My Interdisciplinary Connection Map

This is my interdisciplinary connections map.  It is made up of many different individuals and organisations.  I love the rich and diverse communities I belong to.  My students’ learning and development require that I have great communication skills and relationship with so many connections.

My Interdisciplinary Connection Map

Inter cross bound

I teach in a Special Education Department in a large secondary school.  Our department is one of many other departments in the school.  Although we work more closely with teachers within our departments there is a lot of interaction with other teachers throughout the school.  There is a strong sense of collegiality within the school that fostered in part by the daily whole school briefing.

This meeting is beneficial as a way for teachers to connect through chatting and laughing together before the rush of the school day starts.  I always thought that this was one of the more important ways for my professional connection with other professionals.  There is a strong sense of collegiality although on reflection there is not a lot of deep professional interaction occurring.

The interdisciplinary area that I am focusing on is my professional development through social media.  How is it useful in my day to day teaching and my collaboration with other teachers within my department?  Reflecting on this year’s Mindlab course and the watching the video on interdisciplinary and Innovation Education (ThomasMcDonaghGroup, 2011) allowed me to see that my empathic horizon has expanded this year as I have worked my way through the Mindlab course.

I have expanded the boundaries of my knowledge and understanding.  I have started to communicate and contribute to communities of teaching beyond my school gate.  I share and interact with other learning professionals online and through social media.  This has come through reading a wide variety of research on education and through social media platforms such as Google+, Twitter and Pinterest.

This has allowed me to develop deeper connections into my teaching and expanded my areas of teaching interests.  I am a member of a Twitter group that exchanges classroom strategies and knowledge on gamification.  One of the group members is a world-renowned expert in the field who has written a popular book about gamification.

My classroom teaching has improved and I have tried innovated learning strategies because of belonging to this community.  Connections within this community introduced to me Pinterest pages that relate to gamification.  I believe that the more I contribute and receive the more I can improve my teaching.

We share common emotional qualities of respect and openness which have had a positive influence on sharing of ideas within the group.  These qualities are necessary for interdisciplinary collaboration (Mulligan, & Kuban, 2015).  This is a collaborative relationship with other teaching professionals from around the world using the powerful tool of social media.

It is a collegial and productive environment.  Instead of looking myopically at my own classroom and teaching I trying to develop a holistic approach in which I use new ideas and pedagogy in my classroom to improve the learning outcomes for my students.  My new and extended professional connections have allowed me to share my new knowledge with my departmental colleagues.

I consider this to be an interdisciplinary approach as I have started to use gamifications techniques that I have seen used in mainstream classrooms from around the world.  I have also shared some of the course work activities such as using the Makey Makey technology that I have used during the Mindlab course.

I have shared these techniques with my colleagues within my department.  I agree with Jones (2010) that the interdisciplinary approach can create teams of teachers that will help to enrich the overall educational experiences of students.  Such an approach can be time consuming for teachers.

It takes a commitment to regular communication between staff to keep this collaborative approach working although the skills that we as teachers have developed and implemented in the classroom have contributed to students learning and success.

In conclusion, continuing with this journey will require a commitment on my behalf.  Having such strong communities online and with my colleagues will help to motivate me to stay in touch with new learning ideas, sharing these new ideas freely and ensuring my students have new and innovated learning opportunities.


Stewart McKean


Jones, C. (2010). Interdisciplinary approach-advantages, disadvantages, and the future benefits of interdisciplinary studies. ESSAI7(1), 26.

Mulligan, L. M., & Kuban, A. J.. (2015). A Conceptual Model for Interdisciplinary Collaboration. Retrieved from

ThomasMcDonaghGroup. (2011). Interdisciplinarity and Innovation Education. . Retrieved from


One thought on “My Interdisciplinary Connection Map

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  1. Hi Stewart,
    I love the fact that social media enables us to increase our ability to connect with others much wider than we could have ever hoped for. Being able to ask a question to the world rather than just my immediate circle has been such a benefit and increased the efficiency of getting an answer as well as increasing the knowledge base. Professional development no longer has to be something that we wait for, but something that we can engage with at any time and in any place when we use youtube, facebook and other forms of social media to increase our understanding. I was impressed with your ability to connect to an expert in gamification through your use of Twitter, it is perhaps something that I need to dip my toe into and give it a go.


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