Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Day 2 in the Waikato

5 July 2011
Today I travelled with Barbara to Ohaupo school.  I met so many lovely staff and I feel sure Kerry (the DP) and I have met before.  We worked with a group of learners on the Ultranet. 
Very interesting discussions with learners about password strength and privacy.  
Some password ideas - use a mixture of numbers, letters, capitalisation, take a word and mix it up or remove the vowels.

Highlight after school - geocaching!  What a hoot - under a bridge, crawling along, trying to look inconspicuous as walkers and cyclists pass by.  But EUREKA - we found it and send Phillip the travel bug on to the next leg of his journey.  

Twitter Tour Waikato

4 July 2011
Met Barbara (@Barbs1) at the Clock café in Ohaupo.  AMAZING to meet face to face.  Yet again I am struck with the awe of meeting someone I have chatted with on Twitter.  Conversation flows easily and I am really looking forward to my week ahead.  First stop for the week - Kaipaki School.  Gorgeous little country school - great tour of the school with the Principal.  

Writing tip - – how you can enhance your writing.

Great first day of Twitter Tour Waikato.  

Northland Adventure

3 July 2011
Awake early – off to the dining room for a scrumptious breakfast!  Looking out over the waterfront.   It is absolutely pouring down, the rain is bouncing off the street… We don’t need sunshine til 10 o’clock.   Time for another geeking session then off to Russell on the Ferry.  As we walk along to the Ferry the clouds part and the sun comes out!  Sweet ferry journey.     

                                                                                                                                                                                                           Walk around Russell – amazing little art stores, met and chatted with the owner of an art gallery… lots of history to the town of Russell.  Walk around – view Pompelliers site.      

AMAZING – can’t wait to come back later this year with Grant!  Found a cute florist shop in Russell - can you see why the name appealed to me.  Back to Paihia on the ferry.  Drive to Kawakawa.  Arrive there to the stunning moment where the steam train travels down the road in front of us. 

Visited the toilets again.  Grab a takeaway coffee and brownie.   What an amazing journey down the road.  Chatting all the way – the road trip is the perfect follow-up to the educamp and geeking time.  It is time to talk, reflect, challenge.  Arrived  back down into Auckland at 5pm.  YES the rental car has 4 wheels and is actually quite gorgeous - unbelievable for $19.00 a day.    Off I go to Cambridge.    Awesome drive down – with a stop at Mercer. 

educamp magic

Reflecting on the magic of the educamp has my mind buzzing in all directions and has left me with soooo many questions.
Why is it such a successful professional development model?
How will the momentum be maintained?
Will educamps become the conference of the future - by the people, for the people?
How can we share the "Twitter Magic" with those who just don't get it?

I entered a room of people at a school 1,604 km away.  I had met 3 staff from the school the night before and have tweeted with four people over the past year.  I felt so welcome, at home, and a part of the educamp.  Twitter really does break down barriers and make you connect instantly.

The smackdown is an amazing way to start the conference.  It is timed - 2 minute slots.  You get to introduce yourself, share a passion, skill or learning opportunity.  Through the smackdown you get to meet everyone and out of this a number of conversation starters or discussion groups arise.  Groups then disperse to converse.  This is the greatest time - there are no timelines, guidelines, rules or instructions.  Everyone becomes involved.

The power of being in a room of like-minded educators is so stimulating.  It is all about connecting, sharing, and collaborating.  The day flew by and I was really reluctant to leave the premises to get lunch.  After a quick trip out to a local cafe - the conversations resumed and the learning continued.

I wonder if we should have an option of ordering food in for #educampdunners???  Although it is nice to get out - it would be nice to have the option of staying together and dining on site.

All too soon the day was over and I have new learning, new friends, new respect for the power of professional conversation and new enthusiasm for the learning and education in New Zealand.  We really are a nation rich in sharing!!!

#educamp Tai Tokerau

2 July 2011
Up early – very excited for educampTT. Stopped at Caffeine for a coffee to start the day. Arrived at educamp to a buzz of chatter.

Awesome to meet @fionagrant @taratj @traintheteacher @tarnzc f2f. Sign in, coffee and ready for smackdown. What a buzz. Up to two minutes to share from the wallwisher – who would be first up – doh – what was that all about – anyway it was me! Prize, extra large choccy fish for travelling the furtherest ( thanks @Allanah). So many new tools on the wallwisher – followup required!

Smackdown Wallwisher

After an awesome smackdown, conversation groups developed. See day write up. Fiona and I took a Twitter session and set up a new batch of tweets.
Second session using iPads and iPods – looked at some apps – app store.
Third session – discussion about use of Google sites.
Totally an amazing day – love the discussion, love the connection, love the learning journey.

Left Whangarei to head north. Amazing drive up – and guess what? I took the advise of the lady I sat with on the plane on the flight from Dunedin to Christchurch and visited the Hundertwasser toilets.

Up we go and drive into Paihia – drive along the waterfront and pop into Kingsgate. Met Mel at the front desk – loads of chat and questions later… We have an amazing deal. Bags to the room and off to the bar with our laptops for geeking and happy hour. What a session – Set up for twitter and blogging – connecting – sharing the love of learning from educampTT. Dinner – divine, breads, Caesar salad and desserts to die for. More geeking, then sleeping.

Twitter Tour Northland

1 July 2011
I boarded a plane at 7.10am for the next exciting adventure. Dunedin – Christchurch, Christchurch Auckland. I sat beside a lady who was heading to Sydney and she recommended I visit the Hundertwasser toilets on my travels. It is the first time anyone has ever recommended toilets and to be honest I thought it was a crazy suggestion. (Little did I know) I left Dunedin in a severe frost and arrived in Auckland to the most amazing sunshine. Caroline picked me up at the airport and we got on the road – Thelma and Louise on a road trip north! Up the road we went to the turn off to Kaipara Flats where we detoured in to meet Tina (@Tinado) and Cameron (@camlockie). Had an awesome tour of the school – wahl – gorgeous setting, gorgeous school.

Tried to talked Tina and Cam into coming to educamp – no luck. ON the road again. Arrived at St Francis Xavier Whangarei about 2.30. Tour of the school with Craig, then met the staff and looked over the planning folders – curriculum mapping – and class learning journals. AMAZING! UI need to follow up on Chick Foote and Heidi Hayes Jacobs and learn more about this.
Off we went with Craig for a tour round Whangarei!

We went out for drinks with Craig and Anna to the Butter Factory and Thai dinner. Awesome night. Very excited about educamp Tai Tokerau tomorrow.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Finally an update - much more to come real soon...

At an amazing workshop at ILTconference with James Nottingham - very powerful learning. Blog update to come!