This is my attempt to transcribe my presentation from TeachMeet North which was held at Ravenswood School on Wednesday November 16 2011.
I Can Do That
I used to think that professional development for teachers was something that was given to me. I would sit up near the back of the hall on our mandatory staff development days and listen to various ‘gurus’ talk at me. I was the one who was doodling or writing lists, or day-dreaming about all the work that was waiting for me in my classroom. I was the one flicking through the provided power-point screen shots, counting them down to the end. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to learn it was just that the topics didn’t always grab my attention or seem relevant to my needs.
Then two years ago I went to a conference and discovered the world of Twitter for teachers. I came home and told my husband that I needed an i-phone and I needed it now as I was joining Twitter. I thought, I can do that and I did.
As I got into Twitter I discovered that teachers were writing blogs and that in these blogs they were sharing ideas, reflecting on their learning, asking for advice and passing on their learning. I thought, I can do that and I did and this blog was born.
I discovered also that classes were blogging, so at the beginning of term I said to my co-teacher Pru “we need to have a class blog” and we thought, we can do that and we did. So year5rc was born. We use this space to connect with students around the globe, reflect on our learning and share our work.
Then our students started to badger us for their own blogs and we thought, we can do that and we did. This year we have thirty students blogging, just for fun, not because we make them and not because it is homework. They use these spaces to reflect on their learning, to share ideas and learning and to decorate with widgets, after all they are girls.
Meanwhile I was learning about all these amazing websites and I wondered how I could share my knowledge with my staff? I had heard about a concept called techie brekkies being run in new Zealand. I thought, I can do that and Techie Brekkie was born.
I then discovered that if I put a proposal into a conference, that was accepted, I could go to the conference for free. I thought, I can do that. And I did. As a result I have listened to Gary Stager, Alan November, Jeff Utecht, Chris Betcher, Stephen Heppell and more. I have also attended workshops and as a result, shared my learning with my staff back at school.
So I now see myself as a networked teacher. Yet I did not do this alone. I did it with the help of my Personal Learning Network on Twitter.
What did this require of me? I needed to let go of the past, take risks and get out of my comfort zone. I have had to see myself as a continuous learner, even when that learning is hard and I felt unsupported. I have had to realise that the concept of TeachMeet is bigger than me and I needed to work in a team, so as to get it off the ground. I have learned to work with others from around the world. And above all I have had to hang on tight and have fun, on the ride of my life.
Why am I telling you this? Well I want my students to take risks and leave their comfort zone. I want then to view themselves as continuous learners. I want them to realise that when they work as part of a group, it for the good of the group, not their own personal ambitions. I want them to learn to work with others from around the world.
And above all I want them to hang on tight, have fun a go for the ride that is year 5.