A Year in Retrospect – Beginning a New Tradition.

It seems strange to me to be reflecting on my year, as it only half over, but as I am heading to an International School in China next term it kind of is the end of a school year for me. So here is a retrospective look at the highs of my past year and I hope that as this blog progresses and ages with me I will add a reflection of the year each year.  I suppose that I will follow this up soon with some direction and goals that I want for myself for the 2013/14 school year.

Classroom Blog

interface awardIn the middle of last year I put my class blog (www.mrdyerhfs.blogspot.com) forward for the Interface Awards and made the Top five for Best Class blog – Not a bad accomplishment for a little school in rural New Zealand.  At this time we also connected with other classes within New Zealand and globaly, which showed me the true power of the classroom blog.

Blogging as a Professional

I began this blog, and it has been a fantastic journal, sounding board, reflective outlet and place to connect and share. I implore each of you to try it, public or private and you will see the wealth that the professional blog offers.

Twitter

I connected, I followed, I dived in, I was inspired. Twitter has kept me going this past year with connections and inspiration. It has connected with…

  1. Projects like the Travelling Rhinos of Karen Stadler (@ICT_Intergrator).
  2. I gave creating something a go and hooked in some friends to create the #NZSchoolTimeLapse. I have not been able to cary on with it since through a school production and trying to finish this term to hand over my class, but other awesome teachers have taken it over, part two has already been created and part three is in the creation at the moment!
  3. Global PLN – too many to add here and I would hate to miss one out.
  4. NZTweeps – You all are a daily inspiration!

iDevices

A year ago I got hold of a iPhone 3, then received an iPad for the class and then at Christmas got the iPhone 4 (Still behind the game, but love it).  Apple_gray_logoThese iDevices have changed the game, I know that other devices like Andriod can as well, but it has been an Apple learning curve for me. As long as I keep SAMR in the back of my head I know that only good can come from their use. Additionally with the rise in Augmented Reality and Code Apps like Cargobot there is so many amazing possibilities from these devices that are yet to be discovered. If you want to know about Augmented Reality and Cargobot you have to check out the website of Brad Waid and Drew Minock –  Two Guys and Some iPads – as they are Grade 3 teachers who are sharing their practice with the world and it is truly inspirational!
(@TechBradWaid & @TechMinock)

PC out – MAC in

I have slowly weened myself of the PC and jumped to Mac with the purchase of a sexy MacBook Air.  I’m in love! That is all there is to say about that!

Central Otago Teachers visit to Auckland Schools

Wow… nothing is more inspirational than seeing experts in action and clever designs for both curriculum and buildings in real life.  Two days of whirlwind touring to Stonefields, Summerlands, Albany Senior College & Point England where we got to hear from inspirational educators like Andrew Churches (Read his blog Educational Origami) and quiz Mark Osborne about the awesomeness of Albany Senior College (Google it) then see Manaiakalani in action with Point England and hear from the amazing Dorothy Burt about their journey – their senior students presentation inspired me to do better and look at education in a different way.

EduCamp

I have been lucky to make it to three EduCamps in the past year and have made lasting friendships along the way and been inspired beyond measure. If have not been to one yet then you need to, they are everywhere, just google and you will have a great morning of connection and inspiration!

Tek Rush 2012

Taking a half dozen students to this kids conference was so inspirational and sadly I will not see the second as I will have already left the country.Screen Shot 2013-06-30 at 12.16.11 PM  Click the link if you want to find out more, but think about some of the coolest conferences that you have been to with interactive workshops, keynote speakers and cool prizes and goodie bags then aim it at IT passionate kids who are Year 5 or Year 7 and you have TekRush.  The kids that I took last year still wear the T-shirts as badge of honor and I was stopped in the street last week by a kid who was in my trick photography workshop, she thanked me and introduced me to her parents – i.e. it made a lasting memory!

ICOT 2013

newlogoTo name a few highlights would be -Edward DeBono, Lane Clark, Ewan McIntosh, Simon Breakspear and Guy Claxton, but then you have to add in all of the long lost and new found friends and colleagues that I got to spend time with and learn with face to face.

Twitter is my Staffroom – but what is written in my Rule Book?

Last night I was wondering how I have developed a twitter PLN or PPLN (Powerful Personal Learning Network – refined by Bill Powersof about photo (1)1000 people and I think that it comes down simply to inspiration, connection, friendship and respect.

On the wekend I had followed another educator as their bio looked interesting and their twitter feed included some people that I interact with, she responded a few hours later with a message to myself and three others saying “Thanks for the follow @_____, @_______ and @_______”, to which one person replied ‘Your Welcome’ and I replied with a comment on something that she had been working on and a very interesting Hashtag that she had included in her Bio – there was no reply.  I found this interaction very interesting as it was not really an interaction, just a comment of thanks and a connotation that I should be grateful that I follow her. It has happened a few times in my twitter career and if they had just simply let me follow them without follow-back all would be good , but the thanks for the follow with no follow-back interaction has really made me reflect on how I view twitter.

So here it goes…

Twitter is my virtual Staffroom – I enter for professional development and I enter for friendship.  Like the a real school staff room, when you leave the conversation stops, but sometimes they carry over to the photocopier or cafe down the road.  This analogy helps me to comprehend that when I want to enter the staffroom I just click the App and when I don’t want to I do not click the app.  Sometimes I get sent a message from a friend or send a message to a friend and this is the photocopier chat.

I follow Educators – they do not need to follow me back and if you are an educator and you follow me, I will follow you.

Education is Global and Twitter is Global – I love the idea of having friends and colleagues over the globe as well as right here in New Zealand. While prepping on a Monday morning I enjoy watching the #LadyGeeks present via YouTube in a Google hangout projected onto the IWB.  Many a lunchtime I have chewed my sandwich and been inspired while partaking in different edchats like #TLAP – Teach Like a Pirate  or #CaEdChat. They are live, but the previous evening in the USA due to time difference.Screen Shot 2013-06-10 at 6.21.25 PM
In the evening my friends in Asia and Australia are in the mid afternoon and it is the morning for my friends in Europe. In my morning it is the evening for my friends in North America and when I am awake it is awake time for my friends in New Zealand. I can connect and interact at any time and have formed friendships globally. Southern California is now on my travel bucket list as there is a Mexican meal waiting for me.

I will reply – It may take me a little while and it may be a reply in the way of a favourite or a retweet, but I will reply.

I do Unfollow – to me it is those sacred four words of ‘Inspiration, Connection, Friendship and Respect’ that come into consideration when following or un-following. If you inspire me with your tweets and retweets and challenge me to do better or rethink my practice I will follow you intently. If you connect with me or I connect with you I will follow you. But, I unfollow instantly if you tweet mean and I unfollow if you bulk send me your blog postings – send them once each time you blog or twice if it is a goodie, but do not set your computer to push all blog posts every 6-12 hours as I do not follow you to be on a mailing list. Additionally, if I follow you and find you many weeks or months later in my following list and can not remember why I followed you and we have not connected then I will probably unfollow.

If I can help I will – if you know me, if I know you or if we have never met, I will assist you if I can.  That to me is the power of twitter.  If I know the answer to your problem or know who does know the solution I will assist and I know that the majority of us here do so as well.

I never Tweet what I would not want my employer or Nana to read – OK, sounds simple and many of us use the tagline ‘These tweets do not photorepresent the…” but if you write it, it is there, and if you can not justify why you wrote something then should you have written it?

I need to make sure I switch off – I tweet from my phone and use the twitter app. I only use Tweetdeck or the such for following hashtags or twitter chats and that is only sometimes. So, as my phone is in my pocket I am connected.  The magic fix is turn of cellular data and disconnect from wifi and instantly my smartphone is what we used to have… a cell phone.

 

If there is a problem, Twitter will solve it – The power of a great PLN

If Twitter for Educators needed a new catch phrase it need only call upon Vanilla Ice  and DJ Earthquakes 1991 anthem Ice Ice Baby, run to line 17 and there it is…

If there is a problem, Yo I’ll solve it.

After school yesterday I was faced with a novice Mac user question  (I have a lot of these at the moment). I googled the question and received too many leads, most were to paid sites, some were free downloads and many were to tutorials or forums; all were probably good leads and would have answered my question, but not the fast fix that I was after as I was trying to work to a tight timeframe.

So I tweeted the question and “Bada Bing” I had several different options that solved my problem, but one came up multiple times – Quicktime. So I downloaded Quicktime, installed it,  watched a youtube tutorial that explained what I wanted to do and I moved onto the next task on my to do list.

It was a perfect illustration of why I use twitter, why I follow the people that I follow and why I communicate and collaborate with those people.  The Tweeps that I refer to as my PLN have a wealth of knowledge and are so keen to help where they can.  By building a relationship with them they become more than just names on a list, they become colleagues and friends and when they have a problem or I have a problem we help each other if we can.

So if you are thinking about your PLN and about some Tweeps who are awesome helpers, collaborators and willing to share an idea or thought then you need to have a follow of Stephen (@PalmyTeacher), Allanah (@AllanahK), Vivian (@ChezVivian), Juliet (@Juliete_Revell), Julien (@Julienlesueur), Paddy (@Spongepaddy), Rebekah (@ndbekah) and Luke (@Novalightning). These 8 people who I think of as friends,live all around the world and have never met, are just too awesome and I truly apprieciate them and the time that they gave me yesterday when I was stuck.

So I dedicate the clip below to them as thanks 🙂

Collaboration on the fly – #NZSchoolTimelapse

Yesterday morning, with only 30 minutes before the bell went I had some students playing, and we all know that kids learn through play, on the iLapse app. A few days previous Stephen’s (@PalmyTeacher) class had time lapsed with some letters the proverbial phrase “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade” and over the holidays a collection of teachers collaborated on the #NZTimeLapse project; we never talked and it was all co-ordinated through twitter and a Google Doc.Screen Shot 2013-05-24 at 10.45.42 AM

So I sent out a tweet, sent my class off around the school to time lapse busses arriving, classes beginning and waited. Then the messages came in, a Google document to coordinate was requested and the project began.

As I post there are classes around the country, and even some distance learners through the correspondence school, trying to capture moments of their school day. Stephen’s class have already created the opening title sequence and there are already a couple of clips completed and ready to be edited together.

If this works, and I am sure that it will, there is already talk of future collaborations – pass the story, pick a path stories, retelling of stories or plays where each school takes a scene and performs it in a style of their choosing  (Much like the Star Wars Uncut project).  The big learning here is the process and connections of schools and teachers – who knows what will happen when we allow the students to take over.

Collaboration across cyber space

Through Twitter connections a few NZ  educators have been playing with various timelapse recording devices.  Some high tech and expensive, some still high tech, but just filmed on a mobile phone with a free app.  So, here is a representation of Autumn across New Zealand as taken my a handful of Kiwis and put together by @Dakinane under the hashtag of #NZTimeLapse.

Enjoy.

Luke

PS: I has the Otago part 🙂

Collaboration through connections made on Twitter

Collaboration through twitter has been a fantastic learning curve for my classroom and I over the past year. I recognise all tweets as being a collaboration with either a specific or unidentified audience, but sometimes it becomes a bit more.

poplet

Initially there is that tweet to share a resource or idea, followed by the tweet to find or answer a question. A step further you have that focused conversation around a prearranged topic and set of questions followed by those interested with a Hashtag; I find this a great way to find like minded educators or education heroes that inspire you.

Next step in conecting is that project like Quadblogging or the Travelling Rhino, which is about to visit my classroom next term. These projects really provide the opportunities for classes or teachers to connect.  A shared purpose and goal with the connectivity or modern technology means that distance or time zone is no longer an interference to connecting nationally or globally.

Last year through a blog share we connected with a class in Hamilton through Skype.  Although in the same country our lives were so different. We shared our skis and ski boots with them, they showed us how they could do 180 spin jumps of wooden blocks and then discussed the issues with having a giraffe as a class pet. The connection was not great internet wise, but the connection of thoughts and ideas was beyond worth – my children could not understand that there were people in the world that could not ski, let alone had never seen snow.

The last collaboration that I have discovered through Twitter is Friendship, people who you may never have met, but you build a professional relationship first, then relationship of trust and if you are lucky enough a friendship.  Then I have discovered that when you go to a course or conference you always seem to know someone in the room and the conversations are much longer than 140 characters.

Below is a collaboration between 4 teachers using time lapse technology; 8:30 until 9am on the same day all over New Zealand.  We hope to create another with more participants later in the month.

#NZTimeLapseProject


The timelapse was co-ordinated by @Dakinane and has footage from @Dakinane @Zoopita @MsBeeNZ & @Dukelyer