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Showing posts from August, 2014

Teachers are Learners Too - A Reflection on Professional Development, Being a Mentor and Teacher Inquiry

It is so easy as educators to fall into the trap of: do as I say, not as I do. Education constantly gives lip service to lifelong learning, but how many actually practise it in a meaningful way? A part of the problem is that so often we neither know what it actually means to learn something as an adult or simply where to start. For some it is confronting to take the teachers hat off and approach this from the perspective of a learner. What is sometimes even more confronting though at times is teaching teachers, mentoring them through the learning process.
This year I have been lucky enough to be a part of the DEECD's 'Teaching and Learning in the 21st Century' program. The premise behind it is to introduce educators to 21st century pedagogy and technologies through the use of the inquiry process. What could be understood as the ways of working, as well as the tools for working. This has involved a large amount of learning by doing for both myself as a coach and the particip…

What Apps Do You Use? - Advice for a New iPad User

A teacher at school saw me sketching away during the PD and asked me what apps I use in the iPad to support teaching and learning. Having recently been given an iPad as a part of her leadership role, she was wondering where to start. Instead of writing a simple list of applications, I thought that it might be better to go through those apps that I go back and what I like about them: SketchingInspired by the work of +Amy Burvall I have really taken to sketch noting of late. This has come to include my own professional learning notes , but also as a portable whiteboard for small group group. Initially, I was using Inkflow. However, I have since moved to Paper by FiftyThree. A couple of things that I really like are the ease of drawing and the ability to zoom in and out. The one thing that I have found important though is the use of a stylus. Although you can use your finger, using a stylus is so much better. OrganizationWhat I love the most about using the iPad is its portability. Wheth…

Why I Put My Hand Up for #gtasyd and Why I'm Excited

When I found out that I was accepted into Google Teacher Academy to be held in Sydney in September, I went and shared with a few staff members in the next office. One staff member asked whether that meant I would come back and get everyone going Google. I was startled, that has never been my intention. I have always pushed for encouraging communication and collaboration in and out of the classroom. Something that +Steve Brophy and I spoke about at the recent DLTV2014 conference. Sadly, many staff who I have worked with often see Google Drive as just a tool and not much more. I was then left wondering, why did I want to be a part of the Google Teacher Academy and what do I hope to get out of the experience?
I think that there is a misconception, and maybe that misconception is my own, that Google Teachers Academy is all about getting a whole lot of teachers using more Google products and somehow becoming inadvertent ambassadors for the corperation. Let me state clearly, I am not going t…

So You Don't See Yourself as a Connected Educator, What is that Really Saying?

A teacher at school came into my office the other day excited that he'd just received a new document at a recent network meeting. The document was 'Towards a New End:New Pedagogies for Deep Learning'. A document produced by Michael Fullan and Maria Langworthy as a part of the New Pedagogies for Deep Learning global project. The teacher in question was disappointed that we weren't also apart of the project.
The odd thing was that I had already seen this document. Firstly, via +Jenny Ashby on Twitter and then through her blog post requesting opinions and perspectives on the various skills. While I then came upon it as a part of the WMR 21st Century Network that +Sam Irwin and I set up. +Chris Karageorge shared how his school had also joined the project.
This whole situation highlighted two things to me: one, we are all influenced in life by networks whether we care to recognise it or not; and two, are we missing the point in focusing on being connected, is that what it …

Leveraging Twitter - My Thoughts on How To Make the Most of Every Situation

I recently got involved in a conversation about the best use of social media, in particular Twitter, to engage and gain traction with a wider audience. Often people are simply told to collectively tweet at a certain time and that will be enough to get something to trend, but really is that enough? For it is one thing to sign up to Twitter and put out a few tweets, but it is another thing to gain interest in your cause online. Fine you could simply write the same tweet hundreds of times and you might get something literally trending, however traction in my view is much more complicated than simply getting something trending. For who is watching? How are they actually responding? And most importantly, how will they respond if you use the same strategy again and again?
The reality is that there is a fine line between engaging and disengaging someone online (and offline for that matter too). Many people seem to think that traction is simply a numbers game, but this is naive and far too sim…

Being Connected, What is Your Story? - Originally Ran on Finding Common Ground (30/5/14)

This post was first shared on +Peter DeWitt's blog Finding Common Ground on the 30th May 2014.
There is a documentary series called Who Do You Think You Are?, the premise of which is to to trace the journey of a celebrity back to their genealogical roots. From the odd episodes that I have seen, the show works because it takes someone whose life is seen as extraordinary and it finds their story in the odd and the ordinary. 
This idea of tracing our identity back to the roots got me thinking about being a connected educator. There is often so much written about getting people connected. However, one of the biggest hurdles that I have found is bridging the gap between those in the shadows, lurking in the background, to creating a more engaged community which includes commenting and collaboration. One aspect that I feel is missing are the stories of how those now connected -  those sharing, engaging, participating - actually got to that point.
In his Ted Talk presentation on The Essentia…

Creative Expression as a Form of #EduVoice - More Reflections from #DLTV2014

I took to the recent #DLTV2014 Conference with a renewed sense of creative vigour. Instead of simply recalling information and posting titbits here and there (which I did as well), inspired by the likes of +Amy Burvall, I set myself the challenge of being more visual and more imaginative in my postings. Using creativity as a medium to express my voice. So here then are some of my ventures:

#DLTV2014Leading up to the event, I created a couple of memes to stir up the conversation around DLTV2014.



#EduVoiceI created a couple of images in the build up to +Steve Brophy and I's session 'Listening to the Voices in and out of the Classroom'.







#WhereisHaArmed with +Dean Shareski's recent suggestion that Twitter can be a creative medium, +Corey Aylen, +Eleni Kyritsis, +Bec Spink, +Mel Cashen and I started a hashtag #whereisHa (link to Tagboard) in response to +Michael Ha's absence from the keynote on the second morning. As a part of this playful folly, I created the following me…