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Friday, 28 August 2015

Blogging - More Work or Work Worth Doing?

Recently I was asked at a conference why was I encouraging my teachers to have a class blog and also begin professional reflective blogs.

My response was something in the lines of - one of the greatest desires of parents is to get more information about how their child is doing in class. Their key questions are often:
  • What they are learning? 
  • What is the social climate of the classroom? 
  • Are they really happy?
It is not that class blogs can definitively answer this but they do give a snapshot. They allow parents a portal to see in on the classes learning as a whole and help them facilitate discussions at home.

The second reason I have been encouraging the use of blogging is that it provides a portal for students to have learning curated. My students whenever they need to go out on the internet always go via our classes blog. Parents have commented that this is a common routine at home also. I have the key topics tap with learning resources behind these. The blog becomes the place that students go to as part of their enrichment and reinforcement work. I have many tutorials and other video stimulus embedded into blendspaces that has shown over the past two years to have enhanced the engagement and growth of my students compared with cohorts from the past.

With relation to professional reflective blogs I feel as they will become a major game changer for those who adopt them. Hattie states that feedback has one of the highest effect sizes for students, I would almost be as bold to say the same for us as educators. Now a blog is only one of the ways I reflect but it is one of the most powerful as I understand that my writing and thoughts are for an audience. I am able to reflect on both research and on practice in a space that has a limitedless borders. Some of my best professional connections have come out of reflective posts that I have made. I find my audience that engages with my practices and provides valuable feedback. These connections then form part of a larger professional learning network who I share both my successes and my failures with as an educator.

I see blogging has provided me greater benefits as a practitioner than what it has caused problems. I find that my practice tends to crystallize and grow more when I put in into a public place. I also know based on parent feedback it has significance and is worth doing.

Hattie, J. (2011) Quoted by Waack, S. (2015)

Sunday, 2 August 2015

Edcamp Global

Edcamp Global was a 24 hour virtual professional development program that had over 100 sessions and 1800 participates. The archive of this event can be found on the Edcamp Global's website.

I was privileged enough to have been able to facilitate one of these sessions with some of my dearest and most esteemed globally connected educators.

Dan Heasler – International keynote speaker, educator and writer. Passionate about issues of engagement and well-being. (Empathy Connections)
Marty Keltz – Emmy Award winning producer, Educator, Co founder of the Not Perfect Hat Club movement and former Editor of Scholastic (Touchcast)
Jenna Ball – Author and Artist, Educator, Co founder of the Not Perfect Hat Club movement and all round amazing woman. (Not Perfect Hat Club) 
Bev Ladd – Master Skype Educator, She is passionate about global learning, and collaboration. (NPHCBlogIT, Classroom Twitter and Skype)
Brett Salakas – Founder of #aussieed, Educator, Speaker and Classdojo Community Lead. He is passionate about using technology to improve outcomes for all students. (FlatStanley, Culture box & Twitter for Professional Development)
Craig Kemp – International educator, Founder of #whatisschool and global education and professional development speaker. (Mystery Locations)
Viv Hall – Kiwi Expat Educator who has been working for many years in Asia and the middle east. Most recently in Hong Kong. (Empowering staff with social media)
Alex Le Long – Social Science Teacher, Classdojo community lead and keen contributor to global learning through twitter. (Blogging & Twitter)

I also shared my experiences with virtual excursions, connecting with Sunny Thakral at the British International School after the Nepal earthquake and the Travelling Buddies Project.

Thank you to the amazing Edcamp Global team of organisers Jamie Donelly, Debra Atchison, Cassie Reeder, Nancy Watson, Leah Pendleton, Clara Alaniz, Sean Gaillard and Jennifer Williams.

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