Big History Yammer Community

Big History Yammer Community

Big History Yammer Community

(Image credit: Chloe Simons)

If you were wondering how Big History teachers around the world are able to connect and share ideas, then Yammer would be a big part of the answer. Elle Hrobat, Project Officer from the Big History Institute, takes you through the basics.

What is Yammer?

Yammer is an online network for teachers to connect, swap resources and share ideas relating to their teaching of Big History in the classroom.  Whether you are currently teaching Big History, or planning to teach the course for the first time, Yammer's online community works as an open forum - giving you the option to freely browse and actively engage with the material that other Big History teachers have to offer. Topics that are up for discussion can range from teaching the threshold units, to useful lesson ideas, to best suited techniques for teaching interdisciplinarity in the classroom. Ultimately, it is every Big History teacher's 'go-to' for support in teaching Big History.

With a visual interface much like Facebook, Yammer provides a virtual space in which Big History teachers can login to their profiles, 'like' or comment on other teacher's posts, as well as post their own classroom activities to tag and share. The interface is easy to navigate, directing you to a basic news feed that updates as teachers post new ideas, interesting articles and learning activities. Discussion topics also encourage community exchange among teachers.


Features

Once a month, the BHP Exchange takes place where teachers from around the world meet for a concentrated period of time in the Teacher Community to discuss a Big History topic. The BHP Exchange is a wonderful opportunity for teachers to develop global sister school relationships and work together to share strategies for improving student learning experiences and support each other in resource development.   

Another key feature is the BHP Hot Seat Series. Each month, a 3 minute teacher-generated video is shared that focuses on different aspects of implementing Big History in the classroom as a springboard into topic-based discussion. These videos provide first-hand insights into the ideas, approaches, and methods used by teachers to produce the optimum learning experiences for their students. 

Making connections

Yammer provides an open and safe forum where new ideas can be formed and innovative teaching strategies shared and discussed. With Yammer as their community network, teachers can connect and form cross-disciplinary conversations with teachers that they previously may never have thought necessary to connect with.

Tracy Sullivan, Education Leader of the Big History Institute, says: "Everyone is going to be in unfamiliar territory at some point while teaching Big History, and that is one of the wonderful and exciting things about teaching Big History." Yammer, much like Big History, encourages you to reach outside of your teaching specialisation and make connections with fellow teachers and ideas.  Each teacher brings to the table their experience and expertise - whether they are seasoned Big History teachers or in the initial planning stages of implementation, Yammer provides the ideal online network.

To gain access to the BHP Yammer community, please email Elle Hrobat, Project Officer at the Big History Institute, at elle.hrobat@mq.edu.au.

Are you teaching Big History in 2015? The Big History Institute supports teachers in implementing the Big History course in Australia, and also provides teaching support more generally. Please let us know if you plan on teaching in 2015 by completing this form.

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