Would there have been a better connection if—at that time—we had today’s Internet?

What lessons would she have shared?
What resources could I have discovered?

Do teachers routinely share the learning resources they find online? If so, is it done effectively and systematically, or with social media scatter-shot?

How do school and district administrations help educators discover top shelf learning resources on the Internet? At least one state is betting on centralizing curriculum development. (Are there others?)

I have begun to review science standards from two states (VA and TX), along with the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), to prepare for an experiment in collaborative curriculum development.

The procedure is this:

  1. Invite participation (voila!)
  2. Select a set of standards for the hunt
  3. Pick a standard and go!
  4. Promote discussion and creativity
  5. Build a list of learning resources

I still can’t know what Debbie would bring to a project like this; but, of this I am sure:

She would have joined the team.

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