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

About Connected Educator. (2014, September 1). Retrieved October 30, 2014, from http://connectededucator.org.nz/about/

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

Kofoed, W. (2014, October 18). E-ducators, it’s about a learner mind-set. Retrieved October 30, 2014, from http://drwendykofoed.com/2014/10/e-ducators-its-about-a-learner-mind-set

Melhuish Spencer, K. (2014, October 28). The death of the digital community? Retrieved October 30, 2014, from http://karenmelhuishspencer.com/2014/10/28/the-death-of-the-digital-community/

N Antipas, P. (2014, October 17). Redundant Adjectives. Retrieved October 30, 2014, from http://eodysseyblog.wordpress.com/2014/10/17/redundant-adjectives/

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/

TeachMeetNZ running a session

Currently I am learning with Julie Lindsay on Global Educator sessions. Julie is a global educator whose work I had admired from a far for a few years before I had the opportunity of joining a face to face session with her last year in Hawaii. This year I am learning more about running a global project by undertaking the Flat Connections Global  Educator sessions. This blog post is about aligning the work I already do with TeachMeetNZ and reflecting using the readings and discussion from the course to make the online sessions even better.
Recently I read Core education 10 trends and was interested to note that they have highlighted global connectedness as one of the important 10 trends in education.  


Sometimes I am asked how do I run a session for TeachmeetNZ?


Before the session
I put a call out to people who have made contact with me previously who have shown an interest in presenting. Sometimes it is through connections I have made on #edchatnz and sometimes I might have picked up a blog post via the twitter breadcrumbs. By the time I have finished a live session the next session is usually already booked. Because our TeachMeetNZ has an NZ focus I generally run sessions for New Zealand educators. When have the team I build a page for the session on the TeachMeet wiki because I have already learnt the importance of leaving breadcrumbs so that bystanders know what happened. Once I build that page I call for communication details.


Communication and building connections.  
How do we communicate on TeachMeetNZ? The fastest way is via twitter so stay up to date via the hashtag #TeachMeetNZ. I also send out emails to the group via google mail so do check that too. The bulk of communication takes place  a fortnight before the live session.  It is usually a great idea to use the communication details to find each other on twitter, on google plus, on facebook and any other social media spaces that you know.


Handshake to build connections
A handshake allows the group to bond and the session to be a success. I have already learnt that I need to spend a bit more time on the handshake in order to allow the participants an opportunity to build connections with each other. Over time I have learnt that three tutorials are ideal before we go live. My modification is to give the presenters an opportunity to share what has been happening in their week at each tutorial. I have learnt that sharing highlights from the week is an  important part of building connections.


SOLO taxonomy
Using Solo Taxonomy I can step out the tutorials and reflect on where they are placed and what I still need to do to create depth in the learning.  
Multistructural Thinking is using the the tools such as the hangout, twitter, google+, GAFE for consuming. Therefore teachers are learning how to use the tool and the emphasis is on the tools.
Relational thinking is about making connections so one way is by making social connections with the other delegates they are presenting with using the same tools. They also use relational thinking when putting their slides together. Therefore teachers are making connections both with each other and with their learning.
Extended abstract thinking is when teachers are contributing to an educational resource by creating presentation slides and through an edited video. Presenters usually complete the process by writing a blog post about their experience and add to this process of learning through reflection. Therefore teachers are creating a resource and sharing their learning via a blog reflection.


First tutorial session is a Beta test
This first tutorial is like a Beta Test and is really for newbies or educators who want a refresher. This allows equipment to be tested. Using the #Flatconnect digital citizenship concept, this first tutorial is about technological awareness. A Google Hangout does change regularly. Some problems usually identified in the first practise include needing to update systems and is there any technical feedback. Do our microphones and cameras work?  Sometimes, we need to restart the machine after computer updates.
We learn how to activate the toolbox and add our name to the session. We activate the chat box and discuss its importance for communication.  We learn about positioning ourselves with the camera by checking the distance of our face to the camera. Some people sit too close as can be seen from the recordings. Remember when speaking to look at the camera not at the hangout delegates who reside at the bottom of the screen.
Do rewind the recording as this highlights any distractions that are around. A classic example is the washing hanging behind. When we go live remind the household what is happening so that loud music, pets are outside and requests are kept to a minimum.  During this session participants will have located their page on the wiki and have added contact links.
We discuss appropriateness of our space and remember the following
  1. privacy of other people like speaking positively of our institution and our colleagues.
  2. use appropriate language just like we would in a staff meeting.
  3. remind family members that the sessions are live so they do not choose this time to walk behind on their way to have a shower 🙂
All artefacts are created for ease of sharing so a reminder about copyright including what is on the presentation slides.
Each educator controls how much they are willing to share. If they are speaking about their institution do let the school leaders know.


Second tutorial session is the slides test
By this session, participants will have downloaded the template slides to their computers, or created and online copy using Google presentation. I will know the title of their slides. They will know who is in the current session with them. They will have some idea about  the topics being covered. They will have rebroadcasted tweets and ideally sent some out too regarding the current session. Participants will have alerted colleagues in their institution and invited everyone and anyone to watch the live session. On twitter they will be watching the #TeachMeetNZ Hashtag for updates and will know the order of presentation as this will have been tweeted out. Slides can still be in draft form and this tutorial demonstrates how the slides are embedded into their TeachMeetNZ page. The participants TeachMeetNZ page is their social awareness page. This allows them to add all their contact details so that other participants can identify who they are working with. Participants will have bookmarked this page for ease of access.  This second session is also a question and answer session and an opportunity to problems solve any issues that have eventuated. Sometimes I have needed to take photos here too in case presenters cannot make the final session.


Third session is the dress rehearsal, final photos and disruptive peer feedback.
This session allows timing to be checked. During this session a photo is captured for each presenters page. This is a backup session too in case there are problems during the actual event. As each presenter shares, others in the hangout gives feedback and suggestions. These include clarity of the slides, lighting of the presenter and usually involves some questions about the presentation. A reminder that all sessions are recorded to rewind for learning. This tutorial allows cultural awareness to happen because participants learn about each other, from each other and with each other.


Live session
20 minutes before the session the room is activated and the call put out.
Presenters should arrive 15 minutes before session to test microphone, set up their name and check that their presentations is up on the tabs. The live streamed session highlights global awareness as participants realise that their presentation is viewed by a greater audience than just New Zealand.


Afterwards
After the live TeachMeetNZ session I add the presenters to the main google+ list of everyone who has taken part. Their  video is added to the Youtube archive channel. The clip is for the presenter to do with as they like. For example the video can be embed directly into a portfolio. I suggest that they share the love by adding a link back to the TeachMeetNZ site. Over time I can see the sessions as a triangulation of learning. Each tutorial begins with a recap about what has been happening during the week as this allows connections to be made.


Hints
Participants can come in blind for the final practise, however I do not recommend this as it shows in the final recording.
Educators who attend tutorial sessions always have a smoother recording. If an extra practise is needed then I have past presenters who are always willing to support because they want to have a go at leading their own hangouts and therefore look for opportunities to practise too. In addition presenters can practise with each other.
One of my goals is about building connections so if a chat with me personally regarding their presentation is required then book a separate time via twitter direct message. I will make time when other delegates have dropped out of the hangout. All tutorial sessions are recorded for rewindable learning. These can be seen on the main channel if you go and search for them. I usually tag them to just whoever is in the session for our learning.


General questions
Yes you can present using any media, But keep it to 3 mins.
Prezi can be used and even really short video clips. If a video clip is used then add a new tab with the video instead of embedded in the slides because the sound is not clear when recorded from an embedded slide. If using prezi allow time for transition. Keep the slides simple with images. Not too much text.


Recommendations
After the session put slides into slideshare as this allows the tracking of number of views received. Remember to claim a badge, embed it with a direct link back to their page. Tag me on twitter if a reflections is written. Do give feedback as this is an important for quality improvement.
To be online and learning online is not the same as being tech savvy. #TeachMeetNZ  is about contributing, collaborating and being visible. “Come out and be part of the construction.” says Julie Lindsay. Contribution skills are not intuitive they must be taught. Take advantage of a social based learning with the blogs, videos and the presentations. As an educator If we are only consuming then we will be left behind, if we are creating and contributing and conversing then we are succeeding.


Where to next
As each tutorial is run prepared slides are needed because the recording does not show what I am doing. Reading a tweet is not enough, participants are reminded to alert me that they are receiving by starring what I tweet. As I prepare for the combined Aussie and kiwi session I am alerted to the fact that I have not given a choice for meetings. Maybe I should have used timebridge to establish meetings. These are ideas for me to think about for next time when I run combined sessions with other countries.

Before collaboration teachers need to make connections

 
When Core Education put out the call for abstracts I already had some ideas because I was gathering information around the use of social media for educator learning at Newmarket School. You can read the abstract here. When Wendy heard that 4x staff members were working with me and wanted to go to Ulearn she thought she would like to travel and be with us. I reminded her about our unspoken policy that if you wanted to attend a conference then put in an abstract. So I suggested she co present with me and that is how this collaboration began. We had been debating connections versus collaboration and so that became the focus for the presentation.  ‘Before collaboration teachers need to make connections.’


I have researched the topic since the beginning of the year and wrote a blog post recently to clarify my thinking. The post was called Connected Educator and you can read that here.


Then for over a month I gathered all the images together and created the presentation. When I build a presentation I have the abstract beside me to ensure that the talk reflects the abstract.
 
Next over the past fortnight Wendy and I worked collaboratively using google docs to bring all information together. Some of the challenges I find when presenting with Wendy is she likes to fiddle with my slides. We had agreed that we would have the same number of slides and the same time to talk. However I know she does like to talk so it takes all my monitoring to ensure she stays focussed on the topic and talks to the slides. She thinks I am too controlling and not open to being flexible. Yet because I have been coordinating TeachMeetNZ and have prepared and presented at Eduignite many times I do have vast experience of presenting already. I work hard to ensure that the presentation flows and that I adhere to time. So in all it is a lot of fun. I know when the teachers come in and hear us discussing academically, sometimes in raised voices, they must wonder what is going on.


Finally on October the 9th I presented my inquiry of Connected Educator at Ulearn 2014.  Dr Wendy Kofoed my principal was my co presenter, however that did not really happen. as you can see from the Core Education video below  it appears that I was Wendy’s co-presenter.
This is the third time that we have ‘co-presented’ and each time Wendy does take over the session. I do not mind because I feel proud that she is willing to be disrupted and be disruptive. It is a lot of fun having disruptive conversations. I was delighted to hear Wendy finally put aside 21st century learning and speak about learning and finally put aside Modern Learning Environment and focus on the learning environment. George Couros stated that ‘Innovation often comes from conflict and disagreement, not in an adversarial way, but in a way that promotes divergent thinking. The idea is not to go with the idea of one person over another, but to actually create a better idea that is often in the middle of the two ideas shared.’ So as you can see and hear our ideas around connected educator has evolved and we have a much better definition of a connected educator.
 
Here is our presntation.
Some of our written feedback missed the notion of disruptive educator and thought that we spoke negatively about Modern Learning Environments. I am happy with that comment because it means we have planted a seed.
Here is the link to our padlet that we sent live a fortnight before the session to activate discussion. http://padlet.com/ulimasao/connected.
I want to finish with a short paragraph describing how amazing these few days were.
Wendy and I were chosen to be live streamed so that was a first for me. We took down two teachers from Newmarket School who were also presenting. I was very proud of them. I attended the Core Education efellows 10 year anniversary dinner and caught up with other efellows. I danced at the annual Ulearn dinner. I met heaps of amazing New Zealand Educators. Then cheered when Core announced the efellows15 because three have presented with me on TeachMeetNZ.
Where to next. Well next year Ulearn will be in Auckland city and because this is our city I think it would be the most amazing thing if Newmarket School all attended Ulearn and yes, I will encourage even more staff to put in an abstract next year.

Wendy and I are involved in Connected Educator Month #CENZ14 and are in the process of collaboratively writing a digital bookLET. You can read about that here.
And to disrupt Wendy more so that Future Focussed Learning just becomes learning.

TeachMeetNZ CENZ14 A

On Saturday 4 October 2.00- 3.00pm (UT + 13 hrs)
We had a special session for Connected Educators Month.
This year a collaborative calendar for October will connect thousands of educators who will be able to engage in free (and freely given) professional learning events, communities and resources.
For more information do visit the the Connected Educators Website www.http://connectededucator.org.nz/
TeachMeetNZ session and our team of Connected educators from around New Zealand join in as part of the http://connectededucators.org/.
This 45 minute recorded session can be accessed live from  
Participation is free for all attendees. We will have a Q & A section for the audience. Feel free to submit any questions before the hangout. You can follow the twitter stream using  #TeachMeetNZ
Session Host: Sonya Van Schaijik
Twitter Broadcaster: Mary Robinson kept the tweets going and we have over 200 tweets in that hour. You can read that here on the storify. http://sfy.co/gvH1
Live blogger: Richard Wells did a fabulous job of live blogging the event.

Time Keeper: Karen Melhuish Spencer did not need to remind people about time as we had already been rehearsing.



Presenters Name
Topic
Twitter
Google +
Sam Hocking
SOLE – Self Organised Learning Environment
Bridget Casse
SOLO Taxonomy: Making Learning Visible in the Earliest Years.
Reubina Irshad
Mutukaroa Project
Tim Kong
The Future May or May not be Finnish
Lewis Bostock
Safe and effective use of social media in the classroom
Kassey Downard
What’s the big deal about Minecraft?
Karen
Share about Connected Educator Month

About the TeachMeetNZ project.
TeachMeetNZ is about New Zealand teachers connecting online. The project reflects the research and work of New Zealand educators in action. These live events are are convened across all education sectors to address the emerging technologies, trends, and challenges poised to significantly impact teaching and learning.  TeachMeetNZ has been live streaming since May 2013.


Did you miss the TeachMeetNZ  #NZGeo session on Crossing Boundaries .


Would you like to host a session?
Contact: Sonya @vanschaijik


Join the #TeachMeetNZ discussions now!


Global Digital Citizenship


The most important variable in collaboration is people. I keep coming back to the phrase that before collaboration can take place people need to make connections. Dr Wendy Kofoed and myself are presenting this very topic at Ulearn.  If you have questions for us you can add them here to our Q &  A Padlet.
Over the past two months, I have been making connections with three groups of educators as part of Connected Educator Month. I have been practising digital citizenship. I have been struggling to make sense of digital citizenship because I believe that citizenship is a strong enough word on its own. Why do I need to add digital in front of it to make it something other than what it is. I want to present this idea at my final Eduignite series where I hope by then my thinking is clearer. Monika @BeLchick1 has agreed to take on the challenge defining Citizenship as part of our #EdBookNZ project and I will be catching up with her soon to find out what she has been reading about on this very idea. Myself I agreed to work on connected educator and you can read about my thinking on connected educator here

In September I joined the second cohort of the Flat Connections Global Educators under the guidance of Julie Lindsay @julielindsay I am aiming to become a certified global educator by the end of this year. The outcome of that would be that I have led a global project and I would have worked with a group of #FlatConnect educators from around the world. I have taken part in several global projects and hence why I coordinate #TeachMeetNZ because here in New Zealand we are in still in the infancy stages of having our teachers working together nationally on national projects. Like the teachers blogs that have surfaced, evidence shows we are still in the early stages of collaboration. I have started to see some evidence of our teachers taking part in global projects with their classes but again I can count that on two hands. Some of that work you can see when I run the second TeachMeetNZ session this month as part of connected educator month.

Already I have adapted the work I do online with #TeachMeetNZ to align better with what I am learning. On reflection I know I have not given enough opportunities for the teams I work with each quarterly to make connections and to get to know each other. This is called a handshake activity. Therefore for this connected educator month I have set up a padlet for my handshake activity because I would like to implement what I am learning.
The first collaborative assignment involves Digital Citizenship –concept and practice? I am working with Ann Rooney @AnnRooney6 and you can read her blog post here on her current thinking around this. Julie gave us the term and a few guidelines as to how to go about carrying out the assignment and the rest is up to us.

So the first thing I do when I am writing is to activate a SOLO Taxonomy rubric and I have chosen an analogy map to help clarify my thinking. You can activate your own rubric from Pam Hook’s site. Virginia Kung, my SOLO  mentor at school  will be proud because that is always the first question she asks me, “Where is your rubric, Sonya?”
From the four years I have been using SOLO taxonomy in my teaching and learning I know that first step is to define my key idea.
So here goes. 

What is Digital Citizenship?
I am reflecting on citizenship through: all those online and offline experiences; conversations shared over scrambled eggs and bacon and through the screen; and books read online and by turning the paper pages.
Pam Hook – Personal Communication over scrambled eggs and bacon breakfast at Altar Mt Eden 3rd October 2014
“Any action that makes a positive difference to the common good can be construed as an act of citizenship. Enabling students to think critically about their own lives and society as a whole is a powerful way of making citizenship visible to them. To develop what Hayward (2012) refers to as a democratic imagination, motivation and involvement, students need a context where they have a voice and feel like they belong, matter and can make a difference. A context where they can value, and act in ways that promote, community and participation for the common good. A context where they can experience agency and demonstrate the rights and responsibilities they have as citizens.” Hook (2014 in Press) – Transport as a context for encouraging skilled and active citizenship) Pam Hook is writing about using the road as a commons – a shared space – as a context for citizenship but her arguments can just as easily be conceptualised through the use of digital technologies.
Pam’s question is: How might we build students’ democratic imagination, motivation and involvement as “digital citizens”?
At breakfast Pam talked about the different types/categories of citizenship – and how these might be helpful in thinking about building digital citizenship – referencing the work of Westheimer and Kahne http://democraticdialogue.com/DDpdfs/WhatKindOfCitizenAERJ.pdf
She asked what each of these might look like in  the context of digital citizenship.  We talked about how these categories might be expressed by students and educators – 

We think it might look something like this (draft thinking only).

Personally responsible citizens:
Participatory citizens:
Justice oriented citizens:
act responsibly
obey rules and laws
volunteer
take skilled and active role in groups that work for the common good
know effective strategies for collaborative action
seek social justice, equity, human rights and moral rightness
take skilled action for social change
know effective strategies for changing existing practice
Newmarket School
Curriculum connection:
Not Self But Service- Newmarket’s first Motto
Newmarket School Curriculum connection: Student Leadership Programme at Newmarket School
Newmarket School Curriculum connection:
Students taking on a glocalisation project to benefit our local environment.
EG:I would like to see here what we are doing to minimise traffic around our inner city school.
Digital citizen example:
Educators volunteer to take part in an online project where they act in ways that will benefit others.
An example here would be the GlobalClassroom chats I have hosted and co-hosted on a variety of topics.
Digital citizen example:
Educators take a skilled and active role in a group that hosts and or organises online projects for the benefit of others.
An example here would be the #EdChatNZ conference that has taken place recently
Digital citizen example:
Educators experience a form of context collapse – and exercise “pedagogical activism” to understand whose voices are amplified – and whose voices are muted or not heard. They work to include in the conversation those whose are excluded by the process and or the technology that enables online projects  – They ask what are the unforseen consequences of online projects – e.g. Postmans questions – who is advantaged – who  disadvantaged and who remains unaffected by online projects – and then they work to find clumsy solutions to address this
eg: where are the Pasefika educators hiding online. I plan to host a TeachmeetNZ totally in Samoan as part of Samoan Language week in 2015.
Digital citizen example:
Students taking part in the Skoodle Badge system (or equivalent) – or using SOLO rubrics for blog commenting – learning how to behave online for the common good
(A teacher has just created a badge system for her class.)
Digital citizen example:
Students setting up a FaceBook group to support other students in their year group – course – church or social group
Digital citizen example:
Educators and students  develop knowledge, skills, attitudes and behaviours about and for
·       technology access, 
·     technical awareness, 
·     individual awareness
·       social awareness
·       cultural awareness
·       global awareness for personally responsible citizen outcomes  
Educators and students  develop knowledge, skills, attitudes and behaviours about and for
·       technology access, 
·     technical awareness, 
·     individual awareness
·       social awareness
·       cultural awareness
·       global awareness for personally responsible citizen outcomes  
Educators and students  develop knowledge, skills, attitudes and behaviours about and for
·       technology access, 
·     technical awareness, 
·     individual awareness
·       social awareness
·       cultural awareness
·       global awareness for personally responsible citizen outcomes  


Flattening Classrooms, Engaging Minds: Move to Global Collaboration One Step at a Time 

Part of purchasing the course book gives me access to further online resources including access to a glossary and this is what this is what I found on Pearson’s resource site.
Digital Citizenship is the ‘Norms of online behaviour. A person practising effective digital citizenship understand the technology and can relate his or her behavioural choice according to social cultural and global norm.’ 

I am not sure if ‘norms’ necessarily captures citizenship – what it is to work for the common good. Couros suggests that – ‘Digital Citizenship needs to concern itself much more with social responsibility and social learning than is currently being addressed.’ Dr Alec Couros  Flattening Classrooms. Engaging Minds, Pg 97
The observations by Couros are supported by the conversations with Hook – see above.
When educators are connected to resources and create learning environments to help students form educated opinions and behaviours for online safety they are acting as citizens – acting in ways that promote the common good. 

There are five areas in which personally responsible, participatory and justice oriented citizens can act to promote the common good in and with online environments. These are: technology access, technical awareness, individual awareness, social awareness, cultural awareness and global awareness. From Flattening Classrooms. Engaging Minds Chapter 5, Citizenship, In the enlightened digital citizenship model. I will take these terms in turn and use them to better understand what I do when I act as a participatory citizen with TeachMeetNZ. (refer ticks in grid below). I note that there are other elements that can be addressed. So already I can see how to make what I do online even better.

Type of citizenship
technology access
technical awareness
individual awareness
social awareness
cultural awareness
global awareness
personally responsible citizen
participatory citizen
justice oriented citizen


Technology Access: Tools for Collaboration. In order for collaboration to take place the educators that I work with must have access to Asynchronous Communications such as twitter, and google+ communities and via gmail because we are using a google product. Communication takes place asynchronously in that the participants do not generally communicate concurrently. However when we move to the live streamed event, we use synchronous tools such as google hangout and even twitter. Therefore communication takes place in real time. When the session is over we move back to asynchronous communications such as twitter, a blog reflection and commenting on each others blog and a wind back of the hangout via youtube. The  educators that I work with develop their presentations using a communication conduit such as google presentation and the group wiki through which ideas flow between themselves and me on their presentation. I can see their slides develop as they are being built and can give feedback. The communication conduit happens too via the google + community and via twitter where we use the #TeachMeetNZ. I have added a facebook page too but at this stage I still find twitter the best place to pass messages through. 


Five areas of awareness

This next part of my reflection involves walking the educators through the process of the TeachMeetNZ sessions and their learning framed with the five areas of awareness that develop as their online learning unfolds.The first term is technical awareness. Educators are faced with a new tool such as using google hangout to present their learning. They generally have a basic awareness of the features and functions of Google Hangout. Many of the educators I work with are also new to wikis and presenting on #teachmeeetnz is usually the first time that they have created a presentation that is Asynchronous.

Next Individual awareness evolves as the educator decides how they will create their slides for sharing with an audience. The first thing learnt is making a copy of the presentation template. They also learn how to respond to a call and learn how to use the tools.  We have three practise sessions before the min event. 

Then during the first face to face virtual practise session, social awareness takes place. I see the educators tagging and linking to each other via twitter and adding each other on google +. I also see how the slides evolve as they personalise their presentation. Some take the slides and totally rehash them, others create their own sequence and I have even had a couple choose a totally different media too to present with. From these experiences I can see my own progress in social awareness develop as I had not even thought of using some of these ideas for presenting. 

After that cultural awareness happens as the educators learn about each other, from each other and understand what they have in common. They make connections with each other via same interests, same education levels, same cities that they live in, and even same cultural background. They find out family facts and put a face to a twitter handle. Some make connections because what they hear about is new learning for them and so generally go and find out more about the topic before the next hangout practise takes place. 

Finally global awareness happens, as the hangout is live streamed and feedback comes in from countries on the other side of the globe. The educators are excited that someone as far away as Brazil, or Spain or Finland stopped by to hear their story. They realise the impact of what has happened. For me the most exciting thing is seeing what happens next. I observe several who have joined me suddenly blossom in online confidence and I see them leading other initiatives and being rewarded with recognition from the education community both nationally and globally. In addition I love reading their blog reflections of the process and several have told me that their blog readership spike after having taken part in a session with me.

Developing a democratic imagination as a connected online educator.

 An awareness of these five areas is the beginning of developing a democratic imagination online – of digital citizenship. These five areas of awareness are like a lens to look at the behaviours we demonstrate online. In SOLO I would call this outcome multistructural thinking. The teachers that I work with know what it means to be online. They are not taught about digital citizenship but through the experience of being a digital citizen – it is through participating in an online project like TeachMeetNZ where they work with educators from around New Zealand and that by living the story, this is an effective process of learning about citizenship. From reading Flattening Classrooms. Engaging Minds Chapter 5, Citizenship, In the enlightened digital citizenship model, the best behaviour filter we have is “the space between the ears of the person using a computer”.  I love this phrase and have used it even with our teachers.

This filter is created through:  

Safety, Privacy, Copyright, Fair Use and Legal compliance. As the teachers create their presentation, they ensure that the images they use do not give away their children’s personal details.  As they mash and rehash resources, they must ensure that what they used has been referenced and acknowledged. From the chapter on digital citizenship I realise that I must stress the copyright sections with the educators that I work with. By taking part in a TeachMeetNZ session they allow their work to be shared on the TeachMeetNZ wiki and with that comes responsibility to their school and the children that they teach. I remind educators taking part about transparency and ask that their slides are visible to the audience using an embed widget.

Etiquette and Respect. The teachers learn about being respectful of other educators and learn how to give and receive feedback. A thought that keeps surfacing is disruption and I think that sometimes in education we live in an online bubble and communicate with like mindedness. Therefore missing the voice that asks us the difficult question. So we can ask the hard questions and still be respectful of the educators who ask us hard questions. In fact I welcome educators who ask hard questions I call them disruptive and use that term positively. 

Habits of Learning: Responsible Management of Online Activity. This section focusses on appropropriate habits of learning in the digital age. It focusses on the students but from my lens I focus on the teachers. TeachMeetNZ is an academic space and reflects an understanding of appropriate behaviour that is different from how the educators interact socially online. Reliability is shown by having an online presence. The chapter talks about the digital footprint and I talk about the digital tattoo because I often make reference to my personal tattoo. The educators are reliable contributors and collaborators in online spaces.

The beginnings of thinking for justice oriented citizenship 


Thinking about representation and flat leadership. It is interesting to note that educators who take part in a Teachmeetnz session with me are all involved with twitter, all have a blog and all have digital spaces that they contribute too. They are leaders on the VLN, early Pond adopters. In addition they have other education communities that they are part of or lead. Personally I call this being an educator and a citizen  It just is. However, they are not representative of the wider community of educators doing great work in teaching and learning – and as connected educators and citizens we must not forget this. The TeachMeetNZ site is still dominated by me leading and I am trying to change that by encouraging other educators to lead. This is happening, but it is not fast enough for me. Using SOLO Taxonomy I can see that use of the space is currently at a multistructural level. The scary part is I can see where to take it to relational and extended abstract. But that is another blog post and that thinking is evolving using SOLO Taxonomy  and because I am involved in this certification process with Flat Connections.

Thinking about Universal Design for Learning (UDL) Hook (personal conversation) asks how we can design online groups and teach meets so that the conversations, learning materials and ideas can be accessed in multiple way – do we provide “multiple ways of presenting materials for learning”? Do we provide “multiple means of contribution – expression and action for learning”? This thinking should become our default design when thinking about initiatives for developing digital citizenship. 


Thinking about literacy and fluency. Language in New Zealand differs. Alongside our Maori Culture we have a vibrant Pasifika Community with representatives from all islands. Being Samoan I notice online in education that Pasefika and Maori educators are few and far between. So I am always on the lookout for Pasefika and Maori educators to join me. Last July I ran a CLESOL focussed TeachMeetNZ and was excited to have representation from both groups presenting with me. In Aotearoa New Zealand particularly in Auckland we already have a vibrant cultural representation so why is this not reflected online in our education circles. Yes it is growing but again is still in early stages. My goal is to run a TeachMeetNZ totally in Samoan and one totally in Maori. So if you are of those two groups you will already know that I have been shoulder tapping you to join me. I am aiming to support a session in 2015 during both language weeks in New Zealand. 

So where is this all leading too?
The post is to clarify my thinking around Digital Citizenship, but I continue to struggle. I think the term lends itself better to just being citizenship – to ask how do we act with others in ways that enhance the common good online and offline? Yes the technologies certainly make our task of collaboration transparent and easier to coordinate but ultimately it is about people. It is about building relationships for the common good and we do this by making connections online and offline and in the between. Easier – is not necessarily better – any time, any place, must not neglect the anyone.
In Samoa I would be asked: O ai oe? O ai lou aiga? O ai lou matai? Fea lou nu’u? or Who are you? Who is your family? Who is your village leader? Which village do you come from?
In Maori we say He aha te mea nui o te ao?  He tangata! He tangata! He tangata! What is the most important thing in the world?  It is people! It is people! It is people!
Image created by students from Newmarket School.


References

Hayward, B. (2012). Children, Citizenship & Environment: Nurturing a democratic imagination in a changing world. Routledge.Westheimer, J. and Kahne, J. (2004). Educating the “Good” Citizen: Political choices and pedagogical goals. American Political Science Association

Hook, P. (2014 in Press). Transport as a context for encouraging skilled and active citizenship. NZTA

Lindsay, J., & Davis, V. (2013). Citizenship. In Flattening Classrooms, Engaging Minds Move towards Collaboration One step at a time. Pearson.

Lindsay, J. (2014, March 1). Digital citizenship: A global perspective. Retrieved October 5, 2014, from http://www.slideshare.net/julielindsay/digital-citizenship-a-global-perspective-reduced-size-32020944

October-spring is here

 
October is usually a crazy busy month for me.


It is my mum and dad’s birthday. In addition it is my youngest son’s birthday and also my birthday.


This October I have probably taken on far too much but because I have been in the world of education for 30 years, I know that sometimes it just gets like that and helps with the sprint to the end of the year for our New Zealand summer holidays. Plus it is the learning that ignites my education fire and I find it exciting and stimulating. I am passionate about teachers and their learning too. To help give you a bit of an overview, here is what my October looks like for me, without those important four family dates and all the practises in between.


Dates
Title
Links
30 Sept
Minecraft Hangout
Google Hangout
1st Oct
Launching CENZ
Webinaire
4th Oct
TeachMeetNZ google Hangout
Google Hangout
9 Oct
Present Ulearn with Wendy
Presentation
10 Oct
Present Ulearn with Ginnie
Presentation
TBC
Eduignite Citizenship
Presentation
20 Oct
Complete my chapter on educator
Blog Post
28 Oct
TeachMeetNZ /TMsydney
Google Hangout
31st Oct
EdbookNZ
Publish a book


I am also aiming to complete my Flat Connections Global Educator Certificate with Julie Lindsay. Already I have learnt that I do not give enough opportunities for my teams to get to know each other with a handshake. I have immediately remedied that by setting up a padlet for my #TeachMeetNZ project.

In addition set up systems to support our RTLB with the next roll out of iPads for their teaching and learning with students. Currently I am reading around minecraft as I believe we need to explore this programme further.

Sometimes I am asked why do I take on the extra outside of my school life, however those of you in my PLN who read this, you will fully understand when I say all the extra benefits me, my learning and therefore benefits my school. How else do I know how to help our teachers create videos, help them with reflective blog posts, help them with their inquiries and presentations and know who to ask for help or call in to skype with our children and share their expertise. Ultimately this helps them  This is because I am right in the middle of it all.


PS: I aim to visit Eden Gardens too these holidays and I hope to get my garden planted for the summer.