Friday, 31 October 2014

Three Inspirations

As part of Connected Educator Month, #ChchED has done 31 Days of Blogging. To round this off, the committee are giving a quick overview of three key people/groups who have inspired them to be connected educators themselves.

Matt Nicoll
St Andrew's College

  • ChchED Committee
  • edchatNZ Conference Steering Committee
  • scichatNZ Committee
  • edSMAC Co-Founder

ULearn12 was the big change for me for becoming a more connected educator. Twitter and VPLD were the first avenues I used to be more connected, then I started to take some risks with making my pedagogy and keeping an blog to share these risks and innovations. But to take these steps, I needed inspiration from others:

Twitter: @kevinhoneycutt

Kevin was one of the Keynote Speakers at ULearn12. Just watch the first fifteen minutes of his talk and you might get an idea why he is #1 on my list:

Don't wait until it is perfect to get started, just get started. I didn't wait to be any good at filming my teaching and posting it on YouTube and our class blogs. They are not perfect, but they are useful to my students and to many others. Thank you to Kevin for giving the inspiration and courage to get started!

Twitter: @MissDtheTeacher

When Danielle started edchatNZ, and its respective fortnightly twitter chat via #edchatNZ, she was still a Provisionally Registered Teacher! From modest beginnings in 2012 (after ULearn12...), Danielle has been a "lone nut" leading an amazing team which brought us the first edchatNZ Conference in September 2014. I am proud to say that I am one of her most ardent followers and feel privileged to be able to call her a true friend. Every time I am in Auckland, catching up over coffee is always an inspiring highlight of my trip. Watch this space; Danielle is one to watch!

edchatNZ itself is probably the main reason that Danielle ranks so highly on this list. Via edchatNZ, I have built a really strong PLN and received great feedback for my own blog and ideas. Via edchatNZ, I have got help with units (or even just the teaching of individual concepts) that I thought were a bit "stale" or just wanted more variety with. Via edchatNZ, I have found the courage to share my ideas, and even to help build some other communities, such as edSMAC, scichatNZ and ChchED.

Sorry, Brent is not on twitter, nor does he have a website or blog. This does not make him any less "connected" but it does mean that I will need to email him about this post, instead of letting my PLN wheels do the turning for me.

Brent is my Head of Department. He is on this list because of the faith he has shown in me, and the opportunities he has afforded me. He is also here because he is a voice of rational reason when I start getting ahead of myself with my "great ideas!"

In 2013, Brent and I both went to the International Conference on Thinking (ICOT 2013) in Wellington. We were both inspired by what we were exposed to and driven to make changes in our own department. Brent then organised for us both to visit some great schools in Melbourne, Australia.

Brent is a wonderful leader of our department. He has made me feel valued, while also offering much-needed advice and critique. He is open-minded to ideas, so long as they are based upon sound pedagogy and match the goals of the department. He has encouraged me (and others in our department) and never been an obstacle in the way of innovation. He is not an advocate for "we've always done it that way", so he belongs squarely at #3 for me.

Bridget Compton-Moen 

Selwyn House

It was very hard for me to narrow down to just three people who inspire me as I get amazing ideas from every member of my PLN. So I've decided to share three blogs I consider must- reads. I've also chosen to share international blogs as many of the educators who inspire me are kiwis and I suspect you'll know them well!

In no particular order-

1. Langwitches- This is a truly amazing site with lots of amazing information for connected educators. There are so many treasures here I'm not sure which to highlight but this is a must if you have or are considering setting up a class blog. Silvia Tolisano is truly inspiring.

2.  WhatEdSaid- Edna Sackson is an amazing inquiry teacher who teaches in a PYP school like myself. Her posts are always thought-provoking and challenge me to ensure that there is an inquiry disposition in my class. She is awesome! Two other amazing inquiry teachers are Kath Murdoch of JustWondering and Maggie Hos-McGrane of TechTransformation. Maggie teaches in the most incredible school in Mumbai so her blog combines two of my great loves; inquiry and India!

3. NerdyBookClub- This is a must read for anyone who teaches literacy or loves reading! It was started by the incredible Donalyn Miller (The Book Whisperer) but the posts are crowd-sourced. If you are anything like me, you'll spend a lot of your time finding the perfect book for your students and this is where I find reading material to check out for my learners. Add it to your feedly!

Ok, so I snuck two extras in there........ all five of these blogs are fantastic. Enjoy!

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