Monday, September 15, 2014

Why I like Twitter.

I recently tried a google hangouts and was pretty impressed with what it offers. High quality video and sound. It all worked well.
Six of us joined an open agenda session, as it was the first time many of us had been on a hangout session. Thanks to Paul Sibson who organised this and it was great to make some new connections with other leaders from around NZ.
We got talking, as people do. It was difficult at times with people jumping in with ideas and if there was any lag, then it made things tricky. We all tried to be polite and take turns. This isn't necessary on Twitter. You can put "stuff" out there whenever, no manners necessary. It also makes me chose my words wisely. (Curse those 140 characters!) It also provides a record of a conversation.

I can see myself using hangouts from time to time. I'm even dabbling in goolge+. Not too sure about this at the moment - seems very "facebook like" and I'm trying to stay in touch with all the social media, but don't want to spread myself thinly. I guess it's a case of different tools for different purposes, but at the moment, I'm loving Twitter.

Personalising learning...for teachers.

I've been thinking about how to better meet individual teacher needs. I don't want to take a "drenching" approach any longer. It's almost insulting that all teachers have to sit through a staff meeting to hear the same messages, regardless of their skill level or own learning needs.

So, now that that's been decided, what now?

A new system has evolved. What we want to try is having "workshops" for lack of better term at this stage. Teachers would indicate in Term 4 of this year their learning needs and interests. This would then go through a prioritising process. Teachers would have 10 votes to use, no more than 4 per round, to show what they consider to be the most important, then we'd see what makes the top few list.
It would then be up to interested staff to develop their own professional learning, with 1 staff member taking responsibility to act as coordinator/leader.
Fixed items stay on the plan when it is compulsory for all staff to attend-these meetings are needed for whole staff decision making, such as prize giving later in the year. All the other sessions (currently blank) are optional. The time set aside, from 3.15-4.15pm each week might be termed professional learning time - a set time each week dedicated to just that. You can either attend a workshop, or two, or do you own professional learning.

What about the staff member who attends none? By voting in the prioritising exercise they're likely to have self-selected something anyway.
We hope that this addresses individual learning needs better, that staff who do come along to the workshops are their out of choice and therefore wanting this professional learning opportunity and being active rather than passive in their own professional learning.

Do you have thoughts on this? I'd be interested to hear from you.

Is school just preparation for life?