Saturday, 23 August 2014

Create, Share & Collaborate?

For those that have seen my GTA video or participated in some of my recent sessions and workshops, you might have noted that Create, Share & Collaborate is a phrase I use frequently. With this I want to describe the 21C process of creating new knowledge, not keeping it to yourself but sharing it with others, and working on it together (from Latin 'com' (with, together) and 'laborare' (work) - 8y Latin were not in vain!).

This applies to children at school as well as to adults. With young children the notion to Create is not hard to instill, in my experience young children are inherently creative. When they start school patient teachers help them to direct their creativity. Sharing, as all parents and educators of young children know, is a skill that needs to be learnt, and it comes easier to some than to others. The key competencies of Managing Self and Relating to Others from our NZC are supporting young people to learn how to Share and to Collaborate.

The older we get, the more issues seem to come up with Sharing and Collaboration; questions are being asked, e.g. how do we assess the contribution an individual has made towards an project counting for NCEA? Could someone get away with doing nothing and let others do all the work? Shouldn't we better stick with everyone for themselves so we can get correct results?

My thinking is that maybe we are rolling this up from the wrong end; do we believe that Sharing and Collaboration are vital for successfully participating in society in 21C? If so, what opportunities does our current education system provide to acknowledge and support Sharing and Collaboration? Where there are not enough opportunities, what changes can we make to provide these?

When we extend this thinking beyond school, there are is a lot of Create, Share & Collaborate evident in the interactions of Tweeps or Tweachers (how I sometimes like to call them). They freely share resources with each other, give advice, there is a productive mixture of consuming and creating going on (another phrase I have come to love since the lovely +Catriona Pene  brought it to my attention). This strongly reminds me of my time as music teacher back in the late 90s when under the guidance of our then Music Advisor Margaret Williams we regularly met as cluster and shared and collaborated.

Still, not everyone understands this concept and / or is willing to create as well as consume. Every now and then I hear of people who have taken someone else's work and used it as if it was their own, either by accident, forgetting to attribute, by ignorance, not realising they need to attribute, or on purpose, not wanting to attribute.

Intellectual Property Right is a complex issue, and I would like to advise everyone to start researching it. I would not claim that I know the ins and outs of it, but to give you and example, if you work at a NZ school, unless your school has a Creative Commons Licence, everything you produce as teacher is property of the BoT. As far as I understand this extends to your right of sharing resources with other teachers, or taking units you have created with you when you leave the school. If you work in private business, there might yet be other IP issues to be considered.

How does this fit with Create, Share & Collaborate being vital for successful participating in 21C society? Will we have to wait for a change only when our current primary age children, having grown up in a system of Create, Share & Collaborate to become adult members of our society? What can you and I do today? Looking forward to your thoughts!

Since I first published this post this morning, I had a little twitter conversation with +Sonya Van Schaijik who reminded me that before Collaboration, a Connection has to happen. A very valid point, and as as she will be co-presenting on this together at Ulearn14 I will book in for that session, especially as connecting and relationships are absolutely vital for learning.

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Collaborative Writing Tools (20 August 2014)

I will run another session on Collaborative Writing Tools. I found the session from last month based in my blog post quite successful so I have decided to repeat this concept for the session tomorrow.


Image Source 
Why Collaborate in Writing?

  • To learn with and from each other

How Collaborate in Writing?
Image Source
  • Brainstorm
  • Plan
  • Write
  • Comment
  • etc.

What tools could we be using?
Image Source

  • Padlet
  • Linoit
  • Popplet
  • Google Docs
and many others.


Let's have a look at some of these:

Padlet - Wonderwall

Linoit -

Popplet Wonderwall

[Please note, to be able to collaborate on a Popplet, you need to invite every collaborator to it.]


How can the use of collaborative tools enhance the learning in your classroom? Please feel free to leave a comment below!

Monday, 11 August 2014

#EdchatNZ - the never ending conference

Together with approx. 300 other educators from around the country and overseas I spent two days face-to-face at Hobsonville Point Secondary School for the inaugural #EdchatNZ Conference with many more joining in online via twitter etc from the distance. WHAT A BLAST!

#EdchatNZ is a twitter chat for educators, the brainchild of the fabulous Danielle Myburgh. It runs every second Thursday during term time 8:30-9:30pm. As with other twitter chats a topic gets decided on beforehand, 10 questions are asked and everyone who is on twitter at that time can join in. Danielle usually moderates. It is a very fast paced quick fire of ideas and opinions on what's hot in education in NZ. The #EdchatNZ blog can give you some more information on this.

Approx. 20 weeks ago Danielle decided to arrange a low budget, high quality face-to-face conference. Together with a group of other passionate educators this steering committee made it happen mainly via virtual meetings - in fact some of the members had not met in person until Friday morning. And didn't they do well! Of course it could not have been achieved without the support of many others, principals and BoT of the Hobsonville Point Schools, presenters who gave up their time, the many students who supported beforehand and on the day, the sponsors incl. Cognition Education who I work for, and especially all those educators who spread the word, booked their travel, relievers, accommodation and joined in!

There was so much to take in, I barely know where to start; from the #shrieking&hugging of tweeps or twiducators who have known each other online for a long time to #grelfies thanks @GeoMouldey for the challenges!)
to dancing on the stage or in sessions (thanks @digitallearnin@mrs_hyde et al!).

Amidst the above fun there was a lot of serious work going on. You can find links to presenter notes in the Conference Agenda, and the lovely @chasingalyx has collated individual resources in this blog post.

It was certainly the most exciting conference I have been to yet. I get to talk learning all day every day, but I found myself in f-2-f company of people who were just as nuts about learning as I am :) Danielle set the tone for the conference with an excerpt of this TED Talk by Derek Sivers:

This set us up so well for what was to come. Many times passionate, forward thinking educators feel like they are a 'lone nut'. What transforms a lone nut to a leader is that very powerful first follower who dares to get up and dance with the lone nut. They draw in more, and more, and more until a critical mass is reached and it is no longer 'cool', acceptable, to watch from the side, but you just have to join in. Using this example, who are you in your school or organisation?

I don't want to go on about what happened in every single session I went to, the conversations with people before, during and after the session, both in person and online were at least as important. My biggest learning from this all is that while we might often feel like 'lone nuts' in fact there are lots of others dancing with us; opening our eyes and looking out for them, face-to-face and online, will help us connect and create that critical mass we need to change our practise for our students for the better, a little bit every day. One of the things Danielle reminded us off is that this Conference is not a one-off, it is simply a face-to-face gathering of the ongoing online conference #edchatNZ has been providing on Twitter. Watching how the discussions continued all weekend and today just confirms that (#edchatnz trended in NZ right through from Friday to Sunday!).

What will I do differently? In the rural area I work in we don't get as many opportunities for f2f connection as in cities. My Professional Inquiry for 2014 is around building capability in teachers to connect with PD in blended ways. The #EduchatNZ Conference has proven to me how powerful the online connection can be, so I will more actively spread the word and support teachers to develop their online PLN. Watch this space :)

Tag - you're it! #BloggingMeme #edchatNZ

There's so much I want to say about the #edchatNZ f2f conference just gone, but let's start with the #BloggingMeme started by Reid Walker - thanks for tagging me, twitter queen Annemarie Hyde!

I have a few questions after the last two days at #Edchatnz and I think that lots of others will too. I want to keep the connections going and make more connections. So maybe a blogging meme will work.

If you get included in the blogging meme: copy/paste the questions and instructions into your own blog then fill out your own answers. Share on twitter tagging 5 friends. Make sure you send your answers back to whoever tagged you too.

1. How did you attend the #Edchatnz Conference? (Face 2 Face, followed online or didn't)
Face-to-face - so much fun to join in the #hugging&shrieking !!!

2. How many others attended from your school or organisation?
Two of my team members attended on Friday.

3.How many #Edchatnz challenges did you complete?
Not enough, I was a bit slow to click onto them to be honest! I am in some #grelfies, helped new twitter eggs to hatch and admired the dance moves of others!

4. Who are 3 people that you connected with and what did you learn from them?
I feel I have connected with lots of people, and in my mind they are three groups: People I have connected with on Twitter before, and meeting them face-to-face added another dimension tot he connection - too many to mention!; people I have followed before but never had the opportunity to have any lengthy exchanges with before - Danielle Myburgh, Maurie Abraham, Claire Amos, Amy McCauley and many more; people I hadn't connected with before like Bron Stuckey and Marianne Malstrom.
What I have learnt from them? PASSION is what drives education forward, and EVIDENCE affirms what we know works or prompts us to make changes.

5. What session are you gutted that you missed?
Nanogirl - would have loved to see her session. I should have timed my school tours better!

6. Who is one person that you would like to have taken to Edchatnz and what key thing would they have learned? 
I brought a friend along who hatched from pre-twitter egg to a Twiducatus Edchatnz. It was fantastic to be able to bounce off ideas with her and relate them back to schooling in the Far North. I wish I could take a couple of teachers from each of the schools I work in - in pairs you can bounce off ideas and debrief.

7. Is there a person you didn't get to meet/chat with (F2F/online) that you wished you had? Why
I wish I could have met Nanogirl, and I really wanted to meet up with Michaela Pinkerton and Ros Maceachern both of whom I have met only online before.

8. What is the next book you are going to read and why? 
Not sure yet to be honest. There are plenty of books on my actual and my virtual bookshelf that need to be started or finished, e.g. John Hattie's Visible Learning for Teachers: Maximising Impact on Learning or Gail Loane's I've got something to say

9. What is one thing you plan to do to continue the Education Revolution you learnt about at #Edchatnz?
I will push the connecting with other educators much harder than before in the schools I work with.

10. Will you take a risk and hand your students a blank canvas?
My context is different to a classroom teacher's but still very similar as I work in teacher PD. I am thinking how I can better incorporate the blank canvas into my work here, while I still often encounter the 'tell us how' or 'you must know, you are the specialist'.

Who do I tag with this meme: Some new followers: @nicolabew@devilrx29@jcui0330@jonicolnz and @shazzt

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Time out over over lunch and some contemplating

(This post is cross-blogged from my quilting blog. It started out as a contemplation about my own parenting choices and ended up with questions about educating young people in rural areas hence relevance to this blog.) 

I took some time out over lunchtime today and DH and I went to the concert of the Royal NZ Navy Band. It was absolutely fabulous and brought back dear memories of our time (a long time ago) playing in our concert band back in Germany. The band did really well catering for the audience of mainly school children, music, entertainment, fun, engagement and at 1h just long enough. As our sons' schools were not taking classes there, DH went back to grab Master 9 and is currently enjoying the repeat of the concert.

As an ex-musician and music teacher I am quite sad that children in our area rarely have the opportunity to hear such music life, also that learning musical instruments happens only in pockets, esp. when you look at instruments beyond recorder, ukulele, guitar and drums. I sometimes wonder if I am denying my children some opportunities by not exposing them to more different experiences, though often it is just too much of an effort to get them there.

Despite the prevalence of online learning and ubiquitous access to knowledge, are we creating a society that has a very narrow view of the world and the limited skills that go with that. What price will we pay as a society for not passing on skills and knowledge beyond what is in their immediate surrounding? How can we expose young people in rural areas to 'what they don't know'? How can we ensure we are not limiting them to the point where they are denied certain pathways - pathways of personal growth, enjoyment and for future job prospects?