Alaska Teacher Describes the Power of Educator Networks in Education Week Blog Post

March 2019
A person coming of a computer screen with multiple people in speech bubbles surrounding the computer

According to Karen Martin, a teacher and instructional coach in Alaska, the Northwest Rural Innovation and Student Engagement (NW RISE) Network builds connections.

Specifically, Martin says the network (which convenes teachers and leaders from some of the region’s most isolated and remote communities) created a link between educators in Alaska and Idaho—which led to an increased level of meaning and purpose in math learning at remote elementary schools in both states.

Martin describes her experience in a new Education Week blog post, “How Teacher Networks Can Facilitate Deeper Collaboration.”

“We didn't only want to connect our students virtually to share posters or PowerPoint slides of their projects or to ask each other basic questions,” she writes. “We wanted them to talk to each other one-on-one, face-to-face and push each other to justify and explain their thinking.”

Martin goes on to describe how she and her NW RISE collaborators shared their pedagogical knowledge, planned a course for engaging students in math argumentation and overcame technology challenges to link students separated by thousands of miles.

“The experience of our students has been powerful,” she writes. “My motivation for being a part of a teacher network is to raise the level of meaning and purpose in students' learning and to develop myself, for them, in ways I could never do alone.”