Pick Me!

This post is my application for a 2015 CORE eFellowship.

#edchatNZ steering committee. L-R: Heather Eccles, Sonya van Schaijik, me, Matt Nicoll, Alyx Gillett, Danielle Myburgh, Mel Moore
#edchatNZ steering committee. L-R: Heather Eccles, Sonya van Schaijik, me, Matt Nicoll, Alyx Gillett, Danielle Myburgh, Mel Moore

My application presentation can be found here.

My Twitter profile
My Twitter profile
The kind words of Steve Mouldey
The kind words of Steve Mouldey
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Marsden Professional Learning Session 11

Today’s professional learning session was awesome! We were exploring creativity in practice. Teachers presented examples of how they develop creativity in their students. It was fantastic to see the outcomes students have produced – some really amazing stuff – but, more importantly, to hear about the means by which creativity has been encouraged.

One of the primary school staff spoke very thoughtfully about why creativity is so important. She touched on ideas about it being a higher order thinking skill as it aims for synthesis, building on prior knowledge and understandings. She used Albert Einstein’s quote, “creativity is intelligence having fun,” to talk about a culture of thinking flexibly and failing forward – things that don’t always come easily to our students. The emphasis was clearly on developing creativity no matter what the subject matter or context – that creativity doesn’t just mean art.

A senior manager also spoke to us about how her students have developed their creativity skills in her subject area. My favourite idea was that of constraints: that by putting tight barriers in place lateral, ‘outside the box’ thinking can be fostered.

it was also interesting that both speakers noted the benefits of BYOD – that by students having their own devices, the flexibility of learning and capturing learning was possible.

The only downside to the showcase was running out of time to have the workshops usually on offer. However, to hear concrete examples of pedagogy in practice was worth it.

Here is a copy of the wrap-around presentation I spoke to as a starter to this afternoon’s learning:

First Whole Staff Presentation!

First things first – here’s the presentation!

Staff Presentation 30 Jan 2014

I do love Haiku Deck – beautiful presentations, guilt-free Creative Commons images, minimal text means avoiding inflicting ‘death by PowerPoint’.

And my reflection will simply consist of saying that I was worried that I was presenting to a crowd who weren’t that thrilled to hear the message – especially with numerous network, server, internet and printing issues at present – but the staff seemed genuinely receptive. ¬†I am so grateful for the positive feedback I received ūüôā ¬†The next presentation won’t seem so daunting!

My fabulous co-presenter and senior manager and I understand from staff that they are pleased to know there’s a clear vision, that time and resources are being devoted to carrying that vision through, and that there is genuine choice for them as learners. ¬†Hopefully that’s role modelling for ya ūüėČ

Sailing Uncharted Seas

Hmmm perhaps this should have been my very first blog post, but better late than never, right?! ¬†I thought I’d just share a little bit of my journey – how I got to be in this metaphorical boat, sailing uncharted seas where the maps available may only warn ‘here be dragons’.

In a former life (i.e. last term ;)) I was HOD English. ¬†Now that was the ultimate goal for me in becoming a teacher. ¬†I wanted to teach English (mostly Shakespeare) and I wanted to be the Head of an English department. ¬†Mission accomplished. ¬†Happiness to follow? ¬†Not necessarily…

It was when I found myself actively applying for non-teaching jobs (a massive wrench for someone who always wanted to teach) that I realised something just wasn’t adding up. ¬†While still applying for jobs, I started listening to myself. ¬†What messages was I relaying about my days at work? ¬†I always had a funny or warm anecdote about something that happened in class. ¬†I really like my colleagues. ¬†I really didn’t find satisfying the constant war on how best to spend my time. ¬†The hierarchy went: stuff with parents; stuff that affected colleagues; senior marking; junior marking; planning lessons; department strategic stuff. ¬†Very rarely did that ranked list lead me to do the things that I felt would make a difference. ¬†Something needed to change – but the teaching wasn’t actually it.

In amongst this, it was announced that the school was going BYOD. ¬†Even me, with a severely limited understanding of what this meant in real terms, could see that this required a massive shift. ¬†What was the school doing about this (in case I don’t make this point later on – behind the scenes there was lots of really good thinking going on, I was just unaware of it at the time) to prepare staff?

I could spy an opportunity. ¬†Land ahoy?! ¬†I presented myself as a ‘willing skeptic’ – I could write a blog, and present some ideas to staff about how to teach ‘BYOD’. ¬†I had some ideas about the 3Cs of creativity, communication and critical thinking. ¬†I convinced the principal. ¬†Job mine. ¬†Go to ULearn.

Bam! ¬†I was suddenly adrift on an ocean of amazing ideas and opportunities – uncharted yes, but exciting in its very openness. ¬†Overnight (OK over the three days of the conference) I was converted – no longer ‘willing skeptic’ (how I cringe – who would go for that idea anyway?!) but raving zealot!

So, no longer HOD English, but Future Learning Leader. ¬†The seas remain uncharted, but the way forward is becoming less mirage-like. ¬†I will co-lead staff learning around the WHY of e-learning/BYOD with a strong emphasis on future learning principles and strategies. ¬†I will not jump up with a new app every day. ¬†I will work alongside departments to follow through an inquiry process into what they’re interested, and what might work technology-wise to support student needs for them as 21st century citizens.

I am no expert.  I am but a learner, and hopefully we can all work together to learn more.  Lifejacket anyone?