Image from Darren Kuropatwa
Recently I was interviewed as part of a research in the use of digital tools in appraisal practices in primary schools. I was asked some interesting questions that I found myself thinking about the interview long after it was over.
I was drawn back to a series of presentations I shared at Eduignite. My second in a series of three was Digital Tattoos. At Eduignite, I shared about the importance of leaving evidence of what we do as educators and to be cautious of having folders on desks. Personally I have never understood the point of having an appraisal paper folder. I struggle even more with the notion of creating PDFs of what I do. I chuckle at the PDF notion just like I chuckle at stories of educators being asked to print off digital planning. I am aware of needing evidence for compliance, but believe like Ewan, that online sharing is much more powerful. You can check out my slides from that Eduignite session below. Even then I scoffed at the paper folders.
I have writing several times about the importance of transparent sharing.
When I reread my 2015 goal of having all teachers at Newmarket School with an online reflective blog, I am excited to say that I have achieved that goal. Currently most blogs look like the early push onto twitter. Sporadic writing like the earlier sporadic tweeting. Two have set theirs up but have not yet taken that first step. But hey after curating #EdBlogNZ with two online colleagues, I know, as a school we are in a good space.
I am always thinking about the importance of our teachers sharing. I do remind them about using twitter like online note taking so that they can get into the habit of microblogging and our teachers have supported the use of our school hashtag
This year I have been particularly excited to see our teachers examples of sharing. These include
- Running Staff Meetings
- Running school wide events
- Presenting outside of school at education events
- Sharing at Educamp
- Sharing at an online course and at face2face courses
- Sharing on twitter chats
However the most powerful of these are when I can see a follow up reflection on their blogs because again it is the sharing online that creates an artefact for the education community.
I am really excited at across school sharing. We have the ACCoS initiative, the ALLiS and the Mutukaroa projects. In addition I co ordinate our Eastern Area ESOL cluster group.
Community of Learners
Soon I will be sharing our school’s journey at Ulearn. I will be sharing about how Newmarket School contributes to many networks such as:
- Auckland Central Community of Schools;
- Asian Language Learning in Schools;
- Mutukaroa Initiative;
- Enviro and Travelwise Schools;
- Eastern ESOL Cluster.
I will be sharing how changes and structures in the school day have evolved from being teacher driven to being student driven and enable innovative approaches to teaching and learning. Also how task-based learning activities are curated for students and how communication evolves as both teachers and students learn to give and receive feedback. I will also share how informal and formal learning creates opportunities for sharing knowledge and skills among the learning community. The above spaces will be used as examples as well as what we are doing in Newmarket School with our children and teachers.
Where to next?
Reminding teachers about keeping content current is an important part of online sharing. I have a project that has developed into something quite close to my heart and that is the #EdBookNZ project. This is where I have identified current education jargons and invited educators to contribute a piece of writing. I take all the writing and publish a digital book for the education community. The #TeachMeetNZ google hangouts that I have run quarterly have been shelved because I have taken on two other roles this year and that has been about building communities of learners.
Finally, I am particularly excited that our principal joining the next cohort of Flat Connection Leadership for Global Education. A criteria of the course is regular blogging so I look forward to her ongoing online sharing.
So as schools how open are your examples of teachers creating and sharing? Do your teachers see online sharing as on top of what they do or is online sharing part of their practice? I would love to hear your thoughts.