A Learner's Journey

July 1, 2013
by 34mk2012
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AITSL Self Reflection Tool: Professional Engagement

This is the final reflection in a series of 3 on the AITSL Self Reflection Tool. I completed this tool at the beginning of this year and have found it most helpful in directing my Professional Learning this year. In this post, I reflect on the section of the tool titled Professional Engagement.

Areas of Strength

6.3 L Initiate and engage in professional discussions with colleagues in a range of forums to evaluate practice directed at improving professional knowledge and practice, and the educational outcomes of students.

I love this aspect of my job! I enjoy any opportunity to share new ideas, innovative practices, classroom strategies and what I have read recently. In my position as Religious Education Leader, I have the opportunity to plan and facilitate collegial dialogue on a regular basis. This can take a variety of forms including engaging as adults with our ‘big question’ for the term in RE, sharing a useful new app I have discovered, inviting staff to share what has worked recently in their classrooms, sharing and responding to some professional reading or a relevant YouTube clip. This is a clip I used recently to stimulate discussion about what we want to be mindful of in our Inquiry Planning for RE next term, 10 Expectations. I work in a dynamic team of 5/6 teachers and I relish our team meetings as a great chance for each of us to share our successes, our failures and our challenges. This leads to learning for each of us and I value the fact that each of us is open to innovation and creativity and constantly seeks to improve learning opportunities for each of our students.

7.4 L  Contribute to professional networks and associations and build productive links with the wider community to improve teaching and learning

In the years since my return to teaching in 2009, I have been very active in our RE Network. I have been on the Executive Planning Team for the past 2 years and have presented or facilitated at almost every Network Meeting since I joined the Network in 2009. I have blogged here about many of my presentations. My contributions have been well received and led to many opportunities to share ideas and practices with individual members within the network. I have tried to build a twitter PLN for RE Leaders within the zone and although some members are active, this is still a work in progress! I am an active and enthusiastic ‘tweeter’ professionally and have found this to be a rich and varied source of Professional Learning. My participation in twitter has led to many innovations and changes in my teaching practice. I find my PLN a constant source of inspiration and have found many new resources and read many great articles, blog posts etc through it. I would not have found the Self Reflection Tool without it! With my students, I have tried to make our learning more connected and our class blog has been brilliant for this. We have been able to share our learning with not only family and friends but learners from all over the world. Quadblogging has greatly enhanced our connectedness and initiatives from @theheadsoffice such as blogdipping also enable us to share our learning globally.

Areas for Development

6.1 P Analyse the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers to plan personal professional development goals, support colleagues to identify and achieve personal development goals and pre-service teachers to improve classroom practice.

Our Leadership Team has discussed the need for each of us on staff to have our own Professional Learning Plan. I think this is an exciting step forward! I am very aware of some areas in my own teaching that I would like to improve in but at present, this is really up to me to manage and monitor. I am lucky to have some great colleagues that I can have frank and open discussions with but would like the opportunity to have this more formalised. We are also investigating the notion of feedback and the impact that can have on improving teaching practice and student outcomes. Many schools are well ahead of us in this field but beginning the journey is promising and something to look forward to professionally and personally.

7.1 G Maintain high ethical standards and support colleagues to interpret codes of ethics and exercise sound judgement in all schools and community contexts.

This is something that each and every one of us in the teaching profession must always work hard for. It is imperative that we remember every day that we are dealing with people; not data, not numbers, not statistics, but human beings. In this era of data, it is all too easy to get lost in the numbers. I am not disputing the value of data to inform our teaching and help drive improved student learning, but I think we must always remember that teachers’  knowledge of students is far richer than the data we may have about them. When we keep student learning at the centre of all our actions and decisions, it is far easier to maintain high ethical standards. High ethical standards also call me to strive harder to personalise learning for each of my students. I want each of my students to have equal opportunity to learn and thrive in our classroom and acknowledge that this requires different things for different students.This is an area which I am working on currently, trying to meet the individual needs of 28 students in creative and productive ways. I have found ICT a rich tool for helping to diversify learning opportunities, experiences and expression and enjoy the challenge of finding new ways to engage and inspire my students.

I would highly recommend the use of AITSL’s self reflection tool. It is enabled me to see my role as teacher and leader more broadly and perhaps consider some aspects of  these roles in new ways. Give it a go!

 

 

 

February 17, 2013
by 34mk2012
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Learning to Storify

Another #etmooc task under my belt … my first storify. I decided to storify some of the tweets from the past week that demonstrate my PLN at work via twitter. I get so much from interacting with others on twitter – ideas, educational conversation and banter, feedback, affirmation and challenge, professional reading and even new shopping sites! (Every teacher needs a break!!) Here is a taste of my week on twitter …

 

 

January 20, 2013
by 34mk2012
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Why I Blog

Tweeters in my PLN and in the ETMOOC community have been raving about Haiku Deck and how great it is to use and pleasant it is to watch. I had installed this app some time ago but never quite ‘got it’. So today’s project was to have a go and see what happened. As usual, the hardest thing is to decide what to create so I decided to collate and present some of the reasons why I blog, both personally and with my students. So here it is – nothing flash – just my thoughts – about the importance of blogging to me.

 

Haiku Deck is the best application for creating presentations on iPad

January 12, 2013
by 34mk2012
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Twitter via Videoscribe

Last year, I came across a useful app called Videoscribe.  After introducing it to my 11 year old, he pretty quickly introduced it to his peers at school with great results. The app is easy to use and whilst not free, I think it is worth the $. It is yet another way students can communicate, share, explain, demonstrate and explore what they have learnt by creating something new. Here is my clip I created about the Power of Twitter for me as an Australian educator. Enjoy!

 

October 21, 2012
by 34mk2012
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Collaborating via the twitterverse!

The week before last, I was scrolling through my twitter feed as I love to do, when I came across  one from @deputymitchell requesting a class that would be interested in making a video to inspire his class about problem solving. Although video is not my forte, I jumped at the chance to collaborate with another school across the oceans. Our brief was to make a video showing students struggling to solve a problem and deciding to consult the class blog of @deputymitchell for help. This is what the students came up with:

Problem Solving

They did this independently with minimal assistance from me. I gave them a problem to use but they found it hard to ‘fake’ not understanding it because it was too easy and they knew exactly how to solve it! I was so proud of the great job they did. I love it when students just ‘run with’ an idea and take it somewhere I have never imagined myself. I constantly marvel at how capable my students are! We are looking forward to further ‘conversation’ with Deputy Mitchell’s class via their class blog as they respond to our video.

We have also been the focus blog for quadblogging this week so have had lots of visitors from our partner schools in the UK. Having such a global audience is enormously rewarding for my students and highly motivating. They have enjoyed responding to comments made and are just as keen when it is our turn to visit one of the other blogs for the week. Follow @quadblogging on twitter.

I tweeted out a request for help earlier last week collecting data about favourite icecream flavours. We have had responses on our blog from all over the world  and have now some real data to use in our Data Maths unit. Students have delighted in seeing the variety of responses and places they have come from. Thanks to all the tweeting participants!

So over the past two weeks, my students and I have reaped great benefit from the support of my PLN … Time well spent investing in building  and participating in it!

October 10, 2012
by 34mk2012
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Twitter and the REL Network

Why?

Twitter is a quick and easy way to share ideas, resources, successes and learning, and a great way to support each other in our role as educators. We can create connections with other REL’s and create a vibrant network in between meetings. Twitter is an easy way to stay in touch with one another, send a quick message of support, send out a request for help, celebrate a great learning experience or share a great new resource.

How?

Sign up for a twitter account at www.twitter.com. Create a profile briefly giving people an idea about who you are and what you do so that potential followers can easily see why they should follow you! It is a great idea to add a photo – others are much more likely to follow a person than an egg!  A photo also enables others to recognise you when you meet face to face. Download a twitter app for your mobile device so you can easily tweet when you are at PD, meetings or out and about. Start by following the REL’s listed below and see who they are following to get you started. Follow anyone whose profile matches your interests, skills or specialities. Keep your tweeting professional. Most of us are not that interested in where you are having coffee but we are very interested in a great new Web 2.0 tool you’ve used successfully.

@Mj0401Mary

@twursthorn

Hashtag#

Use #ERORE at the end of your tweet to alert your network to your message. You can search for this hashtag and quickly see anything that has been tweeted by the network. Save the search so it is easy to find.

Resources

Have a look at some of these links if you are keen to find out more …

http://www.diigo.com/list/mj0401mary/social-media

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1N0pSimJhevM6KEzE1ys4VhCzkSfcGoNW3jdq479A1Ng/edit

http://blog.web20classroom.org/2011/03/twitter-its-not-just-whats-for.html

Be warned … twitter is VERY addictive!

 

photo credit: babymellowdee via photopin cc

August 11, 2012
by 34mk2012
4 Comments

MYSA Travelling Scholars

During the week, I was fortunate enough to attend the workshop with George and Alec Couros organised through the MYSA Travelling Scholars program. I have been following George and Alec for a few months on twitter and knew this would be a fantastic learning opportunity –  and I wasn’t wrong. 

The day was titled “Anywhere, anytime, anyone: transitioning toward 21st Century learning.” It was a small intimate group and by the end of the session, many new connections had been made. Some of the things that stuck with me are:

Schools as centres for learning, not just for students but for all staff as well. Sounds obvious but I often feel the learning needs of staff can be easily overlooked. If our students see us trying new things and learning with them, that is extremely powerful and most likely liberating for both students and teacher. I have had many opportunities in the last couple of years to allow students to teach me something that they know and it certainly brings out the best in them. I have been blown away with what they are capable of when I am prepared to hand over to them and share the learning process.

Innovation – George spoke about the need to stop talking and start doing! Sometimes, you need to go out on a limb, take a chance and just give it a go. I have found value in this approach recently in my own classroom and some of the things I have tried have worked and some not so well. We so readily tell our students that making mistakes is how we learn but can often be reticent to face that in ourselves. I firmly believe that our schools need a clear pathway toward creating a school climate that allows for personalised, relevant and rigorous learning but it can be all too easy to get bogged down in the discussions and never get around to the action.

Connection – so important for all education stakeholders. We all crave it and how rewarding it is when it is achieved. George spoke passionately about how technology can actually work to personalise education and enable us to connect deeply with our students. This is a challenging idea for many teachers who feel very cautious about the ‘risks’ associated with social media.

One of the quotes of the day was “Put it out there and let the world decide!”  I guess in starting this blog, that is exactly what I am doing!

I have placed Geroge’s blog on the blogroll – it is well worth a regular look.

Thanks to George and Alec for inspiring Melbourne teachers and for being such innovative and engaging educators.

 

August 11, 2012
by 34mk2012
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Here I Go!

Having joined the twitter educational community 3 months ago and starting a class blog, here I am now starting my own! I have been on an amazing professional learning journey in the past few months which is invigorating and exciting.

Starting a class blog is something I had wanted to do for a while so in the last school holidays, it was time. After many hours playing around, it was up and running and 3/4 MK and I were away.

I have been astounded to see the far reaching impact of such a relatively simple change to my classroom practice. The students are highly motivated to record, write and publish the learning and events of our classroom to the blog and have continued to engage in the classroom after school and on holidays. The connections it has allowed to the world wide community of learners as well as our more immediate learning community have been wonderful and to see the excitement of the students when we receive comments has been great.

After some encouragement from our school bursar, I also opened a twitter account. What a revelation that has been! Just this week, I been a part of some stunning Professional Development that I would never have known about other than through twitter. I have been able to read some great articles, participate in educational chats, share ideas, visit other blogs and build a PLN in such an accessible and supportive environment.

And so my journey continues … it is an exciting and inspiring time to be in education!

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