I am always looking for opportunities to push myself to learn more. I find that becoming an active member of networks is a great way to do this. At the very least, it gets me to write and post more material. The OSSEMOOC is a great example of a network that has motivated me to post. It’s a little like the ‘publish or perish‘ notion. If your blog is publicized on other sites, but better keep writing!
Yesterday, I heard about another network that looks like it has potential – Google Educator Groups #GEG.
I took a look at where you can find GEGs and there are none in Canada! We need to do something about that.
The idea behind the GEGs sounds really interesting. From their site, GEG leaders benefit in the following ways:
- Meeting like minded people, breaking the walls of isolation
- Becoming well connected to people of similar passion
- Building learning management, event management, communication and organization skills as you hold events.
- Eligible to attend local GEG Leader summits hosted by Google
This is what is wonderful about social media and education, there are so many great networks that you can join that connects you to other educators. In the past year I have connected to ECOO (the BIT 2014 Conference), OSSEMOOC, DLMOOC (need to get back to that!), #SAVMP mentorship group via @gcouros, a terrific Edmodo book chat on Digital Leadership through #satchat, Learning Connections – Google + group run through #OCSB as well as a whole host of Twitter chats and Google + discussions.
Every day I learn through these great networks. At this point, I can’t imagine being an educator and not being connected, my networks are my own personal school. There are so many great initiatives and ideas out there that I would be totally in the dark without my learning partners.
Even worse, without my personal learning network I would be dependant on professional development delivered in the tradition method through our own district. This way of learning simply does not work anymore. We can complain about this or we can do something much more useful – make up your own learning network – get connected – today!
So next, time to get some GEGs into Canada – any volunteers?
Today I attended my first Learning Connections workshop at our school board office (OCSB). What an amazing experience! In the morning we all attended six different presentations put on by elementary teachers from around the school board. We had ten minutes in each presentation before we were moved on prompted by a makey makey banana bongo. Each presenter had all their material linked through a QR code – really helpful!
After this, we met with other participants to compare notes and create a summary of our key learning. We created a Powtoon – a totally new tool for me. The results can be found at the top of this post.
The great thing about this session were the experts available to help us with our creations. Our expert was a junior level student from one of our elementary schools. He patiently took me through the steps on how to set up my first powtoon. He was an excellent teacher!
This is a good lesson for all of us. The real experts in this new digital age are the students. There is no way we can learn this technology as quickly as the students can. Whether it is an app, a maker kit or the newest chromebook, the students are the new experts. We are all learners!
What a terrific group! Learning Connections is a unique gift to our staffs. It is a growing group of educators learning new digital tools to innovate and learn. As a principal, I need to learn all that I can from this group. Educational leaders need to know how to use digital technology. We don’t need to be the experts, but we certainly need to be open and accepting of the changes happening on a daily basis.
We need to be gateways for the teachers and students who want to innovate and experiment with brand new ways of doing things.
Thanks Learning Connections!
I’m hoping to try something different at our next teacher PD session. Our PLNs are essential. We have used them for the past three years. Our teachers meet in grade or subject-based groups and plan their learning throughout the year. At our upcoming consolidation session, we are going to attempt our first ‘blogging party’.
Rather than have the teachers present their findings orally, we are going to ask them to create a blog so that they can share their learning with the world!
To make this a bit easier, we are planning to teach them how to create a simple blog. Audience is everything, we really want our teachers to share their great work with professionals around the world.
Our blogging party will be May 2nd. We will post using the hash tags #ocsb and #bloggingparty. Please comment, this will be a great motivator for our teachers!!
DGM Triad Evidence of Learning Document
Tell your story or someone will tell it for you
How to set up your blog
2. Click on the ‘new blog’ button on your dashboard. You will then see a collection of templates to choose from. You will also be prompted to choose a title for your triad blog. Try something catchy! Remember, ultimately your blog may be read around the world!! Your will also get your address – please bookmark this! (good time to try Symbaloo) Don’t worry if you have to come up with a temporary address to move on, your can change it in Settings after – your address is important, you want something as simple as possible – I am using triaddgmjunior.blogspot.com
3. That’s it! You have a name, a template you are ready for your first post!
4. The rest is just a matter of trial and (a bit of) error!
5. Try to set your blog up now!!
The work of greening our school continues. With financial assistance from the City of Ottawa, Evergreen and TD Friends of the Environment, we have planted twenty trees on our property and have added raised beds to nine of these trees. In the process, we have created a community partnership that includes our funders, the Ottawa Catholic School Board, Carleton University and our parents, staff and students and two wonderful resource people from Evergreen – Ann Coffee and Andrew Harvey.
We are now working on Phase III, the construction of two outdoor classrooms. Research shows that getting students outside helps them to learn better, keeps them attentive, encourages their imagination and improves the overall class environment (Globe and Mail, September 24, 2013).
The planning phase is really interesting. Ann and Andrew have always based their planning for design of our green spaces on student consultation. Conversations with our students happened before any trees were planted and now have taken place to help come up with a design for the outdoor classrooms.
We have a long way to go, but I would say these consultations are the most important part. Their ideas and opinions breathe life into the plans and proposals we are putting forward. What a great way to make a permanent mark on your school!