Monday, 6 October 2014

The conference that never ends - sharing success from the #edchatNZ conference

It is always great to hear if/when #edchatNZ has influenced positive change somewhere in this beautiful country of ours. Please make sure you have shared your story too. In fact, we would love to post your story on this blog. So send us an email with the link to admin@edchatNZ.com. Can't wait to hear from you too!

"After #edchatNZ... the conference that never ended
I was lucky enough to bring a team of colleagues to the #edchatNZ conference in August.  Experiencing the 2 days together showed me I was no longer a lone nut, I was part of a mixed nut group keen to enact change.  We naturally leaned towards ways to improve our local junior curriculum (Years 9 and 10).  In a high performing school so focused on excellence, especially in NCEA, junior classes can easily become the poor cousins to senior classes for busy, fully loaded teachers of multiple levels.  In times of busyness and stress, we readily default to the industrial model of teaching that we were bred and educated in.  So as a group we decided to make our junior programmes an absolute focus for improvement.  We want to work more collaboratively, be cross-curricular, use assessment for learning and explicitly teach the principles, values and key competencies.

So post-conference around the lunch table we kept the conversations going, more people came on board and we ended up with a larger interested group who decided to focus on the Year 9 programme next year.  We chose to assign a future focus theme from the curriculum to each term.  This would be a wide enough scaffold for any curriculum areas that wanted to align their programmes and non-threatening enough for reluctant teachers to give it a go.

In a staff meeting, I gave a quick presentation about the "front of the curriculum" - and how the principles, values and key competencies should be integral and at the forefront of our minds when planning programmes.  For the cross-curricular "sell" I also reiterated the principle Coherence - the idea that "The curriculum offers all students a broad education that makes links within and across learning areas, provides for coherent transitions, and opens up pathways to further learning."(NZC, 2007).  After the staff meeting, anyone who was interested, or wanted to be involved was welcome to stay behind an continue the conversation.  At a rough guess 60 - 70% of teachers stayed, and the response was overwhelmingly positive, with some small but relevant areas of concern.  It's at this point I'd like to acknowledge a fantastically open minded staff of teachers, an enabling principal and senior leadership team, and a supportive BOT who absolutely trust us to offer a programme that's best for our community.

We started a Google Doc as a place to share thinking and ideas, and more and more teachers in different curriculum areas have seen it as achievable to link their teaching and learning programmes to other curriculum areas.  This is an example of the doc in it's early stages:



After some thinking and collaborating time, another meeting later, we have settled on the following themes for each term next year:
                Term One: Globalisation
                Term Two: Diversity
                Term Three: Enterprise/Innovation
                Term Four: Citizenship (Sustainability)

A fresh Google Doc has been started as a place for collaborative planning to occur.  Some of us are optimistically hoping to spend a lot of Term 4 redesigning our Year 9 programmes now that we have something to work with.  Subject and teacher involvement will be as little or as much as they want it to be.  This framework exists for those that are passionate about aligning the learning in their Year 9 classes to other learning areas, and for those that aren't, learning can still occur in the way they want it to, but we hope they'll catch the bug one day!"

Thursday, 25 September 2014

#edchatNZ hosting Grant Lichtman!

#edchatNZ brings you another amazing free professional development opportunity! 

Tonight at 7:30pm we will be hosting Grant Lichtman for a live discussion about how schools are working to be more innovative

You can follow the live conversation here and join in on the discussion via Twitter using the #edchatNZ hashtag
@MissDtheTeacher will be the GHO host and @mattynicoll will be your Twitter moderator so that you can ask your questions!

How might you think differently about innovation in schools if you had the chance to visit, interview and observe sixty-four schools? +Grant Lichtman  did just that. He interviewed 600 teachers, administrators, students and parents and talked to them about innovation. 

Join us for a very special #edchatNZ  online event tonight to ask your questions, hear his stories and to join the #edchatNZ  community again for another great professional learning event as we extend our networks to learn from a global audience. 

For more information about +Grant Lichtman, make sure you check out his books The Falconer and #EdJourney, his TED talk and his blog! www.grantlichtman.com



Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Continuing the Revolution


Can you believe our conference was just over a week ago?! What an amazing experience: motivational keynotes, inspirational workshops, meeting and greeting our online connections. We’re so thrilled at the number of ‘eggs’ who have hatched, and the bloggers who are stretching their wings. We’d also love to give a shout out to all the chick-chats that have emerged: #scichatNZ, #engchatNZ, #mathschatNZ, #socschichatNZ, #btchatNZ, and the wonderful tweachers who are behind each of these. Lone nuts no more! Please send us an email if you have launched a chat too so that we can support you!

Now, remember how our theme for the #edchatNZ conference was: ‘Follow the education revolution’? Well, here comes the next phase! Let’s capitalise on the energy and enthusiasm and passion so evident at the conference. We’d like to declare a blogging challenge and keep the momentum going. There are three levels of challenge, depending on how confident you feel. Try all three, but attempt one as a bare minimum. There are still some swaggy #edchatNZ coffee cups up for grabs (not that you needed any bribery, of course!).

Egg Challenge: Share a captioned photo of something cool happening in your classroom.
Chick Challenge: Complete the #edchatNZ blogging meme, started by @ReidHns1 here
Full Flight Challenge: Blog about how something you have learnt from the #edchatNZ community has changed your practice.
And don't forget to leave a comment on at least five blogs this month to help encourage and empower others!

Remember to share your posts on Twitter with our wonderful #edchatNZ hashtag. While you’re online, don’t forget to vote for this week’s #edchatNZ topic here, and to complete your feedback form on the conference here. We really appreciate you sharing your thoughts with us.

Good luck for the challenge, and, as always, we look forward to tweeting with you on Thursday night at 8:30pm.

Saturday, 9 August 2014

EdchatNZ Conference Update 7



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#edchatnz Conference Updates
Update 7
Take your online sharing face to face
Join the #edchatnz Google+ community.

Theme: To connect and empower all educators, especially #edchatnz
Date: August 8 and 9
Venue: Hobsonville Point Secondary School
Address: 70 Hobsonville Point Road, Hobsonville Point, Auckland 0818


What an amazing couple of days.


The steering committee has pulled together the #edchatnz conference in 18 weeks. Yes, you read correctly: 18 weeks. Our first official minutes were dated 3/04/2014.


As our group debriefed last night we know we had a meeting a fortnight before that date.
So technically we pulled it off in 20 weeks.


In 20 weeks seven educators from around New Zealand planned the #edchatnz conference virtually. We used Google Hangout and Google apps for education.


Our meetings ran for 30 minutes only and took place half an hour before the fortnightly #edchatNZ chats on Twitter.


We met for a total of nine 30 minute sessions.  Therefore we planned a national conference for just over 300 people in 4 and half hours. Really? No, it just seems that way when we track our virtual meetings. However when the minutes are read, it can be seen that each passing fortnight identifies the huge amount of work involved in between meetings.


Talk about collaboration. Here we have a group of dedicated educators who had made connections using the #edchatNZ hashtag. Together we worked collaboratively pooling our strengths and skills to bring in Kiwi educators from around New Zealand to meet each other face to face. The conference was the first time we met face to face as a committee.


Together we observed and were part of a group of full time working, passionate teachers lead by a ‘lone nut.’ We all have our own responsibilities within our own schools but we knew instinctively that this was an important education milestone that would change how teachers traditionally see conferences.


One educator has asked how we could possibly run a conference of this quality at a mere $20.00 per teacher? That answer is down to support. We wanted a conference that was attainable by most budgets. We also knew that most of the educators coming would be funding their own travel, registration and other costs. If you were one of those educators we also know that your schools would be funding a day’s relief for you. We knew that could be a challenge so again we had support for some of you. We wanted to bring all sectors together and again, through support, this was taken care of.
Through our personal contacts our guest presenters gave their time freely to share with the rest of the education community. With the time it takes to put a presentation together we wanted to thank them in a small way and again we had support for that.
Through our personal contacts we managed to get support with the food which is one of the biggest expenses when running a conference. In addition our delegates were given the choice of bringing a cut lunch or being catered for. The venue is another huge expense when running a conference but again we had support with that.


A conference is only as good as the swag you get. We did not have a conference bag. However we did ensure that you leave with a small personalised memento and yes we had support for that too. As educators we know how much we spend on our own professional learning. Therefore we wanted to bring you value for money, an opportunity to meet your personal learning network face to face, and a heap of memories through which you can rewind through the massive amount of #edchatNZ highlights.


Now that ‘lone nut’ is already onto her next mission. So if you want to be a part an #edchatNZ conference again, we do ask that you fill in the evaluation form.


We also want you to set a goal. Make it public by adding it to our #edchatnzselfie doc and tweet it out.
Add your reflection to our listly reflections and tweet that out too.


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#edchatNZ conference