Tuesday, 12 August 2014

EdChatNZ Blogging Meme

If you get included in the blogging meme: copy/paste the questions and instructions into your own blog then fill out your own answers. Share on twitter tagging 5 friends. Make sure you send your answers back to whoever tagged you too.

1. How did you attend the #Edchatnz Conference? (Face 2 Face, followed online or didn’t)
I was there for every awesome minute. 

2. How many others attended from your school or organisation?
I was the lucky sole delegate from Selwyn House but I was very lucky, along with Aimie Sibson from SMC, to spend the two days as a "hanger-on" of the very welcoming StAC staff. We flew there and back together, shared a hired van and stayed in the same motel. Lots of fun! 

3. How many #Edchatnz challenges did you complete?
Hmmmmm.....I was in a lot of grelfies....... but honestly, I was pretty abysmal on the challenges. Too busy getting excited when I met new people! Having said that I think the challenges were a great idea and attempting a challenge was a really great way to "break the ice" and introduce yourself to people you admire! 

4. Who are 3 people that you connected with and what did you learn from them?
Gosh there were so many. 
First of all, I loved spending time with Ginnie Thorner and Aimie Sibson and catching up with people like Nicki Tempero, Jennie Lyall, Anne Kennelly, Allana Taylor and getting to know the StAC crew better. 

With regards to people I hadn't met face to face, funnily enough, of the three that Mark mentioned in his meme, I'd mention two of them and himself! So it was really fun to meet Reid, Annemarie and Mark all lovely people that I have connected with on Twitter. I also loved talking with Danielle, Daniel Birch, Georgi and loved the amazingly strong coffee made by Pete McGhie while hearing more about the ins and outs of HPSS. There are many, many others too.  Danielle's face to face twitter chat was fantastic for meeting people I've connected with on Twitter.
5. What session are you gutted that you missed?
There were lots! In every stream I could have attended three or four. I would have liked to have been at Amy McCauley's session on personalised learning as I loved what I saw at HPSS. Having said that, getting to chat with Nanogirl was awesome and she introduced us to the perfect product for the door in our new wetroom/ en suite. Result! 
6. Who is one person that you would like to have taken to Edchatnz and what key thing would they have learned? 
So many people I'd love to have taken. I'm going with my great friend Stephanie Glubb @sglubb because she is such a maths guru and I saw some things at HPPS that I'd love for her to have seen; I know she'd love some of the tools their learners use for self- regulating their maths learning.  
7. Is there a person you didn’t get to meet/chat with (F2F/online) that you wished you had? Why
Yep, there's lots. Next time! 

8. What is the next book you are going to read and why? 
One of the books recommending by Steve Mouldy for cultivating creativity. Doesn't matter which one.....

9. What is one thing you plan to do to continue the Education Revolution you learnt about at #Edchatnz?
Tomorrow I'm doing a face to face twitter chat (a la Danielle) with my class in preparation for a Kids' Twitter Book Chat they want to launch. I'll keep enabling their passions to come into our classroom as much as possible. Also, during Connected Educator Month I am hoping to lead a twitter challenge amongst the staff at my school - a number have said they are interested. Fingers crossed. 

10. Will you take a risk and hand your students a blank canvas?
I will find a way to hand them a blank canvas in some way in 8C, give them something they can have control of within negotiated constraints- does that still count as a blank canvas?! 

Who will I tag with this meme:
These people may well have already done this reflection........

Monday, 11 August 2014

Edchatnz Conference- the future looks bright

I have just returned from the most remarkable conference. Remarkable because it was the dream of an inspiring young teacher named Danielle Myburgh. Danielle started a twitter chat using the hashtag #edchatnz two years ago and it has blossomed into something big and powerful and amazing. Just four short months ago she had the idea to hold an #edchatnz conference. A small team jumped on board to support her and voila, Danielle created an amazingly inspiring conference and it sold out to boot!

I have so much to say about this conference that it's hard to collate these thoughts into a coherent blogpost. Here are three things that struck me.

Bridget, Ginnie and Aimie from Christchurch are excited to meet the amazing Mrs Hyde from Rotorua!

1. The future looks bright!
Some of the most inspiring people I met were very young teachers, first and second years. They were confident and curious and constantly working to better their practice for their learners. It is a long time since I was a beginning teacher (ahem) but I know for sure I wasn't inspiring others with my zest and passion. In fact, I ended up in hospital with glanjular fever and felt very alone, contemplating giving up teaching. I was so unconnected as a young teacher in Western Sydney where I started my teaching- I rarely even made it to morning tea to connect with other teachers in my large and very low decile school. Has the advent of social media helped new educators to feel more supported? I sure hope so! @chasingalyx, @ariaporo22 and @MissDtheTeacher....you guys inspire me. You are headed for amazing things and your learners are lucky! I'm in awe.

2. Being connected is essential if we are to be effective educators.
Christchurch Represent! 
I am incredibly lucky that I am not a lone nut at my school. I am surrounded by great educators and there is something I want to learn from every single one of them- I want to learn more about Philosophy for Children from Pauline, I want to learn how Liz uses the Design Thinking process so effectively with any age group, I want to learn how Greg uses the Performing Arts so stunningly to teach ANY concept at all from Maths to inquiry and I want to know how Steph is such an incredible whizz at facilitating deep and powerful maths talk amongst her Year 7s. My colleagues inspire me everyday so my story is a little different from those who struggle as "lone wolves" in their schools on a daily basis.
Having said that, joining Twitter was quite simply the most powerful thing I have ever done for my professional learning. And the #edchatnz conference shows why. It gave me access to incredible community of educators across New Zealand who inspire and support each other everyday. Despite the fact that I had never met many of them face to face before Friday, I feel like I have known them forever. My great friend Ginnie put it best when she said,

If you have somehow stumbled across this blogpost and you are not yet on Twitter, start lurking, dipping your toes in and the best place to start? Why #edchatnz of course!

3. The Learners must be at the centre of the learning
And my main takeaway from all the amazing learning I did this weekend is that we must ensure our learners are at the centre of their learning. To be successful in life, our learners need to be directing their own learning while we support and mentor them. We are doing far too much for our students. We need to be explicitly teaching them the skills they need and then getting out of their way! Yes, it is messy and at times it might be uncomfortable for us but giving students control over their learning is engaging and empowering. Hobsonville Point Primary School are doing an amazing job of this. I was incredibly inspired by how articulate and engaged their learners are and how effective they are at directing their own learning. What incredibly lucky kids!
Hobsonville Point Primary School- Learning Commons 1.
Stunningly, beautiful design has a real impact on how the children learn. 

I have so much I'd like to add about specific workshops, keynotes and even a somewhat startling political debate but I'll save that for another day. In the meantime, I'll leave you with this cartoon from Amy McCauley's workshop on personalised learning.