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.

https://www.facebook.com/intase.org

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

wels15

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.

wels2

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.

steph

Summary

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

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.

Flat Connections Global Educator


Yuss!! My Flat Connections Global Educator certificate arrived on the last day of 2014 via @julielindsay. I was thrilled to receive it.


What an incredible journey I have had with Julie. Beginning early in 2013 when I was planning my global journey to visit educators around the world. I was able to deviate slightly from my travels and begin in Hawaii because Julie was running a session for global educators face to face. There I worked with a group of total strangers who after one day became friends. We had a lot of fun learning with and from each other.


Then early this year, I heard she was on her way to New Zealand to present as a spotlight speaker at the Google Apps for Education Summit that several of our staff attended from Newmarket School. We caught up briefly before the summit and I attended one of her sessions and again was totally inspired with how she ran a face to face session and was able to motivate so many teachers to collaborate and co construct learning.


Next I spotted her call for interested applicants for the Flat Connections Global Educator accredited course but at the time was feeling a little swamped with all that I had undertaken. So thought I would leave it for another year. However a change in circumstances allowed me the opportunity of joining this round.


Those of you who know me and have worked with me know that there is not much I am unable to do in an online setting. However taking on this challenge was an amazing experience.


I have learnt so much not just with Julie but with my peers in the same cohort. They were @julieswords1 @AnnRooney6 @mblanrun @BonnieHermawan.
By taking on the challenge of taking part with other like minded educators I was stretched in my thinking about online collaboration, I was stretched in my technical skills and I was stretched in time management.


“The Flat Connections Global Educator course aims to provide educators at all levels (K-12, Tertiary/Pre-service, Teacher educators) with resources and skills to go global! This includes how to introduce and sustain global learning into your curriculum as well as how to join and complete, design, implement and manage a global collaborative project. Focus is on connected and collaborative learning using Web 2.0 and other technologies. Weekly workflow and regular assignments and challenges provide pathways for teachers to build confidence to interact globally and to bring opportunities to their schools and classrooms.”


Most of my thinking is underpinned by SOLO Taxonomy and I was excited to be able to step through my SOLO thinking and apply it to Global Learning. A lot of what I have achieved I had previously identified as extended abstract thinking and at that time seemed just out of reach.


Some of the success I have had this year can be contributed to SOLO Taxonomy framing and being activated by the #FlatConnect learning that I had been exposed to. These success included my most popular blog post when one assignment called for a blog post about Global Digital Citizenship and having others comment on it. Another success was setting up a padlet to encourage delegates attending our Uearn presentation to ask questions. A further success was a collaboration with #TMSydney and #TeachMeetNZ and identifying challenges when attempting a project between two countries. In addition I was inspired with a crowdsourcing idea and created the framework for a nation wide educators digital book.


When working with my colleagues to complete collaborative and co constructed artefacts I was able to understand the challenges I will face when I work with children along the same ideas.  


During the 10 week course I was exposed to new ways of communicating, learned new technical vocabulary, comprehended the importance of actively taking part, left evidence of what I had achieved, reflected on my learning, gave and received feedback from my colleagues and was responsible for my own learning. I devised my own way of coping with what was asked of us.


I learnt how to use new tools and revisited old tools but in a different way. A highlight was coordinating a Google Hangout with my colleagues.
 
Where to next as an accredited Flat Connections Global Educator? I am looking for interested educators to join us online at Newmarket School as we lead a Global Project for The initial idea of this project is exploring getting to school safely with a focus on health benefits and turning city planning around – not just keeping pedestrians safe but building cities for pedestrians. So if you are interested in being part of my first Flat Connect Project, then do make contact via twitter @vanschaijik.


Each of the following education documents stresses the importance of working beyond the classroom in a connected and collaborative way.


The United Nations Secretary-General launched the five-year Global Education First Initiative (GEFI) in September 2012 to accelerate progress towards the Education for All. See more at: http://www.globaleducationfirst.org/about.html#sthash.KC6E7cxb.dpuf


The New Zealand Ministry of Education put out a report from Associate Education Minister Nikki Kaye’s 21st Century Learning Reference Group titled Future Focussed Learning in connected communities. This report highlights the importance of understanding Global connections and learning as an educator.


The New Media Consortium states that   ‘young learners need skills to analyze information,
communicate effectively, and collaborate in global environments to solve complex problems.’ under Complex Thinking and Communication.


So if you and your school are looking at a system already set up that helps align the learning at your school with Global Focussed Education then I encourage you to seriously think about joining one of the Flat Connetion’s global projects that run each year.  If your school is serious about teachers understanding Future Focussed Learning in Connected Communities then I encourage teachers to join in and work on their Flat Connection Global Educator Certificate.


For more information you can contact Julie Lindsay directly.
Start with this portfolio website – http://about.me/julielindsay
You can connect with Julie via

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!’

2014 List of highlights

2014 -incredible year.

It’s that time of year when filled with festivities we reflect on our past year and set some new goals for the coming year.
2014 has been a year of with amazing edu_moments highlights. 

Because this is a list of highlights, it is multistructural in thinking so to make it relational thinking I would love some dialogue with you particularly if you have been involved in any way.
The past years highlights all the collaboration that I have been involved in.
This year, Google Hangout was my tool of choice as I was able to run six successful TeachMeetNZ sessions. One each term and two others in between.
This involved 42 presenters. Taking the total number of presentations on the site to 72. So Next year I aim to break 100.


I built a site for our ESOL area cluster to coordinate all communication.


I joined the School in the Cloud Project as a cloud Granny.


I was also part of the #edchatnz Steering committee where we pulled together a conference for over 300 educators in 18 weeks at the cost of $20.00 each. You can read more about that here.


I presented at two national conferences. These were CLESOL and Ulearn.
I co-presented at 2 international conferences. These were Global Educators and ???


I ran a workshop for principals in ICT with the Springboard Trust.



For Travelwise, our school achieved our Bronze Level award and took away the community prize.


I ran a SOLO Taxonomy Session for Samoan educators in Samoan.


I fulfilled a personal goal of creating a series of presentations on online portfolios and presenting them at Eduignite.



I wrote 27 blog posts and fulfilled another personal goal of writing a blog post a month,. I didn’t quite achieve that because I skipped some months but made up for it in others.
I had an article published in Interface, was featured in the Pond Launch as being the first school to register all our teachers, was on the Ministry of Education site for Future Focussed examples for TeachMeetNZ.


To finish with, tonight I attained my Flat Connect Global Educator Certificate.


In between all that, I took part in regular edchatnz twitter chats, hosted a global classroom twitter chat and rolled out Google Apps for Education at Newmarket School.


Where to next. I am taking a leaf from @hannahrogersx blog, The Modern Girl and have set myself 7 personal goals.


1. Limit Social Media. I love social media. It is part of who I am.  I do over share and can post a lot and that is me. But this year monitor the time I have on social media. Aim for one unplugged day a week.
2. Say No More Often. It’s okay to say no. I owe no one an explanation for not wanting to do whatever it is I don’t want to do. But this year be conscious of how I say no.
3. Be Gentle on myself. If I forget to pick up texts from the family whatever it is, don’t beat myself up over it. It is a waste of energy, just acknowledge it and move along. Remind family to find other ways of connecting with me.
4. If You Want Something, Ask For It.  I will be crowdsourcing more. The #EdBookNZ project was an amazing experience and an amazing resource for educators written for by educators. This year I will be looking for more ways of tapping into the fabulousness we have here in New Zealand. I am aiming for two TeachMeetNZ. One in Maori and one in Samoan.
5. Find the Balance. Office looking a mess? Haven’t walked up Mt Eden for a while and keep  forgetting my packed lunch on the bench?  Probably because I have been burning the candle at both ends.  Find some balance back in my life. This year aim to visit Tiritirimatangi more often and drink my water.
6. Write more.  Mind is racing and sleep gets disruptive because of the gazillion ideas spinning in my head. Stop, look out somewhere peaceful and slow down the thought process and write. Aim for a blog post a week.
7. Spend time with family. Sisters forgotten what I look like. Parents are quiet around me? Forget to ring my boys? Put the tools away and look up. This year I aim to make eye contact, remember birthdays and schedule phone time with my boys.
I want 2015 to be a year of balance. Just like my Libra sign.
Happy 2015,

Can I see you, teacher?

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Listen teacher, listen to me. Don’t look away.
See my eyes they hold messages that make you understand me.

Are you a 21st century teacher? Are you a future focussed educator using effective pedagogy? Do you teach in a modern learning environment and use digital tools? Are you conscious of digital citizenship? Are you an active member of a virtual community and use social media to make connections and broadcast? Do you foster digital collaboration with your elearners?

What?…..  #halt! Let’s flip that learning? We must be connected educators because we relate with all of the above… Right?

So what is a Connected Educator? Let me carry out a personal inquiry.

October has been branded “Connected Educator Month”. I was determined to unpack this coined phrase. I have found dropping the term ‘connected’ a challenge, considering this has been my inquiry for 2014. I relied on connecting for this EdbookNZ project. I crowdsourced for this collaborative project using social media and invited educators to give up their precious time and to help me write a  book that would debunk several current educational terms being bandied around. I envisaged we might make a difference to education by disrupting some of the current thinking taking place. Well goodness me my learning community responded.

Initially I wrote a blog post to clarify my understanding and help me unpack the term ‘Connected Educator’ in readiness for sharing my learning with colleagues at ULearn14 with my principal Dr Wendy Kofoed. So if you are looking for a definition of Connected Educator then go to this link and read a carefully thought out definition there. Access the ULearn video and watch the discussion or rewind our Ulearn slides to demonstrate your connectedness.

Connections can take many forms. I had a lightbulb moment when my SOLO Taxonomy mentor said, “Sometimes educator blogs read like a description and very few take their reflection to an analytical level.”
Sometimes I need a prod to help me with my thinking and that was the prod I needed. The focus for this ‘disruptive article’ is ‘Educator’. My personal inquiry has centred around connected educators at my school and my own understanding of educator has been clarified by using the term ‘connected’ educator. I now realise that this educator does not need the term connected in front. This educator does not need a digital badge to say I am a connected educator because first and foremost I am a teacher therefore I am an educator and  I am a learner too. I have my teaching certificate to prove this. Each year I carry out an inquiry to show I am learning. Each year I work with another cohort of teachers and students who challenge my thinking and I, hopefully, challenge theirs. Each year I create and leave a legacy for other learners as is encouraged by the New Zealand Teachers Council. Therefore a badge is handy for this process of evidence based learning.

Considering all this learning as inquiry that has taken place, should I have focussed on the educator as a learner? A large part of my own learning results from online collaboration. The online learning environment continues to shape my thinking and the connections I make shape my learning. For my reworked contribution to #EdBookNZ as part of Connected Educator Month,  my topic is ‘Educator’ – I have stripped away the term connected as I believe it is not needed to describe being a teacher because to educate requires connection. It is a prerequisite. Without connecting with our learners, can we educate effectively? Without connections, can we collaborate effectively? Without collaboration can we share as effectively?

I believe connectedness is one of three concepts relevant to being an educator.
At any New Zealand school, being connected requires the learner to develop a secure sense of their own identity and agency to think and work towards where their potential might lie.

At my school our three values are whanaungatanga, manaakitanga, kaitiakitanga.
I use these concepts and their definition to frame my current thinking around Educators.

In Aotearoa New Zealand an educator understands the Maori concept of whanaungatanga which focuses on building relationships with each other, the community and our children. Therefore an educator knows how to use the managed online learning tools to find people and knows how to connect with them. They think carefully about the dynamics of interactions. They use social media such as Facebook, Twitter, Skype, Google+, LinkedIn, and other tools to make connections and to build their own personal learning community. They actively seek other New Zealand educators to connect and build learning relationships with.

In Aotearoa New Zealand an educator understands the concept of Manaakitanga or Generosity of Spirit. This is about developing the ability to walk in others’ shoes which includes seeing issues from others’ perspectives and thinking carefully about the dynamics of interactions. It is about cultural awareness. An educator knows how to use and take the tools from their kete to move their practice forward. They know how to get the learning needed to improve the craft of teaching. An educator uses online tools to crowdsource to share ideas and to call for help in creating resources for their learners and for other educators. Generally they are participants in learning communities and take part in twitter chats such as #edchatnz to connect nationally and globally with other New Zealand educators. They comprehend the concept of an educational bubble and actively seek virtual chats to connect them with educators globally because they understand that sometimes the New Zealand bubble is just that, a bubble.  They use a wiki, blog and or google sites as a sandbox to test their learning and show what has been learnt. They attend online New Zealand webinar such as the Virtual Learning Network monthly sessions. They participate in national online projects- such as Connected Educator Month or even better, they contribute to online projects. Even much better they take part in or create their own global collaborative project that includes their students, keeping citizenship at the heart of what takes place.  They curate their own learning using Pond and make connections with other New Zealand educators to share what has been found and learnt. They know how to bring back what they have found and learnt online and share it with their school community via a reflective educator blog, a face to face discussion or via a different media. Personal learning is transparent, visible and accessible by all.

In Aotearoa New Zealand an educator understands the concept of Kaitiakitanga or Guardianship for Sustainability of our world. They understand the notion of stewardship by ensuring sensitivity and thoughtfulness of actions in environments both local and distant. An educator knows how to build their community of practice so that it has active participants like guest speakers or blog authors and where everyone constructs knowledge collaboratively. They identify the voices that are silent and actively seek them out to ensure that all voices are heard. They know how to reflect on what they have learnt and make this available for all via a blog, Google Doc, wiki and or a site. They have identified video as the new text and have taken personal responsibility to learn how to craft their learning using video. An educator uses several communication tools to find people and connect with them. An educator knows how to access the learning needed to improve their own teaching. They know how to empower each other and the children that they teach to build their own learning environment. They take pride in leaving a legacy for other educators.

An educator is visible online and can be identified by the work that they do with the children that they teach and with other educators through the legacy that they collaboratively create. The educator’s attitude, knowledge and skills change as they learn. The change in their thinking can be mapped. They continuously gather and analyse data of what they are doing for quality improvement.

Most importantly an educator is a professional learner who creates, contributes and converses. They know how to empower each other and their students to build their own networks to learn from and use the tools and resources that are available. They have the mindset to learn from each other, with each other, from and with the children that they teach and from and with the families/whanau of their children.

So, if I assess my outcome using the levels of SOLO Taxonomy; have I clarified my thinking around what a connected educator is, elaborated on and justified my definition, prodded you to rethink the connected educator label? Have I disrupted your thinking? Have I created a new way of defining connected educator?

Where to next, can an educator, without access to technology, still be a connected educator? Can they not still connect with those around them? Can they not still connect with learners, family, community?

Do give me feedback because quality improvement drives my learning.

For this post I thank Bridget Casse @BridgetCasse for being my disruptive friend and value her time and prodding. You can check out her blog here. http://bridgetcasse.blogspot.co.nz/
References

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Appraisal of Teachers Phase Two: What is Evidence? (2014, January 1). Retrieved October 30, 2014, from http://www.teacherscouncil.govt.nz/content/appraisal-teachers-phase-two-what-evidence

Hook, P. (2014, October 21). Take away the descriptors – Artichoke. Retrieved October 30, 2014, from http://artichoke.typepad.com/artichoke/2014/10/take-away-the-descriptors.html

Hook, P. (n.d.). SOLO Taxonomy. Retrieved October 30, 2014, from http://pamhook.com/solo-taxonomy/

Hyde, A. (2014, October 2). (Modern) Learning Environments. Retrieved October 30, 2014, from http://likeahoginmud.blogspot.co.nz/2014/10/modern-learning-environments.html

Kemp, C. (2014, October 30). Taking away the descriptor – Collaboration. Retrieved October 30, 2014, from http://mrkempnz.com/2014/10/taking-away-the-descriptor-collaboration.html

Kern, M. (2014, October 21). Are we Digital Citizens, or rather Citizens in an increasingly Digital World? Retrieved October 30, 2014, from http://thebelbird.blogspot.co.nz/2014/10/are-we-digital-citizens-or-rather.html

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Paki, T. (2014, October 22). Whanaungatanga Collaborative E-Book Connected Educator Month 2014. Retrieved October 30, 2014, from http://teaomataurangatokutirohangaake.blogspot.co.nz/2014/10/whanaungatanga-collaborative-e-book.html

Prashnig, B. (2008). Pg 12. In The power of diversity: New ways of learning and teaching through learning styles (3rd ed.). London: Continuum.

Wells, R. (2014, October 18). An End to “21st Century” Learning Tools. Retrieved October 30, 2014, from http://ipad4schools.org/2014/10/18/an-end-to-21st-century-learning-tools/