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.

TeachMeetNZ Interface

Titled: Where Teachers Meet
TMNZ.png
(Educators involved in TeachMeetNZ in 2013)
This post is an update of that article.


In 2013, I launched TeachMeetNZ as part of my TeachNZ Sabbatical. A TeachMeet is an organised but informal meeting (in the style of an unconference) for teachers to share good practice, practical innovations and personal insights in teaching with technology. TeachMeet originated with three Scottish educators – Ewan McIntosh, David Noble and John Johnston. Currently all over the world there are hundreds of TeachMeets that take place regularly in a variety of venues. As Ewan Macintosh commented, TeachMeet was never about technology 100%, it was about the Teach first of all, and the tech was instrumental to achieving what we wanted to achieve pedagogically and never the other way around.” Ewan Macintosh.
This article will describe how I developed TeachMeetNZ, the process of the on-line organised collaboration using Google Hangout, the relevance to teaching and conclude with future development for TeachMeetNZ.


TeachMeetNZ
I developed TeachMeetNZ after two years of research, investigation, then the trialling of a variety of online products, with Google Hangout being selected as the preferred platform.  
A small team of willing educators agreed to join with me to learn how to use Google Hangout as a way of presenting, demonstrating good practise, sharing and celebrating teaching with technology. Each term, a group of inspirational New Zealand educators develop and deliver a series of presentations. These sessions are live streamed, and are attended virtually by educators from around New Zealand and globaIly. In addition a TeachMeetNZ wiki was  developed for participants to communicate and share their presentations with a virtual audience.


Collaboration and participation
TeachMeetNZ is about New Zealand teachers connecting online. They collaborate and problem solve using online tools. These educators support and mentor each other before and during the practise Google Hangout sessions. To take part, teachers prepare 12 slides that auto cue every 15 seconds so their presentation is three minutes long. The slides are hosted on Google Presentation or Slideshare and must be live before the session. We learnt that the most viewed YouTube clips are just under three minutes long so this is the preferred length. A three minute video is created of their presentation and may become a resource for use at a later time.
After the live event, discussion usually follows via twitter using the hashtag #TeachMeetNZ. Many teachers go on to blog a reflection of their session, and they can embed the YouTube clip into their blog.  A TeachMeetNZ presenters badge is awarded to those educators who present on TeachMeetNZ..  Participants and viewers willingly give feedback and regularly give their time to support and help others.


Relevance to teaching
Online spaces are useful for portfolio development and fostering interaction and collaboration. Google Hangout is a tool that can be used to collate and present resources, to support community interaction and contributions, and as a platform for personal expression. Google Hangout is an ideal tool for teachers combined with a YouTube account.


From creating and hosting TeachMeetNZ sessions I have learnt that teachers appreciate recognition and acknowledgement for what they do. Hosting TeachmeetNZ has pushed my knowledge of making connections with ideas and with people. Hosting the sessions has encouraged me to give better feedback to teachers who take part. The sessions have allowed me to be more focussed on my feedback with teachers and not to rush this important process. After each session I play the clip back and reflect on how I can carry out the task better next time. I make notes and begin with these notes at the next session. I have also learnt to go through the presentations before the live streaming so that I can better prepare my questions. I do this by asking for presentations to be live before the session and I usually run practise sessions for people new to using Google Hangout.


Where to next?
In the future I plan to host more discussion sessions with panels of educators. Last year I had an educator host a specialist session based on PE and this year I have planned to include similar sessions.  In addition I have planned to have single themed discussions and to have educators and practitioners who can contribute to themes at a deeper level. Some of the feedback that I have had from participants is that they enjoy the opportunity to ask questions and discuss ideas in greater depth. A session, that I hosted at the Festival of Education in Auckland, featured a group of inspirational educators who shared and discussed their passions both online and with a live audience.


The TeachMeetNZ site has grown rapidly and I have now become the site’s curator. Currently the site contains nearly thirty nano presentations. This number increases each term as teachers share and celebrate their learning on TeachMeetNZ. Global visitors and viewers can watch the presentations in their own time and place.


For my own learning.
The SOLO Taxonomy practitioner in me realises that my current sessions take me back to being multistructural in my thinking.  In order to achieve depth in what I do online I need to continue to take a leadership role in other online communities. As frightening as this sounds I think that my first goal is to move from participating and running TeachMeetNZ sessions in online communities to being involved at administration level with online global projects. I would also like to continue with mentoring and developing others to host sessions. The popularity of the digital badge concept may also mean that I further develop this system for levels of participation.  


If you have been a presenter or have watched a session on TeachMeetNZ, please add your comments below.


For further information
Visit the wiki
#TeachMeetNZ on twitter


Teacher from Newmarket School
Auckland New Zealand

TOD at Mindlab

On Friday 7th of February and a day after Waitangi Day, we had a teacher only day with a science focus. We visited Mindlab and spent the afternoon with @chrisclanz. The three hands on activities that were shared with us included making rockets, creating auras with Aurasma and adapting code to make our car robots work.  I added some photos here from my picasa drive. Chris highlighted the need to to Engage, Plan, Discuss and Reflect when teaching science.
When we used Aurasma, we all had our teacher iPads and were provided with WIFI access to download, create a short video and upload to our accounts. Many teachers eagerly discussed their next steps with Aurasma. I was able to solve an ongoing problem of matching an aura with an underlay.

Having our Science leader @BelindaHitchman sharing her passion for science was priceless. 

Probably the highlight for me was making connections with teachers that I work with in an engaging and fun way. Yes I also learnt more about teaching science.  Chris showed us Scratch and Makeymakey as well as the 3D Printer. I was in geek heaven. I would have loved to have some more hands on coding opportunities with these technological learning tools. 
I was excited to see a few of our Newmarket School teachers experimenting with twitter by sharing and adding their tweets of the events. I created a timeline using tweetdeck but am having trouble embedding the code in blogger. 
How confident are you at teaching science? Have you visited Mindlab recently? What are your thoughts on hands on professional development for staff? How are your staff using twitter?

The Magic of 11.

Late last year, I was tagged in a blogging meme by my online friend and TeachMeetINL mentor @arjana. She was one educator I did not get to meet face to face on my trip because between us we could not align our stars. But Arjana next time it will happen. Either you come to me or I come to you. I also liked the way she gave me feedback via twitter on my blogging meme.


I have been procrastinating writing and have been doing everything else to avoid updating my reflections. Her tweet was the jumpstart I required.

So I completed the set task and it took me three days to craft as I was away with a mini ipad to write with. I created a draft using notes and played with the idea in between swimming, sleeping and snorkelling.

As soon as I returned to my chrome, I added links and finalised my first post for 2014.

But I still cannot figure why because I posted the entry on our New Years day yet it states that the post happened on New Year’s eve.


11 has been a re-ocurring number for me in 2013 so I laughed at the unusual number. I had spent 11 weeks on a TeachNZ sabbatical and when I trawled a collaborative initiative that was part of my sabbatical output for last year, I identified 11 bloggers who had reflected on their contribution to the TeachMeetNZ project. I did not find it easy nominating virtual friends as who do I chose because I already read so many interesting blogs. For my part, I deviated from Arjana and focussed on New Zealand educators only and from that chose the ones who had reflected on TeachMeetNZ. I have been following the hashtag #bloggingmeme with interest and was excited to read @helenoftroy01 contribution by creating a Blogging Meme Doc to track the blog entries and to avoid a double up or more of being tagged. My initial chart using inspiration pales in comparison.


Those of you who read this and are New Zealand educators, what Helen has also done nicely for me is identify some of you who I will be shoulder tapping for our next TeachMeetNZ virtual session. So be ready. You will end up with a digital badge for your portfolio and a cut 3 minute video to embed on your site.


The Blogging Meme Doc has also been a motivation for me to comment on blogs that  people have written. In some ways I do feel responsible for setting the beast loose on the New Zealand tweachers. I am one of those lurkers who have been reading but not commenting as much as I could be.


If you are tagged in twitter, I would like to read about you and may I suggest being like @MFaaeaSemeatu and used her Blogging Meme as a motivation to encourage new bloggers to get started. I also liked the way Manu used google+ so combined two social medias to spread her meme. She tagged her nominated bloggers via google+ and also via twitter.


Anne spread her #magic and responded so fast with her Blogging Meme post like within the same day. From my other nominated bloggers I  have 4 who have completed the task after a few days and I will be honest and say ‘Great job’ as it took me all week from when I was tagged.

I have watched @1MvdS in her patient, gentle, persuasive way gently coaxing her Blogging Meme group into writing by giving regular updates on who had completed the task and come on the rest of you.

I enjoyed reading @MsBeenz entry and learning a little more about her and have @Allanahk remind us that this is not the first round that we have had something like this happen.

So no great pressure @hanna_fale @SwanwickC @digitallearnin @phpnz @EmmaWinder25 @emmerw @nzteachnology @hunch_box . We are supposed to be on holiday. I like the way some of you have literally disappeared from twitter but I know it will not be for long.

Anyone else reading this, if you want me to come and read your post and practice giving a comment, do tag me.

Where to next:
I stumbed on this via @FabMomBlog twitter and have made 31 my new challenge number. Don’t worry I will not be tagging anyone to join me but it you want to do let me know. In March 2014 my goal is to write daily. Like Manu, I will tag you to come and give me feedback.

My learning from all this: the 4x C’s
As my SOLOtaxonomy mentors @arti_choke and @ginnynz01  regularly remind me, reflect on the process and don’t just celebrate the product.
  • Stop procrastinating and just get on with the task. I have made better connections with New Zealand educators because part of the meme asks for 11 facts about you.
  • Something as simple as this can generate collaboration like the Blogging Meme doc.
  • We can use other social media in the task and not just twitter to celebrate the product.
  • What meme could I create to encourage blogging?  What ideas do you have?

How to embed a tweet? Thanks to @SchuKnight who willingly shared this little gem.


How to change the date on blogger to reflect current time? Thanks to @annekenn for this other little gem.

RSCON 4

2013 Reform Symposium E-Conference (RSCON)
Around the World in Nearly 80 days


This Saturday I will be presenting at #RSCON4. The date and time of my session is Saturday, October 12, 2013 12:00 PM (Pacific/Auckland). However you can access the site and locate when this is in your time zone. I will have just returned to Auckland after having presented #TeachMeetNZ at the National ICT conference #Ulearn in Hamilton.

I recently returned to New Zealand on the 2nd of October after having been away for 77 days. In that time I travelled on 15 Flights, 44 trains, countless hours on buses and in cars visiting 13 Countries on 3 Continents and meeting  28 amazing educators educators and visited  18 learning institutions and schools and attended some face 2 face professional development. I kept in contact with my colleagues via Instagram, Twitter and email. I also kept a blog and an off line journal and took over 4,500 photos.
My presentation will focus on my TeachNZ13 Sabbatical, which allowed me to establish connections with educators around the world. Schools in Europe and then in Asia were visited and different learning environments observed. The educators who allowed access to their domain were educators who have had a history of sharing professional practice and some use Technology in Transformative Ways.
The Flat Classroom conference in Hawaii
The brand new Billunds School near Legoland in Denmark
School Design from an educator in Roskilde Denmark
Jyvaskula the Educational Centre of Finland
The Goldau School Project in Switzerland
The Hole in the Wall, the Granny Skype project and now the school in the cloud in Delhi, India
The Slideshare Headquarters in Delhi.
The Confucius Mandarin Language Programme in Shanghai, China
A nursery and an elementary school that are beginning to learn English in Osaka, Japan
The annual Google Apps for Education Summit in Seoul, Korea and a visit with a school running 1:1 iPads with Grades 3 & 4 children.
Take away from this session some ideas that could be used in your own schools, details for where you can read more about the different projects and make connections with the educators involved.

I look forward to you joining me virtually as I share my Face2face journey of my round the world experience.
I created a copy of my presentation in video format.

Flat Classroom Conference 2013


On Tuesday 23rd of July I finally met Julie Lindsay at Kapiolani park. I had come especially to Hawaii to attend the Flat Classroom Conference 2013 held at Punahou School.
The theme for the conference was ‘Thinking globally but acting local = glocalisation. The challenge was to create a pitch, work collaboratively to come up with a video product that is embedded on our team’s wiki page.
We were provided with the opportunity of visiting the Omidyar Kindergarten and First Grade Neighbourhood part of the school for ages 4- 6 years olds. I was blown away by the design of the rooms and by the amount of equipment each class had access to. As can be expected, the children were not in school but teachers were around preparing for the new year. I since found out that Pierre Omidyeawas a past pupil of Puhanou School. Omidyea was the founder of ebay. Other past pupils to note include Barack Obama and Nainoa Thompson. There are many others and many past students have gone on to be leaders in a variety of fields.
The Flat Classroom conference was a lot of fun and was more than what I expected. There were 9 countries represented and 40 schools from around the world. We were given the opportunity of working with educators on a global project. I was part of team 2 and we called ourselves Heat 2 Heart Team.
First of all we needed to develop a pitch for a global project. Then we presented this to the students and they gave us feedback. Students did the same thing and presented back to the teachers for feedback. After that we created a visual presentation of our pitch and embed this onto our wiki.
We began with 8 teacher teams but by the end of the second day it was down to just our team. So we had the opportunity of developing a video. There were 6x members on our team and this included Anitawho was an expert at video editing using imovie, Bill who had some really great ideas, Ryan who kept the memories by taking heaps of photos and movies, Hui-Mei who was an expert with podcasting and quickly whipped up our audios and myself with strengths in wikis. In and out we also had Maria who provided some administrative angles and Kumu Tai, who joined us later and gave us the Hawaiian perspective. We were encouraged not to rely on google because this was still blocked in many countries. So using google docs, google presentations etc had to be adapted. Therefore we used slideshare and wikis. Padlet and etherpad was a little clunky on the ipad.
On the final day, the students’ presentations were stunning. I felt proud of our team that we completed our product but the work of the students really blew me away. They had some great ideas. The theme coming strongly from the students was their awareness about sustainability. Remaining students created a sharing of their cultures and this was a lot of fun to watch.
I took away from the conference the idea that we can create some stunning global projects but working together is the real gift of global projects.
I enjoyed my group immensely and by the end I wished I had booked some extra time to stay in Hawaii. I have created an #fclive group on Google for my team to keep in contact and I hope that we do carry through meeting up together and even doing something together online.
I also was able to meet other teachers such as Vicky Davies,  Teresa Allen and Frank Guttler who came in as part of the Flat Classroom Team. All are stunning global educators too. I also met Emily McCarren who was coordinating the event for Punahou School. Other interesting people I met was Kumu Tai and Kumu Malia. Both celebrate the Hawaiian language and culture at Punahou School.
In Punahou school they collected rain water in bioswales for watering their beautiful gardens. They provide the children with the chance of growing their own food gardens, classrooms used photovoltaic solar panels to collect energy for lighting and the use of skylights was evident. I didn’t see paper used as much as how we use paper and one of the teachers said that most stuff is created digitally. The mountain behind the school is known as U’uonamoa and blocked the rivers. Legends share that when the Hala Tree was pulled up a new spring appeared.
The Flat Classroom conference ran over three days and each day there was a lot of educator learning. The best part was making connections and collaborating with a group of passionate educators and seeing what happens when we all work together.