on November 30, 2001
Can an LSC-Net type tool help communication in your LSC?
Thanks to all of you who have posted recently. You identified both
challenges and strategies to addressing the communication problem. I
would like to use this message to some up some of what I heard and to
redirect the conversation to a consideration of how different forms of
electronic communication might help within your project.
To start: Challenges that you identified included:
1. Different junctures where communication often breaks down. One
project mentioned that lead teachers often gather information from
fellow teachers but then the information is not transmitted. Another
mentioned that there can be a breakdown between the level of the
project, district personnel, and site administrators. There was mention
that it can be difficult to get principals to give out information.
2. Sending notices does not seem to assure that they will be read: Gail
Paulin writes that they sent e-mail, flyers and print material, and
still there was a poor response. Gail suggests that perhaps there is too
much information or too much "noise" to allow people to focus on what
they are receiving. Another post refers to a list serv which is often
not read in a timely manner.
3. Time: Programs that open up new channels of communication (e.g. Power
School information system - which is being used to connect teachers and
parents) also creates a greater demand on teachers time to communicate.
This time has not been built into teachers schedules. I notice I did not
hear anything about teacher to teacher interaction, yet when
implementing a new curriculum, it is probably pivotal that teachers
exchange information and ideas.
Jerry Valdez offers some concrete suggestions in his post including
building in time for communication for coaches and mentors. He compares
this to "building a caseload." He also speaks of the importance of
concretely identifying roles and expectations for lead teachers through
a memo of understanding. Last he speaks about going "paperless" and that
all teachers are required to go to the web to get information on
workshops, institutes, and coursework.
Gail Paulin asks if I would talk about LSC-Net and wonders about the
Whats New format for announcing postings. I would like to spend a few
minutes addressing some lessons learned from LSC-Net and would love it
if in the last week of this discussion if folks would entertain how a
system such as LSC-Net could impact on communication. We are exploring
the idea of developing an LSC-Net like system for schools and are
interesting in your feedback.
One possible feature that may be very useful for school is the
functionality that we have built into the "Whos There" section. In this
area you can search for a particular class of people (so in your school
district it might be all 4th and 5th grade teachers). You can then
compose one e-mail and it will get sent to each one of their e-mail
addresses. Would this be valuable?
Another "feature" is that putting something on the Web is not enough. It
seems that you need to send periodic "whats new " reminders to peoples
e-mail in order to remind them of the webs existence and that there is
new information. So building a web-site with notification systems to
peoples e-mail seems helpful.
I wonder if a vehicle for teachers posting queries and replies would be
useful? Do you think they would use it?
I think Jerry is on to something when he mentions that teachers now know
that they have to come to the Web for info on schedule, workshops etc.
If teachers know that they will get a lot of the information through
multiple modalities, they are less likely to change their habits. Well
another lesson learned THAT I DID NOT HEED is to keep your messages
I apologize for going on, but I would be very interested if you would
examine the functionalitys available on LSC-Net http://lsc-net.terc.edu
and help us think which of these, if any, would be helpful in tackling
communication problems in schools.
I also posted a paper on the site that might be useful in thinking about
this. You can see it going to http://lsc-net.terc.edu/do/8364.
I look forward to hearing your replies.