(Some) Questions & Answers

Co-Labs for Innovation are a new approach to learning across schools. They are a way for educators to work smarter, not harder by leveraging the power of a network. Based on Improvement Science, Co-Labs are akin to Networked Improvement Communities (but are much more approachable if you think of them like a group of awesome educators experimenting and following the scientific method).

2017-18 is a pilot year for Co-Labs. We are looking for educators who are willing to take a risk and try something new, give us feedback, and have a good time learning together.

We know there will be questions, here are a few answers to get you started. Reach out if you'd like to chat more (Kat@theteachercollaborative.org).


Who can join a Co-Lab?

Any educator in Massachusetts who is interested in the selected challenge. A strength of the Co-Lab model is bringing together educators who are diverse across a variety of dimensions--role, grade level, subject area, race and ethnicity, years of experience, and school types (district, charter and private schools). 

What's the commitment of a Co-Lab?

Four in-person meetings and four virtual meetings (about 15 hours of meetings total). Plus about two hours of work in between meetings where you are trying new things in your classroom or school and reflecting on what you're learning to share back with the group. In total, somewhere between 25-35 hours.

When and where will Co-Labs meet?

After school, in the evening, most likely in Greater Boston. In-person meetings will be a 2.5 hours long and virtual meetings will be 1 hour long. We have space in Cambridge and downtown Boston. We're also excited to switch it up and visit schools. Exact locations and times will be finalized by the individual Co-Lab groups. See the detailed schedules for each Co-Lab.

Will you offer PDPs, grad credit, or stipends?

Eventually, yes but not likely for the first cohort. We know how much educators have on their plates and believe your time should be honored. We are happy to talk with your administrators about how they could provide PDPs for your participation. Co-Labs are free for educators and include all materials and dinner for in-person meetings.

What happens during a Co-Lab?

During a Co-Lab, the team will follow a process that feels a lot like the scientific method. You’ll dive in and explore the challenge from different perspectives and connect to research--and each other--to consider possible solutions. You’ll make a hypothesis and try out solutions in your classroom or school. You'll keep track of how it's going and share back with the group, ask for advice, and help each other make adjustments along the way.

By the end of the 12 weeks, you'll

  • gain a deeper understanding of the challenge,
  • be knowledgeable about solutions that work in different settings,
  • grow your practice, and
  • expand your connections to other passionate educators who you can continue to go to for support.

What happens after a Co-Lab?

The last step in the Co-Lab cycle is to pay it forward by publishing and sharing what the group learned with more educators. We will support each group to determine the format that makes the most sense based on the topic and the group's learning. Some ideas: share at an Educator Exchange, talk about the experience on our podcast (coming one day soon), write a blog post, shoot a quick video, or create a short (2 page) resource documents. 

Co-Lab participants are also invited to keep the group going (formally or informally) or participate in a different Co-Lab in the future.