Sunday, 18 October 2015

#EdBlogNZ Challenge Week 2

#NotAtULearn15 - Get thinking Deeper!
So this week's challenge I've decided to do a bit of a combo and while I've done a few posts already on events that I've participated in during #ULearn15, for the majority of the week I've not been at ULearn15!  On the Friday morning there was a panel discussion that was streamed live facilitated by +Derek Wenmoth that I watched firstly on my phone then Chromecast to our 50" TV in the comfort of my lounge!  I love how Pam Hook challenged the status quo and didn't necessarily go along with the "group-think".  I'll add more detail of my points of highlight (when I find the notes I hand wrote at the time of watching)... watch this space

Here is the Twitter feed from the discussion that I kept an eye on while watching the video:

Saturday, 10 October 2015

GEG_NZ at #ULearn15

I became part of the Google Educator Group New Zealand (GEG_NZ) community on Google Plus right from it's inception in July of 2014, this year I was asked to join the leadership team, helping to organise events.  I jumped at the opportunity to Learn.Share.Inspire.Empower myself and other educators associated with this community.

Our session at ULearn was co-led with +Fiona Grant, myself with +Rob Clarke joining us virtually through Google Hangout.  It was also great to have an international contingency in the room with +Kimberley Hall and +Jim Sill. Fiona and I ran a tag team through the face to face presentation with Rob contributing through the session. It's fantastic to be such of a supportive group of GEG leaders and community.  I learn so much each time we meet and connect, along with the contributions made to the G+ community for GEG_NZ. 
Here is our slide deck from the session:
Here's some tweets from the session:


This year I organised the annual #twitterdinner that coincides with the #ULearn conferences each year in the October school holidays for educators in New Zealand.  Each year the event alternates between Auckland and Rotorua (previously held in Christchurch too). The evening was awesome with 58 educators that connect on line, face to face in the same room ready for great conversations, food and connections!

The dinner was held at Sweat Shop Brew Kitchen.  On arrival tweeps checked in with me to get their name label and +Megan Croll gave them their free drink token (thanks to +Jenna Kleine of Class Dojo and +Alex Le Long) and the mix n' mingle bingo sheet.  The bingo sheet was a great icebreaker and our guests being the connected individuals they are, were up for the challenge of completing it to truly embrace the opportunity for rich connections to start the evening.  Delicious canapes were served and circulated during this time.  Then it was time for a word from our sponsor from +Alex Le Long and +Campbell Potter in support of Class Dojo.  I said a few words of welcome and then the rest of the evening rolled out into a great talk, food and photo fest! The photo booth props were a fun addition (although a little under-used). We trended on Twitter and here are some of the tweets from the evening!
I enjoyed organising the evening and would do so again if the opportunity arises - my one wish for next time would be to circulate more! I felt that I didn't really get the opportunity to do as much mix n' mingle at the beginning with checking everyone in and of course, once you're sitting and eating that can be a bit restrictive too... however I thoroughly did enjoy myself and l look forward to hopefully attending next year's one in Rotorua!

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

#EdBlogNZ Challenge Week 1

Inspiring Bloggers
The challenge is to write about a legendary blogger that inspires you or makes you dream bigger.  I am in awe at how some educators write reflect so frequently on their blogs.  Two bloggers that I follow and read regularly both bear the same name Stephanie Thompson!  I wonder if they are connected on line too?

First Stephanie who is the author of Four Seasons in One Kiwi I first met her at a two day Solutions Focus Coaching Master class. Stephanie is a primary school principal and as I aspire to be a principal I was really impressed with what she had to say about leadership and growing a coaching culture in her school.  Her blog posts reflect her leadership wonderings and I find them useful to read and reflect how her message resonates with me now (in my role as an acting principal) and to store for my future leadership experiences to come.

Second Stephanie who is the author of Train the Teacher I had connected with her many years ago on twitter and first met a few years ago at an Ignition Conference held at Albany Senior High School.  At the time she was a classroom teacher in Wellington, a tweeter and edu-geek.  I was impressed for a beginning teacher how she used blogging to collect evidence of her practice and labelled her blogs as a great filing system.  Now Stephanie teachers overseas and posts almost daily of her educational learning journey, whether she is reflecting on what is happening in her classroom or from one of the many conferences that she attends.  Her latest post about participating in a disruptive strand at a conference reminded me of the robust conversations I had at the Google Teacher Academy where we put our big ideas into an action plan for immediate steps in our learning community.

I often fear that my reflections will just be aimless ramblings and not worthy of the deep reflection I read in the posts of others.  I do believe in projecting positivity and continuous improvement, so to move forward, I feel you need the time to look back and reflect on your practice to improve. Like ripples in a pond, ideas can grow, reverberate and merge to create new circles of ideas.  I wonder if participating in the #EdBlogNZ challenge will help me get into a routine of weekly reflection (or at least fortnightly) for my leadership and/or education learning journey?  I hope so!

Monday, 28 September 2015

Connected Educators Month #cenz15

It's Connected Educators Month (#cenz15) and I've decided to be involved in a few ways. Firstly I am organising the #twitterdinner15 which coincides always with the ULearn conference.  This year it is being held in Auckland, so I volunteered to organise the evening.  It's no small fete organising something like this and having people pre-pay so that you aren't left hanging on the evening with unexpected expenses! I think in the last month most of my tweets have been to promote the evening! I'm looking forward to connecting face to face with many old and new tweeters!

Secondly, I've signed up to be a contibutor to EdBookNZ which is the brain-child of Sonya Van Schaijik.  This year's EdBook is based on unpacking the Practising Teacher Criteria, I'm interested in PTC12 - Teaching as Inquiry.  Below is Sonya's slideshare she presented at EduIgnite recently that explains the collaborative project.

Lastly, I've decided to be part of the #EdBlogNZ challenge, where each week 3 challenges will be posted to blog about.  I'm doing this because I've had an edu-blog for many years and would like to try and create a habit of posting more frequently my reflections about leadership, education and my edu-experiences.  There are three levels of challenges and you can choose any of the activities set from any of the levels - so I'm thinking I might ease into the challenge with this first post!  I'm hoping that I might get some comments and encouragement to make me think deeper or just encouragement to keep trying!

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Leading Change with Digital Technologies

I have been instrumental with change leadership and implementing digital technologies across the curriculum at our school.  Earlier in the year I was asked by the Te Toi Tupu consortium who have the LwDT contract to record my journey implementing change in this field.  The video below was used for face to face regional meetings around the country and an online webinar for leaders on the LwDT contract.

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Solution Focus Coaching

I just spent 2 days at a Solutions Focus Coaching Master Class. I found the approach of Solutions Focus very empowering and complimented what I already knew about GROWTH coaching. The Education Group will be bringing these workshops to NZ next year (as the NZ provider of professional learning and development for Growth Coaching International).
The focus on a strengths based, positive solution focus, rather than dwelling in deficit thinking and problem solving aligns with my personal mantra of projecting positivity and continuous improvement. When I got home I was so inspired I started reading the book! The Solutions Focus is a SIMPLE way of working to allow individual solutions according to what is happening for the individual or within an organisation.  
Solutions not problems
Inbetween: the action is in the interaction
Make use of what's there - not what isn't
Possibilities: past, present and future
Language: simply said
Every case is different

The Solutions tools are: 

  1. Platform - a point for departure
  2. The Future Perfect - the situation without the problem, the way the customer wants it to be
  3. Counters - resources and skills that will count towards getting to the solution
  4. Scale - to measure progress and identify difference
  5. Affirm - recognising positive steps towards solution that are already taking place
  6. Small actions - pivotal steps that take action towards the future perfect, they are specific and concrete
There are 5 conversation expanders that are used during a Solutions Focus coaching conversation:
  1. Non-verbal participation
  2. What else?
  3. First tiny signs (steps)
  4. What difference would that make?
  5. What would person X notice?
I really liked how the experienced coach can "flip" a conversation skilfully if a client shares negative interactions into positive interactions.  I found when participating as the coachee, I was able to think clearer about a current situation that I wanted resolving and left the session with a few small steps to take action.  I also like the focus on what was Better than Before and having a butterfly effect rather than a locust effect. I can also see how a Solutions Focus will help with self review and work around developing a new school charter.

Here is a little taster of what being solution focused is about (vs. problem focused). 

Monday, 18 May 2015

Putting Faces on the Data: What Great Leaders Do!

As a member of NZEALS it was great to be able to go to a seminar day led by Dr. Lyn Sharrat on Putting Faces on the Data.  Dr. Lyn Sharrat is a high calibre educator from Ontario who works closely with Michael Fullan (who I really respect the work of).  Their book Putting the Faces on the Data and subsequent seminar today was affirming with the practices that we use at our school to ensure that all students are making progress.  Dr. Lyn Sharrat overheard me sharing our practices and asked for me to share with the whole audience - so this was very positive and reassuring.

Our group wondered whether there was an acronym for FACES and we came up with: Facing Achievement Changes Every Student or as Dr Lyn Sharrat said, although she hasn't ever thought of an acronym it is about Front And Centre Every Student - being at the heart of all learning organisations.

I was one of the few people tweeting the learning from today (below are some of the tweets, collated into a Storify) - I also look forward to reading the book.

Saturday, 28 March 2015

EduIgnite: So what's the GTA all about?

At the end of last year Diana and I shared our experience of attending the Google Teacher Academy in an EduIgnite format at the National Library.  It is always challenging presenting in an eduignite format (20 slides on auto-advance every 15 seconds!) and presenting with a buddy is even harder! We did a great job and shared our positive experience in an informative way.  Hope you enjoy our presentation:

Thursday, 15 January 2015

Developing digitally literate learners

At the Learning with Digital Techonologies Symposium (way back in August 2014 at the National Library) I was interviewed regarding the digital journey we are on implementing learning using digital technologies. The video has just now been produced and a couple of snippets of my interview have been included in this piece: