Be not afraid of growing slowly; be afraid only of standing still.

This ancient Chinese proverb expresses how I feel my learning has been progressing the past 6 months, not stagnant, but moving forward slowly and as the end of the year approaches, and the first anniversary of this blog also approaches, I can say I am not standing still, but may need to walk a bit faster.

Screen Shot 2013-12-22 at 4.30.05 PM
This Webpage is Not Available – a very common occurrence behind the GFW.

This is my first blog I write since August where I have not needed to turn on my trusty VPN as I am in Singapore on holiday – it is liberating. Living and working behind the Great Firewall has been an adventure, but the internet restrictions of the GFW have stolen half the tools within my 21st Century Teacher Toolbox…

-YouTube
-Google Docs and Apps for Education
-Blogger
-Wordpress
-Edublogs (Unless we subscribe as a school for over $1000)
-Twitter
-Skype

…all unreachable within my classroom environment. Blogging platforms and Google  gone from a modern classroom seems unthinkable and I have spent the past half year rethinking and reworking my philosophy to ed tech as it relates to my present situation.

Stolen from Smosh.com.

The Classroom

All of the restrictions aside there is still much that I can do as a professional for my own learning and there are still ways that I can create a connected classroom…

-I am creating a class Wiki.  Wikis are not my preferred  tool with a year 2 class, but it will suffice in the absence of a blog. Additionally, it will allow me to embed YouKu videos (China’s version of YouTube) and gives us a platform to share work as well as host relevant clips for flipped learning at home. With many of my parents not being native English speakers it may also break down the barriers between school and home.

-Skype: I can access skype through my personal VPN, so connecting with other classes through Skype is achievable.

-Email: Letters never seem to arrive, but connecting to other classes through email is a definite.

The Teacher

Now for me as a learner and a connected teacher I just need to keep looking at the glass being half full. I am researching into some online study, but reconnecting with my PLN is a must, as through the GFW and timezone differences I have been inactive on Twitter and Google+ and not dedicated the time to blog reading and hashtag following that I normally would. Edcamp Home is a mere 14 days away and I can not think of a better way to inspire a new year and prepare a teacher for the second term.

I have discovered that learning to code is like a Soduku  or Crossword and is giving me a better understanding of how a computer and the internet works. I am halfway through a html course on Code Academy and trying to create Apps for my Android phone with MIT AppInventor (You have to give it a go if you have an Android, and get your class to give it a go too!).

I got my class involved with Decembers Hour of Code initiative for Computer Science week  – seeing 6 year olds programming Angry Birds was inspiring and let me know that Scratch, another product of MIT,  will be part of my class program next term.

Lastly I need to remember about this blog – writing a blog post like this is the best way for me to clear my head and order my thoughts, make a plan and direct my thinking, let me reflect and redirect, as that was the purpose of this blog when I created it, but if I do not use it with regularity is is a waste.

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For 2013/14 I will teach… My pledges for the next school year.

As I am now officially in my summer holidays (although I have a chilly -2 outside) I am ready to post the goals that I have set for myself for the rest of the 2013/14 school year.

For 2013/14 I will teach…5107173769_8cee35848b

…with clarity and purpose.

Taking into account what I have taken away from my time with Gail Loane and Kath Murdoch with regards to writing and inquiry teaching I will make sure that within my teaching I will have the outcome and purpose clear all of the time, not just most of the time.  Additionally I am also wanting to use Guy Claxton’s Split Screen concept with greater openness with my class.  Letting the content have just as much importane as the concept and skills that are being developed within the lesson – I want my students to build their own thinkers toolkit as the the year progresses of knowledge, skills, learning approaches, thinking styles, reflective tools and ways of questioning.

…like a builder.

I remember talking to  my Grandfather as a wee lad and he told me that when you finished work for the day you always needed to clean up so that when you come in the next day everything is in order and ready for the day to begin.  So at the end of each day as I leave my class I will make sure that my tools are stowed away and that what needs to be done is done or if it is not completed it is added to a list and given a priority rating and a deadline.

…with connection.

I have already joined the Global Classroom, looking to rejoining the Travelling Rhino Project, thinking about Mystery Skype and will be blogging up a storm with my new class – Connected! 

…with innovation.

As technology moves along I wish to move with it, not two paces behind. I want to look into augmented reality as a way of getting students to share their learning with visitors and peers.IMG_0471-150x150

…like a Pirate.

Don’t just teach a lesson, create an experience.

P     assion
I     mmersion
R    apport
A    sk and Analise
T     ransform
E     nthusiasm

…without walls or barriers.

Other than the connection that happens through the web and technology tools (Skype, Blogs etc…) I want no walls (figuratively) between home and school, the environment around us and the classroom. This will happen through parents and experts  in the classroom, learning not confined to a text book, but in mand different contexts and 2013-2014-season-tease2taking every learning opportunity that comes my way.

…to the needs of each individual student.

As per normal, the needs of the individual, not a whole class approach. I am a firm believer that to reach equality in the classroom everyone must be treated differently.

Many of these things I already do, but I feel that with each of them I could do it better and that each of them could have more clarity and consistency, so they are my pledges for the next school year, but what are yours?