From 2012-2015 I was the Community Manager at Working Examples, a community for exchanging ideas and ideating to innovate in education. My goals were to build and support a community of professional learners in the ed tech field, including teachers, researchers and designers and to help people be strategic about what it is they’re creating. Here are a couple of things I did to help the Working Examples community thrive.
Small Talks are casual web chats where a small group of people (10 or less) talk about a specific subject, sharing their experiences, challenges and resources with each other. These events provide immediate and long-term value to participants and others through networking, mentorship, how-to’s and sharing of resources. They also establish the Working Example’s site as a resource and have engendered goodwill towards our project with both current and potential users. Our series of Small Talks with teachers who use games in their classrooms has been particularly successful. We had an initial Small Talk where participants talked about using games and creating games for the classroom, which led to an accepted SXSWedu proposal, a discussion group, a list of resources and a follow-up Small Talk. While the initial web chat reaches just a few people, Small Talks have had a big impact on our site traffic and community engagement.
The Working Examples team created and facilitated workshops to help people in our community be strategic about the work they do. Often we start projects with a cool idea, something we’re interested in pursuing, studying or creating. Our workshops help participants shift their thinking towards why their project needs to be done or made and how they can strategically solve an existing need or problem. During the workshops we dig in to the problem they are trying to solve, their audience, constraints, and goals. We’ve done workshops with attendees of the Games Learning Society Conference and students in Carnegie Mellon University’s Entertainment Technology Master’s program and have received positive feedback from both attendees and faculty affiliates.