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.