Well, I earned my keep as a network node today. I attended the ‘Improving STEM Education and Skills Conference‘ in Melbourne and tweeted myself silly for near on 8 hours. Tweets become my form of note taking at most conferences I attend, and they serve the dual purpose of providing a virtual presence for those people in my network who can’t attend.
(Thanks Stuart Palmer for this image)
Conference organisers these days must be pretty happy when someone who tweets for purposes like this appear in their crowd. Most conferences I attend advertise the hashtag being used (in this case, #stemeduau) and the amplification of the ideas being shared bode them well, especially if the conference is one that operates annually.
Our school is committed to improving the STEM skills of our students and a team of teachers are exploring ways of making this happen. If you’re interested in STEM education and what was shared at this conference today, then click on this link and you’ll arrive at my Storify of collected tweets from today’s proceedings. Day two of the conference is tomorrow, but I won’t be there. I’ll be following the hashtag though!
Aahhh…Google. They do it well. Take delight in their clever advertising campaign about Search. If only all advertisers understood that a good story, cleverly told, is the most powerful tool at their disposal.
I’ve been Googled today. Not in the search sense, but in the Google Summit sense. I’m in Maroochydore tonight, which is close to Buderim where the Google Apps for Education Summit is being held at Matthew Flinders Anglican College. Today was the first day of their two day conference, and I was very pleasantly surprised that there was so much learning to be had today!
My twitter stream is literally flooded with information and links that I shared. If you care to, take a look at #gafesummit on Twitter and you’ll see some of the great tips and ideas that were shared today. I’m very interested in Chromebooks and their potential for use in schools and tweeted that I had to get my hands on one to check it out. Suan Yeo, the head of Google Enterprise Education efforts, saw my tweet and replied asking me to find him out to talk about that. I did during the next break, and he gave me a Chromebook to try out for the day. Very cool! I was very impressed. A Chromebook is a thin client device – it contains no hard drive and relies on the Google Chrome operating system and obviously an Internet connection. I was using a Samsung Chromebook. It was very light and had a USB, SD Card and HDMI port. You’d be relying on your Google Drive account and the Chrome App store for creation tools, but that’s pretty achievable these days given the options available there. I think I’m going to invest in one of these in the near future and see how it goes in a school setting. At around $350, the price point is good. Given the demise of netbooks, this is looking like a viable alternative for schools with the infrastructure that can support them.
I’m going to Storify my tweet stream and try and write a halfway decent blog post about the summit on the plane journey home tomorrow night. I need to take the opportunity to write in the air, because that kind of dedicated lack of distraction time doesn’t come my way all that frequently these days.
I’m looking forward to tomorrow and the learning to be had. Better charge those devices in preparation!
Have you figured out yet that I am madly in love with the mind of John Green?
Mental floss on YouTube. Just my thing. Those kind of random, weird, but strangely addictive pieces of useless information that make for the most interesting discussion fodder. I wish John Green lived next door to me. We’d have a lot in common. I’d invite him over for a cuppa or glass of wine and I’m sure we’d laugh into the wee hours. I’ll just have to get my dose of John Green via YouTube, cuppa or glass of wine in hand. I’ll laugh by myself, and maybe leave a comment on YouTube. If you’re anything like me, you’ll subscribe to Mental Floss on YouTube, and the videos might just be some of the most entertaining parts of your week.
Off to bed for me. I’ve just posted this tweet on Twitter.
Sometime, over the last week, I sent out my 20,000th tweet. The last five years here have been the best prof. develop. I’ve had. And all free.
Some of you might be thinking that I’ve wasted a lot of time on Twitter. Nothing could be further from the truth. The learning made possible from the network there has been a decisive part of my growth as an educator. I’m forever grateful to Clay Burell for introducing me to his network and supporting me in my early days there. You were very generous Clay – I am indebted to you.
Have a wonderful weekend. The weather looks good for Melbourne, and I intend to spend some time outdoors appreciating it. I hope you have a similar outlook where you live. :)
I believe that’s the word you’d use to describe this blog of late. Aside from the regular School’s out Friday posts (my saving grace, really), it’s been a barren wasteland for the last month or so. I shouldn’t beat myself up, because starting in a new position, even when it’s at the school you’ve taught at for years, is fraught with finding your feet and trying to establish credibility for yourself amongst your peers.
Me, I’m my own greatest critic. If I’m not moving mountains then I think I’m falling short. I’d love to say I’ve single handedly transformed peoples’ approaches to using technology in their classrooms within weeks, but you’d know I was lying. I’m trying hard not to beat myself up or place undue pressure on myself, but it’s proving difficult. What I have to do is tackle things in a systemised way, make some things a priority, and take heart from the fact that I’m doing what I can with the hours there are in a day.
A little thing I’ve done that I think might be a good start to building a learning community is to create a hashtag for our school and start curating Tweets in a Paper.li (it’s like a online newspaper). The hashtag is #tcplc (Toorak College Professional Learning Community) and the Paper.li created I send out in an email daily to staff. To help them determine if there’s anything there of import, I provide a brief summary of some of the posts/articles that have been curated. I’m very lucky to have a couple of other teachers at my school who are Twitter users, and they are helping with the curation. Hopefully we’ll start to see more teachers become aware of the wonderful professional learning opportunities available from the Twitter community and maybe, just maybe, some will sign up and become part of the curation process to benefit all of us.
It’s a little thing, but it does take time and effort to curate those links. I’m an avid Twitter user (all my best learning happens or begins from there) so it’s a great way to make that learning transfer to others who aren’t Twitter users.
Little things go on to become big things. I’ll try and keep this Chinese proverb in mind as the year unfolds,
“It is better to take many small steps in the right direction than to make a great leap forward only to stumble backward.”