Tag Archives: professional development

Keeping expertise in the classroom – the Teacherpreneur

My latest post on the Voices from the Learning Revolution blog is called, ‘The Teacherpreneur. They exist. The trick is to keep them in our classrooms.’ It was inspired from my reading of Teaching 2030, a visionary look at what teaching may look like in our near future. It was written by lead author Barnett Berry and co-authored by the TeacherSolutions 2030 team comprised of 12 teachers.

The role of a Teacherpreneur is described as the following,

“teacher leaders of proven accomplishment who have a deep knowledge of how to teach, a clear understanding of what strategies must be in play to make schools highly successful, and the skills and commitment to spread their expertise to others – all while keeping at least one foot firmly in the classroom.” (Teaching 2030)

While you may find the term ‘Teacherpreneur’ a little difficult to deal with, I think the description of the role such a person would play fits the bill of many teachers I know who give to our profession by sharing their practice and demonstrating a way forward. It took me quite some time to put the post together, so I’d encourage you to visit the site and see how I think a role like this can be realised in our schools. It would be great to see people offer some feedback. I’m keen to know what you think of the idea.

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School’s out Friday

I saw this a week ago, and have been meaning to post it ever since. Ken Robinson is a brilliant presenter. He doesn’t always use slides, it’s often just his spoken voice delivering a powerful message about the need to transform education . He does this well with his personable nature and a touch of humour along the way. RSA animate adapted this effort from a talk given at the RSA by Sir Ken. If I were a principal, I’d forget about talking and use this to begin my next staff meeting; more educators need to hear messages like this as part of their professional development. For those who struggle watching a person speak, this animation should hold their attention for the full 11 minutes!

The actual talk went for 55 minutes, was entitled ‘Changing Paradigms’, and can be viewed below.

I’ve had a flat chat week, and been sick to boot.  (can you think of any more idioms I could pack in there!) I think the busy nature of the last couple of weeks caught up with me, and my voice gave out. I’ve been talking in very husky tones for the last few days and am looking forward to a quiet weekend of recuperation. Hopefully, I’ll be sounding more like myself by Monday.

Have a great weekend. Make the most of whatever comes your way. : )

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ELH Reflections

Going to a technology conference in Lorne  (ELH  -Expanding Learning Horizons) is always a nice experience, even if the weather isn’t being as kind as it could be. Lorne is restful, a beautiful seaside town that harks back to another era in some ways. The last time I was there was two years ago, and my experience then was transformative. I went to a five hour session with a guy called Will Richardson who I’d never heard of. He was explaining Web 2.0 tools and I figured I needed to know about them a little more. I’d been doing some work with them, but the penny hadn’t dropped. Five hours with Will changed everything.

That session opened my eyes to possibilities. Within a few months the possibilities had become reality and I started writing this blog. Yesterday, I was a presenter at the conference where I’d been the newcomer to technology only two years before. Remarkable really. In the last year I’ve worked with Will Richardson in our PLP cohort and he’s sat in my kitchen drinking coffee. Even more remarkable!!

Four other teachers and our Network Administrator attended also. All four teachers came out of the conference feeling empowered to use new ideas from the sessions they attended. One of them was putting her new found knowledge into practice yesterday and was teaching others things she had learned. It was wonderful to see her enthusiastically embrace Wordle and Animoto and find ways to make them meaningful for the curriculum.

For me the conference was different this time. I didn’t attend what they call Discovery sessions, I opted instead for the Critical Conversation sessions, opportunities to discuss issues surrounding technology and its impact on learning in our schools today. These sessions extended my thinking; they were artfully managed by Bruce Dixon and he managed to draw out from participants discussion to get us all thinking. Karen Li, Global Education Program Manager from Intel, was interested in finding out what we as educators needed to move us forward. Professional Development for teachers to facilitate meaningful use of technology to support curriculum was a common theme in this discussion. I was taken by an idea Bruce raised; bringing together teachers who are exemplifying good practice and getting them to record three minute videos outlining their experiences. An educational TED conference idea. The videos could be uploaded to a dedicated site (perhaps its own YouTube channel) and could be a Professioanl Development tool for teachers. It’s an idea with merit.

Andrew Douch delivered an excellent opening keynote and extended the conversation in a session exploring appropriate social boundaries. Andrew engages with his students using a variety of means including MSN. He keeps a log of these conversations; a smart idea. His parent body are comfortable with Andrew’s use of this medium and it probably helps that he has established a high profile as an educator exploring social media as a learning tool.  

What struck me at this conference was how few participants were using social media for their own professional development and for student learning. An oversight was not having enough sessions exploring how  you go about doing this. I honestly think there is merit in holding sessions exploring how something like Twitter can be used for professional learning. I offered to run an unconference type session, but I only had two takers. I really don’t think people understood what these kind of sessions were about.

A Ning had been set up to support the conference but got very little use. Why? Because the program had been printed out and provided to conference participants.  There are a number of lessons conference organisers need to learn about running a paperless conference. We all had laptops and free wireless. There really was no reason why the Ning couldn’t have been set up weeks in advance and presenters could have been adding content from an early stage. It would have been a great learning experience for attendees; they would have been forced to use social media if they wanted to find their way to sessions and a community for participants could have been created. It worked that way at Learning 2.008 in Shanghai last year. There were times when bandwith made access a little difficult, but it certainly was used. That Ning is an excellent repository of information about sessions that took place in Shanghai and can still be accessed today. Note to conference organisers; check it out and do it that way in 2010.      

I posted my session’s slides yesterday. You can find them here and on my wiki. Steve Collis recorded the session on Ustream so you can watch it if you like. I’ve yet to see it all the way through. I must try and find the time! Funny how you get back to the reality of school and everything seems to swamp you. When I resurface I’ll get to it. I really did enjoy my time at ELH. I got to meet members of my PLN including Adrian Bruce, Julie Squires, Andrew Jeppeson, Steve Collis, Warrick Wynne and Mark Liddell. My thinking was challenged and I was able to convey my thoughts about learning communities and the merit of participatory learning.

Loved it.    

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Vitual Learning Communities for staff professional development and student engagement. Digital Fair presentation.

This is the presentation I gave yesterday at the Australian College of Educator’s Digital Fair that was held at Geelong Grammar.

It was well received and, as is usual for me, I didn’t manage to get through all of the presentation as I have a tendancy to elaborate. It’s very difficult to relay the concept of learning communities and all that goes with the formation of them in an hour. I fielded questions along the way but didn’t get discussion time factored in. If anyone would like further elaboration on anything in the presentation leave a comment and I’ll do my best to address what it is you need to know.

more about “Vitual Learning Communities for staff…“, posted with vodpod

 

 

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Wicked Decent Learning podcast

I was lucky enough on Sunday morning to be able to participate in a podast with Jeff from Wicked Decent Learning. It was a really pleasant  hour and a half conversation about connections, learning, and how we implement change in our schools.  Mark Spahr joined us and it was great to be able to share with Jeff how Mark has helped my profile grow in Maine, USA.  He has been a stalwart follower and supporter ever since I started blogging in January last year. It was Saturday night their time; nice to know I was interesting enough for them to pass the time with instead of hitting the nightlife!!   

The podcast is up on their site. You can listen to it here or go to iTunes and download it. Just search podcasts for Wicked Decent Learning and look for episode 63.

Thanks Jeff and Mark for giving me the opportunity to share my experiences with you.      

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The Horizon Report: 2009 K-12 Edition

Educause and the New Media Consortium have just released the K – 12 Edition of The Horizon Report. Horizon Reports always make for interesting reading, as they predict the time to adoption of many of the emerging technologies finding their way into the fabric of our teaching. Horizon reports usually have as their focus higher education institutions. This report has K – 12 education as its focus so their evaluation of likely adoption in Primary and Secondary education is especially interesting.

One of the very interesting observations they make in the findings is that assesment and filtering impact on the degree to which some technologies can be adopted in school settings. It’s the old story of assessment driving curriculum and affecting adoption of new ways of doing things. There is no doubt it is difficult assessing someone’s efforts commenting on blog posts or their participation in ning networks. And yet these are valid pursuits that can lead to real engagement in learning. Filtering is another issue; the unfortunate fact is that impressive tools like Voicethread and Ning are often classified as ‘social networks’ or ‘chatrooms’ and filtering software prevents them loading in some schools. I’ve had to go to my network administrators to have blocks removed and I’ve heard the same story from many other educators.  

So, what are the findings, what are the trends to watch?

Time to adoption – One year or less

  • Collaborative Environments
  • Online Communication Tools

Time to Adoption – Two to three years

Time to Adoption – Four to five years

I don’t know if I totally agree with their findings. I’d find it surprising to see Nings become mainstream in the next year within school settings, given that most of the educators I know stare at you blankly when you mention the word. Unless we some some major investment from Government to support  Professional Development for teachers in the field of new technologies, I just can’t see mainstream adoption in such a short time frame.

Take a read for yourself. It’s well worth downloading and showing to your school administration. Congratulations go to Judy O’Connell who served on the advisory board of the project.  

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Virtually there – Learning 2.0, a Colorado conversation.

This morning, at 3.30 am, I got up to attend Karl Fisch and Bud Hunt’s  Learning 2.0 – A Colorado Conversation. Was I in Colorado? No, I was sitting in my lounge chair at home,  but able to participate because Karl and his organising committee had crafted a detailed wiki outlining session details and had organised elluminate rooms for people who wanted to participate virtually.

When I started exploring this networked world a year ago I stumbled on this conference and expressed an interest in attending in a virtual capacity. This year they were extremely well organised and had everything organised well before the start date. I wanted to hear  Anne Smith and Kristin Leclaire’s presentation, ‘Shifting literacies, a learning conversation’, but the ustream accompanying the elluminate room was patchy. On Karl’s blog, The Fischbowl, he often speaks of Anne and the work she is involoved in at Arapahoe High School. Instead I attended Scott Elias’ ’21st Century School Leadership’ session. The ustream was clear and it was great catching up with some familiar names and ‘friends’ from my online world.

The second session I attended was ‘How to teach a remix generation’ led by Alison Saylor, Dan Watkins and Janni Black. This session looked at the issues related to student use of music and images and their abilty to create  new understandings – their transformative use. Once again, discussion in the backchannel was engaging and I was able to form connections to educators I previously did not know.

It was well worth the early start and I’d like to thank Karl and Bud for providing opportunities for virtual participation.  This is the changing face of professional development. I didn’t have to get on a plane and fly halfway around the world. I just had to work out time zones and ensure that I got up at the right time to turn my computer on. How cool is that!

Now, how do I convince the Victorian Institute of Education to recognise my attendance and have it count towards the professional development requirements I must meet to ensure accreditation?? These are new developments I’m sure our professional organsiations have not even contemplated. I know that I am engaged in my own professional learning every day just interacting in my PLN. Effectively, my school needn’t fork out a cent on my professional development. This term alone, I am attending three conferences but am presenting at every one of them. Only one of them requires the school to make payment of some kind because it extends over three days.  The biggest outlay is the personal one- the time I invest outside of school hours to keep myself informed.

I so admire Karl Fisch, an educator who created ‘Did you know’ for an after school meeting for his staff. He would have had no idea at the time of the viral nature of this presentation once it was taken from his original
PowerPoint presentation and set to music and uploaded to YouTube. If you haven’t seen it take a look at its latest incarnation below.  

     

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Theory into practice – making it meaningful in the school library.

A tag cloud with terms related to Web 2.
Image via Wikipedia

This year, we’re trying to make Web 2.0 more meaningful in our School Library. Last year we moved most of our pathfinders over to wiki format to encourage collaboration and input into the development of  resources to support subject areas and projects. The take up was pretty good and most people know what a wiki is now, but you run the risk of getting ‘wikiied out’. Sometimes you could hear the collective groan of ‘not another wiki’ and that is something you want to avoid at all costs.

We’re not giving up on Wikis, but we are trying something new. We used to put out a monthly newsletter with interesting websites, news and book reviews, but it went to staff only. It was very good, but not frequent enough and got lost in the barrage of emails that hits the computers at my school. We wanted to do something that delivers information, but more frequently and something that encourages the two way exchange of ideas that Web.2.0 typifies. So we’ve started a Library blog that’s open, not one that’s operating within our Sharepoint Scholaris platform.

Last year when I attended Learning 2.008, I had the pleasure of meeting Ann Krembs.  She talked of her Dear Librarian blog that she runs at the American School of Bombay in Mumbai, India. I’ve been inspired by Ann’s efforts and have set up 2rak info 4 u to serve our school’s information needs, and perhaps the information needs of others.  

tc_lib_blog

We launched it just over a week ago and although it hasn’t set the world on fire, it has had quite a few hits. We need to find ways to have it become part of the culture of the school and something that staff and students use as a ‘go to’ place for information.  We are trying to set up an RSS feed to it within our Scholaris platform so that posts will be visible, updated and in the face of  our staff and students. This have proven to be problematic but we’re working on it.  

All of the library staff have been set up as authors and all of them have been uploading posts. This is learning curve stuff for most of them but they are rising to the challenge and are pretty chuffed when they see their efforts. It’s proving to be excellent professional development; they are ‘doing’, not just reading about what can be done. The clustr map has certainly generated some interest; it really does have an impact when you realise that people from far and wide are viewing your work.

Hopefully we’ll see it become part of the fabric of our school. Take a visit and see what you think. I’d appreciate your feedback if you feel so inclined to offer your thoughts.   

       

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Professional Development – not shameless self promotion.

Are you like me? Is your head swimming with everything that is now possible in our world as a result of the Web and the ease of transfer of information? We are so connected in today’s world. I can get onto Twitter and make connections with educators around the world and share ideas – I can find out what’s new and add my two cents worth to the conversations taking place. I read feeds coming to me in my Google Reader and am in awe of educators who are willing to share their knowledge to empower others. I am thankful to software developers who are willing to provide open source products that are making our lives easier to manage and our classrooms more interesting. I feel like I am in a constant state of professional development and what has it cost me? Time and an internet connection. What has it cost my school? Nothing this year – I haven’t been to one PD session and yet I feel like my knowledge attainment has been exponential.  How will this benefit my school? Plenty. I have knowledge and am willing and eager to find ways to share it - writing this blog is one of vehicles I am using (just hope some are reading!). 

I’ve been mulling this around the last 24hrs after reading Liz Davis’ post where she reflected on how she wondered if alerting people to her blog posts via twitter was an act of shameless self promotion. The post resonated with me because I’ve shared these thoughts – is what I’m doing a way of grandstanding? Look at what I know- nah nah na nah na! I’ve talked it over with friends who aren’t a part of this network and they tell me they are learning from what I am writing so I feel like what I’m offering is worthwhile and not self serving. I think people who are blogging about educational technology should be giving themselves a bit of a pat on the back – what I’m finding from my reading and conversations is on mass Pofessional Development for free!

One of my colleagues in the Library I work at passed this YouTube video from Charles Leadbeater onto me today. It’s called ‘We think’ and is companion to a book he has published exploring the potential  of the Internet in today’s world. It fits with what I’ve just talked about. Our world is changing and the way we attain knowledge is central to the change. Our students are going to benefit from this – no longer is knowledge in the hands of the few. It’s open to all to consume and produce – the playing fields are opening up and the game is on! 

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Jane’s 25 tools – now a professional development opportunity

A couple of week’s ago I posted about Jane Hart and an excellent article she had written about 25 Tools every Learning Professional should have in their Toolbox – and all for FREE! which is due to be published in elearning age magazine in April. Jane’s post generated much interest so she decided to take things further and has now offered a Professional Development program;

 “intended for those working in education, workplace learning or professional development who want to broaden their horizons in terms of the wide range of technologies and tools available for learning and performance support in a very practical way by getting to grips with 25 key tools. “

All of the tools that Jane has included are free and she has provided activities to help with an understanding of each tool. They include Skype, Jing, Delicious, Voicethread, Google Docs, Twitter, Slideshare and many others. You need to have a user name and password to access these activities and can sign in at Jane’s site. This is a great opportunity for educators to introduce this to their workplaces to help bring along staff who have little knowledge of Web 2.0 tools and how they can be used to support learning. I’ve applied for a user name and password as there are a couple of tools there that I haven’t used before. Jane has also set up a 25tools community where, “users can share thoughts, experiences and resources well as get help and advice from other Community members.” A great idea – one of the stumbling blocks I think people have when trying new things is not having someone to help them out when they need it. If you want to get a number of staff involved and have your own secure discussion area for your staff to use this can be done for a small fee (not disclosed at this stage). 

Jane Hart is doing wonderful things to support the introduction of Web 2.0 tools to the wider community. She is currently collating a list of the 100 top tools for learning. To do this she has asked educators to submit their top 10 lists with some explanation as to why they they find these tools useful. I’ve contributed my Top 10, as have 146 others.  Take a read of people’s top 10 tools – I’ve scanned quite a few and have discovered new and useful tools as a result. 

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