Sunday, October 5, 2014

What it means to be connected - the relationship of connections

Subtitled my learning life online, and how being connected has affected my work in education - version #2 as somehow I managed to delete my first post.....

I remember clearly when I became a 'connected educator' - it came from being a 'connected learner'. In 2006 I had a year's paid study leave. I completed my Post Grad Diploma in Literature and Language Learning - I was a full time 'distance student'. After a 20 year break from university, the first month was a real struggle - jargon, educational jargon and theory, technology jargon and theory, more jargon.... However, what did grab me was the online forums that made up 20% of each paper's course work. I was addicted - I had to see what was being posted, I had to read what my fellow studens were saying and read the links that they were sharing. I was in no way a 'lurker' - needless to say I got full marks for those partsof the course.

In 2007-8 this morphed into the topic for my thesis - Keeping up with the digital natives - integrating Web 2.0 into classroom practice - teacher - researcher, my Yr 12 class had the choice of 'logging on paper' or 'blogging' around the literature that we studied during the year. Their and my archived blogs can be found here - From then on blogging became a part of what I did for professional learning. My Asst Head of Dept and I developed a blog for the Department I kept a blog for the library where we ran book reviews and competitions -   I modelled our blogs on the work of Natalie Cowie (thank you), who  was at Katikati College - but who has now migrated to Cromwell College. 

Leaving the classroom for a two year stint at Team Solutions, I lost touch with both the routines of the classroom and my blogs. All were linked to my school email address and I realised this foolishly, too late that I no longer had access to them - other than to read them!

Now firmly esconced back in a school, blogging has once again become the place where I curate my personal professional learning. I blog as I go (thank you for that tip Claire A.) This year my blog links to my teaching inquiry which forms part of our school's appraisal process - linked to my Google site. I prefer to use my phone, rather than my tablet to blog, I'm not sure why. I have become more adept at scanning images and photos into my posts as I write - though I do tend to go back and edit out the 'typos'. I tweet and facebook my posts. Not only have I recorded my own professional learning, but I have had the opportunity to post on some key events that our students and staff have been involved in - such as the experiential sustainability project - Te Wai hora Ellesmere; and the 50th Anniversary celebrations of CETA.

Those not as connected worry that the focus may appear to have shifted from what is seen as the 'nub' of teaching - relationships. However as a connected educator I have built learning relationships and have learning conversations with educators I would never have otherwise connected with. As two recent conferences - #edchatNZ14 and NZATE's Myth and Magic many of us were able to connect kanohi ki te kanohi. 

I know now how to keep my blogs 'alive'. I now read more, hear more and see more educational news and ideas than ever before......just need more hours in the day!

Ngā mihi


PS you can read more blogs on this topic and others @

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