From Tweeting to Meeting

Inspired by (or completely copying…) Matt Nicoll’s blogpost, I thought I’d still a few minutes to quickly jot down why I’m so excited by attending tomorrow’s #edchatNZ conference, and what I’m hoping to learn.

I have never helped organise a conference before. I can’t say I’ve contributed over much, but I’m so proud of being associated even loosely with #edchatNZ. I really hope to continue this post-conference. I would love to learn how to moderate a Twitter chat, and I’d love to be considered the ‘official’ #edchatNZ secretary. (Have the delegates enjoyed their emails – that’s mostly been me!) Also being involved in a small way with the organisation has helped me appreciate the boundless energy Danielle Myburgh, #edchatNZ founder, has. She is utterly amazing. Her commitment to her profession is awe-inspiring. I’ll say it now, and I’ll say it again in person: thank you, thank you, thank you.

I’ve also never gone to a conference knowing but not knowing so many people. I think I’m a little worried of looking like I have some dodgy fixation as I scan lanyards at sternum height and exclaim, ‘Oh, you’re [insert Twitter handle here]! So great to meet you!” I can’t wait to put faces to names – especially of the #edchatNZ steering committee. How strange to be working quite intensely with a group of people you’ve never met. But it the power of these connections that I’m so uber-excited to build upon at #edchatNZ. I mean zero disrespect to the amazing line up of speakers when I say: I really just want to sit around and learn from my PLN.

And what is it that I’m hoping to learn?

  • I want to learn more about design thinking and to feed that obsession.
  • I want to learn more about breaking down silos and encouraging traditional schools to shift.
  • I want to learn more about how to be an effective agent of change.
  • I want to learn more about the modern learning environment of Hobsonville Point Schools.
  • I want to learn more about being a future-focused educator.

I look forward to reporting back post-conference!

 

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And #edSMAC was born…

My most retweeted tweet is a photograph of a quote from Kristen Swanson’s book Professional Learning in the Digital Age. The quote says:

“I wondered why somebody didn’t do something.

Then I realised, I am somebody.”

– Unknown

I think this captures Claire Amos’ challenge to New Zealand educators to ‘hack their classroom’ this term. I’ve written about accepting this challenge in my 100 Days of Learning log, but I thought it might be more useful to contain all the thoughts together in one ‘proper’ blogpost. So here it is.

I have an ambitious job description. I, along with my wonderful senior manager, have been charged with leading staff into adopting future focused pedagogy. We have gone BYOD with our seniors, and the rest of the school will follow soon. As I’ve outlined previously, to help us in this task staff have been given their own devices from the Board, and we have every staff meeting devoted to professional learning in this area.

When we surveyed staff at the end of last term, the results were pretty positive. The summary is below:PL Survery T1 Q1

PL Survey T1 Q2

PL Survey T1 Q3

PL Survey T1 Q4

(4 is high, 1 is low!)

However, the final graph is, as you can see, a little different. Staff are yet to feel that there is much discernible impact on their classroom pedagogy as a result of the professional learning we have been doing.

My reaction to this is often to swing between ‘it’s early days’ and despair. Which is why I enjoyed Anne Knock’s blogpost so much this week. And especially this graph:

slide1because it makes sense to me that we’re still in a ‘building knowledge’ phase. Mindsets (from ‘fixed’ to ‘growth’ – see Claire Amos again for a great explanation) are shifting for some, but I think that’s still a significant minority at best. So, how to get more staff on board, to realise the potential that future focused pedagogy offers?

Build a PLN.

Niftily, this was the theme of this week’s professional learning. And thus the jump in point for my “hack buddy” Matt Nicoll and I. We decided to hack Claire’s #hackyrclass challenge to a #hackyrstaffroom one! We want to be agents of change.

The plan in progress over this week and next is to connect with a small group of our staff who are interested in building their own professional/personalised learning network. Because we can do this from two schools, we can automatically offer each ‘team’ a ready-made PLN. We are using the hashtag #edSMAC (Samuel Marden Collegiate School, SAndrew’s College) to connect on Twitter.

We’re also surveying the staff to find out what they want from the ‘build your PLN’ project so that we can personalise links, tips and suggestions for what they are wanting.

The theory behind all of this is that if staff can be convinced to look outside their own four walls of their classroom, staffroom, and school, they will be exposed to new ideas that will spark an interest. An ‘ooh, I could try that’ moment. This has the potential to snowball and then – hey presto – a revolution is formed! Not just one individual teacher to hack their class, but a group to hack multiple classes.

Change is hard. But not changing? That’s ultimately harder.

Marsden Professional Learning Session 5

I was really looking forward to this afternoon’s sessions. Sometimes I feel as though I’m leading learning on something I’ve only just got my head around, and yet seem to be held up as some kind of expert – which couldn’t be further from the truth! But today was different – presenting on PLNs and Twitter – now this is something I’m passionate about, and have wonderful first-hand experiences of 🙂

I’m worried I didn’t really do the topics justice, because I was down-playing my enthusiasm for fear this would put people off. I may have downplayed it a touch too much… However, I think the presentation itself has the right amount of information and, as always, lots of links for people to explore for more learning. I also know that it is as up-to-date as I can possibly make it. I wrote it a week or so ago, but added to it at least twice as I found new blogposts! I’m also pleased that I started with a recap of our school vision, the ‘why’ of technology, and connected today’s learning to the themes of our professional learning sessions from last term. Hopefully this helps to model the kind of practices we want to see in classrooms.

Additionally, I’m feeling ultra grateful to my own PLN this afternoon. I asked for people to tweet me ‘live’ using #MarsdenPL14 to talk about PLNs and why they love Twitter so I could demonstrate the power of Twitter and technology’s ubiquity not just as being powerful for students, but for educators as learners too. And boy did they come through! I was gutted that so few people chose to attend my Twitter workshop (help-sheet here), but it runs again, so I have another opportunity to infect others with the Twitter bug…

Nevertheless, a huge shout-out to my tweeps, the #edchatnz community, and anyone else who tweeted us this afternoon – you guys rock!

hearts