Cross Post: From Mosgiel to Mumbai – Twitter tours make connectivism MAGIC @coetail #coetail


One of the MAGICal moments of 2011 was meeting a MAGICal educator by the name of Anne Kenneally who lives in

Mosgiel, a small town in New Zealand.

I was feeling slightly out of my place as a student teacher attending an educamp for the first time. Anne was an experienced educator who had more zeal for learning the rest of cohort at university combined.

Over the the next two years Anne played a pivotal role in my development as a teacher.

She helped me build up a culture of reading in my classroom.

When I wanted to redesign the classroom into a modern learning space, she was the one who challenged me to get the kids on board.

Anne spearheaded a group of brave crazy teachers who teamed up to build milk bottle igloos in 2012.

And Anne is part of the reason I’m now sitting in a hotel room in Mumbai. When I met Anne was she was using her study leave she to tour classrooms of teachers around New Zealand who she had connected with on Twitter.

I thought it was a brilliant idea and over the past four years I’ve embarked upon my own Twitter tour. I’ve tacked on extra days to conferences and sometimes just rocked up to a city on holiday and put out a call on twitter to drop into people’s schools. My tour is now in its fourth year and I have racked up a few kilometers.

When Chinese New Year rolled up, I looked up flights spotted a cheap flight to Mumbai and figured why not drop on on @mumbaimaggie and the crew at the American School of Bombay.

I had never met Maggie in real life before but through following her on Twitter, I had a good idea that I would learn a great deal from the visit.

And I did.

In my visit I thought about: At ways to bring making into the PYP classroom. ASB had great spaces for making to happen and are integrating it into the curriculum.

Prototyping. I love the idea that schools have an R&D department. Rather than everyone doing the same thing let good ideas bubble up.

UOIs that run throughout the year rather than in discreet blocks.

Learning spaces, ASBs spaces have a lovely flow to them. As my own school opens up a new pod of classrooms, I’ll feedback the ideas I saw at ASB.

This visit really highlighted for me how connections are changing how, who, where and when we learn.

No longer should professional learning need take place at 3pm on a Monday. Some teachers might prefer the morning. Others a chunk of time at the weekend or after their kids have gone to bed. 

Professional learning should take place primarily in schools, but not necessarily your own school. I’m amazed that PYP workshops don’t include more observation of teaching and learning with real kids. Why not do the study of curruiclum documents online and use the workshops to view and reflect on real classrooms?

Find your tribe. I love my co-workers at my present school but they could never fulfill all my learning needs. Eductaors in my PLN have such diverse contexts that makes their perspectives more varied. My teaching becomes more effective through remixing ideas I see in different places. In his book Where good ideas come from, Steven Johnson argues that creative ideas come from diverse views bumping into each other to form new ideas. For our schools to be innovative, to draw on diverse experiences to create better learning for the kids in our classroom.

When we think of Siemens theory of connectivism it is almost thought of as being online connections. But I’m sure Anne would agree that online is good but face to face is MAGIC!

PS I’m in Japan March 21- April 2 and Hong Kong 1 May. Any COETAILers have classroom recommendations?

from Teaching the Teacher

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