A week in the life

Hehe, I am guessing you thought I might be sharing my week! Well not this time.

Last year I completed my Flat Connections Global Certificate under the guidance of Julie Lindsay. This year, I have a small team of students involved in a global student project called ‘ The Week in the Life. 

I am working with a team of global educators from Australia, Bulgaria, Thailand, Nepal and the USA. So 6 school, 12 educators and 23 Global topics and 146 children.

As educators we meet with Julie approximately once a week. In order for us to achieve this across the 4x time zones some of us have to really step outside our comfort zone and learn heaps of new tools, accommodate time zones  and heaps of new ways of doing this. We learn across several digital learning environments and my big one for this project is Edmodo.

When I join the educator’s meeting the time is usually from 11.00-12.00pm on a Thursday night. By 11.00pm I am nodding and trying to keep awake as I usually try to be in bed by 10.00pm as I am up the next day between 5.30 and 6.00am.

This week, Julie was away and I put my hand up to run the group meeting. I joined the ‘Week in the life’ group group after it began and wanted to contribute as I feel like I have been lurking around the edge and watching.  I am experienced at running Google Hangouts and for this session I was determined to learn how to use Fuzemeeting. The notes set up for me were fabulous and it took a few sessions to get around the tool. Probably the only challenge I had was sharing a Google Doc. To overcome this I popped the link into the chat bar and had been advertising the link to the group.

I was probably so focussed on learning the tool, I forgot the importance of broadcasting and reminders about the session.

However I have learnt the importance of creating evidence from meetings so that there is always an archive for those who were not there.

I have been in and out of Edmodo for many years but could never quite get my head around it, Probably because I have never had anyone to play with. However with the other FlatConnection  teachers on the site I have plenty of support. As soon as I saw the way Edmodo worked I immediately invited our senior school teachers from Newmarket School into the Edmodo environment and they are flying with their classes.

Again the benefit of joining a global project. We learn about other ways of learning with our children.

Over this past week my Travelwise team have been busy with their school leadership roles as Travelwise students. They raised money for our friends in Nepal who have been in the earthquake, therefore making a real link with real children affected by a natural disaster. They have been chatting to them on Edmodo and finding out how they have been affected. I mean how more real can the learning be? My school sent through our contribution and Brian immediately responded that it had been received and what they would do with it.

Last night I met John from Thailand Face to face via Fuze and he has been helping me and my students join the right groups on Edmodo. He asked for my help with popplet which I thought was amusing. I have used popplet on ipads with some children but have never coconstructed a live popplet with a group of learners before. I said I would help where I could but really we are learning together. Sometimes when we work with under 14 year olds we find ways of working the system as we do not want to be gatekeepers for learning.

One way of ensuring our students and teacher’s safety at Newmarket School is to always have more than one educator from my school on any digital learning environment.

In Edmodo our children have been split up into the various teams and they are working with children who they have never met face to face. Again citizenship comes into the ongoing discussions. If we are able we will skype with other classes however at this stage, it might only be our Australian team because the time zone is a real challenge. I guess we could leave video messages and that might be something that I work on this week.

A big challenge that I have with what I am attempting is that the children I have trialling this project is a small group of school leaders. I meet with them once a week in their lunchtime as part of our work. If I was able to incorporate ‘Week in the life’  as part of their class learning, then we could really fly with this project. I have spoken with their teachers about allowing them to do some of their investigation during their Discovery Fridays, Yet at this stage, as a team they are also exploring what this would look like. When they move into asking questions around global themes and how this affects us locally, glocalsation, then I know they are ready for moving into global projects.

This week I showed the Travelwise children what the children from the other schools are already doing with popplet. Again some of the Flatconnections  teachers have the popplets all set up and some do not. So some of my group are learning with their global lead teacher.

I was working with Edmodo in one of the classes this week with a younger group and their teacher had ‘got’ Edmodo. She had added a link to a youtube clip and set up questions as part of an Edmodo assignment activity. I thought that was extremely clever. When I checked back today, the whole class had already responded. Therefore I will incorporate these ideas into some of my Flatconnection Edmodo posts to help generate discussion.

Where to next for me, I need to support my Travelwise students with adding to their team popplet and begin preparation for their voice thread activity. I want to pull in the rest of Newmarket School staff into Edmodo. As part of my personal inquiry I need to keep adding feedback on teachers and children’s comments and blogposts to encourage the ongoing work we are doing with digital learning environments at Newmarket School. I have to keep up with the curation of our teacher’s and children’s spaces as this helps drive the learning. Finally keep suggesting ideas for teachers about keeping their own learning visible.

If you want to know more about Global Education then join the programme. There is another intake happening in June.

Here is a link to my space on the #Flatconnections Ning.

If you want to know more about our learning spaces then visit our blogs 

Curating WELS15

I love curating links, lists and photos.

What an amazing couple of days of learning I spent last week with my principal Dr Wendy Kofoed and Assistant Principal Virginia Kung to attend INTASE – International Association For Scholastic Excellence held in Singapore.


The Newmarket School team were set the challenge of getting a selfie with their masterclass presenter and to tweet it out. This they did.


Here are some fabulous reflections coming through from the World Education Leaders Summit.

(Thanks Neil for putting them on your blog.)

Here you can check out the twitter list of the educators tweeting about #WELS15 created by moi. Check the number who tweeted because over 1000 educators attended globally.

Jon Bowen created Prezi diagrams title Lead and Redefine Future Schools and they are awesome.

Andrea Stringer curated all the tweets using Storify. She was watching the twitter feed from afar.

Here is the list of speakers.

These were the topics they covered

  • Principalship
  • Middle Leadership
  • Innovative Leadership
  • Educational Technology
  • Self Organised Learning Environments
  • Professional Learning Communities
  • School Social Capital Building
  • Highly Effective School Culture Building
  • Creating Equity
  • Curriculum and Assessment Planning
  • Global Future Leadership
  • Change Leadership
  • Leadership Productivity Tools

Here is my favourite photo from the conference. The photo highlights three educators having fun learning together.


This post is multistructural because of all the lists and I must include that  we met Stephanie Thompson and her class. You can read Stephanie’s blog post about our visit.



The three travellers had an amazing learning time and the dialogue that took place was incredible.

My list of takeaways from the conference

  • Keep pulling teachers to share their learning and water the flowers.
  • Keep up with my reflective writing.
  • Continue to have disruptive conversations
  • Look after myself better as a leader.
  • Keep up with global learning with the children.
  • Continue to gather evidence of children’s learning in disruptive ways.
  • Keep asking questions that are ungooglable

The term is nearly over

Reflection near the end of term allows me to sort out my thoughts and helps me make sense of the speed that sometimes happens in my thinking. This post is a way of sifting through how I am thinking.



Science at Newmarket School has many links. The school has recently completed a science contract under the guidance of Susan Heeps. Last year Virginia Kung and her work with science was featured under the Future Focused Learning site.

During the recent #TeachMeetNZ meets #Science session Belinda Hitchman @BelindaHitchman from Newmarket School shared her work that was carried out in regards to using coding. She explained the links between understanding coding and understanding science. Recently I led a #scichatnz live twitter chat. You can read about the how the session was developed on a post on the Scichatnz blog.

The TeachMeetNZ meets Science session was a collaborative process between myself and Catherine Battersby from the Science Learning Hub. However what began as a duo chatting face to face soon became a full group of science educators making connections on twitter and google +, creating a presentation to share in a google hangout, learning and supporting each other with the tools, celebrating during and after the event and then sharing via a reflective blog post for the education community. As part of my collaboration with Cath I was interviewed by Melissa @NZScienceTeachr on behalf of the New Zealand Association of Science Educators. You can read that interview here.

Using Social Media for learning

My goal this year is to understand how social media works and so I have been investigating how everything links across platforms and how traffic is driven. I observed the TeachMeetNZ youtube channel with interest and was particularly interested in the way the channel took a spike during each session and then how this was sustained over a period of time after each event.. Through my online involvement  I stumbled across Thunderclap which is a social media tool that allows broadcasting across several social media sites at the same time. A thunderclap was activated to help broadcast the TeachMeetNZ Science session and also  to see how traffic was driven. In addition I set up tickets in Eventbrite and could identify the integrations that this site has with Facebook, Twitter and instagram. In addition, I have reactivated my Mailchimp account that has been dormant for a while as this allowed access to subscribers to events.

I used the TeachMeetNZ meets Science session to play with many of the social media tools.


TeachMeetNZ goal

Recently I had a discussion with Julie Lindsay and she asked me what my goals were for TeachMeetNZ. My  goal for TeachMeetNZ is for the process to continue to evolve. I have identified that my work with teachers and the site is moving into relation thinking using SOLOtaxonomy because each year I have had a teacher take on the task of hosting an event. Therefore other educators are making the link of the importance of teachers sharing their practice. A few other educators have indicated a willingness to host a session. So far I have had Tim Gander hosted a TeachMeetNZ meets PE, Steve Mouldey hosted TeachMeetNZ meets Geography and now Cath Battersby hosted TeachmeetNZ meets Science. Coming up there is a session for Samoan teachers and a session for Maori teachers. In October Matt Esterman has agreed to cohost with me again as we run a second ‘Across the Ditch’ TeachMeetNZ where we combine TeachMeetNZ with TMSydney.

The real goal of TeachMeetNZ is about educators making learning to network and make connections with each other outside their school bubble and having fun learning collaboratively.


Youtube as a vehicle for sharing continues to evolve and for the next topic focussed TeachMeetNZ  I recommend a drop in presenter numbers and having a larger support team. For example having a separate time keeper then enables me to move silently in the background and concentrate on cameras and sound. In addition having the twitter broadcaster join the hangout and even have a live blogger record the event in progress. It does take time to train a team, however the event quality is worth it. For the next subject specific TeachMeetNZ these recommendations will be put to the host because ultimately the session is for a teacher to practice reciprocity and help with coordinating and running the session.


Leaving a legacy

TeachMeetNZ is about teachers leaving a legacy for the education community. This can be in the way of twitter microblogging and being curated using storify, it is in the youtube clips, the slides that are made available to the community via the wiki, it is in the reflective blog posts that eventuate about the sessions and the process.

Where to Next: 

Currently  TeachMeetNZ educators create their own presentations on something they are passionate about. Each session is about bringing a group of educators together to make connections with each other online and to share their learning.

Using all of my own learning frameworks, I have identified that my next big step using youtube is all about collaboration. I am planning for teachers to work together and create an artefact like I learnt how when becoming FlatConnection Certified. Through the work I do with Pam Hook, I have identified networking to learn as thinking relationally because teachers working collaboratively together strengthens their understanding about making links with each other and with a topic.

If an artefact is co-created  then abstract thinking is extended. This was highlighted in the edbookNZ project that happened during Connected Educators month. The educators taking part informed me that they had more fun learning with each other during the process.


Teachers collaborating and networking to learn

So the edbooknz collaborative site is ready and I have put my hand up to organise and coordinate this during Connected Educator month in October. I will use all my learning around social media and educators to drive this years #edbooknz project. It will be wiki based so all learning will be public. This will drive extended abstract thinking because many educators come together, make links and cocreate a product in live time and with a realtime audience.


Final Question

Will you say yes to this collaborative opportunity? Will you allow your learning to be on display in real time? If you are keen to be one of the team leaders, then let me know.