It’s the start of a new school year and the beginning of Course 5. Reflection is part of my everyday, it’s an important part of how we understand who we are and how we learn. It’s something we ask the students to do everyday, so why wouldn’t we? The exciting part is that reflecting gives us the choice and helps us to make changes….or not.
I found myself comparing the beginning of the school year this year with the last and did some serious thinking. Something has changed and I wanted to reflect on that. Then I read Silvia Rosenthal Tolisano’s Amplify Reflection and that was enough to motivate me to write a short post and do a quick stock take. Perhaps you can relate to some of my reflections?
#I’m not scared
When I started the Coetail course last year technology was something that I really wanted to improve in my classroom but found it a little scary. After a year of reading, trying things, failing and trying again, learning from others, I now find the overlap between pedagogy and technology has become my ‘favourite’ part of my teaching. I can’t wait to try new things this year. I’m genuinely interested and hungry to learn.
- Introducing Minecraft as a learning platform to enhance our communication and collaboration Unit of Inquiry.
- Connecting my Grade 1 students globally though blogging.
- Starting self-directed learning with our Grade 4 buddies. Thank you to a member of the new cohort Jennifer Byrnes for including a powerful video on this.
#I’m on it
It’s only the end of week 2 and the students are already posting on Kidblog and Twitter because I know how to get everyone set up very quickly, using the I do, we do you do approach. Modelling how to to the students has become part of my visible routines. It’s important to me to teach the students about blogging and commenting from the beginning of the year so that they can benefit sooner. I understand how powerful these connections can be for the learner.
I had quite a few failures or frustrations along my learning path last year-it taught me about problem solving in an genuinely authentic way. Be good problem solvers we ask of the students, but it’s not always so easy when there are other pressures around you and you don’t quite have the skills to solve. It must be how the students feel sometimes. I became more confident to ask for help, but at the same more resilient and creative in resolving difficulties. It took me a long time to understand Twitter and all that it has to offer. I joined Twitter chats and found it difficult to follow at first or even contribute anything remotely interesting. I started to ask myself why I wasn’t getting it. So I looked to my PLN and read blogs by Tricia Friedman and others. I learned to reach out, in different ways, to get conversations going and I’m genuinely getting better at Twitter Chats. My now what? will be to try my own.
This year at our Back to School Night I volunteered to be the one to talk about how we use technology . I’m no longer scared, I think I’m beginning to know what I’m talking about and understand that it doesn’t take a ‘ tech expert’ to talk about technology, just a good teacher and someone who believes in it’s importance and relevance in our schools and students’ lives. I’ve noticed a change. Before school, after school, lunchtimes, members of our grade 1 team are coming to me to talk about pedagogy and technology. I love it. We are building a common and collaborative approach to technology in Grade 1.
#The ripple effect
In the last term of the year our Education Technology Coach organised speed geeking during a Faculty Meeting and asked some of us to share how we use different technology tools in the classroom. I can see the effect this has had throughout the school. Colleagues are approaching us individually and asking for help, and ideas. Sometimes the ripple effect is the one that works.
#Change can be good
Change encourages reflection and differences in thinking. Change in working teams allows colleagues to spread their brilliance elsewhere and for others to have a voice. On the Coetail site, I was genuinely excited to see a new cohort popping up on the blogs. Different things to say, different thinking and styles, new things for me to learn.
#Collaboration is the key
Everyone is out there to help and learning from each other is key. It pushes conversations, changes perspectives, encourages understanding, is reassuring and it matters today more than anything.
# Positive work habits
To describe oneself as a life long learner is strange- how can we not be? I’m always going to be a learner but now I’m better at it and have better work habits because my connections have sparked a genuine interest and motivation to learn new things.
- Before school, strong black coffee drinking is Twitter time to connect to others
- 2 out of 5 lunchtimes are collaborative learning with colleagues
- Football pick ups and any other waiting around for my teenagers are used reading my RSS feeds and articles on Pocket and connecting to others.
- Saturday and Sunday mornings are blogging times, connecting to others
My learning is continuous, I can’t believe I did this in my vacation and enjoyed it.