Leading to some light…

Helen, my very close friend, gave me this plaque as a Christmas present. She said the words here reminded her of me. Can you guess already that my eyes were watering as I read what is written there? To think that she connected this message to the work I try and do touched my heart. It’s a wonderful reminder I will carry with me through 2012. If my words can help others then maybe I need to devote more time to this space in this coming year. Let’s see how that pans out shall we!

What’s been really lovely about the start of 2012 is a reunion being held in a Flickr group of some of the members of the 2008/9 International PLP cohort. Back in 2008, we participated in a 31 day photo challenge, led by our Group Leader Darren Kuropatwa who hails from Canada. Darren has organised the activity again, and joining him are Hiram Cuevas, Susan Carter Morgan, Melanie Hutchinson, Alex Ragone, Derek Willard, Carey Pohanka and myself. We are trying to post a photo a day (the above photo is my contribution for today) and already I am enjoying insights into my online friend’s lives. It’s fascinating when I realise that since we first participated in that PLP group I have met Susan, Melanie, Alex and Carey face to face. It really is amazing the experiences I have had since starting this blog.

This was Melanie Hutchinson’s first picture for 2012 in the Flickr group. It’s a road in the Catskill mountains, and Melanie described it like this, “…leading to some light- just like 2012 stretching ahead.”

It’s how I feel about 2012. I feel like I am moving into light, after being in a couple of dark patches over the last couple of years. It’s affirming. I feel positive about the future, both in a personal and professional sense. If you haven’t noticed, we’re in an even year  – in my book, they’re the good ones. There’s no Mayan calendar apocalyptic doom and gloom in my outlook. I hope you’re feeling the same way.

New York reflections

I’m becoming a bit of a vlogger on this trip. Too tired to write a post, so if you want to hear about it, you’re going to have to put up with watching me talk about it!!

Sheryl’s visiting Australia (and Toorak College!)

If you’ve been following this blog you’ll have some inkling that I’ve been helping Sheryl Nussbaum Beach and Will Richardson set up an Australian arm of their Powerful Learning Practice initiative. This group is going to be global in scale including schools from the United States, New Zealand and Australia. I’ve been working at getting schools here in Australia to join this initiative and am pleased to report that we have schools from New South Wales and Victoria across all sectors; Independant, Catholic and Govt. Schools.

Some of the people leading these school teams include those writing blogs. Dean Groom, Judy O’Connell, Frances Manning, Rhonda Powling and Tania Sheko. Three of those names are Teacher-Librarians. Great to see them at the helm of change in their schools.  It’s going to be very exciting leading our schools through what we all hope is going to be something transformational for our colleagues who are taking the leap with us. I first started reading about Powerful Learning Practice in December of last year. I could see that it had the potential to shift my school and it’s teachers towards an understanding of the power of these technologies to reach out and make a difference to the learning environment for our students. We start the program on Sept. 8th. Our United States participants will be having a fact to face meeting at Freidricksburg Acadamy and we’ll be joining them via ustream. I’m excited to see that there are names I am already familiar with from our United States and New Zealand participants. Elizabeth Helfant, Alex Ragone, Lenva Shearing and  Jane Nicholls.

What is really exciting for me is that tomorrow I am finally getting the opportunity to meet Sheryl. She’s in Melbourne to keynote at the Expanding Learning Horizons conference being held in Lorne. She’s visiting my school tomorrow to present to the staff here about 21st Century learning and Learning communities.  I hope the people I work with realise the status Sheryl occupies in the Educational Technology sector and pay heed to the message she delivers. I’m sure her visit is going to make an impact; I feel very fortunate to have been able to work with Sheryl and get to know her during our Skype chats. It’s going to be wonderful meeting her face to face at last!