Derek Wenmoth’s K12 Online Keynote

Our Derek Wenmoth made us all proud with his K12 Online Keynote ‘Holding a Mirror to our Professional Practice‘. Well done Derek!

I just watched it last night and felt compelled to blog in reply. At the end of his presentation he asks us a number of questions to help us reflect on our personal growth and professional practice as teachers. Here are my reflections to the mirror that he holds up…

Holding a Mirror to our Professional Practice (video) by Derek Wenmoth
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How do I hold a mirror up to my professional practice?

I tend to be my own harshest critic. I set high standards for myself and tend to throw myself into my passions- I  believe of the need to teach children how to be get on with each other and to collaborate to learn and actively seek opportunities for them to do so. I try to model this behaviour both personally and on-line.

Who are the mentors that I relate to on a regular basis? Who provides feedback for me on my teaching?

Sadly I feel that we, as teachers, still teach within the four walls of our classrooms. I get regular feedback on my teaching practice  from the 25 cherubs who regularly give me feedback on their preferences!  Over my  teaching career I have been fortunate enough to teach with a couple of exemplary leaders and mentors- Harold Bailey, now retired of Roslyn School and Barry Williams, presently teaching at Huntley Boys. These men believed totally in helping children learn and led their staff with vision and passion.

What professional reading do I do to keep up?

Apart from subject specific reading my professional reading is done on-line through the blogs that I follow that challenge and affirm what I try to do in my classroom- Will Richardson, Miguel Guhlin, Ewan McIntosh, Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach, Greg Carroll. To some degree also these people are the ones that I look up to- they don’t know it but they are the people that lead me to thinking the way that I do because of their brave outlook on the change in pedagogy that is needed for 21st century learners. I am a follower in their wake.

What communities of practice do I participate in?

Apart from the very supportive teachers in my own school and a few other nearby teachers my communities of practice are global- mainly via Twitter, Skype and blogging conversations. I have been invited into a couple of Ning communities but for some reason cannot connect at home and Ning is blocked at school.

What RSS feeds do I follow?

I follow 136 RSS feeds with Bloglines grouped into folders- podcasts, class blogs, children’s blogs, NZ edublogs, UK, USA, Aussie blogs, family blogs and Tech blogs. If you are at all interested you can view my RSS feeds here.

When did I last visit someone else’s classroom and reflect on their practice?

It is sad to say that it has been quite some time since I have been in other teacher’s classrooms while they have been teaching. I do from time to time peer in people’s windows and do what I call ‘industrial espionage’- look for cool ideas that I can see in other people’s rooms. I need to get out more and see what others are doing. Our ICTPD cluster did facilitate a tour of a couple of other schools in Term Two which was great but for me didn’t lead anywhere particularly- probably because I didn’t teach last term and now the momentum has gone.

When did I last share some of my learning with others?

This is something I am proud to say I have done quite a bit of this year- Learning at School, TUANZ, ULearn07 and with our ICTPD cluster. I also try to make myself available to help people on line through email, Skype, Twitter, Hotmail and face-to-face if possible. I will miss this facet of my practice next year as attendance at these conferences will be harder now that we have finished the final year of the contract. Anyone want to sponsor me? I would love to go to NECC!

On re-reading this post it all seems to be about me. Maybe it is but please take the time to listen to Derek’s presentation. It will be time well spent.

I would be interested to read your reflections on the questions that Derek posed…

Inspirational Teacher

Jane has tagged me for the Inspirational Teacher Meme, so I thought I would play along as there is so much else for me that I should be doing right now that I am overwhelmed.


1. You are to copy the rules at the start of your post.

2. You are write, in 150 words or less the story of ‘Your Inspirational Teacher’ from your school days.

3. Name and link 4 other bloggers and leave them a comment on their blog to let them know they have been tagged.

4. Tag your post ‘myinspiration’

Mr Firestone

Mr Firestone was my science teacher at secondary school at Nelson College for Girls. He was of the Baha’i Faith and was my first and only teacher to teach outside the square. I don’t think he lasted long at the school because he was a square peg in a round hole. He told us stories of his life in Canada, of another way of thinking about things, he was passionate about his subject and really seemed intent on helping us learn through doing things rather than to pass the test. He taught beyond the curriculum which got him into strife I think. He was young and tried to make a connection with us. Thanks Mr Firestone, wherever you are.

I tag

Rachel Boyd

Lynne Crowe

Ewan’s ULearn Keynote

Good to listen to again. Fun, entertaining and informative. I love that accent. Presentation -
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We thin sliced a lot at Ulearn- skimmed across a heap of new tools and techniques. I hope that some of that expensive, great learning has ‘stuck’.

I was so busy Twittering and connecting during Ewan’s keynote that it is good to re-visit it in the comfort of home and reflect. Click on the photo to take you to the video.

The link I put here before needed a username and password but this new link is a Google Video so it is free to view. Thanks Ewan- an open educator and blogger.

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It reminds of the purpose of using Web2.0 tools- to connect and to collaborate.

These last two weeks I have started back teaching at school and using Jane’s thinking moving classrooms activities and beginning a new collaboration with our friends in Binghamton, New York via Voicethread.

Our Web2.0 connections through our Moturoa class blog hopefully illustrate some of the reasons why we do what we do…

  • Audience- our blog is heading for 12,000 hits. We have an audience. Most of our posts have comments- we are having conversations among ourselves and with others around the globe.
  • Creativity unleashed- our class podcast opens our children to express themselves in new and creative ways.
  • Web2.0 allows differentiated learning- lots of small levels for children to gauge their progress. We have just begun the Lexia reading programme at school-children love the way they can see themselves move through the levels as they master reading skills.
  • Authenticated learning gives a real context in which children can thrive.
  • It’s not about the tech it’s about the teach.

Talking of gaming Derek Wenmouth showed us this little gem.
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Tony Ryan’s Keynote

Tony Ryan

Photo by Ewan McIntosh

Tony Ryan‘s keynote had a profound affect on me during the ULearn conference in Auckland and he would be pleased to know that it has resulted in action on my return to school.

Red light thinking- green light thinking- developing resilience and self-worth- the need to de-stress on more of a daily basis. I am getting stronger every day.

I am a good person and I am a good teacher. Say it often enough to overcome the doubt.

I am patiently waiting for ULearn to post a video of his keynote to share! I want to re-listen and re-affirm.

Bloggers’ Cafe

NZ Blogger's Cafe on Flickr - Photo Sharing!The highlight for me of the whole conference was the Bloggers’ Cafe. Jane first promoted the idea and gosh it was successful.

We even had our T-shirts printed to celebrate the event. I’m not sure that Ewan thought that we were the full quid actually with our virtual toys and T-shirts and ribald Twittering and Skyping!

Jane’s photo of us all (minus a couple) is really useful as it gives links to people’s blogs- to see the links just click on the photo to get taken to the Flickr pages and hover over people with your mouse to see the person’s name and their blog. These people are all in my Bloglines and in my mind and now in my heart.

We made friendships through our kindred spirits- no digital holidaymakers here! These people are all passionate about what they do and the way they do it. Ewan Macintosh from Scotland fitted in so well with the group and we all quickly adopted him as one of our own.

I’m loving this Ulearn07

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ULearn07 so far has been all new adventures, buzz and networking with friends old and new and meeting up with people who I have only got to know through their blogs. I think it is Will Richardson who says that F2F conferences let him meet the person that goes with the mind. Altogether too true. I know how some of these people think and some of the things that are going on in their lives without ever having met them before. A few people have come up to me and said that I have helped them in some way on their learning journey and that is very gratifying for me- I am honoured. Ewan hinted that F2F conferences arent as needed as they might be but I love it that you can engage with the movers and shakers of this exciting new world directly. Not withstanding that comment but I am still looking forward to the K12 on line conference next week.

I had great expectations of Ulearn and have been looking forward to it throughout my 14 weeks LWOP.

Now to put it all together while its still fresh. I have been frustrated with not being able to check my mail, Twitter or read through my Bloglines for two whole days. I was bereft so have paid extra for internet access to my hotel room so I can do what I need to do.

These days on of non-ibiquitous internet have brought to to a sharp realisation of mylove of being connected. I kept Twittering into the vacuum via cellphone but didnt set it to receive tweets via phone as my American friends were keeping me awake at night and I needed to have my cellphone on at all times to allow myself to be reachable.

ULearn started with a powhiri welcome from local Maori.

 ULearn Maori Powhiri

We bloggers Jane, Chrissy, Simon and Rachel sat three rows from the front Twittering and Skype chatting our way through our Minister of Education, Steve Mahareys opening address. We wanted to do a Mexican wave when Derek mentioned the Bloggers Cafe but kiwi reserve held us back. Steve says some good things about NZ education and I think he is doing a good job- there you are- you now know my political allegiances!

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Then came to the highlight of the day- Ewan McIntoshs keynote. I had the privilege of meeting Ewan yesterday and he is a very decent bloke with an easy sense of humour, a wonderful Scottish accent and some new ideas to challenge us. That notion of our private space and public space was something I had only thought about briefly but brought home as we bloggers changed from open Twittering to Skype chat as we wanted to communicate more personal reflections on speakers as they spoke- we understood intuitively the limitations and nature of each tool! That is until peoples batteries started dying.

I totally agree with the reasons why we do what we do- that sense of audience, participation and engagement so obvious in even the youngest children- and adults!

Half way through Ewans presentation Jo McLeay from Australia Skyped me and was interested in having a listen so she was able to participate- I gave her access to my notes that I was jotting as I was listening- Ewan later hinted that he had read them also- I should have been more complete but they were only meant to be touchstones to my memory and I would like to listen to Chrissys audio replay at a later date.

After the presentation I had to race away across town to Sara Taylors workshop on Developing Visual Literacy and how to use Keynote08 to bluescreen photos and KidPix. Awesome stuff and so simple- she had really prepared well and gave us all a resource CD to take away. What a great start to the conference workshop rounds.
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Next was another cross town trek to Janes workshop- Thinking, Moving Collaborative classroom. What fun energisers to encourage us to move, to think and collaborate. Reminded me of Sir Ken Richardsons TED talk- having to move to think. Hey now I can juggle with scarves- the kids in my class will be impressed. I want more of these sorts of activities- we do our energisers in the classroom but I need more ones that have that collaborative edge to them. Any more links to that sort of thing would be much appreciated if you know of any????? During afternoon tea Polycom sponsored the drinks and had a couple of giveaways to hand out. Rachel had been listening intently to the speech making and got a prize for paying attention and I talked my way to receiving a Polycom Communicator for Skype high fidelity, hands free Skype calls without an echo. They probably didnt realise but they have given their rewards to a couple of people who will really be able to use them well and get the most out out of the tool! A bit like when I won my Apple laptop in a radio competition- when I was at Advanced Communications Royden said then that it had gone to a good home! Thanks Polycom. Who will be the first to try it out when I go on line??? PS- it doesn’t work on my Mac 🙁

I was able to introduce Ewan to the Waimea South ICT cluster which was an added bonus before we all headed out to the Viaduct Basin for a delicious meal and an evening of laughter and camaraderie.

A big day out!