Continuing to learn…

December 12, 2011 at 1:31 pm | Posted in Conferences, Education | Leave a comment
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As a teacher, it is so important that we continue to learn and be willing to learn! Along with this is that we have to do what Ardis Cochrane suggested at the International Conference on eLearning Futures 2011 a couple of weeks ago. She suggested that:

teachers need to be respected as learners

This is so important for those who are involved in eLearning in some way – particularly promoting it with teachers in your school or organisation. Some teachers are nervous when it comes to using ICT and they need to be given time, space and support to learn how and when to use it appropriately.

Of course the experts also need to be continually learning, so I thought I would share a couple of the ways I try to continually learn.

  • As you can see, I go to conferences. To be honest I’ve only been to one this year. It was good, but conferences can be quite expensive so might not always be possible to attend. Conferences of course are great for networking.
  • Blogs – I read blogs, and quite a few of them. I follow blogs of academics, teachers and educational technologists. Using the RSS feeds and an RSS reader such as Google Reader it’s not too difficult to keep up with blogs. I also use an iPad app called Flipboard where I can read the blogs a bit like a magazine. It’s a good, enjoyable way to find out what’s going on in the educational world.
  • Twitter – this is probably the key way I find out things that are going on. I don’t follow just anybody. Again, I pick teachers, principals, academics and so on that relate to the topics I am interested in (education, eLearning etc). Twitter, like conferences is great for networking. I’ve ‘met’ quite a few people on Twitter that I chat to and they give me advice/suggestions etc that are very valuable. (I wrote a blog about Twitter some time ago…)

I hope this is useful to someone. I’ve also been doing some extra-mural study and just completed my Postgraduate Diploma in Education. Next year I am hoping to complete my Master of Education (eLearning). The learning continues!

As much as possible don’t keep your learning to yourself! It needs to be shared with others!

As Steve Wheeler said at the conference:

Knowledge is like love. You can give it away and still get to keep it.

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Relevant, just-in-time learning

October 19, 2010 at 11:06 am | Posted in Conferences, Education | 1 Comment
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The key theme for me, that came through the ulearn conference was about relevance. We need to ensure that what we are teaching has meaning; has a point for our students.

For many years (many) educators have taught things ‘just-in-case’ it is in a test or examination. However these things that are taught often have little meaning on their own.

Lane Clark, in her keynote, said two very important things:

Are we teaching for their future, or our past?

Teachers often bring in relevance at the end of a topic, when it’s finished.

We need to make the learning relevant from the start!

Lane pointed out that as adults we go into a project/research knowing the relevance – why we want to research it; what is the point. But for some reason, teachers often hold off with the relevance of a topic to the very end.

Why do we do this? Is it for control? I don’t know the answer, but I know that I’ve been guilty of doing it!

Relevant learning could include real-life or authentic learning. Immersing students in a real-life situation where questions can be generated and problems solved. This is not simply placing learning within a context, but actually placing the students in real-life learning situations.

I’ll leave you with this:
Is the teaching and learning that occurs in your class relevant to your students? Is the teaching and learning relevant to today and the future?

Ulearn 2010 – Day 3

October 9, 2010 at 7:19 pm | Posted in Conferences, Education | Leave a comment
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Well after a spectacular conference dinner at the end of Thursday, things seemed a bit quieter on Friday with many people tired and recovering. Here are a few notes from the breakout sessions I attended and the final keynote. I was one of the tired ones so my notes ended up being a bit shorter and my tweets were also fewer! But here goes…

Breakout 5: Leigh Duncan & Waveney Bryant – Environmental education and ICT – an unlikely combination
  1. Garden to table programme:
  2. Teach students to grow, harvest and prepare food
    Positive influence of food choices

  3. Don’t hold back – teach from early on to use knives (chef knives etc) in the kitchen. (so that students are ready to go for it at year 3)
  4. Authentic, relevant learning occurring where kids grow food, cook food – then put into place at home as well!
  5. Kids go home buzzing after ‘garden-to-table’ programme – it shows that is effective and engaging!
  6. http://ee-ict-meadowbank.wikispaces.com/ – Meadowbank school wiki for environmental education.
Breakout 6: Derek Wenmoth – Future focused schools

I wish that this breakout had been earlier in the conference. Derek had so many good things to say but I didn’t manage to record them all.

http://blog.core-ed.net/derek/

  1. On the site of a future school. Some things to think about:
    1. · What would kids learn

      · How would they learn?

      · When would they learn?

      · Who would they learn with?

      · What would they learn on or with?

      · Where would they learn?

      · How will they/we know when they have learnt?

  2. We need to be thinking about educating for the future rather than educating in the future.
  3. “Organisations that are built to change have a clear sense of who they are and what they stand for.” – Lawler and Worley (2009)
  4. Learning should be part of the DNA of an organization/school. Not just students learning, but all learning!
  5. Educators need to speak to each other, bounce off ideas and draw from best practice. Share what we’ve got with each other!
Keynote 4: Professor Stephen Heppell

I’m not sure if there was a title to this keynote address. I certainly didn’t get one. Professor Heppell was humourus, relaxed and inspiring. In an unusual style he seemed to be chatting about education through retelling personal stories. It was a very effective presentation style. www.heppell.net

  1. Experience vs expertise – experience is so important. More than just writing/talking about it – it’s actually practised!
  2. Stop talking about 21st Century learning. (We’re 10% into the century!). It’s difficult to talk about what schools could be like in the 21st century when we’re already well into it!
  3. Every turned off device is a turned off child”.
  4. Let the children go for it! Don’t limit them with our limitations.
  5. UK Minister of Education says that teachers need to be given professional freedom – ministry needs to ‘let go’. (a bit different to ours in New Zealand!)

That’s 5 key points for this keynote, however I want to add a couple of quotes from Heppell himself:

“When people come to their senses and stop talking about standardized tests…”

PDF = pretty dull format

 

So that’s the end of ULearn 2010. It was a fantastic conference and I really hope to attend next year! Over the next few days I hope to reflect a bit more about the conference and get down some general thoughts or key ideas that seemed to be coming through from the keynote speakers (and also through some of the breakout sessions.

ULearn 2010 – Day 2

October 7, 2010 at 4:50 pm | Posted in Conferences, Education | Leave a comment
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Well it’s been another great day at ULearn! Lane Clark started the day with a very good keynote and the day will finish later tonight with the conference Gala Dinner. I’ll stick with no more than 5 points per speaker.

In breakout 4 I presented with Sandy Dougherty. You can see our presentation in my previous blog post.

Keynote 3: Lane Clark – Learning to learn: it’s bigger than inquiry

Lane Clark is a good speaker. She has some very good ideas however I was a little distracted by her very busy (some impossible to read) slides. Here are a few points from her keynote.

  1. “Are we preparing learners for their future or our past?” – This was an interesting way to start. Some teachers do teach in the way that it’s always been done, and it may not be relevant to our students now or in the future.
  2. The best learning takes place when it is RELEVANT. “You don’t figure out why you did the learning at the end of the journey. You know it at the start.”  -  I know I’m guilty of teaching students lots of information and then trying to make it relevant. We need to make it relevant from the start!
  3. Our job is to help students pick the right tools to use in order to learn.
  4. Our job is to keep the brain engaged!
  5. Teach our kids how to learn.
    Teach them how to think.
    Teach them how to think in order to learn.
Breakout 3: Craig Cummings & Kirsty Forsyth – An Inquiry Approach for 21st-Century Learning

This breakout session was very similar to the keynote, as both focused on inquiry learning. Craig and Kirsty are involved in inquiry learning and have used/adapted some of Lane Clarks tools.

http://stixy.com/guest/83314 – handouts and more available

  1. Make learning authentic and real!
  2. Immersing students in a topic is a great way to get them involved and interested.
  3. Learning should be engaging and stimulating!
  4. If students aren’t engaged then will they be learning? Will they be learning well?

The key theme for both the keynote and breakout 3 for me was… Make learning relevant to students!

Ulearn presentation: Effective online teaching and learning

October 7, 2010 at 3:43 pm | Posted in Conferences, Education | Leave a comment
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Sandy Dougherty and I presented at breakout 4 at ulearn on effective online teaching and learning. It was the first time I had presented outside of my school. I think it went well and have had some positive feedback. We looked at some online tools that we had used in online teaching. I’ve embedded the presentation below (done on Prezi), but as it was an interactive session, I’m not sure how useful they will be.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Effective online teaching and learning, posted with vodpod

 

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