Sunday, October 26, 2014

PD for free and you can wear your PJ's!

Holidays are a time when we try not to think of school. Apart from the marking and planning for the next term, it is a time for those sleep-ins, afternoon naps, time with family and friends, reading those books you have had out of the school library for some time (sorry to Linley, the lovely Librarian at my school), a bit of retail therapy and even trying out a new recipe. However, lots of us use holidays to spend time with other teachers at conferences to learn something new, catch up with old and new friends and perhaps be inspired. For example in the mid -term break, two colleagues went to the NZATE conference in Rotorua. This conference could be followed by a Twitter hashtag, a shared google Doc and workshops notes shared via Google.

The last holiday break was the first time I didn't go to ULearn for several years. In 2012, I flew to Auckland early on a Thursday morning, drove at breakneck speed to the Conference Hotel, and arrived just in time to hear my name announced as a CORE Ed efellow for 2013. Last year, I presented three workshops and enjoyed my last few days as an eFellow and listen to some amazing educators. So I was a little sad at not going this year - but for me it was "family first" time. However, I was able to follow the conference via the Twitter hashtag #ULearn14, shared google docs and live streaming of some workshops. Along with the conference, Connected Educator Month has been running. Based on an idea for educators in the US, this year CORE Ed have decided to facilitate this month-long series of events to celebrate teaching and learning in New Zealand. Again the connection is via Twitter #cenz14, the main list of events  and a variety of teacher -driven blogs, book groups, educamps, dinners, coffee meetings... The two hash tags to follow are #chched and cenz14

Many NZ teachers are now involved in specialist Twitter chats which take place on different nights through the week. I have contributed or followed #edchatnz, #scichatnz, #engchatnz and #pechatnz and more chats continue to grow.  #aussieed is on Sunday night 8pm -10pm (aus time ) which I find a little late for me but I can catch up the next day. Just search out the hashtag.

Educampdunners was last weekend and once again Twitter was used to tweet out links, ideas, photos etc. Later in the day those tweets were saved using Storify.  While an educamp is fantastic f2f PD, following on Twitter is a great way to get a taste of the action.  

If you are on Twitter and you are reading this blog, hopefully  you can relate to something I have written. If you are not on Twitter, you are missing out on such amazing PD, shared resources and shared community.
Give Twitter a try - you just might like it.

Here is a link to a Twitter Cheat Sheet put together by Alex le Long @ariaporo22

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