The online world is the real world

One of the changes I’ve noticed in my life since working in an international school is how fluid our concept of geography is when it comes to maintaining relationships.

For my flight to Heathrow I sat with a team mate and his family along with several other families from my school – both staff and children.

One of my fellow Apple Distinguished Educators (ADE) from Australia was visiting Europe at the same time me. His Facebook updates prompted visits to different places including the amazing K21 museum in Dusseldorf. We criss-crossed each other through Europe before we managed to bump into each other in Rome.


K21 museum, Dusseldorf

Spending several days with a teaching friend from Singapore enjoying fine food and finer views in rural Tuscany.


Pecorino with honey.

Posting an update I was in New York via instagram which turned into catching up another ADE for a show, the perth-based @mgraffin for a coffee before heading down to Baltimore to catch up with old friend in DC.


To finish it off, I ended up bumping into my team leader’s son at Montreal airport just before heading back to Singapore


If I hadn’t been sharing where I was going and what I was doing, then I wouldn’t have enjoyed so many of those experiences.

We need to stop referring to the online world as being separate and distinct from the real world. For our students and increasingly our teachers, it is just the world… and an increasingly interconnected one.


Links you should be reading – jetlag edition

I’ve spent a substantial part of this week in planes and airports. In my semi-lucid state here are some links that caught my eye around the internet this week.

Suicide on Campus and the Pressure of Perfection – a sobering read for anyone in education. We need to make sure that alongside academics those attitudes and profiles we put on our walls mean something to our students. They should leave our institutions able to live good and happy and lives.

In a similar vein – 7 College Students Talk About Their Instagrams and the Pressure to Seem Happy the thing that bothered me in these pictures is that every single one of the accounts featured is a woman.

10 great questions teachers ask in job interviews – a useful site to bookmark for the next time you are interviewed.

New Zealand is a small, isolated country and is often misunderstood by those from other countries. Fortunately New Zealand, a user’s guide has recently been published.

Mexican Government and Street Artists Unite The Community. I love the use of art and urban space to help make communities better places to learn.

Why do all internet memes use impact font. – know thy impact (font)

Planning ‘you’ is not teaching ‘you’


Have you ever noticed when you are on the road that planning you is different from travelling you?

Planning you thinks ‘hey I’ll save that extra $100 by flying at 6am.’ Travelling you is thinking  ‘what the heck?’ when setting the alarm and ‘what the actual heck’ when trying to extricate yourself from a deep slumber at stupid o’clock.

Planning you is different from teaching you.

Plans seldom go the way intend them to. Sometimes that’s good, other times not so much. Sometimes you can control the detour, other times you’ve just go along for the ride. And sometimes plans will go exactly the way you intended them.

Planning needs to be a work in process, not just something at the start of the week/unit. How often do we re-visit our plans as we are teaching?

Planning for the future without reflecting on the past will never lead to improvements in practice. Celebrate what’s going right. But think about what needs to go better. What do you need to be doing? What do you need to not to be doing?

Planning isn’t just what you put down on paper. It’s the judgements you make before, during and after you teach. You can borrow the other teachers ideas but you will put your own twist on them. Others will put their twist on your plans.

Be ok with that.

But always remember planning you, is not teaching you.


Some days things do go to plan and you get to see this…

Why students should be involved in Professional Learning for Teachers


Child-led professional learning in school

One of the highlights of last week’s Project Zero Classroom was an attending an Out of Eden presentation where the students were co-presenters.

I’ve been to a couple of conferences where students have been involved in the conference. Sometimes they are there as helpers, others they are there as co-presenters. While helping out with admin presents students with great learning opportunities to organise and interact with adults, there is far more value for me having students there to present their learning.

I get to hear straight from the students what worked and what didn’t, what motivated them and what they found tricky.

The children’s presence keeps things very real and keeps things focused right where they need to be.

On the children and their learning.

Yet it’s very rare in my professional learning as a teacher to have the kids present leading the learning.

I realise that age can make it unfeasible for students to travel large distances to present, but I always value when a school hosting a conference or workshop has their kids sharing.

As someone who has organised for children to present learning it is very easy for me to talk about an idea I’ve implemented in the classroom, it’s another for the students to do so. Yet the effectiveness of my teaching isn’t in the fact I know my stuff, it’s that the children are able to talk about their learning confidently with others.

If your school is hosting a conference and your students aren’t sharing, you might want to think why that is and what message you are sending out about learning.