Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The World of Learning According to Jemma

This speech in this video was written by Jemma, a 10 year old student, who gave her perspective on learning at a recent StudentMeet held at Shore this year. Jemma wrote this speech on her own and gave valuable insights about what it is like 'on the other side'.

Many other students presented at this inaugural StudentMeet. It was amazing to see the commonality between each of the presentations. Students wanted to connect with each other, connect with their world, be trusted and don't mind hard work. I was so impressed with the willingness of outstanding young men and women to share with teachers what works and what doesn't.

I was equally impressed with the teachers who came along to learn how they can strengthen their pedagogy to make learning and engaging and deep experience for the students in their care.

I look forward to further StudentMeets and also TeachMeets where professionals come together to share what is working in their environment and support each other in improving the educational outcomes for all involved.

Enjoy...and yes, I am proud Mum of a certain 10 year old!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Disrupting Practise and Moving Forward - collaboration wins

A personal goal this year has been to challenge myself to change the way I teach from a 'chalk and talk' scenario to a more student centered, collaborative approach. If I want to develop the well debated 21st Century skills in the students I work with then I need to give them the opportunity to do so. I am trying to move towards a more project based approach. I'm also trying to offer opportunities for differentiation. Today I started to see the epic wins in the students I have the pleasure of sharing a classroom with. We are working on Claymations. Interestingly, we haven't even touched the clay as yet...we've been building the story and script with a lot of attention to detail. Interestingly, the students were the most engaged I've seen them and boy am I proud of them.

What is different? 

Firstly, the students are building their scripts collaboratively using Google docs. We noticed that students were not discussing things as much when we taught them how to use Google docs. 
By suggesting the students take on different roles within their groups, the magic started to appear. 
The 'script writers' are calling across the table to the 'researchers' to try and find some more detail on the main pollutants in Antarctica as they needed to move onto writing the next scene. The 'Props' coordinator had a table being drawn up further down the Google doc as they discussed the various pieces of equipment they needed. The 'director' was checking the story board that everything was being included and ensuring the detail was added to the script. I move from group to group listening to their discussion - not saying anything, just listening. I'm there if they need to ask. Sometimes they do, sometimes they don't. When I recognise a stalemate, I offer an alternative. The group takes off again and I move to the next group. Ownership of the task is theirs. 

 A squeal of delight from the back corner of the room - "Mrs W is writing on our script!" I had requested access to each groups' Google doc so I could give them feedback. Their class teacher was doing the same thing. The kids loved that they could see we were interested in what they were doing. They loved that they could fix areas that needed attention as they went. They thought it was cool - so did I! 

Giggling. Learning should be fun. I investigate the giggling. A student from one of the groups was away from school today. Actually, she was collaborating on the script using Google doc with her group from home! She was excited to be learning and working through choice. I asked her group to write and say hello from me. I smiled. Time is up - the kids don't want to stop. I don't want to stop but recess beckons. 

But wait, there is more. Differentiation is so important. How can we ensure that kids have an opportunity to expand their learning - I opened up the opportunity to build a collaborative website on resources to do with Claymation and video editing. Is it compulsory? No. Is it part of their mark? No. Is it engaging? Considering the more able students have already added resources to it in their own time and that the students who struggled with adding the resource have emailed me the links they have found because 'they really want to contribute to the site', I would say a big Yes. The added benefit is that all students have access to this new resource site which benefits all students regardless of ability. 

Is collaboration, differentiation and integrating technology hard? 
No, not really, with the right tools and being willing to step off the stage, it can be really rewarding and enriching for everyone involved. 

It made my day.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Assignment 3 - Reflective Diary

The final part of our journey along exploring effective online pedagogy is to submit a reflective journal. Very difficult to condense half a year into 1000 words.
The identification of a topic of interest and preparation of a literature review 
 Whilst I am pleased with my literature review, I found it a task I had to invest an enormous amount of time developing. A literature review requires you to pool a large amount of well-founded information into a single document. It also benefits from extensive knowledge about a topic in order to draw out the deeper thinking and ideas. I did not have this extensive knowledge on which to build – it was a double learning curve. The topic settled on was “Blended Learning can lead to improved student outcomes”. I teach in a blended learning environment. I wanted to investigate the merits of focusing on pedagogy, transforming the learning in order to shift culture in my environment. My review justified a move forward. The shift was from broadly stating that there needed to be a shift in pedagogy if we are to improve student outcomes to a focus on the elements that define pedagogical shift. Some of these elements included – clear standards, methods of assessment, professional development, construction of a model of online course development which utilises the 4 phases of COI and effective use of teaching presence. The modules towards the end of the course would have assisted in developing issues in my review.

Your experience preparing and facilitating the learning event
Garrison and Anderson (2003) formed the basis of the construction of this event. It was important to use the categories of social presence to break down barriers of alienation in an online environment and how that can encourage participants to engage in higher order thinking and deeper level of discussion and analysis of material in Communities of Inquiry.
Critical Thought 1: When we design online courses, what is our focus - are we content focused or learner focused? Digital Stories were chosen to link with current teaching scenario. The task was significantly more difficult than necessary. Many hours were spent researching topics, collaboration tools and in developing a strategy to apply the elements of online pedagogy. Too many hours it would seem.
Critical Thought 2 - Is this how students feel on a regular basis when they are given an assignment? I need to ensure that outcomes and purpose of the assignment are clear.
A few points I've learnt are:
• select activities that are engaging and sustaining • constructing thought provoking questions is incredibly challenging
• digital stories have many layers of application, across fields I could never imagine linking to.
• it is essential to get to know your students well in order to cater for different background experiences and in planning effective events for learning
• teacher online presence and e-moderating is critical but it is an art not to stifle discussion
• Similarly, it is an art to ask questions which promote deeper analysis and thinking
• It requires a high level of management strategies as a facilitator to maintain momentum and interest and keep a sense of perspective
• More teacher presence is required at the conclusion of the event in order to bring the participants cognitive journey to a meaningful climax.
• Social presence featured as a strength of the event but using timeframes would have clarified participants level of interaction and allow the inclusion of more research based tasks to facilitate deeper learning in the exploration and integration phases of the event.

Your experiences participating in learning events
I participated in 2 events. The first, a discussion of Facebook and its place in the classroom. I found the ‘chat’ engaging and interesting but comments were opinion based not reflecting deeper reflection and research. I gained many insights into the value of a highly structured event that follows the 4 phases of the practical enquiry model – as did “Captain, Oh my Captain”. However, the time invested by the facilitator was huge and unreasonable in a real context. Not only his, but very time consuming for the participant and inflexible. Sample summary comments for the second event are relevant here: “You drew us in personally with videos, with stories and with commenting deeply on our responses. You then took us to the next level of learning - finding research, applying it and now summarising.” “I don't think I fully 'believed' in the steps and process of online learning until this event. I will make changes to improve the learning outcomes for my students. Again, another shift in my pedagogy - student focused learning, not teacher focused.”

Your experiences in planning for further events
I prepared for the second online event by summarising all the course information regarding online pedagogy. The important aspects are; preparation, timing of activities, exploration, interaction and synthesis of the information learned, creating engagement, trust, delving deeper, promoting new search queries and critically analysing. I included the initial aspects of the Practical Inquiry Model (Garrison & Anderson, 2003). The process then moved to exploration of the material presented, testing out student thoughts and ideas. The integration phase where various research ideas are brought together and then higher order thinking skills applied in to order to build ideas and extend thinking. Resolution being the final stage sees participants firming up the ideas they thrashed about into formalised ideas and resolutions. I felt my second event is even closer to the right recipe than my first. It involved more planning but this time it was directed at exploring content more deeply and facilitating from the back seat. There is no winning recipe. It requires hard work, careful planning, professional development, feedback, willingness to learn, clear goals/outcomes for learners, trust, accountability, collaboration, effective facilitation, discussion, investing time in people, an open minded attitude and expertise on relevant topics.

 Is it worthwhile? Absolutely.

 Garrison, D. R., & Anderson, T. (2003). E-learning in the 21st century: a framework for research and practice. New York: Routledge Falmer.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Terms, definitions, put it it to good use

Ahh the quest for knowledge. We open up the mind, we fill it up with good stuff. We define what it all means and label it. We reshape what it looks like and then relabel it again. We explore a deeper level of it and then find the winning recipe. We shut the lid. Or do we? Hopefully not.

© Abi Woldhuis
I do find learning all about teacher presence, cognitive presence, social presence all very interesting in the context of online learning. I question if it is different to a face to face context. Some yes, some no. I do love the notion that teacher presence in online learning is not about how much the teacher responds to the online participants. It is about a lot more. It's the whole package. The preparation, the timing of activities, exploration, interaction and synthesis of the information learned. Yet, wait...there is more. It is about creating engagement, trust, delving deeper, promoting new search queries and critically analysing that. Psyched out yet? We have Communities of Inquiry where people come together to explore their ideas. There is still more, there are the different phases of how to do all of this - such as in the Practical Inquiry Model (Garrison & Anderson, 2003) where we the phases consist of triggering if the event or start of learning and engage learners. They then move to exploration of the material presented, testing out their thoughts and ideas. An effective online facilitator will move participants to the phase of integration where various research ideas are brought together, higher order thinking skills applied in to order to build ideas and extend thinking. Resolution being the final stage sees participants firming up the ideas they thrashed about into formalised ideas and resolutions.

What an enormous task to get it right! Do it well and you have engaged, enthused, active learners collaborating together and feeling good about the process. Do it poorly and learners disengage, become frustrated and don't share the full benefit. Online learning is reliant on effective teacher presence bringing in social and cognitive presence. How do we achieve that and develop excellent online pedagogy? There is no winning recipe but it does require hard work, careful planning, professional development, feedback, willingness to learn, clear goals and desired outcomes for learners, trust, accountability, collaboration, effective facilitation, discussion, investment of time in people, open minded attitude and a certain level of being an expert on relevant topics.
Is it worthwhile? Absolutely.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Your Story, Our Story. Online Learning Event reflections

What an interesting experience. How to ties ones self in knots. How to explore but find yourself not able to select a path. In a recent assignment, we were required to plan an online learning event on the topic of our own choosing. A significant issue here was choosing a topic that would hopefully be relevant to my cohort - who I know virtually nothing about!
Critical thought number 1 - when we design online courses, what is our focus - pushing content or who are our students and what do they need to learn. Are we content focused or learner focused?
I made this task way more difficult than it had to be. I spent hours researching various topics, researching various collaboration tools, worrying and getting psyched out over reading other people's ideas and feeling they were way better.
Critical thought number 2 - this is how student feel on a regular basis when they are given an assignment. I need to ensure that I am very clear about what the outcomes and purpose of the assignment are.
I decided on choosing a topic that is relevant to the students I teach every day(and hoping that my uni cohorts would find it beneficial as well) - digital story writing. The research began and continued for what seemed an eternity. Weighing up different opinions, deciding how I was going to engage my peers, how much was too much info for participants to work through, how would I sustain them cognitively and socially. Stop worrying, just design a course that I would enjoy.
Course designed, course opened, the wait began...would anyone participate? Was it in line with the assignment criteria. Exhaustion left me with no choice but to wait and see.
The first little glimmer of life appeared on day 2 with Google Docs informing me that there was a visitor to the event. Heart racing! Seriously, get a grip. This was an assignment.
More collaborators joined the event and the discussion deepened. Questions started to be asked and exploration began. I began to stalk the event, constantly checking for more 'action' on the Google Doc. Why? perhaps because people's contributions made it feel like a success. Perhaps because the deeper the discussion went, the more curious I became to hear other people's perspectives. Perhaps because in an online setting, the cravings for social interaction become quite pronounced. I love to test my ideas against other people's opinions and to thrash around the issues. Perhaps because the opinions offered were outside my realm of experience and cast such a totally different light on the place of Digital Stories across different fields. I was amazed. I was encouraged and I appreciated the willingness of others to give my event a go.
Have I benefited from it? Immensely. Apart from reading way too much research, a few points I've learnt are:
  • it is important to select activities that are engaging and sustaining
  • constructing though provoking questions is incredibly challenging
  • digital stories has many layers of application across fields I could never imagine linking to
  • as educators it is essential to get to know your students well in order to cater for different background experiences and in planning effective events for learning
  • teacher online presence is critical but it is an art not to stifle discussion
  • keep a sense of perspective
  • Google docs is an awesome collaborative tool
As I continue to reflect on the event, I will add more thoughts.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Hungry for the goal - epic wins in learning.

As I sit watching my son's team play soccer I see so many kids on the pitch...all here for different reasons, all here to win. I see each one picking up a different role...some roles designated by the coach, some roles happening spontaneously and some roles being picked up to help those who are not so strong in a particular area. I see kids reading the play, some have a more mature insight than others, depending on their background experiences. the opposition, the shoulders slump and the tone of the game shifts. I hear kids calling out to each other, offering advice, encouraging each other when things don't go as they should and giving hints from their own perspectives. Goal the opposition..again..tone shifts. I see boys hungry for the get that ball inside those posts. I see kids own their own game. Occasionally coach calls out some advice to refocus the group...this advice only works when there is a culture of respect. It helps. The boys persist. The tension is tangible. Goal...our side..the epic win moment (as described in Tom Vanderarks's book called Getting Smart). The epic win isn't about the final score, it is about the events along the way, personal wins, personal improvements...growth. Shoulders straighten, smiles appear, encouragement all around is offered. The back slapping makes me smile. The half glimpses to the side lines to check that loved ones actually noticed what just happened. The tone shifts and the ultimate goal is potentially available once more. Focus regained, the boys move off for half time and reassess how they are going work together to achieve the next goal.

How much is this game like our classrooms? There is real merit in letting our learners control their learning environment...give the credit for the experiences they bring and let them drive a little more. As their coach/facilitator we can step back and let them solve problems, explore their learning and find answers. Through letting them do these things our students think deeply, think creatively, think critically and they own their learning. The epic win becomes sweeter. Our learners develop skills that set them up for life. Are we prepared to hand over ownership of the game? What does it take to construct environments that produce epic wins for individuals? Let's see more shoulders held high, more smiles on faces and students reaching new heights.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Online Learning Event

The next phase of our course requires us to plan for an online event of our choosing. We were asked to choose a method which we are not so familiar with and which would stretch our learning and experiences. Our focus is to be on various themes we have been studying in relation to effective online pedagogy such as online presence, maintaining interest/participation, social presence, tools to support pedagogy, roles of facilitators etc.
I faced a series of dilemmas when embarking on this assignment. One being, where do you start with something like this when you don't really know your cohort? How do I pitch to a group of people I don't know and will they be interested in the topic I choose. I spent ridiculous hours researching the topic of digital stories as it is relevant to my area and critiquing whether it would be a useful topic to my fellow students. In trying to construct a well designed event I tried to incorporate ideas put forward by Garrison and Anderson (2003) in relation to categories of social presence to break down barriers of alienation in an online environmentand how that can encourage participants to engage in higher order thinking and deeper level of discussion and analysis of material.
How do I foster a community of Inquiry (Garrison and Anderson 2003) which has so many benefits in terms of participants learning from others? Garrison and Anderson (2003) point out that communities of inquiry promote exploratory, organised, critical and rich thinking. This is the kind of result I am hungry for in my online learning event but when previous experience shows that participants in the course are fairly reluctant to post to discussion forums, it leaves me looking for an alternative method of running an effective learning event. I see amazing results of communities of inquiry in the use of Twitter. I'd love a Twitter feed as a part of this uni course - that way I can get immediate feedback and be challenged by the journey my fellow students are on and better still, I may be able to support them in their learning journey. I joined Twitter as way of expanding my PLN and to satisfy my thirst for knowledge - I have grown immensely from the community of sharing between participants. The participants in Twitter are willing participants...they want to be a part of a community, they are not participating because it will award them a mark at the end. This too is essential for our students and the activities we construct to engage them and to encourage the deeper level, critical thinking that they require for life.
The best outcome of this task so far? That I have a clearer picture of the dilemmas students face each day. I have a clearer idea of the stress they endure when they don't understand. I'm challenged to ensure learnign experiences are engaging, relevant, challenging and innovative. Let go of the control a little and let them lead, facilitate more and be clear about what outcome we want to achieve.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Summary of Learning for Online Pedagogy

Attempting something new. We were asked to consider using different ways to demonstrate our learning and reflection. I use concept mapping with pen and paper but never on the computer. I have to say it was a great way to summarise what I was reading and kept me focussed as I read. It was a little tedious at times but it is a great way to sum up the main ideas.
Summary of Learning for Online Pedagogy - Abi Woldhuis

Learner-centred, learner-centeredness, learning centred

Lots of Reflection

Reflection for this section was about thinking about what our beliefs about the terms Learner-centred, learner-centeredness, learning centred were in relation to teaching and learning, and being a learner ourselves. We were asked to reflect on these terms before reading relevant research.

Splitting hairs – on the surface yes but a great question to look at what lies beneath those terms to work out what the differences are. On a deeper level, there are quite significant differences between the terms. I do believe the terms are linked but have different foci. In my journey of learning, I struggle with stepping out to define things before I have read different perspectives on them. I love to then test what I have read against my personal pedagogy.

However, I digress. The intention of the reflection is to ask myself how the terms align with my beliefs about the roles and competencies of teacher and learners and my approach to learning.
A teacher needs to know their students. Not only a personal level – which assist with designing courses which pique the student interests but also the skills and background they bring with them. Any teacher can design a class, courses, teaching materials and learning experiences. Making them relevant, engaging, purposeful and educational requires us to know our students – we structure learning experiences to be learner-centred. This also enables us to be flexible in altering learning experiences to suit the learning needs of our students as they progress. Whilst we may feel the learning experiences we design are fantastic, we need to test them against what we know of learners. Having a learner centred approach allows us to bring our background knowledge, experiences and our learning centred pedagogy to the table when aiming for best practice in our teaching. These three terms bring different aspects of education together – they form our pedagogy. Education is not about a mark. It is about developing a whole person.

As a learner I appreciate knowing the end goal – I may not understand different aspects along the way but by having clearly defined outcomes, I begin to see the pieces of the puzzle are structured in such a way that they give me the skills I need to achieve those outcomes – perhaps that is learning centred. Carefully structured progression with an element of choice, give me security that different tasks that need to be completed are part of a plan but one which I need to explore further. I experience frustration when I’m not sure what is required and when work loads are high. I appreciate feedback and being able to seek clarification when my learning hits a road block but feel success when I figure a way around that block. I’m acutely aware that the aspects about learning that I value also equate strongly to those that my students value. As an adult, with out the added benefits of face to face interaction, online learning is certainly not as personal and interactive as that of teaching face to face but the advantages of being able to tailor learning to fit life demands outweighs the negatives.

Global Education Environment

Further reflections

We were asked to comment on the following statement:

"Education is a powerful tool in the global educational environment and the internet has enabled a new era in a human collective activity."

Firstly, Education is not the tool. Education is the result of the global educational environment. The internet is a tools which allows collaboration and networking globally which in turn enables learners to expand their learning in the areas that engage them. Let's focus less on the tools we use and more on the pedagogy and final outcome for the learners. Education isn’t just about academics, it is the complete package...the acquiring of information, the curating of the web to group topics, the working out of a response to the information that has been sought and then the production of those findings in a meaningful way. Most importantly, education is about the learner.

The internet is a challenge for some and a norm for others. With collaboration of human activity, the whole network benefits from the utilisation of the internet as a resource. The expansion of horizons and knowledge through connecting globally allows for virtual transformative learning. No longer do we have to travel to exact locations but through internet and global connections, we can explore avenues normally out of reach for the bulk of individuals. We can equip our students with the skills they require to communicate in globally. Equip themselves with the skills they require to have a safe, respected online presence. We are only on the cusp of this new era. As we become better at connecting, communicating and collaborating globally, we will see a whole new era again which, at present, we cannot define.

Reflection on a Transformative Learning Experience

In my Master of Ed course, we are asked to reflect on different aspects of our learning. We have been looking at Learning that is Transforming and analysing The Transformation Theory proposed by Jack Mezirow 1991. We are looking at what that means for use today as educators. It really is quite fitting considering my blog is called Journey Through Learning. A journey takes you far and you experience much. How much are we tranforming learning for our students? Do we really know what it means? Is it actually a new theory or have the really  brilliant educators been doing it for years and just haven't put a label to it?
My reflections:
A learning experience for me as a child which was “transforming” would probably be when my teacher took us on the Blue Lakes walk in Kosciuszko National Park, just because we were interested in Geography. It opened the world up and the fact that he invested in us so fully, meant the world. Here was someone who was interested in us and was prepared to give his time. It wasn’t only that he had given us his time but it was his approach – casually chatting about the geographical aspects of the walk and expanding our horizons. As the kids all say today – it was fun! We didn't know we were learning. I'm sure he knew we were.

I have always reflecting on his teaching style as I have grown and developed as a teacher. He was very strict but we all appreciated that because we knew where we stood. He planned for discussion and didn’t only answer the student with their hand up. We had to think. He didn't always give us the answers. Learning was always interesting – I think because it was hands on and we could apply it easily. Even the theory was enjoyable because his enthusiasm lifted each of us. We were valued as students and learners yet the lines of teacher/student boundaries were never crossed.

If I could bottle his formula, I would. I can’t so I as a result I try to apply what worked with us and make it current for the various cohorts I teach.

©Abi Woldhuis - Memories of a Transformative Teacher, Journey Through Learning.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

6 Leadership Lessons from Dr. Seuss - Newport News, VA, United States, ASCD EDge Blog post - A Professional Networking Community for Educators

I just love this link...

6 Leadership Lessons from Dr. Seuss - Newport News, VA, United States, ASCD EDge Blog post - A Professional Networking Community for Educators

6 Leadership Lessons from Dr. Seuss

Today is the day that the legendary Dr. Seuss was born. Many images enter you head when someone mentions Dr. Seuss. You may think of your first book, green eggs and ham, or even that pesky Grinch who stole Christmas. When I think about Dr. Seuss I envision leadership lessons. Below you will find a series of quotes from the collective works of Dr. Seuss and a brief explanation of how each relates to leadership.
“Why fit in when you were born to stand out?”
Leaders should be bold, take risks, and move organizations forward. One of my favorite sayings is that managers do things right and leaders do the right things. That's the difference between fitting in and standing out. Dr. Seuss did not fit in and neither should you. 
“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go.”
I believe that leaders have a responsibility to be the "Lead Learner". You set the tone for the rest of the organization through your actions. The best leaders are typically learners first. The great news is that you do not have to attend a conference or pay for an expensive workshop to get smarter. Technology allows leaders to leverage the wisdom of the world. You can even become smarter in a box with a fox or on a train in the rain.
“With your head full of brains and your shoes full of feet, you're too smart to go down any not-so-good street.”
The not-so-good street that many leaders end up on has to do with actions not matching words. A leader can have the best ideas and intentions yet go nowhere when the actions don't match up. A leader’s actions must always match even if your wardrobe does not match like many of the characters in Dr. Seuss’ imagination.
“Be who you are and say what you feel,
because those who mind don't matter,
and those who matter don't mind”
If everyone is happy with the work you are doing then you probably aren't leading much of anything. Leadership is about change and relentlessly seeking a better way. Somebody, somewhere will not be excited about change and a better way. Make sure you take inventory of those who mind and those who matter.
“You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes
You can steer yourself
any direction you choose.”
Do not be afraid to abandon an initiative that isn't working. Leaders often ignore signs that an initiative or project should change direction. Leaders can and should admit when a project has failed or an idea hasn't panned out. This type of transparency builds trust within an organization.
“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not.”
Everyone has a responsibility to lead. You are the only one that brings your combination of skills to the table. Nothing will get better without your leadership and today is the only day you are guaranteed.
There were many more quotes that I could choose.
So next time you are reading a Dr. Seuss Book
Make sure not to snooze.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

To allocate or not allocate

This week I needed to do some research for work. The internet is such a wonderful resource but it is also so immense. As I researched I came across so many different topics that I wanted to explore. I started delving in to some and then remembered my original goal for that day - to find research on a particular topic. So much learning, so little time. It reminded me to work smarter, not harder. Focus research times and allocate time slots. Being someone who loves to be spontaneous, I waver at the idea of allocating every minute of time and becoming too regimented - too controlling. A certain amount of order is essential. Remembering my original purpose, I went to the ScoopIt! topic I curate, Integrating Technology in the Classroom to collect one of the articles I knew I posted there. The time I had allocated to collating these resources reaped benefits. The mountain of information had some order. The resource I needed was quickly located. Life lesson - effective time allocation can free you up for many moments of spontaneity and dream chasing. Now just to implement it.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Choices Everywhere - Sketchnoting

I was very excited today to come across Sketchnoting through my reading for uni. Sketchnoting is how I think. I often draw little doodles to make what I am reading or listening to more meaningful. I love this little video by Giulia Forsythe about Sketchingnoting and how she has grown through using it. I just love the RSA Animate video with Sir Ken Robinson's work as well - makes it come alive. At the recent TEDx Talks we had an cartoonist sketching a summary of all the talks. It is an amazing way to capture a moment, enhance learning, pique interest and reach all learning styles. Can't wait to give it a go. It reminds me of Infographics and a type of concept mapping. Exciting to find options that I can share with my students. The additonal problem I now face is that I want to try out the DS106 Digital Story telling course but with being a Mum, working and already studying I fear I will stretch myself too thin!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

New Journey

Off on a new journey! As a part of completing a Masters in Education, we are required to keep a journal. I have wanted to create a personal blog for so long now. It is quite amusing really as I help my children create their own blogs, I blog at work and Twitter all day long but never made time to create my own blog. No time like the present. In this blog I am also going to explore concept mapping to assist with learning. It is a little out of my comfort zone but that is what learning is all about...taking risks and growing as we go. 
The last few years have had some very significant ups and down, sadness, challenges and also some moments of magic. Through all these things I've grown and explored more about who I am and understand a little mor about the world. Each time you learn, you head a little further along the journey. I love exploring and the brilliant thing about exploring is that it never ends. 
As I approach the end of my Masters with this final subject, I do not believe the journey is over, I believe I will be curious to explore further. I have had a love/hate relationship with this Masters course but it has helped shape what I see learning as. I'm a better teacher for experiencing these things. I understand my students better.
Off to read some notes and add some more thoughts.