My highlight personally and professionally would have to be presenting a workshop at ULearn11 in Rotorua with my own daughters. Over the years I have collaborated on projects and workshops with a lot of teachers - many of them first time presenters. So it was a lot of fun working on a first-time presentation with my two daughters who have been teaching for two and three years respectively, and blog with their students.
We submitted a proposal we called "Blogging - a possibility for everyone" and began our 'blurb' with this:
Blogging has been around for a decade now and to many teachers it has become so mainstream that it is an automatic part of the class setup at the beginning of a school year. On the other hand, there are many schools and teachers for whom Blogging still has a very geeky vibe.
This presentation is designed to share experiences with Blogging, and lessons learned along the way, from a variety of perspectives:
- individual, group, class and subject blogging
- primary through to college students
- decile 1a to decile 10
- beginning teacher to been-around-for-decades teacher
The presentation is embedded below and some of the notes are attached.
We also created a quick links page for people to access the material we were talking about.
From a professional perspective it was great to be able to share the achievements and challenges experienced in high school classes as well as junior primary school and the middle school years. Being able to share about blogging from the extreme perspectives of Deciles 1a and 10 (socio-economic extremes FYI to non-New Zealanders) offered a much more rounded picture than when I present blogging workshops on my own. It certainly became clear that the issues and challenges are very different and this kind of online sharing (via Blogs) does not have a one-size-fits-all approach.
I was also interested that the high school teachers in the workshop were much more tolerant of the issues facing primary school teachers than vice-versa. This was highlighted when we read through the written feedback forms where a few of the comments from primary teachers (yes - easy to work out who they were!) were quite judgemental of secondary schools. This is of concern to me because I work with Years 1-13 in our Manaiakalani cluster and know that to achieve a learning pathway that benefits all our students we need to be able to put ourselves in someone else's shoes from time to time.
Fortunately most people took away our 'learning intention':
This workshop will NOT teach you how to set up a blog, but it will step you through the many reasons for using Blogging in your class/school/cluster. You will hear about involving your school, parent and wider community. You will hear about things that work, things that are tricky-but-can-be-done and things that don’t work for us. You will hear many tips from the presenters about how to organise and manage both the set-up phase and the daily integration in the classroom. You will have ample opportunity to ask questions, like, “How come my lovely young Bloggers never get to do it once they get to college?”
PS: I should also mention that another highlight in 2011 was presenting a series of workshops with my son-in-law this year! I was chuffed that Joel (who works in IT) was prepared to share a platform with his mother-in-law at a non-education event.
PPS: I had a number of opportunities to present with my husband again during 2011 which is always fun.
I am not sure which of the three groups produced the most heated debate during the 'co-construction' stage!