Posted by: wjputt | August 19, 2012

The Olympic Legacy

As the football season starts and our media, once again, obsesses and commits indecent amounts of time and column inches to the sport played by many millionaires what are some of our Olympic cyclists doing?

Well let’s start with Mr Wiggins: he is partaking in a ride that is enabling ordinary folk to ride with him on one of his training routes in Lancashire near his home town. It is an event that has been organized by his Wiggo Foundation which is about getting people and families into cycling.

Then there’s double gold medallist Laura Trott off with her mum and dad to ride in the Birmingham SkyRide today. Once again brushing shoulders with ordinary folk. Laura’s sister, Emma, is riding in a UCI event in Sweden so can’t be in Birmingham although I’m sure she would be were she not.

These are the sort of sporting heroes I want my children to emulate not the millionaire footballers that we are over exposed to so please the British media lets sort it and improve the coverage of ‘minority’ sports and the positive exploits of many of their exponents! #allezwiggo #allezlaura

By the way Chris Froome, 2nd in the Tour de France and bronze medallist in the Olympic Time Trial is leading TeamSky in the Vuelta: the Tour of Spain. #allezfroome He is the favourite!

And for the rest of us lets get involved and do some sport!

Posted by: wjputt | May 20, 2012

wjputt:

Both of us visited the ESSA Academy on different days and we share the same views on the use of technology to reduce the barriers to learning. The learning is the key though.

Originally posted on Learning and Innovation:

There is a running theme on this blog – ‘it’s not about the device’. I expected this view to be challenged by a visit to ESSA Academy in Bolton where they refer to an ‘ecosystem’ using Apple technology. I was prepared for technological practice that would be difficult to comprehend and a new building with an infrastructure we couldn’t hope to replicate. I couldn’t have been more wrong.

Sure the devices are everywhere you look. Every student has an iPodtouch, every teacher has an iPad and MacbookAir which makes it easy to transfer work from student to staff and from home to school. However, ESSA staff don’t talk about the device in isolation. They talk about learning, pedagogy and making a difference to students lives. The device just makes that difference ‘more achievable’.

Showk Badat (Principal of ESSA academy) refers to a ‘productive pedagogy’ where collaboration is essential to learning…

View original 220 more words

The Purpos/ed campaign

I am writing my Purpos/ed piece towards the end of what has been an interesting and exciting week for me.  It started on Monday night with me catching a lecture by Leighton Andrews at Aberystwyth University [online] and it is ending with the writing and then publicising of this piece.  In between I have been in school trying to balance budgets and challenging children for not wearing the correct uniform, and more unusually I have visited the ESSA Academy in Bolton and attended a talk by the renowned Finnish educator Dr Pasi Sahlberg.

So as a result of all this visiting, thinking and intellectualising what IS the PURPOSE of education?

Fundamentally, it has to be in order to make a difference for the better for all people in the world.  Education is about learning and improving.  I think that the BBC Radio 4 and British Museum series – A History of the World in 100 Objects illustrates incredibly well how humankind has adapted to the environment and how we have used imagination and creativity to make technological advances.  Many of these have been in order to better the lot of humankind yet some have not.

Education is about learning and what we learn should always be put to good use in order to make the world a better, a fairer, safer and more sustainable place for all.  The purpose of education isn’t simply to acquire skills or techniques.  It is to become a rounded human being, able to communicate and interact with others, to appreciate the beauty and wonder of the world, to be fulfilled from experiencing art, poetry, music and theatre, to feel good about oneself by undertaking life affirming sporting and recreational activities and understanding that we must care for all people and for the world’s environment as well as being able to develop our individuality through creativity.

The education system in the UK is unfair, more unfair in some constituent nations than others.  Leighton Andrews talked about an ‘English exceptionalism’  in his lecture – expressing concern about the public school system that prevails with all its inherent inequalities that permeate right through the system.  Dr Sahlberg emphasised that one of the Finnish system’s stand out features is its emphasis on equity.  This leads to a more equitable society with less extremes of poverty and wealth.  At the ESSA Academy I saw evidence of the democratization of education via mobile technologies: a child with an iPod Touch in their pocket has access to much of the world’s collective knowledge [provided they have a wifi connection]!

In the UK there have been many attempts to ensure social mobility.  Until we have the courage to make education truly comprehensive so that society is reflected in schools where all children can be and learn with each other and where everyone has the right to become the best they can be in any domain irrespective of their background then we are not a progressive nation.

Only by transforming our education system into a truly equitable one will we be able to ensure social mobility.  Purpos/ed can help as it is bringing people together to secure a consensus on this key issue.

For other Purpos/ed posts & for the schedule.

The father of educational democracy holding court in the ‘mother’ of all democracies – the UK parliament

Today [I must stop starting posts with that - it was Thursday 17th May] I attended a talk by the renowned Finnish and global educator Dr Pasi Sahlberg in the House of Commons, London.  How did I get to be invited?  Well I picked up a good deal of information about Finnish education and Dr Sahlberg and other Finnish educators via the sometimes much maligned social networking platform Twitter.  Not only that but the Finnish Embassy in London sent me a copy of Dr Sahlberg’s book as the result of a couple of tweets.  It’s Twitter’s fault…  The Finns, a people generous with its ideas and keen to share.  Somewhere along the way I asked when Dr Sahlberg was going to visit the UK and I soon got a reply via Twitter and then pretty soon an invitation to the talk.  It’s Twitter’s fault…

I could not keep this to my self so I tweeted that the talk was open to others and very soon my innovative colleague from Casllwchwr, Simon Pridham, expressed and interest and he duly received an invitation from the Finnish Embassy.  We planned our visit with some precision but Simon’s was more exciting as he was in Twitter dialogue with learners back in school & they were asking him to tweet pictures of famous London landmarks!  Now that is an innovative educator enhancing children’s learning with technology!  It’s Twitter’s fault…

Having negotiated the underground at rush hour Simon and I met up outside Parliament.  Following the security checks and the we made our way to Committee Room 14 – all a bit of a surreal experience in a way.  This is where some of the most important decisions about how our lives are lived are made.  It is an exceptional building.  Grammar needs some attention though as there was something missing from the sign above the door of Committee Room 14 ‘Members Entrance’ – any guesses?

Simon and I waited patiently outside and chatted about the trials, tribulations and indeed joys of being a headteacher.  A sizable crowd was gathering.  It seemed like a pretty diverse bunch. On entering we found two seats close to the front next to two academics from Leicester University who deliver a MEd international education studies.

Dr Sahlberg & MacBook Pro…no surprise there then…

Dr Sahlberg arrived in a very unassuming way and set about setting up his MacBook Pro – he just would be a Mac user wouldn’t he!  His presentation was very focused and he emphasized a few key tenets.  One key one is that Finnish education is based on equity and educators recognize the need to undertake their work with a clear moral purpose of ensuring social justice.  Seems like common sense to me.

GERM is the acronym for the Global Education Reform Movement which is the anti-thesis of the Finnish model and is the system that is pursued by several other countries including the UK and the USA.  Systems that have fared worse in the PISA tables although Dr Sahlberg was quick to stress that Finland never set out to become the world’s ‘best’ education system.  Reform started in the 1970s when all schools were made equal with the goal of putting equity at the heart of the system.

In Finland ‘setting’ or ‘streaming’ are illegal – wow!  What are your thoughts on that one?  Dr Sahlberg’s five tips for the UK were – in the form of tweets [mine]:

#finnishlessons @pasi_sahlberg 5 lessons: more collaboration & less competition

#finnishlessons @pasi_sahlberg 2 more personalisation & less standardisation

#finnishlessons @pasi_sahlberg more trust based responsibility less test based accountability

#finnishlessons @pasi_sahlberg more pedagogy less technology. Technology as an enabler. Give children time away from technology.

#finnishlessons @pasi_sahlberg more professionalism & less bureaucracy. Teaching is high professional occupation.

Some very sound advice there.  As an enthusiast about technology I also agree about the idea of ‘children having time away from technology’.  We can’t ignore technology though.  Socrates was against the written word – we have to accept change & work with it.  Learning is a blended activity and that includes technology as well as oracy, reading, writing and postulating and drawing and just about everything else!

Melissa Benn asked the first question after Dr Sahlberg had finished his talk and hers was very apt – what happened in Finland at the start of the 1970s that led to this move to ‘comprehensivise’ education? A sea change? And [ironically] was anyone murdered?  Her point, I guess, would it ever happen in the UK?  This is the rub for me – do we have the courage to introduce a truly equitable education system that will enable real social mobility or are there too many vested interests here and would there be ‘murder’?

One questioner asked which aspect of Finnish Education should we look to adopt?  Dr Sahlberg suggested waiting until 7 for children to enter the formal education system.  Far be it from me to disagree with such a learned, and indeed, humble man – for me it is equity as, if we want a better society with more community cohesion then ‘equity’ is required – I believe it but please don’t murder me! … it’s Twitter’s fault…

The ESSA Academy Bolton

On Wednesday 16th May 2012 I visited the ESSA Academy in Bolton and it was a truly enlightening experience.  My visit was prompted by Simon Pridham who had also visited ESSA prior to setting up his school’s [Casllwchwr Primary School] iPad/iPod Touch integrated learning project.  ESSA is a new build school now with staff and learners having moved in last autumn so my objective was two fold: looking at the use of Apple mobile technologies and looking at a new build as we have the potential of one of these in Holywell in the next 5 years.

I travelled by train, my preferred mode of transport, and I was picked up at the station by the ESSA minibus driven by Pete, one of the site supervisors, who proceeded to consult his iPad to see who else he had to pick up! A colleague from a school in Warwickshire and three colleagues from a school in Sligo, Ireland also boarded the mini-bus. ESSA’s reputation is acknowledged far and wide. There were two colleagues from Madrid present as well.

It was a short drive to the school and we drove past industrial units and several streets of terraced houses.  I was to learn later that 90% of the learners in the ESSA Academy live in areas that are amongst the 20% most deprived in England.

On arrival at the academy the new build looked amazing.  Once inside it did not look or feel like a school with a large, modern, airport-like concourse that led to the dining area.  Drinks, pastries and fruit were on offer and after I had touched based with my colleague, Tom Davies, Assistant Director of Lifelong Learning in Flintshire, we chatted with another colleague from Ireland and then proceeded to the room which had a triumvirate of TV screens in the centre – there are no interactive whiteboards here! All staff have a MacBook Air, an iPad linked via Apple’s Air Play & Apple TV to TV screens and in a few instances projectors.

Director Abdul Chohan took us through some of the technological vision with emphasis on the Eco-system: all Apple devices – ‘i’ or otherwise! No VLE here either.  Dropbox is de rigueur, Google Mail and apps within a Google domain are also order of the day.  Significant savings on servers etc yet SIMS is available via the iPads & MacBooks and there is some local server provision for documents of a confidential nature.  So some radical moves here and also not a process that has been free of mistakes.  Windows laptops that had been purchased previously had proven hugely problematic and just did not deliver – not as reliable as the Macs.

The vision and the Eco-system are not just about the Tech – Abdul was clear that the technology [and it started with the iPod Touches] was introduced to overcome barriers to learning; to help engage the learners and transform their learning.  What the apple Eco-system was ensuring was simplicity: simple to switch devices on, simple to get online, simple to share resources etc..

Director Andy Peet then took us on tour of the building.  Lots of glass and open spaces – no places to hide or lurk.  No offices or at least very few – lots of hot-desking and lots less paper evident.  The student toilets had been tastefully appointed & were very easy to monitor. No tech in the library other than mobile – emphasis here was on the actual books.  This space was very light, airy and totally uncluttered.  The curriculum was organised and delivered via 9 subjects and each subject gets a half day slot.  Stage for age is evident as well so that learners can progress at an appropriate pace for them.  When we met with students later it was obvious that they thought this was okay and a Y11 learner said how a Y8 sitting next to a Y11 in an exam incentivised both to achieve well.  Everyone eats in the dining hall.  Only drinks are allowed in the staffroom.

The building was organised into 9 distinct learning areas following the curriculum with titles such as WEB – Work, Enterprise & Business or Well-Being incorporating PE & health and social care.  Year 7 followed an integrated skills programme New Basics – brought in from Australia: being an Academy has some advantages.  Writing on classroom walls was encouraged as they were wipeable – no whiteboards of any sort in the school & in a Science lab it was possible to write CSI-like on a window!

Learning spaces were flexible and cupboards could be moved to give spaces different configurations: once again lots of large TV screens – all linked to Apple devices.  Each student had a locker.

Students were not discouraged from bringing phones to school and could use them outside of lessons. In lessons there were clear protocols about their use.  Some enlightenment here.

There is a 3D-like space that enables semi-immersive learning to happen and content can be created and creativity tested out. A theatre can be set up without the need for a built set.

A highlight was meeting with students from the Senate.  Confident and articulate when talking  about their school, their learning and their use of technology.  Each one had an iPod touch that fitted snugly in to the top blazer pocket.  Their favourite learning apps were interesting: one liked his planner app [one that he and his friends had discovered], another Edmodo because of the interactivity it enabled with teachers and other learners, another Notes – simple & easy for getting information into a digital format. The games ones were the standard FIFA etc..

After a delicious lunch we then learned how to create a text book using iBook Author on a MacBook Air with Abdul showing us how.  The presentation was clear and once again the Mac platform proved its flexibility, ease of use and reliability. In less than 45 minutes a short iBook was created incorporating short video, a keynote, a gallery of photos, some tasks – multiple choice questions – a 3D image and I learned of the possibility of incorporating ‘live’ content with a HTML link – now how many physical text books can do all of that. Abdul could make it available via iTunes U.  It could be public or only shared with those it was intended for. Updates to the text book/course – would be made automatically on the iDevices.  iTunes U has other elements as well as the iBook sharing facility.

Showk Badat the Principal ended the day with his vision and the school’s journey. There is no development/improvement plan.  Once again Academy autonomy enables this free thinking approach.  In just over 3 years the academy had seen a significant turnaround in results -100% 5A*-C & 56% 5A*-C with English and Maths.  Reduction in roll had also been reversed.  Mistakes had been made though and a good deal learned and I got the clear impression that this was a school willing to take risks in order to benefit their learners.

For my evaluation completed at the end of the day I mentioned three things that struck me the most: Vision – Pedagogy – Passion.

There was a clear vision to do things differently, to reduce the barriers to learning in any way possible and to focus on creative ways to get learning to happen.  Constant dialogue and reflection on effective pedagogy are enabled with a weekly – Friday afternoon – professional learning session.  So it is not clearly not just about the technology.  The final ingredient as I saw it was passion.  Passion to make a difference to the lives of young people by transforming how learning happens.

If you get a chance to visit please go. Many thanks to all of the team at ESSA Academy I thoroughly enjoyed my visit and learned a great deal.

Posted by: wjputt | April 30, 2012

Sharing best practice

I attended an event organised by the Welsh Government [WG] in Llandudno on 15 March 2012.  It was the ‘Teaching makes a difference: One year on‘ Conference.  Once again I was not sure what to expect.  Presentations in the morning from Chris Tweedale & Brett Pugh and short video from Leighton Andrews recorded at the South Wales event a week earlier.  The link at the top of this blog will take you to the website of the WG where you will find more information including the presentations from the event.

Taking the opportunity to travel by train I was able to relax and undertake some work and enjoy a walk along the promenade and after the event a cake and a coffee in the café of the Mostyn Gallery and also make the purchase – for Mother’s Day – of a beautiful and unique handmade scarf!  More gratefully received than chocolates!

The morning’s sessions set the context and it was all about seeing where we are up to 12 months after Leighton Andrews‘s ‘Teaching makes a difference‘ speech.  Some aspects of this have not been universally popular and the Banding system that has been applied to secondary schools across Wales could be amongst the least popular.  Many other initiatives are in place and things like an all Wales standard reading test are more welcome given that there is such inconsistency not only across Wales but often within local primary consortia and local authorities.

The best for me though and that is why I am so passionate about things like #addcym was the ‘best practice’ shared by colleague heads and other senior leaders.  The one that really resonated with me was the presentation by Mr Haydn Davies headteacher of  Ysgol Gyfun Llangefni on Ynys Môn: Haydn Davies [.ppt 2.35MB] Mr Davies’s presentation was about Assertive Mentoring and he showed how this had impacted hugely on outcomes for Year 11 learners at Ysgol Gyfun Llangefni.  His presentation was clear and to the point.  He emphasised how the approach was one of accountability for all staff and that he, as the head, was the driver and leader of the new approach.  Having given this some thought on the train on the way home I soon sent off an email inviting Mr Davies to Holywell to share the scheme with our middle and senior leaders.

Mr Davies and his colleague Mr Clive Thomas came to Holywell on Monday 23rd April and they took all of us through their journey.  All middle and senior leaders were impressed by the quality of their presentation but also by the Assertive Mentoring scheme in Llangefni.   Our SDT meetings usually last one hour but this one went over and nobody seemed perturbed.

Gathering feedback from colleagues in the week after the session it was clear that there was a lot of enthusiasm for this scheme.  So much enthusiasm in fact that we will be rolling this system out, after lots of reflection, planning and preparation, from September 2012 for our current Y10 as they move into Year 11.

For me the key points were the accountability of all staff, the reliable, systematic and planned gathering of data and crucially the very personalised focus on each individual learner offering support, assistance with getting learners to be better organised, close contact with parents and carers and a ‘no excuse’ mindset.

Thanks to Mr Haydn Davies and Mr Clive Thomas for sharing this and to the WG for organising the events throughout Wales where, different schools will have shared their best practice.  Our learners will benefit as a result.

There needs to be more face to face and online sharing of learning and school improvement ideas so that we can drive learning in Wales forward and become a 21st century learning country.

Where does sticking your neck out get you?  It gets you loads of opportunities to learn and to enable learners & educators to learn as well!

Integrating technologies in the classroom

I met Simon Pridham – Headteacher of Casllwchwr Primary School, Swansea – very briefly at the launch of the Digital Classroom Wales report in the Senedd three weeks ago.  I had heard about Casllwchwr and their innovative work in embedding new technologies in the classroom.  Following a short twitter exchange Simon invited me to Casllwchwr for a visit to one of their Digital Learning Days.

Last time I was in Swansea it was for an iNet event.  I enjoyed it immensely but this time I wasn’t quite sure what to expect.

I duly awoke at 4am and made my way to Nantwich station to catch the 5:02am train to Carmarthen via Swansea of course.  The new digital displays at Nantwich station are very helpful and as it was a chilly morning I was counting down the seconds/minutes before the train arrived.  Mysteriously the 5:02am train disappeared from the list…a quick consultation on the trainline app revealed that a dash to Shrewsbury in the car was not worth it but waiting until 6:03am was the better option.  I learned when I eventually boarded the train that the 5:02am train had been cancelled…was this a portend for how the day was going to pan out?

I tweeted Simon who was totally unperturbed and who arranged for his colleague Sarah Reece to meet me at Swansea station.  Two and a half hours work on self evauation and completion of the summary for the #addcym chat for another hour or so and I was in Swansea. The time had flown by.

Sarah met me at the station and we drove off to Casllwchwr.  The work of Simon & Sarah and the team at Casllwchwr was conveyed to me in the short journey to the school.  I was in the picture.  It soon became apparent that this was a school with committed and inspirational leaders as excited by the opportunities the technology was affording their own learning as much as that of the learners in their care.

Casllwchwr’s learning journey was shared very eloquently by Simon.  Visits to Fraser Speirs Cedars School of Excellence in Greenbank and the ESSA Academy in Bolton showed that he was prepared to look for cutting edge use of technology anywhere in the UK.

With an iPad and an iPhone linked via Apple TV to a widescreen TV in a classroom Simon took us through the rationale, the planning and the eventual realization of his vision.  Soon all Key Stage 2 learners will have an iPad to use.  In a mixed area in socio-economic terms some learners already have their own iPads or smartphones at home.  Simon is passionate about schools being enablers of this sort of technology in schools.  Why restrict things? What sorts of technologies will these young people be using in 20 years time?  A short video showed some of the career aspirations of Casllwchwr’s learners: movie maker, game designer, designer of technology to enable disabled learners to learn effectively etc.. Exciting!

Headteachers with vision are all well and good – in Simon’s view [and indeed mine].  It is the people who put that vision into practice that make the difference but they do need that inspirational and risk taking leadership from heads.  Simon is fortunate in having a teacher Sarah Reece whose use of technology is grounded in outstanding pedagogy.  Sarah – Assistant Head, e-learning manager & Literacy Co-ordinator took us through how she uses the iPad and some of the apps with her learners and indeed her own children.  It was inspiring stuff.  For engaging boys with writing and exciting learners the iPad offers so much.  Not only the iPad but Sarah’s use of the iBooks Author means that she and her learners are able to create interactive books to be used on the iPads.  This was truly inspiring.

Course attendees were in awe and I tingled with the realization that this was a school seeing the future, making it happen and really living it.  Educators and learners, parents and carers too, were ‘getting it’, reaping the cognitive benefits and moving learning on apace.

A sumptuous lunch was provided and a good deal of networking took place.  Colleagues in attendance, many of whose schools were investing in iPad technology, were buzzing.  Some were signing up to twitter and I am sure that we will be hearing from them in #addcym.

Conferences, meetings and training events can be tiring at times and there can sometimes be a post prandial dip, can there not?  Alas not at Casllwchwr.  After a little more sharing of easy to use and inspirational apps the ‘pièce de résistance’ came next:  Visits to classrooms.

Year 5 Mrs Reece’s class

A range of technologies on display: books, learning logs [paper based & completed at home], iPods, iPads, MacBook, interactive whiteboard, notes on post its or bits of paper and bright, attractive displays with QR codes.  Learners were absorbed in their learning choosing different apps to work with.  Some were making story boards, some using Keynote on iPad, one learner was creating QR codes with links to information on the Planets.  The learning and the process of learning were being determined by the children and it was personalized.  Two boys were absorbed in making a stop start movie about ‘Jupiter aliens’ [with blue tak heads!] invading earth.  Imagination and creativity abounded.  All of the children I spoke with could articulate what they were doing, why they were doing it and the rationale for using a particular app.  I learned a new term – ‘multi apping’.  Inspirational!

Reception

Despite their tender years the children in this class were totally au fait and at ease with the technology.  They were given the choice of which activity they wanted to engage in and all of these included the mobile technologies of iPads or iPods as well as PCs and an iMac.  These youngsters were comfortable and confident: whether using an app or creating a movie of themselves or of a puppet show or doing a QR code treasure hunt for words.  More inspiring learning.

Another exciting initiative is the plan to get Apple Ambassadors [digital leaders] in the school to show older members of the wider community how to use the iPads for learning thus expanding the school’s role as a provider of lifelong learning in the community: a truly innovative and exciting project.

So what have I learned today?

First of all it is clear that inspirational leaders do stick their necks out and take risks.  They are prepared to counter those who are sceptical or fearful of change.  Simon Pridham is an excellent example of this.  What is the result?  Absorbed and inspired learners showing confidence and independence in their own learning A thriving school and learning community.  

Technology – as with anything – can be bolt on & ineffective without the pedagogy.  With Sarah Reece leading on e-learning at Casllwchwr there is a clear sense that her experience as a class teacher, SEN co-ordinator and literacy co-ordinator mean that there is always excellent pedagogical theory behind the use of any technology.

Most of all those this is a school where adults and children are excited about learning.

So a huge thanks to Simon, Sarah and Andrew from AT Computers and the rest of the team at Casllwchwr for inspiring me and others in attendance.  I had a great day.  A day that started badly…ended brilliantly. Learned loads, and what is even better is that there is loads more to learn.  Diolch yn fawr iawn i chwi i gyd.

Topic: What are the essential skills that teachers need to use ICTs effectively in the learning process for their students?

This was the first chat after the Easter holidays and there was a very good turnout.  Dave Stacey opened with this tweet: To my mind attitude is more important than skill – the willingness to have a go is key.  This sentiment was echoed by others and before long there was lots of advocacy for teachers using Twitter for continuous professional learning [CPL].  People were also advocating having a go and being prepared to fail albeit with a Plan B kept, craftily, up one’s sleeve.

ICTEvangelist tweeted this: this example here shows how great (and supportive) the Twitter Ed community can be: Mark Anderson’s blog with an illustration on how effective Twitter can be for CPL or CPD as some call it.

The discussion then moved into the realm of digital leadership from learners with #addcym tweeters tweeting about ideas and examples of this.  There is a Digital Leaders group and the url was shared by Sheli Blackburn. Gavin Smart also shared an interesting post from his blog: Appcessible – If they don’t know how to use it, they will find out! This suggests that learners will just have a go and experiment and learn.  We should encourage our colleagues to do the same!

There was also talk of early adopters and evangelists.  I see the Twitter educator community as this and in the 2 years that I have been using Twitter I have seen this grow.  We cannot remain complacent though and we must keep encouraging colleagues to see the benefits of the Twitter educator community and it also that it is not just about the technology but the learning and the pedagogy.   Siobhán Henry tweeted: amazes me how quickly people adopted FB when families shared.  This is a good point.  Maybe there is a lesson for us all there.

The TeachMeet model for sharing ideas was also highlighted and it was also noted by Louise Hutch that we: Need to convince that Teach Meets are about sharing ideas/things that work & not necessarily being cutting edge or ‘expert’.  Some schools are using the TeachMeet model for CPL in-house.  To all intents and purposes we must keep the TeachMeet movement alive, retain its informal nature and get more colleagues to attend in order to see the benefits of sharing & learning.  In terms of CPL Nina Jackson tweeted that: Need to remember that being a teacher is also about being a Learner as we need to self CPD 24/7 if we are to be successful.  Similar sentiments were expressed about the things that we exhort learners to do or how to be such as flexible and resilient yet do we exhibit such behaviours all of the time?  Some tweets also suggested the need to be more flexible about enabling the use of learners’ own devices in schools.

Within the discussion there was some indication that not all senior leaders and managers in schools see the benefit of using social media for sharing and learning.  We should probably take a leaf out of Leighton Andrews’s book as he is an advocate and user of social media.  We must look beyond the barriers and the boundaries and see the possibilities.

For me the top tweet of the evening came from Nina Jackson: #addcym Thnx to everyone am totally inspired and motivated evening skipped my evening meal for it…will now be better all round. Diolch

The top tweeter was Louise Hutch especially for this: Ok – finally going to do it, will make a flyer re Twitter & #addcym etc & distribute to all staff in my school & feeder infants #goodstart We look forward to you sending that to us as well Louise.

We need more people to moderate and also others to help out using any skills that they have to move this forward.  I also think that we should give some consideration to holding virtual TeachMeets as well as FaceToFace ones and interspersing chats with sharing sessions.  Please remember the following:

  • DM me if you wish to get access to the moderator spreadsheet & add your name;
  • Add yourself to the all Wales Twitter educator map on Google Maps;
  • Share Louise Hutch’s poster in your staffrooms when it is ready;
  • Encourage others to join the discussion on a Tuesday & to see the benefits of sharing to learn;
  • We want to hear from educators in all sectors and settings;
  • Tell us about innovations and exciting initiatives in your setting by sharing them on Twitter and writing about them in your blogs.

If we really want this to work, that is improve the learning experiences for our young people and ultimately outcomes in their assessments that we have to be advocates for the technology that we are using and just persist in encouraging our colleagues to join us, to see the potential and be part of the Web 2.0 learning revolution.

I hope that I have captured the essence of the chat in this post.  If you want to see the archive then click on that link.

Posted by: wjputt | April 15, 2012

#addcym

#addcym is the hashtag # that is being used by educators all over the world with an interest in education, learning and pedagogy. It stands for addysg [Welsh for education] and Cymru [Wales] and its Twitter chats take place every, almost, Tuesday from 8pm to 9pm. It is open to educators all over the world yet its paricular focus is education in Wales.

It has been mentioned by Leighton Andrews on several occasions and it is alluded to in the Report on the Digital Classroom in Wales. It is an informal means for educators to share their ideas and their best practice as well as to offer help, advice and support to one another.

It is not sector specific so colleagues from HE & FE are encouraged to get involved as indeed are those from any sector where learning takes place.

The line up for the chats for the next five weeks is as follows:

@wjputt [17th April]
@asober [24th April]
@NGfLBlount [1st May]
@yrathro [8th May]
@rosieadavies [15th May]

We have also created a Google map to show where Wales’ educator Twitterati are located. It is here: http://t.co/iT68Rgpv Please add yourself.

Here is James Voros’s simple instruction how to do it, in less than 140 characters: “@JimmV1983: accessed the map via twitter. Just opened the map, clicked collaborate, dropped a pin and pressed done.” #addcym

Please add yourself to the map & join in the chat.

Posted by: wjputt | April 13, 2012

Professionals on Twitter

My middle daughter is studying nursing at university. It seems to be a tough course yet it seems hugely rewarding and great resilience and commitment are required by nursing students. After one term of theory it is straight in to hospital, shift work of up to 30 hours per week and only 7 weeks off in the year. It must be excellent preparation for the work place.

Given what I have learned on Twitter about education via my contemporaries all over the globe I wondered about nursing’s Twitter presence and how that might benefit my daughter and her contemporaries. I ‘met’ or should that be ‘twitmet’ [a new verb for meeting someone via Twitter?] a nursing lecturer via Twitter – Pam Nelmes who is a Lecturer in Paramedicine/Paramedic Development, School of Health Professions in the Faculty of Health, Education and Society at the University of Plymouth. She immediately shared the Twitter names for professional nurses and nursing organisations. As with educational chats there are also nursing related chats and blogs.

One is NurChat described as ‘Fortnightly nurse tweet chats, visit the blog to enjoy our last chat and contribute to the next! Follow & promote @nurchat for nurses.’

That has opened my eyes, some more, to the professional learning opportunities that Twitter affords another profession and for my daughter links to a committed and professional learning network.

Pam’s Twitter identity is: PamNelmes007

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