"Life begins at the end of your comfort zone."

~Neale Donald Walsch~

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Addictive inspiration

This last week has been a week of mixed emotions. I had my first mini meltdown thinking I wouldn't cope with work, family, life. Thankfully God steered my right back on track. Silly me, the year hasn't even started yet. I wish I would take my own advice more often and just take one day at a time.

I decided to go to work this week and get myself a little more settled into TAFE. Having spent quite a lot of time reading about what I need to teach it has been good to talk to colleagues and get a reality check as to what I have got myself in for. I have spent much time listening, absorbing my new work environment and ended the last few days asleep on the lounge at 9pm. I have heard the most wonderful stories from teachers who have had students succeed and go onto uni. Some of these students studied whilst they were homeless and in terrible situations. The emotional connections these teachers have to these disadvantage students has inspired me to see that compassion has such an important place in the learning journey. Story after story I listened to and I was drawn into these stories through great story telling and through passion and dedication of these teachers to see their students succeed. There is a whole lot of heart in teaching and that's important.

Had a great opportunity to run one of my Twitter workshops with a good friend and she became all revved up and inspired to continue her learning journey in France. http://happyhourwithollia.wordpress.com/

Being inspired by others really does spur you on to inspire those around you to be creative, make connections, be committed and persevere with those things that are important.

Haven't had a lot of time to surf the net but here are two favorites I have found:
Smartboard's Touch Controlling ipad 2-Sneak Peak

Writing Prompts

I do hope that if you are a teacher you can be inspired by not only your students but your colleagues and open yourself up to the joy of sharing your learning journey with others.

Until next week,

Friday, 20 January 2012

What drives your passion

This week I have had the opportunity to think about what it is that drives my passion. I was able to attend a free talk by the amazing John Bell, Australian actor and Director of the Bell Shakespeare Company. He has been involved in Acting and Directing Shakespeare plays for over 35 years and yet he never tires of it. He has changed with the times and is happy to play in modern costume to make the performance more relevant to modern young audiences. His passion for his craft drives what he does and he seeks high quality in what he does.

I have found that this really resonated with me as I seek make lessons engaging yet challenging enough for students that allow them to grow in their learning journey. I enjoy the experiential component of learning and find that when I discover something for myself I retain that skill more so than being shown. There is a balance that needs to be found between teaching students new stuff and providing the skills needed to discover new knowledge for themselves and making connections as to how that fits into the topic that is being studied. 

Having passion about something doesn't just come from having an interest in it. It is much more than that. Coming from a family of work-a-holics I know that you must work at it and there will be mistakes along the way but perseverance is something that will make the journey worthwhile. In order to maintain my professional standards yet still drive my passion I need to stay current with where education is going in terms of the latest research and technology and ensure my material is relevant for the ever changing generations of students that I will teach. 

The other experience of passion that I discovered was in a Twitter chat I was involved in. #ozengchat started on Tuesday night for about an hour at 8:30pm and many Oz English teachers jumped on board to share their ideas on digital storytelling. They were not paid. They freely shared their ideas with other teachers to the benefit of all Australian students. There was no distinction between Public and Private schools but merely a combined desire to improve teaching and engagement of all students. This commitment to learning and sharing has so inspired me to be a better teacher. I appreciate this new community I have joined and love communicating with other like minded teachers.

Those of you who have been following my journey to start my business I have managed to run another two training courses for teachers who wanted to learn how to use technology and ipads in the classroom. They were very successful and now I feel I am ready to present my courses to the Teachers Institute for accreditation. 

Am going to TAFE next week to see what I need to do to prepare for the courses I will teach in a few weeks. I am feeling a little overwhelmed by the amount of work that needs to be done but have discovered that taking one day at a time is the best approach. 

Now to my favorite websites for the week;
http://paper.li/ - Makes a newspaper from all your tweets on twitter
http://paper.li/vivimat78/1326755129#!tag-ozengchat If your an English teacher check out the #ozengchat site

Really enjoyed this clip. 
What drives your passion?
Until next week,

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Making Connections

What a fabulous week I have had reading blogs and tweets. I have really found that the conversation by mere strangers has been so beneficial for me. It gives me the confidence I need to grow as a teacher and a person. For those of you who have not followed me from the start I am on this amazing journey of self discovery and like so many like minded people I have discovered that I am not alone.

I only started in September of last year when I registered my eLearning consultancy business as a way to engage and help other teachers tap into the amazing world of technology. I am really beginning to feel a sense of belonging and comradeship with other like minded teachers who are not only enthusiastic about technology in the classroom but they too are inspired to keep learning, sharing and inspiring others. For the old hands at this you have known this for a long time but I want all those who tweet to me or follow my blog just to know how much it means to me.

Have been thinking about what this year holds for me and I put them together in Wordle poster. Whoops forgot LEARN!

I have spent most of the week reading up for Area of Study, 'Belonging'. Have found some great Aussie English teachers to follow and have found some good sites. Need to get stuck into 'Strictly Ballroom' the movie to see how it relates to 'Belonging'. Also this week have been thinking about studying again. It's funny because when I finished uni 12 years ago I was so fed up with study that I said I would never do that again however, I have that thirst again and have been looking at the Masters in eLearning at Newcastle Uni. Will keep that in the thinking pot maybe for next year.

Some great sites I found this week: 
http://fcit.usf.edu/matrix/matrix.php Matrix of how technology fits in with learning.

10 ipad apps that are useful. I really liked Good Reader and also discovered iMovie. 
Really love the app Puppet Pals for English. Great fun.

Keep the grey matter stimulated!

Until next week,

Thursday, 5 January 2012

How learning is morphing into the future

During this holiday time I have had some time to read the paper, blogs and tweets. It seems to me there are some common threads coming from the information that I have been reading. The Australian Schools that have students receiving top marks all have similiar things in common. 1) They use technology and embrace it as a learning and communication tool. 2) They share knowledge and experience. 3) They have great teachers who are dedicated to learning.

1) They use technology: One of the schools I read about offers their senior courses part time school, part time online. Some of their students are in representative sport or involved in theater. Their students have training times and practicing schedules so they cannot always attend classes. These students study around their other commitments. What a commitment to learning. 

2) Sharing Knowledge: The most common theme about successful learning was about sharing. Students shared their work with everyone. The poorer students were bought up by the stronger students and the overall success of the student group was high. Sharing on a digital platform to a real audience made learning relevant.(e.g blogs and Twitter) Teachers shared frequently with other teachers and conversed with video chat or meetings. There became this sense of comradeship between educators.

3) Commitment to learning: I know you would think this is obvious but as teaching is one of the oldest professions it must move with the times. The iGeneration clearly learns differently to previous generations. The teachers who are switched on to using technology to learn are winning over this generation. There has always been a keen interest by researchers about the different ways that boys and girls learn. They need to start again now we have a new generation and see how best to equip boys and girls of this new generation and not treat them the same.

I listened to a very interesting talk by Sir Ken Robinson http://www.teachthought.com/?p=2164 who really sums all these ideas together. 

The adult learning sector really looks at catering a learning package to the needs of the individual. How can teachers do this on a large scale when they have so many students? It seems to me the best teachers are not just using class time to teach and encourage their students but are using technology to continue learning outside set school hours. Not homework, home learning. There is a balance between work and home and it is up to each individual to set those boundaries for what works at school and what works at home. 

Some food for thought.......

Until next week,