Where do Chets Creek teachers disappear during lunch, during Teacher meetings and on WOW days? Often times they have taken their computers down to the local Panera's so they can get on the Ning. Our Ning is blocked at school so in order to get on the Ning during the school day, teachers have to leave school! The Ning is an on-line professional learning community. Panera's is the closest wireless where we can gather!
There are a million reasons why Ning must be blocked at school - for the security of us all (Really?) - and another million reasons why this is the cutting edge space for educators who want to exchange ideas and raise the level of their practice.
So often we want to share something with each other (such as a new teaching video or pictures from a colleague's room) or show someone a technology shortcut. Often we've wanted to show a video to our team for Professional Development that's been posted on the Ning so we can debrief the technique, but unless we take the time to get in our cars and drive over to Panera, it'll just have to wait.
One of the most frustrating parts of my day is to know something is out there that can make a difference and not be able to put my hands on it. I feel that way when I see a new book and can't get it fast enough or when I first found out that Lindamood Bell was a strategy that might help some of my ESE students but I couldn't afford it. I feel the same way about not being able to access the Ning at school when I know other districts have figured out a way around the scary parts. I know we have a Technology Department working on a solution - I am so trying to be patient - but as Dr. Stahlman used to say - I only have 180 days with these students. There is an urgency to do everything I can!