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A Facebook Created For California Teachers?

Audio

Aired 9/23/10

California's schools chief Jack O'Connell unveiled a new web tool yesterday in San Diego that's being called the “Facebook for teachers.” The program connects teachers outside of the classroom.

— California's schools chief Jack O'Connell unveiled a new web tool yesterday in San Diego that's being called the “Facebook for teachers.” The program connects teachers outside of the classroom. Its the first of its kind in the U.S.

Brokers of Expertise is an online program that is the first of its kind in the country.
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Above: Brokers of Expertise is an online program that is the first of its kind in the country.

O'Connell hopes the new web site, called Brokers of Expertise, will catch on like Facebook.

California public school teachers can create their own professional profiles. They can also become friends with other teachers around the state.

O'Connell says the goal is help them collaborate. He wants them to improve classroom instruction by posting their own video, pictures, or documents.

“The Brokers really will create a virtual community for our professional educators, much like Facebook,” O’Connell said. “They will be able to utilize and take charge of their own professional development from now and into their future.”

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O'Connell unveils a new online web tool for California teachers on Sept. 22, 2010 at the San Diego County Office of Education.
Enlarge this image

Above: State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O'Connell unveils a new online web tool for California teachers on Sept. 22, 2010 at the San Diego County Office of Education.

Shrinking school budgets means school districts don't have the money to pay for skills workshops or teaching conferences.

That's why the website also features a database of online teaching resources.

Website consultant Brian Ausland says teachers can dig into that research if they run into problems. He says teachers often feel isolated in their own classrooms.

“We're trying to seize upon that mode of, ‘If they are all coming to this common watering hole, can we introduce them to one another?’

San Diego and Imperial Valley teachers have been testing the website for about a year.

Erika Rood, a teacher from Del Mar, has become friends with a teacher in Chico. She’s already collaborated on a number of lessons plans with her.

“With this website, you can collaborate with teachers all across the state,” Rood said. “It just opens the doors to expand the conversation.”

A handful of foundations helped to fund the website’s creation.

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