Monday, October 3, 2011

Exploring 2 Web 2.0 Tools

We're exploring a range of Web 2.0 Tools and how they can be used in online learning communities. We'd love your thoughts.  I've attached a powerpoint through Slideshare as it was too big to load. The 'iPods' don't work but you can click on the link and it will take you to the sites.

What Web 2.0 tools have you / do you use in your online community of learners?  Please add to our discussion and share any links.

Friday, September 30, 2011

When You Read and Share a Student's Writing, What is the First Thing You Comment on?

You are conferencing with a student to give him/her feedback on what they've written.  What do you comment on first?

The way we provide feedback to our students can have an enormous impact on their motivation to write.

The keynote below has some interesting points about what we do as teachers in terms of providing feedback, what the most common forms of feedback are in our classrooms; the information may surprise you.  What are the most effective types of feedback in terms of motivation and achievement and in promoting a love of writing?

I would be interested in hearing your thoughts - what rings true for you?  What surprises you?  What questions do you have circling?

The key message is to focus on the content first - the deep features - not the surface ones.  They are still important and are part of Reader Courtesy but, if you want to have motivated writers, focus on the message first - the content.

Feedback for blog

Monday, August 1, 2011

What's at the Heart of Your Teaching and Learning?

I've started to blog about the ILoveTeaching Conference held last week but, over the past three days, have also attended the RSCON3 - The Reform Symposium online conference.  This conference has involved over 75 presentations and 12 keynotes covering a diverse range of areas but they've all had one thing in common - teaching and learning with passion in the 21st Century.

There's been a bit of a theme happening here then over the last few weeks.  Interestingly, the theme of many of my readings for my Masters has also been around this!  Passion in teaching and learning has always been key for me since I began studying to become a teacher 15 years ago.  It just seems to make sense.  Commonsense.  If the teachers don't have the passion for what they do then how can they expect the students to show any enthusiasm?  

I've been reflecting on this an enormous amount, particularly over the past three days.  A presentation by @ShellTerrell (Shelly Terrell): The 30 Goals Challenge for Educators: How Will You Be Inspired - has really hit a nerve - in a very good way.  Shelly is a passionate educator with so much enthusiasm for what she does that it can't fail to rub off on you - or affirm your beliefs.  Shelly's bio on the Reform Symposium site sums up what she has achieved so far a great deal better than I could.  I recommend that you check it out, follow her on Twitter and also read her blog.  Be inspired. I certainly was and will participate in the 30 Day Challenge.

When I took a break from teaching at the end of the first term, I knew that I wanted to study and gain my Masters, knew what it was going to be in and what my focus would be, but I wasn't 100% sure about where I wanted it to head from there.  Was it research?  Was it educating other teachers?  Was it going back into the classroom?  I think it's all of these but I really want to find a way to help teachers connect to and with their students, learn together and be passionate about what they do on a daily basis.  

One of the Keynotes this afternoon carried on this theme and stated out loud what is often in our heads - "If you're not having fun you shouldn't be there... because you are dealing with their future."  This is in relation to being a teacher and it is so true. The presentation was by the Couros brothers: @courosa, (Dr Alec Couros), and @gcouros, (George Couros).  These inspirational teachers have clear messages that were also in line with the ILoveTeachingConference: We need to change what we do, not do more of the same, just with different tools.  We risk taking the passion away from our learners, and from ourselves if we do this.

Links to George Couros can be found here:

Links to Dr Alec Couros can be found here:

Both are recommended reading.

There were so many other inspirational speakers: Kelly Tenkely, Lisa Nielsen, John Davitt, Chuck Sandy, Dr Pam Burnard, Edna Sackson, Josh Stumpenhorst, Kathleen Morris, Brad Patterson, Tom Whitby, to name a very few at this stage.  I will reflect on their ideas over the next few days.  In the meantime, I'm off to catch the next great sessions.  The conference finishes at 9.00am tomorrow morning with a Keynote from Steve Wheeler - also known as @timbuckteeth on Twitter.  If you're not reading and reflecting on his blog, then you probably should be if you're a teacher and learner who is passionate about his / her work.

All of the sessions have been recorded and I'll post links as soon as they're available.

In the meantime:  Keep fighting to retain creativity and passion in teaching and learning so that we have engaged, motivated and passionate learners.  We're all teachers and we're all learners.  (A motto from my last group of fantastic learners!)
Trust is the key to developing passionate, creative, engaged and motivated learners... and teachers!  Passion and creativity are non-negotiables in teaching and learning.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

What and How are we Teaching... and are our Students Learning?

Over the past two days I've been fortunate to attend the I Love Teaching Conference in Invercargill, New Zealand.  Every two years a group of educators passionate about teaching and learning, put together a conference that is always energizing and always thought-provoking.  If you don't go away from the conferences inspired to make a change in your practice then, perhaps, you are in the wrong profession.

The theme of this year's conference was about remembering why we went into teaching in the first place.  To quote the Conference Convenor, Marlene Campbell:   "In challenging educational times, we wanted to remind educators of their passion for the job they do; and to refresh their love for their craft: hence the "I Love Teaching" brand for this event."  

Speakers included:  
Professor Francoys Gagne - developed a theory of talent development - the Differentiated Model of Giftedness and Talent.  (DMGT)

Dr Jeni Wilson - a proponent of reflective and personalised teaching and learning and meeting the needs of the 21st Century learner.

James Nottingham - the developer of p4c - Philosophy for Children and director of Sustained Success - his own company.  James delivers powerful methods about feedback - the good, the bad and the ugly!  He explains why praise feedback is ineffective and why process feedback is essential.

Allie Mooney - Allie delivers fantastic - and entertaining - messages about the different personalities we come across in life... and how to appreciate and value those differences.

Wilson McCaskill -  Director of The Game Factory one of the most passionate and energetic proponents of teachers and teaching on the planet!  His key message is to value the children we teach and to help them develop self-management strategies.  His Play is the Way programme has much to offer in these areas.

Graham Watts - Graham is a developer of thinking and learning programmes and an Associate Director for the Habits of Mind for the UK and Europe.  His practical ideas for the classroom are inspiring but, most of all, he encourages us to take a critical look at what we do as teachers and whether we are heading in the right direction for our 21st Century learners.  Looking at the future of education - where are we heading and how is it going to look in the next 100 years?

Each of these speakers had important messages to share so I'll devote separate posts to each of them and how their messages are so important in our classrooms - and for the future of education if we're going to meet the needs of our 21st Century learners.  Are we really the 21st Century teachers we think we are??

The greatest message I've taken away is:  Are we teaching children HOW to learn or WHAT to learn? Which is more valuable??

As part of my postgrad degree I've been reading an enormous amount - no exaggeration! - of research around just these issues and, as it's an area of passion for me, I think this is what will ultimately guide what I research as part of the degree and where my teaching and learning will lead me in the next stage of my own learning.

The speakers had so much to offer and, to reflect on this, I think they need their own posts.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Through the Looking Glass - Teacher Self-Study

Over the past few months I've been reading about, and investigating issues around, teacher self-study.  (Another form is Action Research - Dr Roger Peckover, MEd., explains this well).

Why should teachers examine their practice?  This has been the central focus question for the research / investigation.  I believe it comes down to knowing the 'why' of what we do - I seem to focus on this quite a bit, but I make no apologies for this as I think it's so important to be able to articulate why we teach and learn with our students in a particular way.  If we can't do this then what impact does what we do on a minute-by-minute, day-by-day basis have on what our students can achieve?

The research supports the importance of being able to study aspects of our practice in depth but there are also many questions around this.  How do we fit this into an already packed day?  Can we afford not to?  How do we make sure that teacher self-study is valued by all members of the school community?  How do we support teachers in being able to complete this form of inquiry into their practice?  The information gained from this form of reflection is incredibly valuable but how do we then disseminate it?  How do we get it 'out there' so that we are informing not only ourselves but the wider community in general and the education community specifically.

It is also suggested that teacher self-study is one way of making sure that change happens in teaching and learning, particularly for our 21st Century Learners.  Could this be the answer to making sure that the education system we have now, begins to become the education system that we need - not just a variation of the one that has always been?

What's the answer?  How valuable do you believe teacher self-study to be?  How much experience have you had?  How is teacher self-study supported in your school?  Have you utilised Critical Friends in your school?  What were your experiences?

The title of the following is a really interesting one which appealed to my sense of humour straight away - is it too cynical?  It is worth a read!

Smyth, J. (2001). Critical reflection: The antidote of being done to!. (Chapter 14, pp.183-196). In Critical politics of teachers’ work: An Australian perspective. New York: Peter Laing.

So how do we make sure this works for all concerned?

Professor Jack Whitehead talks about how to give the teachers a voice within Action Research.

Monday, May 23, 2011

It's All About Effectiveness - so what is it - what's the key?

Keys To Effective Teaching
We're busy reading and discussing some pretty interesting ideas and issues at the moment in my study.  Effectiveness has sparked some really interesting debate, and don't even let me get started on 'authentic' - I will save that for another post.

Our latest discussion has centered around what makes an effective teacher.  We've read a lot, discussed and debated our thinking, challenged ideas and beliefs.

'Effectiveness' of a teacher is still something I am always arguing with myself about. Is it becoming all about test scores and meeting standards? Is it deeper than that? Is an effective teacher one who can inspire and motivate students who may not have been inspired or motivated? What if these students don't meet the standards, or don't pass an exam / test, but love school and learning for the first time through the encouragement and support of a teacher? Isn't that being 'effective'? 

What, to you, makes an 'effective' teacher?

Monday, May 16, 2011

The Spinning Head Phenomenon

For the past two weeks since my last blog post my head has been spinning with ideas about what to reflect on next.  It's been spinning so fast in fact, that I haven't had time to blog - absolutely a poor excuse for not having done so, however!  It has not meant I haven't been reflecting on my learning - that has been a constant of the past 2 weeks.

So what's been happening during this time - I've decided that I need to reflect back on what's been happening in terms of my learning and compare it with the last time I studied full-time.  Should be a few differences???

The Ancient Past - well 16 years ago.
Studied through Massey Uni - everything in books, on paper.  Assignments written to correct format and then posted by snail mail - did I post it in time???  Feedback arrives - written - later on, again by snail mail. Ordering books - send the request by mail / some email, just beginning.
Teachers College - three years, beginning to use computers as a medium for communication.  Studied Computers in Education through Otago 1998.
No Twitter, no blogging, no Facebook.
Reflection - yes, but often individual and perhaps recorded in a book / journal.

Current Position / Lay of the Land (Covering the first 10 or so weeks of the year)
Full-time study through Otago Uni - termed the "Oldest Scarfie" by people who have a sense of humour.  Hmm.
Everything is online through Moodle.
Log on and introduce yourself to the others taking the same papers.
Begin reading - again, everything can be accessed online.  No hefty 'coursebooks', etc this time round.
Order the course ebook for one of the papers.
Access all the journals online - we could do this back in the old days but had limited access.  Thank goodness for ERIC back then!
Request books from the library - automatic online - arrive within the week.
First assignment for one paper - group is formed online, have never met, everything for this assignment completed through using Google docs, Moodle discussion forums, email, iChat, and presented on a blog!  (Much more interesting than on paper methinks!)
Final write-up is completed as a group - let's not count the number of emails that have gone back and forward!

It has been one of the most rewarding experiences to date - the amount of growth through collaboration and reflection has been incredibly powerful.  Debates have been had over the changes in communication over time - online vs face-to-face.  Are we changing how we communicate and 'read' each other because of the different environments?  Is the old argument about not being able to read body language, tone of voice, etc becoming outdated and redundant?

Reflection - constant through blogging, Facebook and Twitter PLN connections.  You have the opportunity to challenge your thinking, have your thinking challenged by others and create new knowledge through inspiring discussion.

How else has my knowledge been built over the past 10 weeks - has it been just through coursework and study / reading from required texts?  Yes it has but it's also been through the following:
Twitter - PLN - recommendations, links to other sites, # chats, online forums, invitations to join online discussion groups and much more
Facebook - linking with other educators - more discussion
Web 2.0 Tools - trialling, critiquing, sharing with others what works, and doesn't work for them
Blogs - reading, thinking and responding
Skype - I've been able to talk to people to discuss my learning, clarify thinking and forming links with other educators

Hmm.  Enough for now.  The head is still happily spinning with the challenges and the learning.  (There is also an interesting assignment due tomorrow!)

I would love to hear about changes others have noticed over the time they've been studying.

Friday, April 29, 2011

"The Courage to Blog With Students" Education Week

Have a look at this article:

It has some fantastic blogging resources and reasons why blogging is becoming such an important learning and self-reflection tool for 21st century learners and teachers.

Headings include:

1. The best way to get your feet wet without drowning is to use a group blog (a personal favourite)
2. Teach students how to write comments (all part of effective literacy practice)
3. Use what you already have in your teaching plan with some minor adjustments (don't reinvent the wheel!)
4. Safety
5. Communicate with parents about what you are doing.

We would love to know your thoughts on this.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Salman Kahn flips the classroom

Salman Khan talk at TED 2011 (from

Salman Khan gives us even more reasons why we can - and need to - 'flip the classroom'. The more I think about and learn about this, the more I want to be involved in the potential for educational reform this offers.

How many of our students who have not had successful educational experiences could have benefited from learning in our new environment? We can't afford to wait any longer.

What are we doing in our teaching and learning each and every day to meet the needs of our 21st century learners?

How far have we come on the eLearning journey?

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Tiki-Toki - A Fantastic New Tool

I'm trying out a new tool recommended by @ktenkely -  Kelly Tenkely.  She also has the fantastic website:
This is a recommended website for fantastic ideas - prepare to have your thinking challenged!
This week she previews Tiki-Toki - another amazing tool for sharing learning.  It runs on a timeline that you can edit and has a wide range of uses in many situations.  Their website is easy to use.  Have a play and let me know what you think.
I've added the start of a timeline here to have a play around with over the next wee while - it's a work in progress!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

iPad Excitement!

50 Innovative Ways To Use iPads In School - Edudemic

Check out this site, slide and Google Doc. I highly recommend Edudemic as a resource site for all teachers.

Although not currently in a classroom, this is where I want my research to head. There is so much potential to change the way we teach, to motivate, inspire - and learn from - our fantastic students.

I'd love to hear from people who have tried some of these learning experiences.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

I'm Wrong!

During my teaching career I have learned many lessons - often from students.  I have learned far more from being wrong, from taking a risk, from making mistakes, than I have from being right.

My favourite question to use with students is "Why?  Who says that that's right?  Who's assumptions and judgments are we using to say that something is right?"

Are people wrong just because they disagree with us?  Why do we fear being wrong?  We want our students to be risk-takers and questioners but we are reluctant to take risks and question ourselves.  Why do we see it as 'failure' when we get something wrong?

Kathryn Schulz presents a TED Talk on the freedom of being wrong.  What are we 'wrong' about in our teaching and learning but afraid to admit because we don't want to be judged as being 'wrong'?

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Times They Are A Changing

Title with apologies to Bob Dylan!  (My slightly foggy mind is still catching up on readings for 4 papers, hence no blogging for the past week!  Terrible reflection.  Must improve as I now have no excuse to be a lazy blogger!)

This is the first year of my Master of Teaching degree and it has provided me with some exciting learning to date.  I am now a full-time student after 12 years of full-time and full-on (!) teaching and learning.  I'm enjoying the time to step back and read some interesting and thought-provoking research, conduct my own research and learn a great deal from others.

In EDUX423 Technology-enhanced Learning, we have been exploring a range of different learning formats that cover personalised, collaborative, lifelong learning and communities of learning.

One group has set up a blog - The Blog Team:

and some have set up a wiki:

Alongside of these ways of showing lifelong learning that is both personalised and collaborative, we have all communicated through our online learning environment, Moodle.

I have worked with a team to complete an assignment; a team whom I have not met face-to-face, but together we have collaborated to put together our blog and run our online discussion.  I have learned a great deal, been challenged in my thinking and contributed to the discussions.  Who would have thought this environment possible 15 years ago, when I went through the College of Education?


Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Future is Here Now and We Need to Keep Up

We can't afford to wait for the future to come to us - it's been here long enough.  We need to think about what we are doing now to meet the needs of our learners... and ourselves.

From Hack Education - Audrey Watters

Sunday, April 10, 2011

21st Century Motivation

The clip below is fantastic - and just good commonsense.  Interesting and thought-provoking.  I really loved the strong Student Voice in the clip.

We're exploring this through our research assignment for EDUX423 -
Please have a look at the blog and leave a comment on here for me to see whether we're on the right track or not.  Our research question was around the use of blogs to foster life-long, collaborative learning.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Stages of PLN Adoption

An interesting link that discusses the stage of PLN adoption and gives an interesting insight into the benefits, how to develop and manage it.

I think I'm at Stage 3 but trying really hard to work on Stages 4 and 5!!

See what you think. Would love to read your thoughts.

Website: The Thinking Stick. Recommended reading

Saturday, March 26, 2011

What eLearning Is...And Is Not

A great clarification of what eLearning is and isn't.

So that makes me think... is the definition of mLearning too narrow? Please share your thoughts.

I also asked the children today what THEY thought eLearning was. I was completely blown away. They talked about collaboration / working together, sharing with other around the world, environmental, exploring and many other definitions!!

Many are going to blog about their thoughts and there is also a post on the classroom blog about their eLearning thoughts. The future is definitely in great hands if we have thinkers like these!!

Preparing for the 21st Century Ten Years On

Reflections on a reading from Education Today - author tbc

Pondering on what I do each day in the classroom. Am I teaching the children how to think or am I teaching them what to think. I would really like to be certain that it is the former rather than the latter.

We have talked about this a lot in class - and over the years. It's always something that has interested me. I don't want the students I teach to look to me for the answers, I may not have them. I don't want them to take what I say as gospel, it may not be so. I don't want them to give up on a task or do it a certain way just because they think it is the way I want it done, my thoughts, like theirs may and should change.

I loved the following quote as it really rang true with my beliefs about teaching and learning:

"While it is true '21st century skills' do have to do with adapting to new technologies effectively it has much, much more to do with being able to think deeply about topics, solving complex problems, and being capable of synthesising information to form new solutions. If kids go through school unable to practise these skills, then everything else has been for naught." (p 24)

Being a 21st century learner is not just about the ICTs - they are just tools. If our students and we as teachers, haven't got the skills of the Key Competencies to back up the use of the tools, then we lose the potential, relevance and meaning of what being a true 21st century learner is and can be.

As teachers and learners, we "...cannot abandon our efforts to give our students what they will need to help them be successful in learning and life, (no matter what our frustrations may be)." (p 25)

Are Schools Becoming Irrelevant to Today's Society?

Reflections on an article by Dr Scott McLeod in Education Today

"Students needs to be entering the workforce empowered to use effective thinking, be problem solvers, work collaboratively, creatively, and be able to be analytical and adaptable." (p 9)

Are we delivering 'something else' to meet the needs of the 21st century learner or are we just delivering 'more of the same' with fancy gadgets attached. I'm playing devil's advocate here, but how different really is the Activboard from the Blackboard? (That should liven up the discussion).

To truly transform what we do, we need to be innovative, creative and critical thinkers. We need to help our students develop the skills they need in a rapidly changing environment. Scott McLeod discusses the rapid changes that are happening at an astonishing rate in every occupation; "... every single one is being or has been transformed by the information revolution we are now living in." (p8)

So what are we doing on a day to day basis that will help our students survive and thrive in the future? How do we educate for jobs that don't yet exist? How do we incorporate eLearning and mLearning into our education system so that we can guarantee that what we do each day matches up and relates to the experiences our students have outside of school. Is the gap become too wide or are we the change-makers who are closing it?

What are we doing now to guide our students in the development of critical, creative, collaborative learning that is relevant, and links to the world outside our classroom? These are also the questions and concerns of Sir Ken Robinson. (Check out his latest presentation on this blog).

How do we take the school communities along with us on this journey? Is it through the children leading the 'teaching'? What about workshops being run by the students? Can we begin to educate through the blogs if the meaning and learning is clear on them?

The digital world is now the real world, "Our kids can do amazing things if we turn them loose with appropriate tools, guidance and resources." (p 9).

My belief is that it is through these tools that our students can become critically creative and innovative problem-solvers who can make their own 'dents' in the world.

I Don't Use a Reflective Journal Anymore

Over the years, I've used a reflective learning journal to record my thoughts, observations, questions and to reflect on what works - and what doesn't or hasn't worked - in my teaching and learning.

I've now stopped this!

So what do I do instead? I blog.


Blogging has allowed me to be able to go back to posts I've written to rethink ideas, to wonder about new information and add to what I already know. I couldn't do that with a journal - how would I ever find the page, let alone the right journal. I began to question what the relevance of a traditional journal was in my teaching and learning. To be honest, the relevance wasn't there.

With a blog, however, I can collaborate with others, learn new ideas, discuss and debate educational issues, walk the walk of a reflective practitioner, improve my practice through connecting with others, add to the world-wide discussions on education, take professional discussion and development to the next level. Who else would see my traditional journal - no one really. Now, others read what I write, contribute, collaborate and challenge my thinking on a wide range of issues.

I couldn't even begin to list the educators who have inspired me through their blogs and through the connections on Twitter, but I can add them as a list of blogs I follow on my sidebar!

Please check them out. There are some pretty inspiring, creative and critical thinkers out there. Please join us!

If you want to read more on why educators should blog and use Twitter, check out:

@justintarte on Twitter

Or, check out his blog - link on my blog list. If you'd like to know more about the benefits of Twitter, please check out the post on this blog.

Sir Ken Robinson: Out of Our Minds - Learning to be Creative

Another of Sir Ken's inspiring talks. Talking about where we are headed in education and that we need to keep in mind the most important factors in education - the relationship between the teacher and the learner and that, sometimes, the two are interchangeable - sometimes the roles change.

He shares his concerns about where our education system is headed. We need to keep in mind the diversity of people and fight for this in education. It's not about the narrow 'subjects'.
Purposes of education, (3)
- Personal - connect people with their own possibility. Personalised Education.
- Cultural - need an education process that helps us understand our own and others' cultures.
- Economic

From Learning Without Frontiers.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Our Students Need to Be Solutionaries

Zoe Weil has to be one of the most inspiring educationalists I've come across. She challenges us to teach our children to become solutionaries - not to accept what is fed to them but to be critical, creative, 'big picture', global thinkers.
Would love some discussion on this. What can we do to make this happen in our teaching and learning. Are we helping our students to become solutionaries or are we just expecting 'more of the same'?

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Divide Between Teachers

An interesting post about the growing division between early and late adopters. Is there a growing division in teaching and learning? Would love to read your thoughts.
Recommend the blog below as one to follow too.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

28 Interesting Ways to Use an Ipod Touch in the Classroom

Ways to use iPods in the classroom. Will also post the one about using iPads. Rm 8 is using some great apps on their iPod. If you'd like some ideas, email them for suggestions.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Prof Steve Wheeler on 2020 Teachers

This has to be one of the most inspiring blogs on the Net. What an exciting future ahead of us as educators if even only half of this comes to fruition. Please check out and follow his blog - absolutely worth it and some of the best PD available. (He is coming to NZ to speak later in the year - hoping to get a scholarship to hear him).

Gordon Dryden on Unschooling

On Breakfast this morning, Gordon Dryden spoke about Unschooling - featured on last night's Sunday programme. It raised some interesting questions including, how do we individualise the learning now for the students we teach?
Gordon believes that our programmes are now more aligned with this philosophy of learning. What are your thoughts?
There are many resources and websites dedicated to Unschooling on the Net.

Blog Developments and Student Experiences

The last couple of weeks have been quite busy, hence the lack of blog posts on here.
Have started my Masters and that's been pretty full-on. Have just completed three weeks' worth of readings and two assignments! Am now up-to-date but need to make sure that I comment on the readings online.
It's a really interesting learning environment and one that is quite different from the last time I studied extramurally. Fantastic people and everything is online - my favourite learning environment.
I've been busy helping the class set up their individual blogs. They came up with the Internet and Blogging Safety Guidelines as well as the information about blogs, why we blog and the important role they can play in our learning. I am incredibly impressed with their thinking. Fantastic 21st century learners.
They are beginning to add some of the fabulous gadgets to the blog but they also know the true purpose behind blogging. They are working on introducing themselves and beginning their discussions on blogging.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Twitter for Educators

Another look at Twitter and the benefits for educators. Recommended viewing. The connections to be made here are invaluable - just to be able to tap into the knowledge and ideas of others. Thought-provoking, thought-confirming and thought-challenging.

Stump The Teacher: Twitter Tutorial

Stump The Teacher: Twitter Tutorial: "I have recently spoken and chatted online with folks about the power of Twitter as a professional development tool. I have also posted to bl..."

I would absolutely recommend connecting with Josh Stumpenhorst. He is an inspiring educator who has a lot to share and does so in a very entertaining way. There is so much to learn from his blog and his tweets.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Changing to Learn

How quickly are we changing - are we changing fast enough? Another blog I read yesterday talked discussed the issue of 'change taking time'. They argued that, with the speed of change in technology, change cannot take time - we need to move as fast as possible in terms of changing our pedagogy, our belied system about best practice in teaching and learning. (I'm looking for the link to this blog / presentation. Don't you hate it when that happens??!!)

Twitter is Twemendous - apologies to Elmer Fudd

Over the past two weeks I have decided to go to the next level. My obsession is now complete - at least it is until the next development in my eLearning journey.

I am now an obsessed Twit (Tweep??) - some would say that this has been going on for a great deal longer than a mere two weeks!

I must confess that I was one of the "Who wants to know the minutiae of my daily life" brigade. What was the point? Leave me to my blog and all the other incredible online learning that is out there. Leave me to absorb the information, challenges and insights from the fantastic blogs that exist in my 'other' world.

It had to happen... someone mentioned Twitter - was I a Twit yet? I was unsure as to my response to this so I replied that, yes, I was one. (Even I know that I'm a tweep - at least I think that's what I am?????) At least I had an account - for at about a year. Ah, but had I done anything with it? Yes, it has my photo on it. The look of disdain and pity does not need to be explained at this stage.

"But have you ever used it for professional development and learning?" Um, no, not really. (Read, no, not all all). Another range of facial expressions - honestly they could be a facial contortionist in a circus! I thought at this stage, to save the wind changing and run the risk of the expressions becoming permanent, that I needed to investigate this further. Well, I pride myself on being a true Geek and technology-obsessed individual, so I should be up-to-date, right?

I dipped my toes - well fingers - in and logged onto my account, eventually. (Had been so long that a new password was needed to replace the forgotten one!) I read what other people were tweeting, learned many new terms in the process and within half an hour I was away.
My friend suggested that I look at who other people were following - felt a bit 'stalkerish' but I soon got over that as I read the insights, thoughts and twitterings of others.

What has the result of all this Tweet-reading been? I have had my eyes opened to yet another learning platform on the Net. I have learned more exponentially in the past two weeks than in the past five years. I have connected with some pretty amazing minds, had my ideas confirmed or challenged, my eyes opened and have developed an enormous respect for the great brains and committed educators that live in our world. I have even had offers of support and mentoring from education professionals both in NZ and overseas - how amazing is that - and gratefully appreciated. A very humbling experience.

Long may they keep Tweeting and working with "Twits" like me to improve our knowledge and passion for what we do to continue to change the face of learning for all.

Monday, February 21, 2011

The Future of Learning

Points to ponder. Please share your thoughts. This is another of Prof Steve Wheeler's presentations. I would absolutely recommend that all teachers visit his blog - Learning with e's: The future of learning. He is an inspiring thinker who will challenge your thinking.
I would also recommend following him on Twitter - timbuckteeth.

Twitter Thoughts

I've been doing a lot of thinking about this over the past week or so. I have had a Twitter account for some time but really had no idea of the power for learning of this tool. In the past week I have learned an enormous amount and made some very valuable and rewarding contacts with other 'like minds'.
I continue to be amazed at the depth of knowledge out there and the passion for education and learning so many people have. I am excited about the future, about the research and the possibilities for 21st century learning.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

A Vision of 21st Century Teachers

"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn."

Sugata Mitra: The child-driven education | Video on

Sugata Mitra: The child-driven education | Video on

Are we facilitating authentic learning? What changes do we need to be making?

Flat Classrooms Conference

This fantastic conference is being held in Beijing on February 25 - 27.
It's all about flattening the learning environment, developing links around the world
and learning with and from each other.
Educators can attend the conference virtually and connect and learn from some amazing
speakers / presenters.
I have been fortunate enough to be accepted as one of 40 educators world-wide, in the Level 1 part
of the conference as a full team member in the Leadership Workshop. Very exciting and another
great challenge to begin the year. Let the learning begin!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

ISTE Conference

Something else I've become involved in! Last year I was very lucky to be able to be one of the team who worked on the proposals for this conference. I learned so much and was amazed at the depth of talent and knowledge out there. This was another of the factors that made me want to take my education and knowledge further.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

2011 Challenges

Off to a great start today with our session with Mark, our new ICT facilitator. Started off with a bit of a challenge - The Marshmallow Challenge!
Loved hearing everyone's thoughts about what they got out of the activity. Some of us are going
to attempt the challenge with our new students this week. They will no doubt be very creative!
It's such a great activity to remind you to listen to the ideas of others and to think about the framework needed in order to achieve the big picture goals - the 'marshmallow'.
Thanks for a brilliant and inspiring session.
Check out the link below if you would like a challenge for any age group.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Youtube and Quietube

During one of the online presentations on the UNconference, one of the speakers talked about how to share Youtube videos without all the ads and comments, which are sometimes inappropriate for some age levels.
Go to Quietube where you can drag the icon to your bookmark / toolbar and then click on this when you want to view the video without all the extras. You can also add the video to your blogs, etc without all the ads and comments.
Lots of other tools shared during the presentation, including one where you can edit a Youtube video so that you just have the section you want to use. It doesn't alter the original. The site for this is called TubeChop.

Interesting thoughts on what motivates us