Friday, 18 November 2011

Food for Educational geeks

Wednesday 16th November, 2011

Food for educational geeks

Summer, Jeannette, Malyn and Liam at #ravoties day one.

If you love learning and education as much as I do, you would have heard by now of Teachmeets and unconferences.  If not,  Click here for teachmeet and here for unconferences. These informal and highly effective means of PD (professional development ) work on the premise of achieving the ultimate good for our students. This is achieved by sharing new ideas/thoughts/tools/resources, networking and many educational discussions and endless support after the event (through twitter).

It is PD that keeps on giving.

The latest PD I engaged in last week was #ravoties at Ravenswood school for Girls, Gordon, Sydney Australia.

#ravoties is the hashtag used for the twitter backchannel from the 2 day workshop
Click here for more info


This was the inaugural event initiated and hosted ever so graciously by @edusum  (and Ravenswood). The first travelling inspired educators being the humble and fun duo @gcourosa and @courosa from Canada.  The Courosa brothers had presented at the #tlv11 conference the week prior at Brisbane (Teaching and learning with vision).  

If you don’t know the two lads follow these links:

George Couros  - Connected Principal + Division Principal of Innovative Teaching and Learning for Parkland School Division.
Alec Couros - Professor of educational technology & media at the Faculty of Education, University of Regina.

      George, Summer, Alec and Jeannette                                                              

I was privileged to be apart of this workshopping experience, catch up with my PLN (personal learning network) some of whom I have meet a few times now f2f (@liamdunphy, @edusum, @malynmawby@benpaddlejones) others at previous teachmeets, conferences, or staff development days (@wrightstufmusic, @gregwhitby) and others who I had not yet had the pleasure of meeting @lizarmenio  -thanks for the lamingtons, @whatedsaid, @gazzabrown, @silvanarossett1jonesytheteacher, @bronst@carolskyring and other cool dudes not on Twitter- as yet!

Ravenswood is a lovely school and on such a hot day (35'c) the airconditioned learning centre was most welcome!

DAY ONE:  Wednesday 9th November, 2011

The first day was run by @courosa and was titled:
Learning and Leading conversations with Dr Alec Couros  

Personalised learning environments to foster social media literacy, digital citizenship, and connected learning  

Both George and Alec also presented:
 Why school should be like a family restaurant 

As Alec presented he had Auto tweeting set up to direct us towards resourceful links.

Thoughts presented:
-developing a network takes time.  Be patient. Give as much as you take. Interact. Connect.

-the idea of participatory media. Skype, blogging, dropbox.
-have fun. Be positive. Stay positive. Keep on keeping on!
-people by nature like to be involved- so let them!
-Don't be hasty by putting learning into action straight after PD- think LONG TERM and build a network to assist this.
-visual literacy- we have a responsibility as educators to show background story. This is important- don't believe everything you see (and read). See Alec's slides.
-the use of Google apps to survey staff and students.
-need to move from "know what" to "know how".
-Use community- can be local or Global- Granny cloud info very cool! I have included this link to @steve_collis blog as I first heard of the concept thru NBCS.
-Uses of dropbox.  Two examples here:  the virtual choir and the johnny cash project ART
-rapport, rapport, rapport, rapport, rapport = good leadership. "No office days". Leaders should be out and about at least some of the time. Lunch AND learning time.
-Creating an environment (learning and physical) where kids are repeat customers. Willing to come to school. Teachers too!  Valuing teachers.

Some of the cool learning spaces at Ravenswood.
Alec presenting in the Learning space.
Me deep in concentration-spy cam by Summer!
Some cool tools:
Google apps for Education

If this then that  (IFTTT)
google forms (surveys, quizes)

Check this video out: An Open letter to Educators

I loved how Alex self corrected/edited his slideshow as he went along if there were mistakes or if someone suggested an idea.  I really believe strongly in doing this.  If our students see us willing to take risks and see how we rectify and manage mistakes, they too are more likely to give things a go. Also, students can see HOW things are done when we model this right in front of them.  Eg setting up google forms.  

It was a VERY hot day. WE enjoyed time together at the Greengate hotel- where Alec tried a slice of my pumpkin, rocket and pinenut pizza. He was intrigued by this combination. Canadians eat pumpkin in pie but not really as a roasted vege - or on Pizza!  :)


DAY TWO:  Thursday 10th November, 2011

Learning and Leading conversations 
Collaborate. Create. Learn. Creating Transformative Schools

with George Couros 

Thoughts presented:
-vision needs to be built together. Collaborate more within departments, within school, within community.
-what is full potential?  Do we limit kids with rubrics, set assessments about the same topic, via the same presentation? Why do we do this?
-Everyone in your school is your student!  Don't just watch out and say g'day to YOUR class. concept of EVERY student is your student. Say hello!  Talk to kids more. Mingle and connect with all kids.  Know students names AND use them.
-Feature the kids on walls instead of landscape pics and old principles. Not just about school but people IN the school RIGHT NOW.
-Value the kids so they feel sense of belonging and want to come back. Confident to learn.
-Work on staff relationships too.
-How often do schools ask teachers "what are your goals?" let me hear your voice. What is your sentence?
-kids live up to your expectations. What is the culture at your school?

Taken by @benpaddlejones titled "THE CONNECTED BROTHERS"
Cool resources/ideas:
-The Learning project
-connected principals
-Collaborative document for George's workshop

To gain greater insight into the day check out the backchannel:  (still going)
Here is a tweetdoc I put together from the Twitter backchannel (see for ideas, links to web tools etc)
tweetdoc number 1,  (#ravoties) and one Alec put together Tweetdoc 2

Jeannette James
Thanks   and Ravenswood for the last 2 days. An amazing opportunity. Now let's translate into action 
10th November, 2011

My sentence
Not only "I can do that" but "I will do that"

Other reflections of #ravoties
@whatedsaid blog post

I will sign off with this quote:
If not us, who? If not now, when? John F Kennedy

Keeping the conversation alive,

Jeannette James


  1. Thank you so much for sharing your learning :) I love that you shared some of your big ideas from both sessions so I can actually learn from what Alec did while I was in another room.

    I agree with you about changing your sessions as they go; nothing we do should ever be finite because learning is continuous. To be honest, I am still working on my stuff; why would I not tap into the brilliance of the room that I get to be a part of?

    It was great meeting you and I look forward to coming back soon. I would invite you to Canada but will wait until it stops snowing!!!!

    Thanks again :)


  2. No worries mate! Was brilliant to spend some time with you both. Your fun loving, down to earth nature was noticed by many. What a privilege the education world can learn and be inspired by people like you guys. You have been embraced globally through the wonderfully passionate and tireless commitment to educating our youth. Really is amazing!

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