So one of the first things you hear about when discussing 21st-century skills is collaboration. The idea of working together to better the experience is nothing new. But, with technology we now have so many tools at our disposal to collaborate with people around the world, it is becoming commonplace. With that being said, the only thing that has not changed in dealing with collaborative projects is... TIME.
As educators, we understand just how precious time can be both in a classroom and preparing for lessons. Wouldn't it be nice to be able to collaborate with other educators from around the world on tomorrow's lesson? Now, wouldn't it be even nicer to get paid for your contribution? There is a new currency for educators... it is the most valuable currency that any educator can ask for -- the currency of time.
This is actually not a new concept. I found a site that deals in time currency. It is called the educator time bank. I joined this relatively new "bank" and it has been a very cool ride. I wanted to hear more about this concept so I went to the source. I spoke with Teresa Cristóbal who is the founder of Comunitats, a time bank network. She said:
The Time Bank is a booming collaboration system that has existed for many years. It facilitates the creation of a skill-sharing community that uses "time" as currency. To make money (time) you just have to support others. For example: If Mary teaches John to make a blog during one hour, Mary, will transfer 60 minutes of time to John, John can then use those 60 minutes to ask help from another member. It's as easy as that!
To me, this made perfect sense. It is a way to collaborate and learn from fellow educators and at the same time feel like you are earning something in return beyond the work. Think about this time bank model from a school/student stand point. Can you see students helping each other for "time currency"? Teresa also had this to say:
Educational Institutions spend a considerable amount of time and money in creating networking events and in getting to know the real needs of their members to effectively improve their services and skills. Does it make sense to apply a "time bank" concept in education? Of course it does, because education is about knowledge, time and reputation! If we use the time bank concept to create an ecosystem where educators, students and families can share want they know, we are empowering the community. We connect thousands of skills that the educational community needs to advance. Nobody knows as much as all of us put together.
I feel this is a concept worth investigating further. If you are interested in learning more about time banks or are interested in joining the educator time bank, go to: http://edubank.comunitats.org. It is a free site to use; it just costs you some time.