About Thinks

Sometimes good thinks happen and sometimes bad thinks happen. Sometimes it's hard to distinguish between the two.

Some thinks need immediate action and some thinks may remain as thinks forever. Thinks can be angry and heated. Thinks can be joyful. Thinks should never be cold.

These thinks are linked to many other wonderful thinks and I like to attribute these.

These thinks do not necessary reflect those thinks of my employer.

Think long, think on.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

The emerging leaders symposium

The Emerging Leaders Symposium organized by Albany Senior high school blew my mind. It's organisation was supreme, the structure was stunningly inclusive and the people were all magic.

The symposium assumed that we were all competent, that we brought with us our own strengths and that 'the answers are in the room'. The symposium was in stark contrast to traditional methods of professional development where hundreds of delegates are 'done to' by a bunch of 'experts' who very often don't work in school, let alone a classroom.

The symposium treated 'us' the way we should treat our children (assumed competence, valued our input, and developed meaningful relationships).

Efficiency doesn't work in learning, nor does bureaucracy (breaking down tasks into units). And the ELS brought this all to a head. Begone Henry Ford education!

I was a tad uneasy as a strolled through the Albany Senior High carpark. It looked like a shopping mall! But as the lift (yes they have lifts!) door opened I was greeted by the smell of freshly brewed coffee, and smiling happy people in an environment that made me want to smile too.

Proceedings started with a 'getting to know us' activity which was both nerve racking and hilarious. Within the first ten minutes, we had a fair idea where everyone was at. Throughout the two days meaningful reflection and sharing activities were created to ensure knowledge was distributed all around the room. Such strategies included the 'world cafe' and 'speed dating'. Around ten of us presented pecha kucha style presentations and all of us were given the opportunity to lead sessions and present to Karen Sewell.

Minimally Invasive Education from Emerging Leaders on Vimeo.

Mark Osborne was on hand to tie everything together and all of the Albany Senior High staff were welcoming, gave tours of their amazing space, and ensured everyone was comfortable. Within 48 hours they had created an environment that ensured 50+ people left both knowing and respecting each other.

With no fixed agenda or direction the common theme of the conference was the importance of building relationships to create exceptional leaders of learning. I have been 'saying' those words for quite some time, but I can sincerely say that I left the ELS with a solid understanding of what that actually means, and how truly important it really really is. Incidentally if you do have these exceptional relationships the Henry ford style of education will disintegrate. And as the awe inspiring motivational Karen Sewell said,
"what's stopping you?"

Sunday, April 24, 2011

What is the collective noun for Google Certified Teachers?

So here I am, I'm back and have returned as a Google Certified Teacher fresh from the GTASYD.

I'm not much of a corporate girl but have been taken by Google’s mission:

To organize the world‘s information and make it universally accessible and useful


Google are doing amazing things to achieve this. The beautiful thing about it is that they have exceeded their expectations but that isn't stopping them.

There are so many products that most of us know about, but just haven't set the time aside to get to "know". The GTA was a great opportunity, it was like being at a supermarket where all the products were available to test and taste. It was a great reminder to me of all the things that I have to use properly in order to organise myself to make my life easier.

Tops on my list(there is a lot of amazing other stuff that I haven't mentioned):

GOOGLE NEWS ARCHIVE - Just brilliant - check it out for scanned original newspaper articles of historical events. Brings a completely new meaning to primary resource. Man oh man it beats the cr*p out of microfiche.

GOOGLE BOOKS - This product is just AMAZING and its going to get better and better and better. Our kids are now able to have access to libraries of digital books where they can search for particular words and themes. Dr Mark Wagner also provided practical ideas in relation to organizing existing 'paper' books and 'paper' notes that you may already have by using the Google Books app.

He also suggested entering the ISBN numbers from your school or class library so that children have a virtual version of their 'RL' library. A big task but could be tackled subject at a time.

Great potential for open and accessible education here - keep pushing for those Creative Commons Licenses!

GOOGLE SCHOLAR - I played with it a bit about 4 years ago, it has come along in leaps and bounds. It makes me want to do more tertiary study because with products like these, information gathering is no longer a chore.
"The kids of today, they don't know how easy they have it..."

The implication of this is that scholars will now have more time for deep thinking. I am going to have very high expectations of my own children's critical thinking and evaluation skills. Universities/Schools should no longer be about regurgitating and retrieving information (even at a undergrad level) - and if it is, take a long hard look at that!

Google's Apps vision of children compiling and having access to their data for their whole life sits comfortably with me as opposed to more commercial products that lock down and lose children's hard earned data if they happen to move to a different school that supports a different product.


This is the tricky bit, and where the GTA and the GTCs come in. People need to know about these amazing tools, not just a select elite. This extends to both the users of these tools as well as the content of these tools. Like I have mentioned as a part of my MIE research, there are cultural narratives that cannot be found on Google and this is concerning given that Google has emerged (and rightly so) as the de facto source of information in so many domains. It raises questions in relation to all cultures being fairly represented while at the same time maintaining each culture's dignity. This is very tricky politically, culturally, and ethically but I'm willing to give it a try; this good stuff has to be available to everyone.

Google's work environment is truly amazing and no pictures I have seen online do it justice. The tour was just inspiring, all I could think of was:
"I want one of them in my classroom!"

It was really easy to get caught up in the 'adultness' of it all. I had to keep consciously bring myself back to how I can use this with my 9-10 year olds rather than just ME! Got some pretty cool ideas brewing though, and I'll be sharing them with y'all!