July 31st I’m giving my first presentation at the Virginia Association for Teachers of Family and Consumer Science summer conference and my topic is “Connecting Culinary to the Community” (I do wish I had a cooler title). My main goal for this presentation is to build a network of culinary educators. From my first year of teaching, I have been wandering the internet fruitlessly searching for colleagues with whom I could compare notes, float trial balloons and otherwise commiserate. While I have met individual teachers hither and yon, I haven’t found a site where any of them congregate. There are of course several factors influencing this deficiency including:
1) Numbers – There just aren’t very many culinary teachers compared to other subjects.
B) Time – Haha! Who has time to spend on such a luxury?
III) Technology – Not all teachers want to be that plugged-in/connected or just don’t have the time to invest/learn yet another set of algorithms.
My plan is to create a network using old technology that everybody knows how to use – email/listserv and build out from there with twitter, et al. With that in mind, I’ve put together a Nabble group which is a free listserv/forum hosting service. The idea is that each teacher clicks on the subscription link in their invitation email from the group and they’re in! From that point, if they want to share their twitter handle, linkedin profile, etc. that will be up to them, but they can contact the network by merely replying to a topic they find interesting. One drawback I have from using nabble is that I don’t think there’s a real option for moderation, so spam may become a problem if we get some bot/spammy list members. Banning is available, but not moderation of individual posts. The forum’s not going to be visible except to registered members and those will be invite-only, so we’ll see how it goes.
I’m going to send invitations to the attendees of the Center for Advancement of Foodservice Education Summer Leadership Conference which usefully had “Connections” as it’s theme. Hopefully I’ll get some people signed up before I try to pitch the idea to my presentation attendees.
Wish me collegial reactions!