• Fair Chance Learning

Come Together with Teams

I have this habit of linking songs to regular routines in my life. When I take my kids for a bike ride around the neighbourhood, I cannot help but sing the opening of Queen’s bicycle race. Similarly, when I launch the Microsoft Teams app, the chorus of Come Together by the Beatles just gets playing in my head. While the song is all together out there and Lennon himself called it “gobbledygook”, the chorus lyrics, “come together right now” coupled with the groovy melody cue up.

In my position as Teacher Librarian Helping Teacher in the Surrey School District in British Columbia, I have leveraged the Teams app to bring together 140 Teacher Librarians who work and learn in different buildings. Only once a year do we meet in person as a whole group to collaborate, learn and work together. In one year, our Microsoft Team has changed all of that.

Last September when I first built the team, not one Teacher Librarian had heard of the application and many hadn’t even logged in to their Office 365 account. I had no idea if the platform would have any traction. But the functions, features and offerings in the tool speak for themselves. Simple, dynamic, forgiving and customizable settings enable users to create a space to come together in exactly the way they need to in order to meet their goals. In our case, the Teacher Librarians in Surrey Schools needed a digital meeting place to share, learn, ask questions and build relationships that span the largest district in our Province.

Today, we have 143 active users who have posted 469 messages in the last 28 days alone. The majority of these posts hold collaborative content. Teacher Librarians are posting questions to each other and supporting each other through their professional learning and experiences. Support staff we work with post opportunities to help us. Announcements are made, work is shared, encouragement is given, and as a result, a culture of collective efficacy, the collective belief that what we do is making a difference, has been built. We are all working hard, and we all have support from each other to keep learning, growing and to make an impact. John Hattie’s research points to collective efficacy as having the greatest influence on student achievement. Can collaboration on a digital platform help develop this collective efficacy among colleagues that do not work in the same building? Is Teams a platform that can transform the culture of a group of professionals encouraging a greater impact on their work? I believe it because I have seen it and am proud to be a part of it. And trust me, it makes all the difference to sing a little “Come Together” chorus as you wait for the app to launch.

About the Author:

Andrea is the Teacher Librarian Helping Teacher in the Surrey School District in British Columbia. She loves to share her learning with her colleagues and enjoys reading hilarious books with students. Her favourite being Watch me Throw the Ball by Mo Willems.