Friday, 14 November 2008

New ways New forms

After a period of feeling very lost about what I am doing, it is good to find something to get interested in and see a real opportunity for promoting change. My current project is to create a wiki for use with teachers when I attempt to do training with them. When I set up a Google reader with them, what I need is a list of blogs by teachers in their subject area that they can turn to to read. So I have decided to create a wiki of teacher blogs by subject and at the moment by tweeting and plurking I have made a start. However the responses have been few and far between. Is this really something which hasn't been done before ? Why not? It seems to me the most logical way to get a high school teacher reading blogs is to link them to someone who writes about what they are dealing with everyday in the integration of technology, and for those who constantly claim they 'don't have the time' this could be much more directed reading. As a part of this whole attempt to get more staff involved I have also started Techo-Thursday - based on the idea of Anne Murchison and Jess McCullough of Walk-In-Wednesday. I have been trying this for two weeks and I hope that as part of the PLP project that this will become part of the culture. My wiki is designed to complement this, with a strong emphasis on Australian teachers. So as I grind slowly on to the end of the year, I take comfort in the new ISTE magazine which arrived today and talked about the value of coffee culture to provide good ICT training for staff. Yes I hope that I can capture staff and engage them with the information that is timely and relevant. So if you are reading this and have a suggestion or want to see where I am up to with the wiki, please check the wiki and add yourself or someone who is a high school teacher and add them. Thanks

Sunday, 2 November 2008

Spring rolls around again

Yes I know this is meant to be about teaching but I can teach horticulture too :) Well here are my pikkies from mid spring in my very large jardin. Hope you like them!

Feeling Older?

In my usual bowerbird way I was looking at some sites and I found Yearbook Me- looked like fun so I had a play but only one image worked - I didn't have a very good photo of me to work with and have been too sick lately so I didn't want a current one. The exercise was fun- scary and fun - mostly because I recognised that many of the styles were ones that I had worn versions of and had hopefully grown 'out' of. The whole Yearbook thing is fascinating- we don't really do that here in Australia and the kind of frozen snapshot of your life boils down to the annual school magazine with lots of fun photos,
But it did make me think- shades of Carrie Bradshaw here- "How do we measure our own growth?'
Is it in the hairstyles over time? I was shopping with my youngest who has just turned eighteen for an outfit for a family wedding a more formal evening one and having a good giggle at the things she found cool as they were almost identical to ones I used to wear- even the fabrics and prints were familiar. I remember my mother find it amusing that at the same age I was obsessed by beaded crepe 1940's dresses- ones like she had worn and I bought wardrobes full of them rather than the styles of the time. I liked the sense of a history that came with the garments and my daughters are both doing the same thing- finding 'vintage' quirky pieces rather than the chain store mass produced disposable pap. I am so proud of their choices and the fact they both have an awesome sense of what works for them.
But this post is not just about fashion - it is about how do I measure change in myself in my teaching? Jen Wagner posted recently about being authentic in our interactions with others - about making the enthusiasm we have for our online lives keep flowing through to our own schools despite the fact they may not know - or wish to know- what we are doing 'online'. So for me many of her statements ring true- things about ego and how I am perceived by others and recognition have played large in my mind lately due to a number of reasons, and I want to make a conscious decision to get beyond that as it has been very depressing and energy sapping. I need to get back to what the whole thing is about- the teaching and learning and the kids. Grants are great, meetings and conferences are great and I know I am less overwhelmed by the range of conferences online and even getting a bit 'oh yeah' about some. But all this means nothing if I am not connecting this in class- not just being the purveyor of a big box of fun tools, but someone who is now ready to change what is going on starting with me and helping whoever asks or is interested.
So getting back to the yearbook photo - yes it is scary because I know I am of an age now where that could be how I am seen by kids. But more than that- the image is of a different time a whole different way of seeing teaching, teenagers, the world and myself. Yes I have moved on way past the point I would have thought to be at, but the journey will have little meaning if it does not create change for others too.
How do you measure personal growth and change?