Saturday, February 28, 2015

Coaching Digital Learning - Cultivating a Culture of Change

Woohoo - my first MOOC - Coaching Digital Learning - Cultivating a Culture of Change MOOC-Ed, to enhance your digital learning content knowledge and further develop coaching strategies.

What a shock I got tonight to realise that I had enrolled for this course and it started 5 days ago - so I'm on a bit of a catch up!

I am enjoying reading about seven Partnership principles of: equality, choice, voice, reflection, dialogue, praxis and reciprocity.

The actions of good coaches are described as:
  • enrolling teachers in coaching as a part of their professional development;
  • identify teaching goals;
  • listen;
  • ask questions;
  • explain teaching beliefs;
  • provide feedback;
  • partner for success;
October 2011 | Volume 69 | Number 2 Coaching: The New Leadership Skill Pages 18-22 What Good Coaches Do - Jim Knight

"As Senge has written, effective coaching is not about the answers; it's about the questions" (Senge et al., 1999).

"Mentees are often looking for answers, and coaches are primed to oblige. But offering answers to every question can lead to a dysfunctional dance that short-circuits higher-level thinking."

Both of these quotes support my inquiry question fully. I really am charged with listening, and questioning to support others to find the answers, move beyond the obvious! 

Questions to Ask:
  • Ask questions about essential issues and behavior.
  • Ask precise and incisive questions.
  • Ask questions that generate specific and relevant information.
  • Ask questions that connect the past, present, and future.
  • Ask questions that explore values.
  • Occasionally, ask for permission.
  • Avoid asking why.
It's About the Questions Ronald R. Bearwald

I am thoroughly enjoying the start I have made and look forward to more great learning tomorrow!

The twenty eight days of writing journey... Day 28 #28daysofwriting

Today is day 28!
There are many ways to look at that!
Was 28 a target?  
Was 28 about establishing a daily writing ritual?
Was 28 just the number of days in February?

What was your aim for the 28 days???

These were the goals I set myself on day 1:

·      I will write for at least 28 minutes each day for my blog;
·      The main focus of my writing will be year beginnings and inquiry;
·      I will choose a variety of styles and genres;
·      I will invite connection and collaboration with my writings and wonderings;
·      I will share each post with a wider audience through tagging, on twitter, in the VPLD, the vln, and the Ethos community, some may even make it to the Facebook group NZ Teachers (Primary);
·      I will include reflections on my readings and my professional development;
·      I will encourage others to become involved in this journey;
·      I will connect with and comment on blogs of others in this initiative – aiming for two + comments per day;
·      I will have a lot of fun and share MAGIC wherever I can.

WOW - so many of these goals achieved!!!!  Celebrating with a happy dance...

I am delighted to have achieved almost all I set out to.  However there is still a lot of work to be done.  I have not committed time to read and comment on the blogs of others daily...

So, for the next two hours that is what I plan to do....
Back soon....
Three posts read, one comment left... 
hmmm - why is it that I feel inadequate to comment on some posts???  Do I feel I have nothing to offer?  

Back again soon...

Hmmm, two more posts read and both require me to sign in or join to comment, and unfortunately, that is not something I do... Should I?  Is this a barrier we can remove for our audience.  I know that I have removed the 'word verification' from my blog for the past two weeks but have been inundated with spam... is this just the way of things now?

Anyway, two more comments posted and time to head back into my reflection of the journey.  

Five more posts read...

A HUGE thank you to Tom Barrett for starting this opportunity for each and everyone of us to share our voice, to connect and network.  
I am really exciting to write daily for all of March... Tomorrow will see me setting myself some goals for the next chapter of my blogging journey.

Thanks to all who have visited my blog, read, or commented.  Without you, my audience, these are just words floating in space... 

Friday, February 27, 2015

The WHY of last minute panics... Day 27 #28daysofwriting

Teehee - I learnt a lot today... a lot about me, a lot about technology and a lot about perseverance...

Here is my creation on adobe voice which I was very happy with:

So just imagine my surprise when I realised I could not download the file or export and use it for next week....

So in kicked my perseverance, my bloody minded determination that I would not be beaten.  Crowd sourcing for support - twitter, txt, skype, email and quicktime seemed like my best solution....

Two hours ++ later and this is what happened... I used Quicktime to screen capture the video, and separately capture the audio.  

Now - how to put it all back together?

iMovie was my first choice... and after much trial and error and googling I was able to layer the audio and video back together to create an mp4 clip that I was able to export, then upload to Google Drive.

What did I learn today?

  • Persevere, persevere, persevere
  • Ask for and accept help
  • Be prepared to spend a lot of time
  • Celebrate success when you get there!!
So what does the finished version look like?

Not as good as the original out of Adobevoice but I am happy with it nevertheless.

So mission accomplished and a whole lot of learning along the way.  This was an incredibly powerful journey for me as I learn to persevere and explore and use new digital tools.

And the icing on the cake for me tonight... 
A glass of red wine and viewing all of the videos of my colleagues... oh we are such an incredible talented, diverse and talented bunch.

Roll on Monday when we are all together and the real MAGIC begins!!!!

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Taking the sting out of the tail of stress!!! Day 26 #28daysofwriting

What is stress?
: a state of mental tension and worry caused by problems in your life, work, etc.
: something that causes strong feelings of worry or anxiety
: physical force or pressure

If one word is bandied around in our busy life it is stress.  We are to avoid it at all cost for the sake of our health, our relationships, our general well-being!

I am really focusing on life balance this year and one particular area of focus is the way I deal with stress.  I think we are deluding ourselves if we think we can avoid stress.  Well, I know that I would find it very difficult to avoid.  

Let's look at the three bullet points in turn:

: a state of mental tension and worry caused by problems in your life, work, etc.

A state of mental tension... How long the state lasts is crucial for me!  How long do I choose to hold onto stress and allow the stress to build up?  I am getting very good at reminding myself to take the stress, put it in a bubble and release it!  Now I hope that doesn't sound trite because it certainly isn't meant to.  Over recent times I have been working as a mentor to educators and I receive mentoring.  The greatest advice I have ever received is 'let go'.  I have worked at 'letting go' that which I cannot change, do not need to hold on to, or is not doing me any good.  This strategy is serving me very well. 
I grew up with a father who was a worrier. He often 'saw' danger or worried about things that hadn't even happened.  I was inclined to be like that, but I am mentoring myself out of that headspace. 

So yes for me, stress is a state, a state I determine how long I hold on to!  
What about YOU?

: something that causes strong feelings of worry or anxiety

'Something' that causes... what is that something?  Is it a full calendar, a perceived mountain in front of you, a trouble or concern, an unknown?  Whatever it is, it is often thinking about it that is far worse than facing the load.  What can you do to decrease the strong feelings of worry or anxiety?  For me, I have a number of strategies I am working on.  I am breathing first... really deep breathing and re-focusing and am finding this an incredibly powerful tool to have in my kete.  No matter where I am or what the situation, I can employ my breathing strategy without impact on others, or anyone even knowing. I am also visualising.  This is a work in progress, but visualising the worry or stress gone can be very, very powerful.  Yet another strategy is making the most of grabbing every moment... the MAGIC that is everywhere - the flower, the sky, the cloud, the sounds, the colours....

What do you do when something causes you strong feelings of worry or anxiety?

: physical force or pressure
Although it would be easy to discount this definition as irrelevant, I think it has real merit to be aware of and pay attention to. Sometimes stress or worry can feel like a physical force or pressure, usually in your chest, or your eyes, or sometimes in the form of a 'headache'. An acute awareness of these signs is essential to survival.  All of the strategies I have mentioned above work but my first and best call is to get right away from the spot or moment of stress.  Walk, listen to music, close your eyes, go for a drive, meet with a friend... Whatever works for me right at the moment is what I employ to get me through that stage.  

What works for you?

There are so many different stresses and pressures in our lives and some are to be welcomed.  Some bring us the momentum necessary to perform to our optimum, or push beyond our comfort zones...
Just writing about stress has taking the sting out of the tail for me....

Let's meet in your space... part 2 Day 25 #28daysofwriting

Well what a delight to get to blog part 2...

Yesterday I shared Let's meet in your space...

Last night I noticed this in the NZ Teachers (Primary ) facebook page:

This post has had, and continues to have numerous responses... and are well worth reading...

And of note... today there are 3,728 members.  Educators are sharing, caring, supporting, discussing, questioning and connecting on the facebook page at a phenomenal rate!

It is, without a doubt, meeting a real need.  

I will be interested to follow any moves to try and replicate this within the vln.  

The vln (virtual learning network) has a range of groups across everything education, with educators discussing, sharing, networking...
Twitter has #edchatnz #scichatnz #mathchatnz #engchatnz and much much more...

Your PLN (personal learning network) is never going to be restricted to one space or way of connecting.  I think it is crucial for us all to connect whenever, however, with whoever...

Synchronous, asynchronous, curriculum, or level specific, whatever your need, I am sure there is a space and a place for you to connect and network.  

Whatever works - go with it!  

The true MAGIC is in the face to face connections and when a face to face connection is made, all future online connections are richer and stronger!!!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Let's meet in your space... Day 24 #28daysoflearning

Let's meet in your space... wherever that may be....

Over the past four to five weeks I have been marvelling at the growth of the facebook page - NZ Teachers (Primary )

From humble beginnings by one teacher in Auckland in January to 3826 members today sharing, connecting, networking, discussing all things education.  

This got me wondering... 

  • why has there been such exponential growth of members over such an incredibly short period of time?
  • why such open sharing and questioning?
  • why are so many educators connecting here as opposed to Twitter, Pond, vln?  Or are they in many spaces?
Is it because of the ease and familiarity of facebook?

Is it the rapid response with so many members?

This rapid growth of members connecting and sharing is akin to the phenomenal growth from Danielle Myburgh's dream #edchatnz.

Taking my wonderings into my personal and professional roles, I am aware of the need to meet learners wherever they are.  We must be mindful of supporting learners, and ensuring opportunities are made to meet, share, learn and connect within familiar networks and online spaces.

The share volume of sharing in the facebook page could well be cross posted to literacy spaces within the vln, and shared via twitter.  

The challenge is knowing who is out there, who is sharing, and in which spaces.

What are your preferred online networking spaces and why???

Monday, February 23, 2015

Learning from my mistakes Day 23 #28daysofwriting

Back at work today after a HUGE week last week, I was acutely aware of the need for focus and organisation as I tried to process the paperwork and get everything done before I head into more schools tomorrow.  

Fully focused I set off to create the forms necessary for the next steps, as we come together as a team, to ensure we best meet everyone's needs.

In my haste, I did not thoroughly read, or process the instructions. I doubled up on the work required and spent a lot of time creating sheets we do not need.

It got me thinking...

How often do I have a picture in my mind of what needs to happen that over-rules the real picture?

How often do I skim read, rather than deep reading?

Later this afternoon I was talking to our team leader and my mistake became evident.  How grateful I am to learn this early on of the potential duplication.  

How frustrated I would have been...

So here I am  tonight, reflecting on the benefits from close contact with our team.  The benefits of regular check ins, and clarification of tasks is essential.  

I really am loving our new way of working, sharing with team members, collaborating, and sharing the journey!

Woohoo... FAIL = first attempt in learning!

I love that I learnt from my mistakes today!

Day 22 More MAGIC to explore.... #28days of writing

Agh, there is nothing like waking from a sensational sleep, away with family and friends...

Coffee on the deck, with nothing more to worry about than which direction to drive in...

Off we headed, stopping at a craft expo, the Waikawa Museum, and the 10th Annual Edge of the World Art Exhibition 

Brunch was another surprising delight at Niagara Fall's Cafe. 

A delightful journey followed as we wove our way around the south and ended up at the Moth in Mandeville.

Great company, sunny weather, so much to see and do in onw tiny corner of New Zealand... 

So much to go back and explore further!

Special little spots in our world... #28daysofwriting Day 21

A crazy busy week all around the south ends and I head home for a night in my own bed, then it's off for another adventure!  New Zealand is one beautiful country and bit by bit we are exploring it! This weekend it is the Southern Scenic Route down to Catlins and beyond, to Waikawa.

Packing up is fun - I am just loving the confined space of Grant's new car as we really can only take the essentials!  So not long is spent packing.

Off we head south!

First stop, Lumberjacks in Owaka and the lunch was delicious!

 Glorious blue skies when we left soon turned grey and the rain started at Owaka, so roofs up!
A brief stop at the Lost Gypsy Gallery...

Continuing down the Catlins, through stunning bush and around Tautuku Bay.

Arriving at Porpoise Bay, Waikawa, to a glorious peaceful little spot in the deep south of NZ!
A swim in the Ocean at Curio Bay capped off a perfect day...

Then nibbles, wines, great company, great conversation... 

MAGIC day...

28 minutes of writing... possibly not... but totally okay with that!

Friday, February 20, 2015

Impact - what is it all about? Day 20 #28daysofwriting

This morning I woke up to a Twitter notification:
What an incredible read to wake up to:

From Mosgiel to Mumbai – Twitter tours make connectivism MAGIC @coetail

This post brings bak so many incredible memories:

The power of connecting face to face, continuing to connect online, is evidenced in ripples.  

Mosgiel to Mumbai is such a fabulous title.  Mosgiel, in the deep south of New Zealand seems incredibly removed from the rest of the world.  The power of connected face to face is and always will be where the absolute MAGIC is, however the continuing ripples online are made possible through this connection.  

I don't know much about Mumbai at all - so there is another interesting connection for me to pursue.  

I also don't know anything about @coetail - What is that all about?

So, Steph and I met in July 2011 and have probably had about a maximum of ten face to face connections.  The conversation and connection during these sessions has been the solid foundation on which our online relationship continues.  

I think back with such a warm heart to the connections I made during 2011 and am amazed at how many educators I still have a close relationship with.  Many I still visit and catch up with face to face, most I am still in touch with online, and almost all I catch up with at Ulearn and conferences around NZ.

The MAGIC is in the face to face connection.  This connection supports online connections until  the next face to face and so on in an upward spiral of networking.  

Robust, philosophical conversation.... Day 19 #28daysofwriting

Robust and philosophical conversation is one of the many privileges of my role. 

This week I have had the privilege of visiting schools in and around the deep south of New Zealand and in and around Christchurch.

In every school there is rich, robust and philosophical conversation. We are all on a journey and I love to connect with others on similar journeys, be challenged by those on completely different journeys and be inspired by the passion of educators for learners. 

This week has been unique for me.  Scoping 8 schools in 5 days over contributing, full primary, secondary, rural, urban, integrated…

What a pleasure it has been to reflect with staff.  To look at the journey they have been on, the successes they are celebrating and the challenges they are facing.  How good it is for the heart and soul to hear the enthusiasm and passion for learners and learning.  How inspiring it is to hear of opportunities being taken, innovations being trialled, and journeys shared.

Some of themes emerging are:

  • Modern Learning Practice;
  • Google Apps for Education (GAFE) to support learning and collaboration;
  • Modern Learning Practice (MLP);
  • Change management;
  • Integration of digital technologies;
  • Digital Citizenship;
  • Teaching as Inquiry (T@I);
  • Learner agency;

Just as our way of working this year allows for professional learning and development (PLD) where goals and needs align, it also allows for individualisationpersonalisation and agency.

We have been overwhelmed by the enthusiastic welcome and reception we have received across the south and the time, honesty and passion shared. 

It is so easy to get enthused and involved when the passion is there.  How lucky the learners are to be surrounded by this positive ‘buzz’. 

If there is one thing I can encourage educators to do, if not already doing so, it is to record the exciting journey they are on.  Only by recording the journey of today are we able to truly reflect and really learn from the experiences.  As we move into uncharted waters with Modern Learning Practice, we NEED to know the journey, the tipping points, the key moments that impact on us, the deviations and detours we make, the lessons learnt, and the MAGIC created. 

I am especially looking forward to working alongside educators and living vicariously through their journeys.

Thank you to you all for the robust and philosophical conversation that has been the MAGIC in my week!
Now the fun begins, as we draft development plans, align needs, and collaborate to find the best way to meet needs.  

What a pleasure and a privilege to a part of this journey.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Visioning Day 18 #28daysofwriting

Who is a vision for?
Why have a vision?
What is a vision?
How do you set a vision?

For us, a vision is for our clusters as we determine a way to work together for all of our learners.

We need the vision to guide, shape and inform the way we work, and foster collaboration across our schools. 

The Oxford Dictionary Online defines a vision as "the ability to think or plan the future with imagination and wisdom."

Our vision is an e-vision - what we would like our learners to be, do and know in relation to learning with digital technologies.     

Working with a group, we used this approach to shape our vision:

  1. Think about what skills, attributes and knowledge we would like our 'new millenium' learners to leave our school with.
  2. Independently list up to 10 things we want our learners to be, do and know.
  3. With a partner or in a small group, refine your lists to five.
  4. Share your five with the wider group.  
  5. As a collective group, shape a cluster e-vision.

This was a fabulous exercise.  Everyone collaborated and shared ideas and we found this to be a fabulous structure to work towards a shared vision.  In a Universal Design for Learning (UDL) approach, we shared ideas orally, on post its, recorded on screens, paper, added to google docs, created word clouds to surface the common words and ideas.

We have got four versions of an e-vision to take into our next session to refine. 

The conversation in and around the inclusion or exclusion of certain words and phrases was rich.  Clarity of purpose and desire to work for the best for all of our learners is evident.

How do you set a vision?
How often do you re-vision?

Walk in their shoes... and you walk in mine... Day 17 #28daysofwriting

My all time favourite lecturer Dennis McLaughlin always shared this, "never judge me til you walk 39 days in my mocassins."

I have always loved that phrase and have it as a mind-set.  I try to hold my judgements.  I try to walk alongside.  I try to be there.

This year we are having the privilege of taking this phrase into our work role.  Rather than facilitating alone we are working in teams, in a way, walking in each other's mocassins.  

Until you have been on camp, on a roadie, had a sleep over, or holidayed together you often do not know important 'outside work' aspects of your colleagues.  This year is rich with opportunities to grow, learn, travel, share, be together with our colleagues and I am loving it.  

In our roles we often work across a number of teams and have the opportunity to be with colleagues!

Thank you to my colleagues.  I am loving BEING with you, TRAVELLING with you, LAUGHING with you, SHARING with you, FACING CHALLENGES with you, but above all, I am loving walking a little way in your mocassins.  I am loving hearing your story, your whanau story, your dreams and your passions, you hopes and your fears!


Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Listening to the silences... Day 16 #28daysofwriting

Listening to the silences...

Here we are at the start of a new year.  

Here we are in the deep south, visiting schools new to our contract.  
One goal for me this year is -

"Focus on my listening skills and my conversation to ensure I am provoking and challenging - aim to provoke more questions than answers"

For this roadie I am focusing on the silences...
What is said in the spaces?
What is left unsaid?
What do pauses, or gaps in conversation lead to?
What happens when gaps are not filled?
How do I ensure I pause and allow space?
Why do some questions provoke silence?  and others provoke chatter?
How do I model listening?
How do I provoke?
How do I challenge?

How am I taking this challenge into my conversations with my colleagues, both face to face and online?

How am I taking this challenge into my personal life?

Am I leaving space in my life for silence?
For reflection?
For gentle nothingness?

A couple of times today I have reflected on learnings from Brendan Spillane...

How do we ensure we 'leave work'?  With so much of our work life available 24/7 in our personal hand held devices, how do we set boundaries for time when we are 'offline'?

How do we ensure we don't ruin things we love by doing other things at the same time?  

How do we fully commit to 'being present'?

HUGE wonderings for today.... listening to the silences...

Day 15... What's all the fuss about Valentine's day

WOW - February the 15th and here I am blogging about Valentine's day...
What is all the fuss about?
Why focus on one day?
Do we really need to put so much pressure on ourselves?

I am laughing out loud... I am beginning to sound like my husband! What a synic...

I could tap away here arguing the pros and cons of Valentine's Day for ever.  Part of me would argue that it is essential and MAGIC to set aside a day to realise your love for those around you.  

Equally I could argue how incredibly false it is to separate out your emotions and feelings and focus them on one day!

Increasingly in schools, we are seeing a genuine focus on relationship building and positive behaviour for learning, for life.  

Where are we at with at risk teenagers?  For some of our young Valentine's Day is torture... but that's another story, another post, another day...

Today I am going to focus on whanau.  Whatever your family determines as whanau and how you celebrate your time together. Wherever you are in the world, whanau love you, care for you and are there for you!  Celebrate the MAGIC that is your whanau everyday...

I am sharing a glimpse of the MAGIC of food today... as we started valentines day with pancakes and ended with a BBQ.  The best of times are with family sharing kai... wouldn't you agree....