NECC musings.

Today’s the first ‘working’ day of my school holidays and I’ve been sitting here musing about the NECC conference that is taking place in San Antonio, Texas over the coming weekend. A group of Australian educators are leaving on a tour today that takes in this conference and I am envious that I’m not travelling with them. After blogging for nearly six months I feel such a part of this network of learning and feel that I’m going to miss so much by not being in attendance. I’m kicking myself that I didn’t follow through and write a proposal to my school asking that I be permitted to attend. It was a possibility, but I quite literally couldn’t find the time to get it done. It sounds ridiculous, but I really don’t feel like I’ve had a spare minute in five and a half months -there was always something more pressing that needed doing and so here I am, musing about what might have been! 

I don’t think I really need to worry – my network knows I’m here and I’m sure much from the conference is going to be fed out virtually to those of us watching from the fringes. Vicki Davis has just posted about her Cool Cat Teacher’s PLN      that she has very kindly set up which will feed a lot of info to those of us not attending. There’s an NECC 2008 tab where you can track info feeding out of the conference. Vicki has uploaded a presentation that she and Julie Lindsay (an Australian expat working in Qatar) are going to be sharing at the conference. It’s about Digital Citizenship and all going well it should be embedded here.  


Lisa Parisi has just written a great reflective post about how we bring others with us as we learn to integrate technology to support the learning in our schools and her feelings about attending NECC for the first time. It’s well worth reading.  I love what she has to say about risk and how failure makes us better at what we do – it echoes a post I wrote recently about similar sentiments.   

So, to all of you out there lucky enough to be experiencing NECC physically, not virtually, I wish you well. Soak it up! 

Students showing us the way – that means you Lindsea!

The past couple of days have been pretty overwhelming for a humble little blogger like me! Thanks to a Twitter post by Vicki Davis my blog has seen unprecedented traffic. (Thank you Vicki – I didn’t understand the power of Twitter until now – I still don’t quite get it but I’m working on it!) It’s minor on the scale of bloggers who have big followings, but it’s a major deal in my world. People who have left comments have been really encouraging – one person reached this blog via David Warlick’s 2 cents worth! I’m stoked!

Probably one of the most exciting responses I got was from Lindsea. Just yesterday I was sitting in the staff PD session reading from Jabiz Raisdana ‘s Intrepid Teacher blog about his experience with his students and a Sykpe conversation with a student from Hawaii. Here’s what he had to say;

“If you were walking by room 3208 today at about 3:25, this is what you would have seen:

A group of eighth graders (and one especially brilliant seventh grader), a few high school students, and their teacher preparing for a Global Issues Conference in Düsseldorf; they  are discussing the meaning of sustainability and what that means in a 21st century global economy based on over consumption and the profit motive. On the screen they are watching and listening to Lindsea, a sixteen-year-old student/writer/blogger/ who is talking about her ideas on sustainability and her experiencing using web 2.0 to make connections with people like Clay Burrell and his  Project Global Cooling and Bill Farren, who happens to be the creator of Did You Ever Wonder, the video they had just watched as a group, before their talk with Lindsea.  Did I mention that Lindsea lives in Hawaii and that it was 2:30 am her time?”

Yep, you guessed it. The Lindsea who commented on my blog is the same Lindsea who Skyped with Jabiz’s class in Qatar two days ago. What an amazing young woman. This is a girl who knows the power of this network and is using it to its best effect. I contacted Lindsea this afternoon and we’re going to try and set up a Skype conversation with my students here in Australia. Lindsea told me she’s excited. I’ve got to tell you Lindsea, so am I and my students will be too when they find out about it. Students like Lindsea are helping to make this flat world a reality and how much more powerful is it when it is the students themselves who are generating the discussion. My hope is that we can really get things going at my school – I know we have students with the fire in their belly like Lindsea – they just need to know what’s possible and how to get there.

Network power

I was exhausted last night when I finished writing yesterday’s post. Had about six hours sleep then had to get up early to take one of my kids to an early morning swim session. Arrived very early at work and logged on to check out the blog traffic. Wasn’t expecting much; who would be interested in reading about why I decided to start writing a blog and why I think it’s important to get our students learning in this environment.

Well, one look at my blog stats suggested otherwise! Last night’s post generated more traffic than I’ve ever had before. John Connell was kind enough to leave a comment and in a subsequent email said that he thinks a post like that resonates as it reminds bloggers about why they do what they do. Vicki Davis gave me some analogies she uses to describe the differences between wikis and blogs;

“I like to think of wikis as the collection and the blog as the album. Wikis as a chorus and a blog as a solo. Wikis for fact and blogs for opinion and voice. I think that both are needed as we try to teach both collaborators and individualistic thinker/inventors.”

Thanks Vicki. I used this in the afternoon PD session with my fellow staff – one participant read this and said, “That’s perfect, now I understand the difference. I was too embarrassed to ask before.” I think this is something we need to be very mindful of. During the session I was referring to plugins and widgets and had to clarify with the staff that this terminology has become familiar to me because I work with it now. It’s become relevant to me  – another example of how we learn best – when something has meaning for us we take it in, understand it and apply it to our needs.

My colleagues seemed interested and I got a round of applause at the end so that must mean something. One of our Heads of Year is keen to get involved in the Global Cooling project and sent me an email during the presentation so hopefully we’ll be able to get on board and have our students feeling empowered and making a difference.

Thanks network – being able to show my staff the huge spike in my blog stats and the cluster map locations were two of the most effective moments in the presentation. I think people could see that the world really is becoming flatter and we could be exploring possibilities for our students to operate in and learn from this collaborative network. I’ll wait and see if the seed planted today bears fruit.