One of the joys of being a Provisionally Registered Teacher is that you get time out of the classroom to observe other teachers doing their thing.
Observations can be a powerful way for teachers to pick up tips and tricks to use in their own classroom and help mitigate the awful isolation that can the first few
weeks months of teaching for some teachers.
This week I was very fortunate to spend an entire day observing one of the new schools in Auckland. Yes I probably could have gone to a school a bit closer to home however with #padcampakl happening on the Saturday I decided to extend my visit so that I could spend time learning how to implement more independent learning time in my class.
I have flirted with the idea of 20% time through intiating barcamps in my class. However I wanted to move the class on from viewing barcamp as just about having fun but also looking to how to use it to develop students learner. In short my learners and I had to learn how to document their learning, to be able to show a shifts in thinking to make barcamp more purposeful and useful.
The day spent observing defintely gave me some useful ideas to implement back at school. The shared understanding around learning that the students that observed on Friday defintely made me realise that I need to do some explict teaching around learning as a process rather than just focussing on outcomes.
Saturday bought the MAGIC that is padcamp.
I guess I could defintely be described as a padcamp groupie having been to far too many of these events.
However unconferences are for me a way to recharge my creative energy. I think as teachers we get stuck in categories based on city and what year level we teach.There’s also, dear I say it, a bit of hireachy in terms of age and subject. It was disappointing that there weren’t any secondary teachers at padcamp however the presence of teachers from the early childhood sector defintely made up for it.
As all this new technology rushes into classroom, it is easy to get fixated on which brand to buy and what app to use when actually it is about how the tools are being used for learning.
What made padcamp so awesome was that the camp was focused on using the technology to make a difference in teaching and learning.
There was work around audio and I shared the different ways I’ve used video in my class. It’s funny because I didn’t realize how much I had used video until I pulled out videos of reading groups, flipped instruction, record student learning. In fact I hadn’t realised how much students using mobile video ensures that I can be in several places at once to capture thinking.
This week has been busy but has made me realise, yet again, how important social media is for learning. While I get awesome support at school and have a fabulous tutor teacher, I don’t think one institution alone should be my only source of guidance and inspiration.
I love the network of teachers that are already out there learning.