Sunday, May 16, 2010

The PEP Progam

There is a lot of talk out there about the importance of collaboration and people all over the world are using tools like Twitter, Facebook, iChat and now Google Wave to do so online. However, it is nice, every once in awhile, to have a chance to collaborate with other educators on a local level. About a year and half ago I was invited to take part in of District of Manatee School's Peer ePortfolio Partner or PeP Program. Which is an extension program of the ePortfolio Project. Manatee County’s ePortfolio Project was birthed in the Fall of 2006. I was one of the thirty pilot teachers for this program and cannot believe how far we have come.

Anyway, I was honored to be invited to the PeP Program, but I really had no idea what I would be walking into. During the first meeting we learned that the program was formed out of a necessity to help meet the demands of the growing ePortfolio Program. Over the first three years this program grew from thirty participants to three hundred and the need arose from that growth. We also learned that we were each chosen, because we demonstrate the following qualities: strong leadership qualities, strong communication skills, strong instructional practice, enthusiastic about the eFolio Program, expertise in teaching technology, expertise in teaching reflection and expertise in teaching the Strategic Objectives. We are simply people who are there to be a peer support and encourage as we may have already experienced some of your same struggles as newer teachers to the program. We are moral support and cheerleaders of the program.

There have been two day trainings each summer, a couple of all day meeting during the year and cluster video conferences. However, these meeting are a lot more than just training. The Instructional Technology Department and Administration involved with the ePortfolio Project listen to what we say and opinions are not only asked for they are valued. Personally, I have learned so much from these individuals and I leave each meeting with my brain full of how to make things better back in my classroom and/or school. When I walk into meetings now I spend the first fifteen minutes hugging and visiting with other educators around the county. I so enjoy catching up with them and hearing about the things that they are doing with ePortfolio and technology in their classroom. It truly has turned into a community and I am so looking forward to our next get together.

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