Sunday, October 14, 2012


MAGIC – on the way to Ulearn again…
Here I am in Seat 13C bound for Auckland.  I can hardly believe that it is 365 days since Ulearn in Rotorua.  There sure has been a lot of water under the bridge since then….

·         I graduated with my Master of educational leadership;
·         I completed my e-learning papers out of Tasmania;
·         I got awarded a Core-ed e-fellowship;
·         I got accepted for NAPP;
·         I continued to enjoy my study leave right til the end of 2011;
·         I printed my Twitter Tour blog off as a hardback book;
·         I celebrated Christmas with my amazing family;
·         And in February I returned to school after a truly MAGICAL year.

When I returned I likened the time in class with my learners as being the sheen on my bubble.  I really do love being back with our learners.

As 2012 dawned I set about creating MAGIC out of the amazing learning journey that was 2011.  One Sunday Jane came out to school and chatted with me as I talked about my dreams for a class that fitted the needs of my learners today.  I dreamt of possibilities and together we have worked to realise many of these possibilities and more…

The most significant change has been co-constructing the learning with the learners.  We have worked to create a modern, flexible learning environment that meets our needs.  We reflect on space, light, sound, feelings and which space works best for us at set times… We have amazing conversations about the art of learning. 

BYOB was a dream I had in 2011 and it is now a reality.  My biggest fear was issues of equity.  These fears have proved unfounded as all learners have SIGNIFICANTLY greater access to online learning than I imagined possible.  Key to the start of the BYOB journey was surveying the learners and the families and engaging them in discussion and planning for our journey.  I was amazing and delighted by the challenges issued from the families and the learners.  Together we are working our way towards a blended learning environment.  Reflection on the success of BYOB from the learners clearly place it as given greater access to online time for those without their own device and ubiquity of learning and access for those with their own device.  There are so many highlights to this journey but I would like to highlight a few:
·         ANZAC visit to the local RSA with learners photographing, recording, interviewing, blogging – but really taking the learning to their extended families in a way that really hadn’t been possible until now;
·         Significantly increased engagement in reading by struggling readers engaging with their device through e-books, wiki, blogging and discovering…
·         AMAZING improvement with basic facts and maths concepts – due to access to online support and engagement;
·         Being party to learners responding with wonderment and awe as they record moments to create from, blog about or share with others;
·         Celebrating the journey of discovery as we work out new ways of doing things;
·         Independence of learning and learners – as all are challenged to contribute to learning pathways;
·         Daily discovery with our digital footprint and citizenship;
·         Working with learners to learn from and tidy up online oops;
·         Seeing learners beginning to develop their e-portfolios;
·         Greater reflection on successes;
·         Although I am not app focused and do not see apps as ‘the way’ to learning, I delight in the sharing and discovery as learners collaborate at their ‘app fests’;
·         Learning, unlearning and relearning with our devices;
·         Increased family involvement in the learner’s online world;
·         Significantly increased blogging and distance collaboration;
·         Development of responsibility for own device, learning and collaboration;
·         Google docs and forms as accepted collaborative behaviour;
·         Responding to the work of others in unprecedented ways;
·         Truly BYOB with iPads, ipods, androids, tablets, laptops,

Woohoo – what a list!  I am delighted that I took the time to record some of the MAGIC of the journey that is BYOB.  I guess it is only fair that I record some of the main challenges.

·         Technicalities – thanks to Dave this has been completely doable;
·         Trail blazing – as the only class that is BYOB it has been very important to learn from the journey ready to roll out to senior school next year;
·         Remaining steadfast to my pedagogical beliefs – it is only a tool and it is only used if it is a better, creative or innovative way to enhance our learning;
·         Making the most of this amazing journey – I look back on my timeline and realise I am only about ¼ of the way into what I planned for my first year…
·         Moving to a fully blended learning environment;
·         Continuing to challenge the learner to go beyond the horizon….

Alongside the BYOB and the learning spaces, finally running student led conferences as opposed to parent/teacher interviews has been the realisation of a long held dream.  I would now really struggle to return to the interviews.  The journey of watching the learner identify their successes and challenges and openly discuss what they need to do to meet self-set goals and the support they need from family and teacher is inspirational.

I sometimes think I learn best when I am the silent observer. 

This is only really possible when a class is in sync!  When our guidelines are in place and as a team we work to these guidelines anything is possible.  What then are our guidelines? Two very simple words thanks to Andrew Churches – RESPECT AND PROTECT!  We respect and protect ourselves, others and property (including intellectual).  With this as our mantra anything really is possible. 

So, back to the flight, here I am winging my way to Ulearn12, with a MAGICAL holiday on Matarangi beach with two very special people for a few days. 

I am eternally grateful for the privilege of being a teacher in New Zealand. 
I am eternally grateful for the privilege of networking and collaborating with the most amazing educators around New Zealand thanks to the power of Twitter.
I am uber excited to be heading to my favourite place in the whole world – the beach.
I am uber excited to be able to share a little of the MAGIC of my journey in my presentation MAGICAL mash-up at Ulearn!

Life is GOOD, very, very good. 

I am also incredibly excited to have launched a new blog this morning AK-MAGIC dedicated to the moments of MAGIC everywhere and anywhere.  

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