Monday, November 17, 2014

Constantly Learning - Another opportunity for educators

I came across this via Twitter (Thanks @BridgetCasse) I thought it looked interesting so I have signed up. I attended a workshop by Julie Lindsay @Julielindsay earlier this year at the GAFE
Summit in Christchurch so I knew one of the keynote speakers.  Looks interesting.

Here is the link to the Global Education Conference 2014

Monday, November 10, 2014

21st Century Learning - Two viewpoints

21st Century Learning-Two viewpoints

Mount Vernon Presbyterian School is committed to preparing students to be college ready, globally competitive, and engaged citizen leaders. Academic rigor remains a must, but adding a focus on 21st century skills enhances the education of our Upper School students. Rather than being passive consumers of information, we are teaching our students to be actively involved in solving complex problems, with a growing emphasis on project- and team-based learning.

The defining characteristic of a 21st century classroom is that it focuses on what students needs to learn and succeed in today’s global, digital age. In addition to mastering the core subjects of mathematics, language arts, social studies, and science, addressing broad questions, thinking along multidisciplinary and multicultural lines, and employing high order thinking skills to explore solutions to real-world problems are among the core competencies and skills necessary to successfully navigate the 21st century marketplace. MVPS faculty uses a blended approach, one that combines the richness of traditional academic disciplines together with 21st century skills. Both are essential, and we call the 21st century skills…
I really like the  Mount Vernon Mindset  which talks about skills for the 21st Century. Compare this to the ideas in the NZC about the key competencies

The other viewpoint is from Pernille Ripp, a 7th grade teacher in Wisconsin, Oregon.
This is a link to her blog.  She discusses how " We often confuse great teaching with constant innovation."
Some interesting points here and well worth a read.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Who can be amazed, inspired, sad, excited, enlightened or moved to tears in just one day?

"Who can be wise, amazed, temp'rate, and furious,
Loyal and neutral, in a moment? No man."   
Macbeth Act 2, Sc 3


Who can be amazed, inspired, entertained, enlightened, frightened, moved,saddened, moved to tears, hopeful and have their hearts and minds filled to bursting point?The answer is no man or no woman - actually any man, woman or child who attended TEDxChristchurch on Saturday 1st November at the Aurora Centre for the Performing Arts at Burnside High School Christchurch.

I have been a fan of TED talks for a long time. I have shown my students wonderful talks from amazing people and actually find it impossible to believe that not all teachers are doing this as well! In fact one of the highlights for me this year was going to the Eductech Conference in Brisbane and seeing Sir Ken Robinson speak on stage. 29 million people (including me) have seen his TED talk about creativity, so it was fantastic to hear him speak about this subject and more in June. The other amazing speaker was Sugata Mitra of the "hole in the wall" experiment where children demonstrated their ability to teach themselves. 

So, TEDxChristchurch was my opportunity to experience, firsthand the "magic of TED". And I was not disappointed. In fact I thought my brain would explode! And as I obviously enjoy near-death experiences of possible brain explosion, I shall be signing up for next year. 

I find it difficult at this type of event to take notes any more coherent than what appears to be the ramblings of a madwoman. I can only manage a few tweets. Luckily my good friend @annekenn live blogged the whole event for me. Thanks Anne. She also followed up by meeting several of the speakers and several of us were also lucky enough to meet them. What a humbling experience to meet Thomas Petschner and Tariq Habibyar, as well as sharing the joy and wonderment created by Mark Gee and his amazing moon silhouette.

If you didn't make it to TEDxChristchurch this year, then I suggest you hop onto their website
and get on their mailing list so you too can experience "the magic of TED" 
Form a queue  behind me!

Photo source @gmacmanus

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Why is being a Connected Educator important?

What's happening in your classroom?

I never really thought about being a connected educator in any depth before this month. However, Connected Educator month here in NZ and USA has really made me think about what is a connected educator and why it is important. In a Secondary School it is very easy to be an individual,alone in your classroom, door shut, teaching the same units you have for years, unable or unwilling to change. It may be that you see no need to change or you don't know what to change or how to change, your students may be connected with the world, are collaborative, creative thinkers and achieving to the best of their ability. But how would anyone know? Over the last few years I have come to realise the importance of sharing my practice, collaborating with other educators and increasing my knowledge about my subject, new technology and learning/teaching. How have I come to realise this? I have increased my understanding and knowledge through Post Graduate study, creating a PLN through Twitter, blogs, a variety of professional development opportunities,  such as attending conferences, workshops and teacher-led meetings. I was lucky to be awarded a CORE-Ed fellowship in 2013 which has expanded my horizons and again reinforced the need for modern teachers to connect with other educators and ideas in a multitude of ways. The world and technology are changing so quickly, that a teacher who is not connected to what is happening, is not only missing out on amazing information and resources, but so are their students. The smartphone, tablets, laptops and other technology have made information and knowledge accessible to our students 24/7. We can no longer be the "sage on the stage". By being as connected as our student we can share the digital world and learn alongside them. The world are students will enter when they live school will be a about collaboration, connectivness and creativity. How will they experience this in school if we don't know how ourselves?