Sunday, July 22, 2012

The MAGIC of educampakl

The eve of  #educampakl  And so begins another MAGICal journey.  I am onboard NZ674 bound for Auckland.   As a self confessed educamp groupie, I viewed the educampakl wiki and my yearning began.  I eagerly watched grabaseat but last week it became apparent that wasn’t going to happen.   Kind words from my exceptionally supportive family saw me book flights late last week, after a very kind offer of host from Helen King – fellow e-fellow!
Although bursting with excitement I decided to keep my journey the length of NZ quiet. 
So, let me share a little of the MAGIC of the past two days…
Last night, the worst kept secret of Mosgiel was confirmed.  St Mary’s School, Mosgiel is moving over the road.  Reasons for this are: future proofing the school, greater land area and an opportunity to locate the school within the Parish grounds.  True utopia would see a rebuild, but we are going for a move and a re-fit.  However, last night’s plans show an innovative reconfigure which will see five classrooms opening onto a learning pod, a shared, collaborative learning space.  All these classrooms will have glass sliding doors opening onto the pod.  The cosmetic refit will also see our school well placed for the education of future generations. 
A complete rewire will see fibre/conduit placing us ready for the UFB roll out!  Many decisions are yet to be finalised but the potential is there for input from the school community into the final colours, cosmetics, and surrounds. 
Reasons I believe this will work:
·         The refit will see us with collaborative learning spaces;
·         We will gain significantly with ground space;
·         A complete face lift will really brighten, lighten and modernise all classes.
·         Community involvement will strengthen our home/school partnership;
·         A new start…
·         Future proofed – room to expand….
·         Appeal – already we have kept a year 6 student who was looking to leave – staying to be a foundation pupil of school on new site..
·         Opportunity to leave our mark – and opportunity to make our mark – time capsules will be essential at both ends…
·         Change – change is GOOD!
Back to the adventure at hand - #educampakl
Why am I so uber excited ?  What is the appeal?  For me, it is definitively the people – he tangata, he tangata, he tangata!  Gathering with like minded people charges me, amps me, inspires and motivates me.  This journey is a bridge for me – it is the connection from my inaugural educamp, #educamptaitokerau in 2011 to the future.  There has been a lot of water under the educamp bridge – from Tai Tokerau, to the inaugural dunners, to the second dunners, to the inaugural educamp chch to #eudcampakl…
For me, tomorrow will be all about the connections, the networking, the discovering, the sharing…  As I anticipate reconnecting with tweets I visited on Twitter tour 2011 I am hyped and empowered and charged for learning.  To return to Stonefields is utopian.  As I relive the MAGIC of my visit there in 2011, I feel the power and connection to the transition our school is about to undergo.  Although we will not have the open learning hubs, we will have the collaborative space which, I believe, will be very beneficial for the teaching practice of all. 
Here on this flight I anticipate the reconnection with Helen King, Fiona Grant, Barbs, Michael, Amanda. Paula, Tina, Anna, Chris, Sarah, Jane, Stephanie,
And meeting f2f for the first time, those from my PLN.
For me – it is all in the Holstee Manifesto…

·         Start doing the things you love;
·         Ask the next person you meet what their passion is and share your inspiring dream with them;
·         Travel often;
·         Some opportunities only come once – seize them;
·         Open your mind, heart and arms to new things;
·         We are united in our differences;
·         Go out and start creating;
·         Life is short – live your dream!
So, here I am again, poised on the brink of the MAGIC of educamp!  What it will be that will really light my fire I cannot say!  But I know my fire will be lit, my battery will be recharged, and my passion will be shared.  Perhaps that is the key, my passion to learn, to share, to inspire…. Yes the MAGIC of educamps for me, are the opportunity to really live your passion….
I arrived in Auckland to be greeted by Queen Helen and Princess Marika and the MAGIC continued… What a wonderful welcome and a great night spent chilling with a very cool family….
Up early, uber excited for an adventure we set off to deliver Princess Marika for her play date then visited Pt England school.  It was truly AMAZING to visit Helen’s class and fel the inspiration, passion and learning in the room.  It is always so special to really feel the heartbeat of a classroom.  One day I must return to meet these learners…

Then out for breakfast with Helen and Helen –amazing eggs Benedict!
Over we go to Stonefields… déjà vu – the memories of my visit flooding back, the MAGIC of the conversations with Sarah, Chris and Kirstin, the MAGIC of the learning hubs, the MAGIC of the visible learning journey….
Walking in with Helen, we are greeted with the passion and depth of feeling that is made possible by the online connecting and the face-to-face meetings.  To reconnect with Helen, Fiona, Stephanie, Caroline, Sarah, Barbs, Allanah, Michael, Anna, Kirstin, Sonya , Rachel, Amanda, Paula, Jane, Shaun, is amazing.  To meet face to face for the first time is also magical, Kimberley, Becky,
The energy and passion in the room is palpable!  Fiona’s welcome to the fifth #educampakl is amazing! Stealing Stephanie’s chocolate fish for the furtherest travelled not so amazing! J  The welcome and passion of the Stonefield’s story shared by Sarah is inspiring.  What an incredible venue for an educamp.  TheSMACKDOWN inspires, ignites and illuminates the learning in the room.  The collaboration, sharing, networking inspiring again.  I find myself sifting and sorting and encapsulating what I can use now with my learners and what I can store for later. 

My first discussion group is an in-depth look at the ease of use and capacity of evernote with Barbs.  I am inspired to encourage all learners to download this and we will trial this for the development of our e-portfolios for term 3.  The ease of capturing written word, anecdotal test, photos , spoken word and video make it an extremely powerful planning, storing and reflection tool.  The time to share and discuss the potential and capabilities are all part of the MAGIC of the educamp experience.  The right people are here having the right conversations, sharing and inspiring. 
A lunch journey with Barbs, Allanah and Susan allows time for chat, laughter and fun!  Returning to rejoin discussions on Aurasma, Google apps and continue networking.  I am recharged, inspired, motivated anew. 
#educampchch 4 weeks ago, now #educampakl today.  Heading towards 3 weekends of MAGIC…  #educampcentralotago, e-fellow master class, #padcamp!  Life is truly good.  Yes I am living our vision – Confident, reflective, risktaking, life long learner!
Thank you from the bottom of my heart to Helen King for welcoming me into her family.  Thanks you to all of those organising, hosting and attending #educampakl, thank you to educamp Queen Fiona Grant for making the dreams of so many come true – to cause learning to happen, to motivate, inspire and SHARE!  You are a legend.
The day rounded off with a wonderfully mellow catchup, reflection and chill at the flying Moa.  Yet more MAGIC in store when Helen treated my to a visit to Sylvia Park where I immediately found and fell in love with a gorgeous leather handbag – purchase, giftwrapped ready for my husband to give me for my birthday.  He has an amazing way of picking exactly the perfect gift!  Teehee….

Then out for dinner to Nuffield Street!  A truly MAGICAL time…
Home for sleep and up at 5.15am.  I flew in after sunset on Friday, fly out before sunrise today.  Was I really here for only 35 hours?  YES!  Life is short – choose the moments that take your breath away!
And now, on the flight home more MAGIC ensues… A gorgeous air hostess comes and gets me and moves me to a window seat in a row of my own so I can spread out and blog! Home on the eve of my birthday, poised on the brink of another MAGICAL adventure…

Beginning our descent into Dunedin – arriving to a predicted 3degrees…  Katie is meeting me and we will travel to Wobbly Goat for a welcome home coffee…
Thank you!   AMAZING what can happen in 35 hours.....

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Mobile Learning: Delivering Learning in a Connected World

Why would I get up at 5.45am on a school holiday morning? 
The answer is simple - Webcast: Mobile Learning: Delivering Learning in a Connected World Delivered by ASTD. 800 registered for this webcast, sponsored by and hosted by Kevin Oakes from i4cp, and John Polaschek from Qualcomm 

As Kevin and John began talking I was alerted to the notion that 2012 really marks the beginning of truly mobile learning. Although hinted at from as early as 2000, it has taken til 2012 for affordability, accessibility, and user friendliness to align to enable a true mobile learning environment. The exponential growth of BYOD around the globe is testament to this. Research shows that 3.2 Billion was spent on mobile learning products in 2010. This is predicted to rise to 9.1 Billion by 2015. It is also predicted that 300 million Pre k-12 school children across the planet will be carrying personal learning devices by 2015. 

My question is – are we ready to maximise the learning potential? 

Overall cost of a mobile device is less than a laptop or PC, you only need a finger to manipulate and it is accessible to all. Sites like Khan Academy show the potential for sharing educational clips and making your own to enable learning on mobile devices. Worldwide the deployment of iPads has numerous benefits from reduced weight to carry around to expediency with hyperlinking. They are less expensive and deliver speed of access. 

Are we moving towards a world of ‘Tablet as Primary Device?” and again, are we ready? 

Developments are seeing us move from a mobile app space to a mobile web. “The delivery of internal content via mobile device is strongly correlated to learning effectiveness” ASTD Study 2012 The time to move forward is now! “I absolutely think we need to give people access to material when and where they need it”. ASTD Study 2012 This correlates with the Horizon report and Core’s Trends,  especially ubiquitous learning  For learners it is about getting the right information at the point of need. More and more content is being repurposed for mobile devices. With my BYOD class I am seeing a real need now for an app, a school or class app, as a portal to our resources…. 

Is it serendipity or RAS alerting that immediately alerted me to this posting on twitter! Thinking of creating an app for your school?  

Our focus moves to connectivity. We are focusing on connecting our learning, providing robust access to wifi to fully enable the potential of mobile learning. We move towards a greater contextualisation of learning, where learning is personal, relevant and natural, with ubiquity of connection and learning. One challenge I am aware of is ‘how am I assessing the effectiveness of mobile learning in our class?’ Sure I am gathering anecdotal evidence, sure I am aware the number of student owned devices continues to increase, sure the learners are connecting more than ever before, around the clock, sure we are loving the learning, BUT how do I gather actual data measuring the effectiveness? 

I will ponder that thought and would love your input. 

As serendipity, or RAS alerting or the MAGIC of twitter would have it, this post leapt to my attention soon after the webcast: Study finds benefits in use of iPad as educational tool: 
 I am sharing a couple of key points from the post… 
Among the key findings noted in the Executive Summary: 
 The overwhelming majority of teachers regularly use the iPads in their teaching 
 There is a high demand from the students for iPad use to be extended further 
 Teachers have identified significant benefits for their workload and have also identified cost savings 
 Students are more motivated when using iPads 
 The quality and standard of pupil work and progress is rising 
 Appropriate use of Apps aids learning 
 Students Want More 
Overwhelmingly, students wanted to make more use of their iPads and indicated a variety of activities that they felt should be further incorporated into their academic programs, including: 
 Photography editing and animations 
 Making videos/movies 
 Word games to help teach spelling 
 Use of the iPad in place of pen and paper 
 More writing assignments on the iPad 
 Taking tests on the tablet 
 Replacing text books with ebooks 
 Designing games 
 More science Apps 

Are we listening to and acting on the research?

And just for fun, I am including this great post “why do social networks matter in teaching and learning".  
As a committed campaigner for the value and virtue of social networks, especially Twitter, I commend social networking! 

I sure am grateful for the opportunity to leap out of bed early on a school holiday to soak up the MAGIC of this webcast. 

And in the words of Downes “to teach is to model and demonstrate, to learn is to practice and reflect.”  For me there really is no better place to be than a teacher and a learner….

Thursday, July 5, 2012


Check out the line up for this amazing event!
John Egenes 
John is a musician from Port Chalmers by way of Santa Fe and Los Angeles. He teaches digital music culture. As a fashion designer, he dressed Naomi Campbell. 

John kicked off a cultural artifacts story with a gorgeous leather crafted bag.  He entertained us with the folk process - the changing of the way things are - the wellspring!  I love the telling of the story! I am totally engaged and involved in the story. John talks about the lack of control over the intellectual property, which is open to change - with a move towards selling, mashing up and remixing!
"Transformational imitation"!!! What a beautiful phrase!  A phrase I can use immediately with my learners.  An artists job is to bring beauty into the world!  Is that not the purpose of us all? With a beautiful weaving of the story from leather making, to musician, to dresser of the stars, to entertainer.  John entertained us and encouraged us to allow people to copy our work!

Prof Richie PoultonProf Richie Poulton
Director, Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development Research Unit 
Professor Richie Poulton is Director of the Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development Research Unit which conducts the Dunedin longitudinal study, one of the most detailed studies of human health and development ever undertaken. A multidisciplinary, longitudinal study of 1,037 babies born in Dunedin during 1972/73, the Study members have been followed up since birth, at age three, then every two years to age 15, and at ages 18, 21, 26, and 32. The latest assessment phase, at age 38, commenced in 2010 and was completed in March 2012, and was an outstanding success with 96% of the surviving Study members being assessed.

Richie entertained us with a story of altruism, trust and courage!
I was particularly interested in the talk of resilience - what is it? How is it measureable?  I am so aware of the need to work on my resilience.   We giggled as he talked of ego and brain - the challenge of academia...  Again, the storytelling came through with Richie sharing how the study members want to make a difference! Richie spoke of the change within himself as the study progresses - the window on the beauty that exists in the world through the people in it...
The dignity of the human condition,,,  
Listen to the lyrics of the anthem - ring the bells, there is a crack in everything - that's how the light gets in,,, 
The strength of this study is in its breadth and depth.  The transferability of the data is powerful. As with everything - what is the transferability?  As with learning and teaching, what have I learnt that is transferable! Richie concluded with a powerful reflection of nature via nurture and what it is to be human!  Very inspiring!

Stephanie D WilsonStephanie D Wilson
NASA Astronaut and engineer
Stephanie flew on her first mission in space on board the Space Shuttle mission STS-121, and is the second African American woman to go into space, after Mae Jemison. She is a veteran of three space flights who has logged more than 42 days in space (including most recently in 2010 on the shuttle Discovery).

Stephanie shared a glimpse into her life including three flights into outer space - a childhood dream, a project interviewing an astronaut.  She talked of inspiration and encouragement from her teachers and parents and living a childhood dream.  What a powerful message for educators - to understand the possibilities of believing in our learners and encouraging and empowering them.  Stephanie spoke of the research, reflecting on earth - realizing the fragility of our precious earth!  Much technology developed through space exploration is really reaping benefits worldwide! Current issues for NASA are agreement of destination - where should we go? What is possible given successful robotic missions?  The big wow moment - looking out the window... Looking down at earth! Seems really far away - looks very peaceful, no turmoil visible - makes you aware we should be working together to preserve our beautiful world!  Woohoo - inspiring!
I am truly in awe of the diversity of the audience...
I am inspired by this event in Dunedin! Yes - it really is alright here....
What is the common thread that ties us all together?  I would love to know the demographics of this crowd...
What is the common thread weaving through the talks tonight?  For me - it is life is precious, life is to be enjoyed and lived to the fullest, life is beautiful, and we must care for and nurture our beautiful earth...

A HUGE thank you to John, Richie and Stephanie for the inspiration, motivation and entertainment.  
A HUGE thank you to all of the organisation team especially Jason Craig @DialogCRM,
and a A HUGE thank you to all the sponsors!  

What an amazing event in an amazing venue - the Apartment!

How truly MAGIC to be part of such an amazing opportunity right here in Dunedin!


Q.   Why would I travel this far for a few days?

A.    Because I am a self confessed "educamp groupie"!

I love the experience of educamp and educampchch was no exception.

The MAGIC of educampchch…
The journey towards educampchch began way back in 2011 at the inaugural #educampdunners.  As we shared the day we dreamt of a time when Christchurch could celebrate. 

The day dawned and we gathered at Burnside High School.  We gathered from across the sectors, across New Zealand, on a Saturday on the penultimate week of term 2.

The MAGIC lay in welcoming people to their first educamp through to those who are self confessed “educamp groupies…”  

MAGIC moments of the day:
·         Underlying focus – giving our learners wings to fly –

The journey we are on can be likened to building planes while flying.  We are empowering our learners to innovate, create and participate in a very exciting journey!

·         Sharing of learning expertise from Auckland, Wellington, Reefton, Timaru, Dunedin, Mosgiel Darfield, Springston and in and around the Christchurch area;
·         Willingness of people to share during the smackdown, the discussion and right throughout the day,
·         The amazing range of sharing, not only of skills, tools and knowledge but practical discussion around how to enhance learning opportunities. 
·         Across sector sharing – primary and secondary collaborating
·         Shared lunch on-site…. truly AMAZING - thanks Emma for organising!

·         AMAZING venue at Burnside High School
·         Wisdom is in the room - the people, he tangata, he tangata, he tangata
·         The conversations, meeting people,  sharing,
·         Time – in a relaxed, unscheduled day to really connect and collaborate

·         Twitter stream – trending for most of the day…
·         Google doc – collaborating to share and record the learning journey of the day
·         Inspiration

·         The development of the educamp phenomena
·         Celebrating the MAGIC of the inaugural educampchch – starting small and building...
·         Looking to the future with continued collaboration… thanks especially to Coralie and the GCSN

Check out the collaboration on the Google Doc!

    The MAGIC now lies in the anticipation of educampakl and educampcentral Otago!

A HUGE thank you to Pauline, Burnside High School, and all who attended this AMAZING event and are committed to continued contact and collaboration. 

What was the MAGIC in the day for you?

Never judge me til you walk 39 days in my moccasins...

This quote is firmly etched in my memory and my practice, as one of my favourite lecturer's (Denis McLauughlin) favourite quotes....  

Never judge me til you walk 39 days in my moccasins...

I often find myself thinking this in times of success and in times of challenge.  Right at this very moment, I want to scream this quote to everyone, everywhere.  

I am really struggling with the horrendous posts on facebook and other social media about the two boys who made a mistake!  
They made a mistake!  
They may never be able to fully comprehend this mistake, but it was a mistake.  They did not set out to burn their skin off, they set out to get high.

They may not have weighed up the consequences, they may not have made a good choice, they may not have been informed but at the end of the day  - They made a mistake!  

When I think through all the pranks I have been involved in, all the fun we have had, all the risks we took, I know that I have been very fortunate.  As I think of my own two children, and all that they have been involved in, I know that we are very fortunate.

The point I am making is this - leave them alone, stop judging them, stop ridiculing their decisions.  Instead, use your energy on caring for those around you, speak a kind word, give a hug, listen a bit more closely, care a little bit more, and count your blessings.  

Next term I am determined to spend a lot more time with my class considering risks, thinking through consequences... but mostly, I am going to model, encourage, and empower our learners to think before they judge, before they criticise, before they mock....