A small group of teachers gathered together in TappedIn, a multi-user online virtual community, to talk about how to improve the wiki they are writing about Interactive Notebooks. What was so amazing is that until about 2 months ago, none of these people (except me) had ever used a wiki or TI. We gathered together in my virtual TI office to chat about how to improve the functionality of the wiki...how to make it better...editing it as we went along. In the middle of our chat, one member couldn't find her way to TappedIn, so she used Instant Messenger to get ahold of us. It was using IM that made it possible for her to join us. We had just finished discussing how to use Trillian to keep track of everyone using IM. It's one of the hardest things to do as a teacher...every student seems to use a different IM solution. Trillian lets you "listen" to MSN Messenger and Yahoo Messenger at the same time. I haven't figured out how to incorporate AIM from AOL, but maybe it's possible. Again the cool part here is that teachers were multi-processing with digital kids tools. They were solving problems with the best technology tool available at the moment.
We talked about how to use IAN in our classrooms. We talked about how to improve our teaching practices so that we all become better teachers. Mostly we felt excited about what we had accomplished in terms of learning and using new kinds of technology. We made a pact to meet every Wednesday night for a while to continue this professional collaboration. I know there aren't 4 teachers in my district who would want to chat about IAN and wikis once a week. It's only through the conversation of the Internet can I find like-minded teachers who want to grow in the same way that I do. That's slick.