Refining and steering a path for 2015


Lindsay, J., & Davis, V. (2013). Citizenship. In Flattening Classrooms, Engaging Minds Move towards Collaboration One step at a time. Pearson.
My 2014 year began with my inquiry and setting a goal of involving staff at Newmarket School with social media as part of personal professional development and encouraging them to build their own personal learning community. Has this been successful you might ask? Using SOLO Taxonomy to frame my thinking, I believe we are multistructural as a school with pockets of staff moving to relational. I say that because we have lists. Lists of teachers on twitter, lists of teachers on the Virtual Learning Network, lists of teachers on Pond, lists of teachers on google +. So what! You may say. However I can confirm that every teacher at Newmarket School has activated an account in these online learning spaces. Therefore as a school we have a strong beginning.
I look forward to the day when staff say, I can’t believe how dependent I am on these tools for learning.
As  teachers make connections with other educators in online spaces we have a few tweeting back. One teacher joined me in a TeachMeetNZ session sharing her learning. Two teachers shared their learning as part of a ministry initiative. Eight of our teachers are on the blogging journey. I have had our principal part of a national digital book project. We had three teachers present at Ulearn. My principal and myself co constructed and co presented at Ulearn. In addition several teachers visited other schools so are breaking out of being cocooned in our school learning bubble. However the challenge I see for 2015 is ‘coercing’ more from our teachers with sharing their learning in a visible way. So if you want to do any more school visits, show me a blog post of why. When you have visited a school, show me a reflection of what you learnt. If you want to attend a conference show me your abstract proposal and when the conference has finished show me your reflection including your slides hosted somewhere.
There is a stunning example of our assistant principal highlighting all her learning and able to show online evidence of where it all has taken place. The key words for us is ‘online evidence’. If I can’t see you or what you have been doing then is this visible learning?  I believe too that face to face professional learning is also important and to make it really explicit, move to the next level of learning and show how the learning has taken place with a blog post, an upload of slides to slideshare or maybe a google doc sharing if teachers are conscious of student data. These are just some of the beginnings of how to share in a visible way.
My coercive goal this year is to get every staff member registered with a reflective blog, take part on an NPS Twitter chat or an #edchatnz twitter chat, create a presentation and share it outside of school either via eduignite, conference presentation or online in an NPS TeachMeetNZ special session. Is my goal too big? Yes it is. But I know I can be persuasive and those of you who have joined me online in some way know how absolutely incredible this experience is for personal growth.  
Connections can be made with our children, their families and our community through sharing in a visible way as can be seen by one of our teachers with a class blog. So by being coerced to doing something first for online learning, then moving through to this valuable level is so much more manageable.
How can we be asking our children to blog, if our teachers are not blogging. How can we be asking for collaboration between our children if our teachers are not collaborating and co constructing between them. The next step for us is online portfolios for our children. Again how can we ask this of our children to maintain a digital portfolio if our teachers have no online portfolio themselves. How can we ask children to give peer feedback if our teachers are reluctant to comment on other educators work.
So Newmarket teachers I issue a challenge to you in a visible way via twitter. Please respond using our #NPSfab hashtag or if you want to comment fuller, then click the link below. You know how much I love feedback.  
By the way ‘Happy New Year!’

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