Sunday, October 30, 2011

Twitter Tour 2011 heads into the future....

28 October 2011

Up early for the slow drive across town to Stonefields School.  My first impressions were that I have arrived at a school of the future.  I met Sarah, Chris and Kirsty and immediately sensed the passion, the pedagogy and the Magic of this place.  The learning spaces are pure magic, the thinking is visible, the student voice is audible.  I really wish I had been educated in an environment like this where I feel a real ‘honouring’ of the learner.  The syergy, the learning buzz, the discussions – PURE MAGIC

Takeaways from Stonefields:
  • Make thinking visible;
  • Honour the learner and listen to and really hear the student voice;
  • Collaborate;
  • Be aware of every learner and celebrate successes;
  • Is there really any way to teach other than collaboratively in hubs...
  • I am incredibly determined to make the most amazing learning space for my learners for 2012....

Next stop – Hingaia Peninsulaschool which opens in 2012 where I met (in a temporary office) with Jane, Haley and Cole.  This is just truly amazing.  This is really the future, living the dream, designing a learning environment for the learner of today and tomorrow.  I am in awe of the journey…  Spent a wonderful afternoon chatting and soaking up the magic.  Thanks so much team!  I really look forward to following the journey….

Day two in Tauranga

Off through town to SelwynRidge to meet with Matt Thomas.  This really is a magical place to visit.  First point of difference is the day – class starts at 8.30 and ends at 2.30! A tour of the school followed.  This school is undergoing a major refurb due to leaky building issues.  Some of the many highlights are:    
  • the radio station where the seniors run a news bulletin that it broadcast across the school and the local community;
  •    the green room, a full working film studio;
  •   the swiss drums – would love to see these in action
  •   the magic of the library and the reading resources.  I have never seen so many big books in my life…… what a dream
  • the QR codes in the books with book reviews - all done on ipads
  •   the learning buzz….
Thanks for a magical visit Matt.

Off I headed, north.   I loved the murals of KatiKati and gatherings of tourists chatting and  viewing. 

I headed to Waihi beach for a walk and a look around.  I met and chatted with a number of locals and visitors and experienced the magic of the peace of Waihi Beach.  

Off to Waihi for a look around the mine.  The sheer size of the whole in the ground is amazing, but the more I read the more impressed I became with the vision of beautifying the area.  Really future focussed thinking.

I arrived on the North Shore in time to visit Geoff  Wood at Rosmini college.  Now Geoff and I met at Ulearn after we had both presented and missed our bus back to the events centre.  On the walk back we talked about our learning passions and immediately came up with a collaborative project to share in 2012.  I sat in with a Year 12 class at Rosmini and discussed the adaptation of a project “over the back fence” where the year 12 students have mentored year 3-6 students with health and wellness messages, alongside face to face physical education sessions.  We would not have the advantage of face to face for 2012 but see enormous potential for the sharing of the health and wellness messages, using blogs and skyping.  We may even extend this to include collaborative writing using google docs.   Very exciting times ahead indeed. 

I returned to St Josephs, Takapuna, the school ‘over the fence’ and chatted with my many friends there.  The is my third visit to Takapuna this year and I really feel at home here.  Innovative idea for the day – a year 6 boy had today been ‘Principal forthe day’ – an auctioned prize, and the Principal was in turn, a student for the day.  Possibilities here indeed… 

Back up to Brown’s Bay for dinner out with my favourite North Shore friends who now feel like family.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Twitter Tour 2011 North Island

After two days at home it was back out to the airport and off on another leg of Twitter Tour 2011.  We flew into Auckland and drove to Cambridge where Mum is spending a week.  I drove over to Tauranga and met Janet McCarroll at St Mary’s Tauranga.  Thanks to @heugumperNZ for this magic connection.  Janet and I shared a magic day, discussing pedagogy, people, practice, and much much more.  We really connected and are eagerly anticipating exciting collaboration on our Technology Hub for Conference 2012.  The magic of St Mary’s is evident as you enter the foyer and continues throughout.  Thanks Janet.

After a gorgeous drive in the country I met up with Marcus Norrish at Pahoia School.  I felt an immediate connection with the learning space and have so many takeaways with furniture spaces.  

The Pahoia hall story is pure magic, as is the entire environment.  Thanks for a magical meet up Marcus.

An awesome evening was had Mount Manganui with Janet.  We walked around the mount and reflected on the disaster of Rena.  

There is evidence of the drama throughout the area with a constant buzz of helicopters, uniformed workers, tanks and clean up stations.  Janet shared with me the wisdom of a harbour employee who is reflecting on the positives from Rena.  It is inspirational to see a ‘glass half full’ attitude coming through in the face of adversity.  Tauranga and the Mount are now fully in the world eye; the town is inundated with workers collaborating to minimise the damage, the flow on for businesses is huge and having a very positive effect on the economy, the people are talking and collaborating, one day there will be an amazing dive site to investigate the Rena in the depths...

A magical dinner at the mount followed.  What a truly wonderful  time I have had here.  

A day at home to soak up the magic of my late spring, early summer garden...

I cannot believe how the daffodils of spring have so quickly been replaced by the magic of the rhododendron season...

I am really looking forward to being in Taranaki for the garden festival next week!

Oh so proud of my incredible daughter...

I collected the local paper out of the mailbox to see my daughter!  Soooo proud of all that she is and all that she does...

After Ulearn Magic...

The last day… day for a sleep in, but oh no, we are up and ready for action early.   Off we go – final destination, Auckland.  
Magic wee stop at Tirau for a little bit of retail therapy.  Stop in Cambridge at my sister’s shop and a coffee for the journey.  A couple of random stops along the way were the race way at Hampton downs and the dragway at Meremere.  

We found an awesome cache with a Welsh geocoin, a real highlight of our caching.  A stop at Pokeno for a refuel, then Auckland Bound for some more retail therapy at Westfield.  Finally we checked into our very nice motel, dropped our bags and heading for the waterfront… TRUE MAGIC…  The whole week has been amazing, and this really is the icing on a delectable #Ulearn cake.  We soaked up the atmosphere on the waterfront visiting the fan zone, the cloud, 10 shed, the rugby ball, the entertainment, busking… 

Loving that I have really been on the soil, at Ground Zero.  Can’t wait for the final tonight… Go the Abs.  Back across town with a stop for a bite at Denny’s.  After a bit of an online catchup, I think we got lights of by 12.30am.  What a shock it was to hear the alarm at 5.15am, and what an adventure it was to find the rental car return and get checked into flight NZ671 bound for Dunedin.  Claire and I really maximised our 4square opportunities, even checking into the TARMAC… Struggling to keep ,my eyes open, I chewed on my All Black jet plane lollies and we chatted about the magic of the Ulearn experience.  

Day 3 Ulearn

Friday was up and away to our Google Masterchef session with our Google gals, Fiona, Tania, Tara and Helen.    This session got me all googly and I see google apps as a real turning point in my collaborative learning journey.  Thanks for a magic session girls.
Ulearn11 concluded with a keynote from Simon Breakspear and before we were prepared for it Ulearn11 drew to a close.  Reluctant to leave the friends, the atmosphere, the fun, we successfully conquered a very challenging geocache and headed for a last lunch together at Lime. 

After dropping Jo and Lynda back to their motel Claire and I again became tourists and headed up to the blue and green lakes.  

This trip really has been a magic blend of work and play, learning and socialising, and soaking up the atmosphere of Rotorua. 
A truly magical experience…
Thanks to Core Education, #Ulearn11 is blazing the fire within me… 
My takeaways are:      
  • He Tangata, he tangata, he tangata (quoting @TarncNZ), it really is all about the people, connecting and relating;
  • Online is fantastic, preparing, supporting and enabling so much more in the offline world (quoting @kmelhuish)
  •  Meet, connect, socialise, interact with anyone and everyone,
  • Fully engage in the experience,
  • Googly is good – (quoting the Google Gals) – I truly can’t wait to develop google sites to support my blended learning environment for 2012;
  •  Collaborate – by sharing google docs we have a wealth of resource material,
  • Pace yourself…
  • Reflect on each session – what does this mean for me, for my learners, how can I adapt or apply this,
  • Discuss your thoughts with others to really heighten your opportunities to synthesize learning.

Day two Ulearn

Up early AGAIN, this time for a breakfast workshop with Stephen Heppell.  The whole concept of a breakfast meeting is MAGIC.  You get to eat, sit around a table, listen, chat and learn.  I just loved listening to Stephen.  I am in awe of the magic of learning spaces he shared and remain committed to revolutionising my class learning space for 2012.  I hung on his every word about collaboration and need to research further and talk further about aspects of collaborative classroom work.  I am committed to a fully collaborative, blended learning environment for next year with a school in Wellington.  Stephen talked about collaboration between 3+ classes, 3+ teachers.  I am wondering if we need to expand our vision for 2012.  Having been a part of facebook research with Stephen’s relative, I felt a connection and am keen to follow his projects and grow and learn.
Directly after this was the keynote presentation by Jan Herrington.  We stayed in the overflow room for this keynote and it was interesting again to be in a more spacious venue, with tables.  We need to continually be aware of the needs of our learners and encourage them to reflect and work out which is best for them, for specific sessions.
Off to the Rydges next for Using ICT to improve student learning in literacy with Simon Turnbull.  HUGE range of literacy links requiring a real thorough investigation...

Next up Leading Innnovation with Simon Breakspear.  The conference dinner was a very social occasion and an awesome spectacular with nearly a black out of costuming.  The pre-dinner entertainment was hilarious with a ‘rugby’ show.  Great meal, great times….

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

serendipitous word of the day

Word of the day from Newswordy

Netizen - A user of the internet, esp. a habitual or avid one

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Day one of Ulearn11

Wednesday began with breakfast at Lime with a great bunch of friends then it was off for a final tweek to our presentation, then the magic of the conference beginning.  I am totally in awe of the number of teachers in one place at one time.   I am also in awe of the venue, the organisation, the people, but above all, I am in awe of the hype of learning.  This is MAGIC. 
9am Conference opening and welcome. 
9.30 Keynote by Jack Bacon 
10.45 Break and off we go in a taxi to Novotel for our presentation - A tweet for a teacher...

Claire and I began with our presentation but within minutes it became apparent that the internet was not coping.  Flexibility and adaptability became key as we worked around intermittent connections.  We were able to survey all learners with our google form and share some of the magic of setting up forms and looking at results. Social media survey summary!
Sharing our passion for using the online environment to connect, collaborate, share with an authentic audience followed with links for delegates to check at their leisure.  A number of new tweets were welcomed to the twitisphere.  We shared how we use quad-blogging, mascots, skype, and twitter for authentic learning connections with our learners.   We shared the benefits of a PLN for us as educators.  The intermittent internet access did impact on our presentation, but the true highlight for us was seeing new tweets working alongside our established PLN, collaboratively adding to google docs for keynotes, and contributing tweets.  Our collaborative project continues with HOPO about to launch off on an adventure.    Thanks to the Albatross colony for their generous support with our costumes.  
Next up I had an amazing session 'iPad Apps in the classroom' with the amazing Amanda Signal.  The whole session was amazing... I learnt so much.  The highlight for me is definitely the power of apps to allow learners to create and collaborate.  

Back to the Events Centre for a keynote with Graeme Aitken.  
This was followed by a reception and social time in the Trades Hall.  Ulearn is definitely about the people and the connections for me.  I met so many people face to face for the first time, people I have followed for ever so long on Twitter.  Harking back to Karen Melhuish Pecka Kucha talk, online is fantastic, but offline and meeting face to face is what it is all about.  I relished the opportunity to talk to Derek Wenmouth.  I have quoted Derek’s Ten Top Trends from Core for my assignments this year and it was great to discuss my journey with him in person.  We also chatted through our collaboration ideas for 2012 and he organised an interview for the next day to talk about our Collaborative Classroom project at the ‘imagining stage’.  This is a valuable starting point, a reference, and a tangible record of the journey we are about to embark upon. 
After the reception it was back up to the house to kit up in our Otago outfits and head to Seismic for the Twitter dinner.  Another magic celebration with very special people.  I got an offer for a swap or sell of my Otago jersey by a Frenchman but declined.  However we did settle for a few quick photos…..

Rotorua magic

Tuesday began with a very emotional Powhiri, truly magical.  
Claire and I tweeked our presentation then set off for a visit to Hell’s Gate. 

I really don't think you'd litter if this would be the consequence....

Mud, mud, glorious bubbling mud...

Sooo soothing....

Really magical natural wonder.  Loving being a tourist.  Even time for two geocaches on the way back from Hell's Gate.  
Back to the Rotorua Events Centre for the beginning of #Ulearn11 with the Pecha Kucha.  This was an amazing networking time.  So amazing to meet educators from all around New Zealand, all gathered together for a very exciting learning journey.  The Pecha Kucha is a fast paced sharing time with presenters sharing 20 slides in 6 minutes.   Wonderfully quick learning opportunities.  Inspiring thoughts from DK – the magic of social media, Charles Newton – ten , Karen Melhuish – face to face, Derek Wenmouth - gutenberg to zuchenberg - Literacy developing, democratization..., Stephen Heppell – the anatomy of change,  Janette Murphy @jeanettem1  -  inspirational slideshare  (as blogged by @AllanahK) 
This wonderful evening was completed with a dinner at Fatdog.  Such magic to catch up with some very special people…. @heymilly, @erinsawyer, @heheboy, @allanah, @barbs1, @marama and friends, @keamac, @AllanahK, @Barbs1
The magic of this day: amazing first ever North Island Powhiri, first ever Pecha Kucha, and magic dinner with friends.