1. Since that wonderful session here at our school, (mixed with both teachers and students), I too have been thinking about how can we do this more. The next day I had the twitter stream of #ACTlearn on the large projector in the middle of our learning space, it prompted a number of fantastic questions from students.
    Why is ** teacher there?
    What are they doing?
    Why do teachers gather together like that?
    Don't they already know what they need to know?
    What are they learning?

    Also a number of fantastic comments…
    That's great that they are keen to learn more.
    I never knew that teachers continued to get together like that after uni.

    I think exposing such great learning, prompts, quotes, questions and ideas was really beneficial. All the students I spoke with about the twitter stream where impressed that their teachers were dedicated to doing more for themselves and hence them!

    I would love to do something maybe once a term where teachers and students can learn together, through a facilitator or guest speaker. Something else on my todo list.

    (Of curse I couldn't post this comment from my work computer….. Had to do it from my phone)

  2. @stephengwilliam

    George, I enjoyed the opportunity to meet up in person with some colleagues from the ACT. Everybody needs their own http://www.abitetoeat.net.au/ – a 'genius loci' or place to reflect – even if it is over a busy and rushed lunch!

    Your comment on making sure the right processes, people and learning tech "stuff" works is one aspect that appears lacking in most educational administrative preparation program's across jurisdictions?

    I appreciated your encouragement to consider a blog- working on one! The opportunity for the 21 schools in my network to further collaborate using Twitter as an "enabler". I believe we need to make the brave move to begin a journey and perhaps share online. I see many fantastic teachers in our schools inspiring students, parents and colleagues with creativity, passion and leadership that should be shared locally, nationally and internationally. Similarly, there is much collective wisdom out there to learn from.

    So how about an e-book George? "Lessons of the collective wisdom from educators on #Twittersphere?"

    Hope to see you back our way or in AB sometime. Cheers.


  3. Rhoni McFarlane

    As we bang our heads against iPads and laptops with a desperate thud thud thud begging for bypasses to work, connections not to drop out and streaming to occur before we lose our audience! I think we prove to be a pretty resilient bunch here in SA, perhaps too resilient on the verge of compliant and accepting. Perhaps it's time to muster the troops and expect a helping hand from our dept. to foster rather than constrain our access to the world online for ourselves and our students. Not only frustrating on a daily basis, but embarrassing when an international guest spends so much time getting access rather than engaging with his captive audience. Fingers crossed there's less restrictions for your next trip down under!

  4. spdarwin

    George, I always find your posts interesting, but this one in particular has so many points that resonate with me. One idea I have been thinking about for a long time is "teachers talk with their feet". In Australia's NT we often hear that teachers will leave because the conditions (in this case, tech access) are unsatisfactory, but as one of the teachers who has chosen to stay, I reject the notion that we are left with inferior educators.Some stay because we don't want to abandan the cause. ( It sounds like a call to war). I totally agree with the point that we should have better access to online resources, it can be very frustrating and I understand why people disengage. To me the biggest barrier of schools properly utilising technology is budgeting for the resources required, and that is an ongoing quest.

  5. missateaches

    I needed this post. I was complaining that my school had blocked a certain social media site. Complaining to all the wrong people! When someone suggested I speak to my admin (sound familiar?) I balked. I wasn't sure I wanted to fight about it. Was it really something I needed or wanted to argue for? Reading this post has made me realize, if I'm not talking to the right people and voicing my ideas, I really shouldn't be complaining! That when I voice my complaints without having the conversations with admin and other staff, it is trivial whining! I thought a bit about why I felt like I needed access to that site, and what I would be teaching my students with that particular site and I realize, yes, I'm willing to have the conversations. So, come Wednesday, I'll be using my voice to ask for what I want, rather than complaining about the powers that be not reading my mind. Thanks for the shift George!

  6. George. my boss came to your session and said that it was really useful, helping him to see more clearly a lot of the things that I have been talking about since I joined the school. I'd just like to comment about your first point about filters etc in South Australia because I feel that you may have been painted a picture that isn't quite accurate. The state has a new internet/email/LMS system called LearnLink where only a handful of categories are blocked without possibility of change in the same manner that you describe your Canadian open system. What is left open or closed is then a decision made at the local level by the school – I know because I have altered my own school's settings. Another factor is that many SA schools have a second internet connection using a secondary (commercial ISP) and that is totally filtered at the local level. Schools had the option to download a Department filter and install it and either leave it on its default settings or ask their tech support to get under the hood and change things to their requirements. The ability to customise filtering at the local school level has been around for at least ten years to my knowledge – so hearing educators complain about override passwords and restrictive filters is frustrating because someone on their site has the ability to do something about it. I know I have in consultation with the school community, leadership and teachers. I am not sure why teachers would be hesitant to push for more openness. I have heard of schools where some teachers are glad to have strict filtering in place because then they don't have to teach kids about responsible internet use because "they can't get to the bad stuff." Either way, I don't think the Department has to do much more in terms of providing potentially open internet access – but I agree that much more needs to be done in the area of what the possibilities could be. And I am as guilty as anyone of not spreading much beyond my own patch of turf…

  7. Interesting point about making it clear what we are looking for in 'teaching'. Just like visible learning really hey?
    I thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to listen to your innovative ideas, and look forward to being able to keep working towards using technology and social media to improve learning outcomes.
    Thanks again.

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