Member Perspective: Kathleen Fulton
Kathleen is Director, Reinventing Schools for the 21st Century, for the National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future (NCTAF). She was the developer of the Teachers Learning in Networked Communities (TLINC) project, funded initially by the AT&T Foundation, then Microsoft, and now supported by a grant from the Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education in the U.S. Department of Education.
We developed TLINC as a way for teachers, especially teacher candidates and those new to the profession, to stay connected with their professional peers and colleagues. Our data had shown that too many teachers leave in the first five years of teaching (up to 46% nationally, with even greater turnover in high need schools and districts). We knew that mentoring support for new teachers is variable; too many new teachers, including candidates doing student teaching, feel “lost at sea” when they enter the classroom. We knew that online communities can make it possible for our newest educators to connect with those they most trust professionally. We also hoped that if we built online communities during preservice education, and used TLINC to help build the links between teacher preparation institutions and their local districts, we could create opportunities for online collaboration and community that would become a “habit” among educators as a vehicle for professional learni!
ng and support and build their comfort with using technology.
Our partners (University of Memphis, University of Colorado at Denver, and University of Washington) explored a number of potential platforms for the project. Fortunately, Mark Schlager, Tapped In’s “godfather”, was on our design team, and when the partners chose Tapped In, we had a strong advocate. We were able to “lease” a building on Tapped In and have now over 900 members in our TLINC community.
Read the rest of Kathleen’s Perspective online at http://tappedin.org/tappedin/web/perspectives