As educators and professionals in a very demanding role we are all aware that we have a responsibility to keep the communication loop open and feedback is an important part of our work. We must communicate with colleagues, leaders, our students and their families, as well as the broader community. This is all on top of the core business we have of supporting the learning and exploration of concepts outlined in the governing curriculum to rank students against a continuum of learning outcomes and communicate this information with the stakeholders who require this information.
I have been using Google Apps for approximately 12 months and I have spoken to many educators who have gone through the process of becoming a Google Certified Teacher. I am inspired by this and believe I have the knowledge and skills to achieve this. My plan became actions when, in April I travelled to Sydney for the Ed Tech Team’s Google Summit. I thought I was very knowledgeable with my use of the suite and my goal for the conference was to make connections and meet some inspirational educators along the way. Instead, I learnt so much my brain was almost ready to explode after 2 days of “Google in Action”. I also learnt that there is so much I DON’T know about the suite and in particular the scripts that make the suite so much more powerful.
Following this, I returned home inspired and determined to achieve Google Certification. I studied thoroughly and completed the exams to achieve Google Certified Educator within a week of leavng Sydney. This was another steep, but very rewarding, learning curb. I now felt knowledgeable enough to present my skills to a wider audience. This opportunity came when I applied to present at our upcoming professional Development Day.
Since moving to Google Apps For Education I have found myself continually satisfied with how the tools interact and the collaborative nature of them to comment and support students whilst they are working on their task. The tools I use and how I effectively use them to manage my work flow are:
On the mid year school holidays I was a part of the wonderful CEGSA Conference in Adelaide. As a committee member this year and seeing all of the organisation falling into place was a wonderful experience for me. Personally I was involved in getting “The Ed Tech Crew” Podcast team to attend and broadcast many interviews with presenters and delegates.
Often when we attend such large conferences as delegates we are excited about the possibilities. We return to the classroom invigorated and inspired to make change and implement all for the wonderful ideas we have been presented with. Unfortunately although, all too often we keep up the “new and shiny ideas” for the short term but resort back to tradition and our old habits.
This year, one of the key note presentations was by Nick Jackson (Online Educational Designer at University of South Australia). His presentation on the Digital Leaders Project he initiated at his previous school in the UK.
This, like many presentations, lit a spark in the hearts and minds of several delegates, and at the end of the presentation Nick invited everyone to contact him for more information if they are interested.
Days later, as I trawled through my local hang-out place – Twitter, I noticed a conversation involving some delegates and Nick (@largerama) about an upcoming hangout. I got myself involved and began my journey.
Since then I have participated in the hangouts to discuss the porgress and projects of school’s programs. I have also had Nick visit our College to support me in my launch process. We discussed several ideas and after discussing with the students their interests I found the common thread for most was Minecraft. When this was offered to the students as an alternative lunchtime activity Minecraft Monday’s was born. Since this there has been a core group of students who attend each week with several coming intermittently. These students range from year 4-7 at the moment.
What I have observed from these students is that they are always working to improve through self monitoring, motivating and encouragement of all players. The students are working together to achieve a goal and share knowledge. Since this I decided to persue an offer to host a Minecraft camp at our College. This camp provides players the opportunity to paritcipate in a community of Minecraft players from within our College and beyond. They will be explosed to curriculum learnign without even knowing.
My hopes as a result of hosting this camp is that the Minecrafters at Ocean View College are able to begin usign their time to develop and demonstrate digital resources using Minecraft to teachers. As this goal develops I will present the idea of participating as a Digital Leader at the ACEC2014 National Conference in October next year.
For more information about the Digital Leaders Project you can contact me through the messages below or watch the Google Hangouts at the links below.
Oz Digital Leaders Hangout 3 – 27 August 2013 with Michael French
Oz Digital Leaders Hangout 5 – 22 October 2013 with Amber Wurst (Year 9 Digital Leader Participant)
In 2013 I resolve to stick to a plan…
I have never made a New-Year resolutions and always got by, but in 2013 I feel there is something worth committing to (other than my beautiful family and friends, who have always been my first priority.) In 2013 I am returning to teaching in a formal sense since 2009. I have a lot more connections in the education world and most importantly I know I have the knowledge to share and lead others into this new fronteer of Education Technology.
I have always known I had the knowledge but I never had the belief. Until…July 2012 when I was an unknown, a blog that only a dozed people had viewed, approximately 350 Tweets, a frequent listener to the Ed Tech Crew Podcast, who was attending the CEGSA 2012 conference amongst educators from across the country. From the moment I walked into the Pre-conference Masterclass and saw a young man standing in front of the room (whom I initially thought was just another teacher attending the conference). I had Neve seen, met or even connected with George Couros before this conference – now I know usual practice might be to check out the presenter before attending to get some background on them, but I didn’t, I just knew I wanted to come in a connect with like-minded teachers from my area.
Following this Masterclass I felt empowered and I knew I could push further. So throughout the next few days I introduced myself to many “known” Educators as I could and the conversations always came back to making connections, Twitter and Blogging. so I took up tweeting with a vengeance to beging with and then I knew I needed to blog. So, I moved my blog and posted a few reflections. For one of my posts I had over 250 views in one day! To me this was almost the ultimate, but since then I have written only 5 posts. It is not all about the stats for me, but I do like to see the acknowledgment that others are reading what I have to say.
I also enjoy reading posts that others have written – and then all of the conversation that goes along with it as this is one of the main purposes of blogging- to start the conversation. so foten when I’m geared up to write I have a look at a few of my favourite bloggers posts for that quick inspiration. But instead I get so caught up in the post, links and the conversation, I never get back to my own post. Therefore I must manage my reading and writing time better to allow me to do both.
I would love to know how others manage this dilemma.
It is not that I haven’t written regular posts because I’m too busy or that I don’t feel I have anything to write about, in-fact that is the complete opposite. I feel I want to write about so much I don’t know where to start. I have ideas when I’m driving, in disengaging meetings, or when I’m not near a computer with a list of tasks as long as my arm to have completed by “NOW”. I write them down as soon as I can and I have created a comprehensive list. But where to begin???
I have decided that I need a plan, and my plan looks a little like this:
- Get support and someone to keep me accountable (at least until I get the momentum going and this becomes regular)
- Start at the beginning (of my list and work through it regardless of the other ‘better ideas”)
- Keep Regular, I have two parts to my blog one which is the regular stream of posts, and the other is a list of teaching resources that I use/am made aware of. I also like to include a little blurb about the tool. So to keep regular I would like to make one addition to each of these every week.
- Read and share blogs from other educators and hopefully reflect on these also. I do read a lot of posts but I find they are so comprehensive that I don’t feel I need to comment.
- Make the time to read, reflect and respond. This, I suspect, will be my greatest challenge, but I am not here to make excuses just the plan. and Using all of my time in a more organised and constructive manner.
In addition to my plan I also need a few essential ingredients. These are things that are out of my control and I hope are of little or no impact to my plan. They include my timetable at work (I hope I have some time throughout the week were I can allocate to my professional reflection in an uninterrupted space).
Also the family, it often seems to happen when I’m geared up to sit and write a post I have family to deal with, wether it be homework, sports, or just generally being a mother. I must get back to blogging ASAP.
This is my plan that I shall continually reflect upon to maintain my regularity.
My motto to support my plan is on I heard at a training session last year:
Work Smarter, Not Harder.
If I can work by these two paradigms I believe I will have a successful year and beyond, connecting and reflecting with Educators from across the world and putting my stamp on a focus that I’m truly passionate about, on a personal and professional level.
I hope this helps me to make this a habit, and if it helps others to get up and have a go I would love to hear from you about your progress too.
Today I had a wonderful experience at work that I hope will be the beginning of a continued program at Ocean View College.
This week saw presentations throughout the college of staff Professional Development. This was a program that was initiated as a result of a leadership change and in response to the college’s site improvement plan. The process for these presentations was to investigate the plan, and respond to the goals. All teachers and school wide support staff were asked to set goals in line with the site improvement plan and then expected to collect evidence throughout the year to show how the goals were achieved. This was a long stretch for many staff to indicate how they made impact on the student literacy, Numeracy and Engagement levels, especially the ground keeper and administration staff, but everyone manages to make this connection. and present their success story to a small team who worked together throughout the year. This alone was a fantastic culmination of success and gave everyone – including the principal – to share what impact they have had and how this is reflected in the improvement data.
As a group leader I found this experience to be extremely valuable in that I not only was able to support my team to understand how they personally made impact on these improved results but also to get to know staff on a more personal level whom I would not normally interact with on a daily basis. Through this hard work and the and the continual conversations in the staff room between all staff, the goals have been the driving force behind statistical improvements across the board in B-12 Literacy, Numeracy and student Wellbeing and Engagement. A success to be celebrated.
Today was also about beginning the next step in this continued improvement through the allocation of some time to begin setting site improvement goals for 2013. The goals for the new year include Literacy with a greater focus on consistent and sequential programming to ensure a thorough coverage throughout the college. Numeracy also continues as a school priority as it is recognised as a foundation subject. Student wellbeing and engagement is still a very high focus but has been succeeded by a new priority which also encompasses the engagement levels of students not only in our school but across the world.
I am happy to say the new priority for 2013 is ICT! I had some information that this would be included but to actually see this priority announced made me satisfied that the influence I have had on leadership and staff across the school. I know this had been as a direct result of my impact as the ICT use and incorporation of 2.0 tools throughout the school was almost non-existent outside the computing classes which had a total enrolment in 2012 of approximately 60 students out of about 800 throughout the school. Evidence of the impact is already measurable through the number of elective enrolments for 2013 in year 9 escalating from 9 students in 2012 to about 40 in 2013.
I have begin many other new initiatives across the college including weekly ICT sessions with the pre-school children, supporting teachers to include and substitute some classroom activities with interactive technology and sharing knowledge and resources to teachers in the form of training in social networking in the middle school which has resulted in classes beginning blogging and a sample of teachers using twitter to network with educators across the world.
The biggest surprise of the day came following the long morning of data analysis and goal setting for 2013 and looking to the future. Staff were all invited to join the leadership on a dolphin cruise where everyone was able to engage in what was titled “Team Building”. This was the best opportunity I personally have had to network with some staff who are not usually a part of my working team. This would have to be the best celebration of college wide success I have been involved with in the last 2 years. There was talk prior to the cruise about involving students in celebrating their successes which I believe is one of the best ways to promote further improvement. Lets now implement this experience in the classroom to share the success of achievements with our students.
How do you genuinely share school wide and personal successes with your students?
In recent weeks I have felt the distraction of learning and interest pull me away from the professional reflection and blogging.
Last week I completed a Cousera course in ‘Gamification‘, this is the notion of applying game elements into existing structures of learning and engagement. During this course I signed up for another Cousera course only to begin it and find it was not what I expected. I also realized that through the duration of the ‘Gamification‘ course I became withdrawn and removed from the things I find most valuable, connecting on social networks and reflecting on this here in my blog. It was time to drop the courses and get beck to the more important things.
I am now in the process of preparing to apply for positions for the 2013 school year and beyond. Again another distraction I thought, only to look at my pages here on this blog and read what I have posted in response to the Australian Professional Teaching Standards. This is what all Australian teachers will be assessed against in the near future.
In addition to this I have been actively promoting myself in the online world to create a positive profile in any “Google search“. It is becoming more frequent, accepted and expected that prospective employers will “Google” an applicant to find out how they behave in an online environment. They check out Facebook, Google+ and Twitter accounts as well as any other place that is accessible to the online public.
My goal for this blog is to reflect professionally upon my learning and educational experiences. Thus I am committing to regular updates here and frequent reflections. Although these may not always be long posts I need to reflect more often.
As I return to the traditional application process in addressing Selection Criteria and I explain all of the teaching and learning I enjoy in a daily basis, I am continually reading information from my twitter network, scanning blogs, and expanding my network.
Although I love the challenge of applying for positions I would find it more productive to demonstrate my skills in “communicating effectively and establish and maintain effective working relationships” or “demonstrating a sound knowledge of current practices and pedagogies” through my well established and soundly developed profile online. to establish this I am happy to provide prospective employers my name and links to my blog Twitter stream and Google+. I rarely use Facebook, but would be willing to provide this information also if requested. Thus enabling me to continue my learning, development and less of the distractions I feel I have been caught up with recently, although these can be productive distractions they are distractions none the less.
What are your reflections of the application process?
Back to the applications…