Tuesday, June 10, 2014

The Concept of Peer to Peer Learning

Last year, I started watching a show called "Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee". The Internet show is produced by Jerry Seinfeld and the concept is incredibly simple: Jerry picks up a comedian in a vintage car and they talk about comedy while getting coffee and driving around. As Jerry opens each video on the features of the vintage cars, you get a peek into why he picked each car for each particular comedian as if the features describe the comedians themselves. The show is really a great look inside comedy as it isn't an interview format but a conversation between peers about what they do and why they enjoy what they do.

I wanted to see something like this for educators. I have known and worked with great teachers, librarians, principals, superintendents, etc. but I haven't seen a way to curate their knowledge base while really getting to know them and what makes them tick. What if there was a place where educators shared about their profession with other educators? What if instead of a comedian interviewing a comedian, we had a librarian interview a librarian about their ideas and vision for the future of libraries? Would there be an audience for this type of program?

As a fan of one-on-one interview shows, I wanted to try to build that connection to the conversations between peers to a greater audience and to curate the knowledge base of the current experts in our field. Instead of our own hype (I lump myself in here too), I wanted to establish an interview-style show to to go more in-depth with educational specialists on what makes them tick, where they get inspiration, and about our profession in general.

During TCEA convention, I discussed the idea with Tim Holt in hopes of getting him to be the on-camera interviewer while I worked behind the scenes on generating bio information and questions for him to ask. I just wanted to produce the show. In a Google document, I outlined the basic idea for the show where it would be a one-on-one interview style with multiple camera angles. I wanted it to have "seasons" where a series would focus on specific education roles. I wanted a season just for Ed Tech Directors, a season of Teachers, a season of Superintendents. And I also outlined a type of questioning similar to talk-show formats with introductory (softball questions) then flowing into hard-hitting (hardball questions). 

Sadly, the idea just dropped out of my sightline for a few months. It became one of those long drive ideas only popping up during a long road trip but never becoming more than an idea.

Then in early May, I had the opportunity to visit with Carl Hooker to chat and catch up. Carl and I have known each other from when we were both campus technology coordinators at separate campuses in Eanes back around 2004ish. We were not allowed to sit together in meetings because we were too disruptive together and we were often separated (thank God for Skype!). I like to talk with Carl because we have similar attitudes about things and he is one of a very few select group of people I can be completely honest about in regards to similar experiences in our field and how they affect me on a personal level. Most people don't get to see that side of him and so the idea of the interview show came up in our conversation. 

After an hour of sharing and catching up, I opened my idea crate and shared about this interview-show concept I was mulling over but added the idea of the "pay it forward" interview style to open it up to multiple hosts providing a larger list of questions to share. The idea was that I would interview Carl first then let him select the next victim to interview and then it would keep moving forward. 

It solved an issue I was looking at regarding a second season: who would I get to interview Superintendents? It also helped me get over my own issue of not wanting to be on camera. By opening it up as a chain of interviewers, it would create a life of its own. It also opened up the idea of creating a pool of interview questions created by the interviewers and shared for future interviewers to use or adapt for their own use. 

There are many more talented people than me to host a show like this. There are far more better questions than I could ask. And many, many, many more popular people to carry this out to their social networks than I could hope for. 

I had Carl's blessing on it (#kissthering) so that was enough for me to create a name for it and reserve the domain. And now we have P2Plearn.org or Peer to Peer Learning Network which is really a shell to hold the conversations between our peer groups. 

I hope we can keep the idea of "seasons" and let librarians interview librarians, teachers interview teachers, principals interview principals, etc. to share not only the video or audio conversations but the questions to help guide other interviews. 

Honestly, this could completely bomb and blow up in my face. No one may be interested. It may be a really dumb idea. I would lose the $65 I paid for the domain and web hosting. It may be a punchline like Project Share. 

But I am proud to see it jump from concept to attempt. I will just be glad if it starts a new conversation.

Our conversation starts today at 3:00pm CST.

If you are interested in kicking off the season for your peer group, let me know and I will create your account to contribute to the site. 

1 comment:

  1. I think this is an awesome idea Joel! Sorry I couldn't catch all of the interview with Carl live today, but am looking forward to watching the rest of it.

    As it grows, it could be combined with a Twitter backchannel using a hashtag. I don't think all of the interviews would even need to take place at the same time like other Twitter chats do.

    Looking forward to seeing where this goes!!!