Tag Archive | TeachMeet

Glow Blogs and ePortfolios?

聽At the beginning of this school session, I set up Glow Blogs for my class and wondered if they could form part of an ePortfolio. Our Glow Blogs聽have been up and running for less than four weeks, so they’re a wee bit away from being ePortfolios yet 馃檪

I talked a bit about them during聽 TeachMeet at this years Scottish Learning Festival聽last night, and today I’ve been pondering how the (9/10 year old) children have been ‘settling in’ and getting to know their new online spaces. Tonight I took a quick whirlwind tour of the blogs so that I could get some sort of overview of what’s happened so far.

聽These are just some of the significant learning experiences to date:

Establishing the Purpose (a couple of first posts – setting the scene for their blogs?)

  • Hi people of earth. This is my first ever blog entry. I am going to use this blog to tell you all about what I do inside and out of school. Please comment!!!
  • Hello mighty world ( that鈥檚 full of random people watching me on my blog ). Watch and see what happen鈥檚 because im full of good ideas.

Learning about Copyright (a difficult concept, but lots of class discussion about it seems to have paid off)

  • I got all this information out my book Horrible Histories The Savage Stone Age but put it in my own words.
  • My friend Kian sits beside me at class.I am going to tell you some of his ideas.WARNING:The fowlowing section of writing is COPYRIGHT as it is Kians.
  • Earlier today Anna+Robyn used the DJ Earworm song Like OMG Baby. So i just went to DJ earworms site and lokked and looked and looked but nothing so i commented and asked if we could use it with all music credit going to him but he need鈥檚 to E-mail back so im waiting!!!

Becoming Familiar with聽Blog Layout (wondering what happened to the post he’d written just previously?)

  • My first AR reading book was by David Orme …. Look up to see the 2nd book I read.And by up I mean on the compuuter not the roof or sky!

Awareness of Audience聽(asking for comments – or just ‘talking’ to a perceived audience)

  • So far I have had LOADS of comments on my blog! I would like to thank all the people who left comments. If you see a post and you think of something that describes it or something to improve it don鈥檛 hesitate to comment
  • I dont have alot of comments so plz plz plz plz plz plz plz plz plz plz plz plz plz plz plz plz plz plz plz plz plz plz plz plz plz plz plz plz plz plz plz plz plz plz plz plz plz plz plz plz plz plz plz plz plz plz leave comments
  • Okay we did max in the middle today but i cant tell you about it because it鈥檚 Alisdairs turn on the computer so ill update you laterz!!! BTW Alisdair is my little brother

Blog as Vehicle for Communicating聽 Difficult Thoughts (Lewis doesn’t usually share information in class and mentioned quietly that he wanted this post to be shared with his peers)

  • I have a gran called Ann and she was in strathcarron hospice with cancer and she had alot of medicine. She was in strathcarron hospice for four weeks but at the weekend she died on saturday night. Her funeral is on thursday and I was sad when she died and I am going to miss her very much.

I’ve included my Prezi presentation from last night here …. thanks to Fearghal for his help with the setting up (I nearly mucked up!). Thanks, too, to all the other ‘behind the scenes’ people who made it …. despite my stressful state …the best TeachMeet experience for me so far. I came away with loads of ideas to investigate further.

Chartered Teacher CPD

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote the first聽entry of a ‘two part’ post about a great weekend of CPD activities聽and I’ve finally managed to get around to writing part two (how time flies!).

The second CPD opportunity came about after I read that the Association of Chartered Teachers Scotland (ACTS) were having a buffet lunch in Aberdeen. I took advantage of some bargain rail fares and an even better accommodation bargain聽and set off聽early on the Friday afternoon (JV had left in the morning to do some sightseeing). Although I’m a member of ACTS, I’m not on the committee, but everyone who attended the lunch was invited to stay on for the open meeting. The committee members are to be commended for the hard work they do to help the association thrive. Dorothyand David – and a whole host of others regularly give up their free time to attend these meetings so that the ACTS vision can be realised.

I’ve copied the Vision and Aims statement from the ACTS blog:

VISION
To facilitate and encourage communication and collaboration within a community of Chartered Teachers

AIMS
路 To support the community of Chartered Teachers in all its forms
to encourage communication and collaboration between Chartered Teachers
to encourage the provision of appropriate level CPD opportunities for Chartered Teachers
to develop awareness of the professional identity of Chartered Teachers
to make representation on issues affecting those in the Association of Chartered Teachers.

I’m proud of my Chartered聽Teacher status, and I explained my reason for embarking on the C T journey in a previous post. But what can I do, as a fully qualified Chartered Teacher聽聽to realise these aims? Well – a few of us CTs聽in Falkirk聽got together and we’ve come up with some ideas:

This CPD oppportunity is being organised/run by a few of us who have achieved the status.

We’re all going to tell of our experiences since gaining full Chartered Teacher status –聽and all have very different stories to tell! It won’t be a passive experience for those attending, though, and we’ve聽planned聽to make the event as collaborative as possible in the short time available.

This CPD opportunity is for those teachers who are contemplating the journey.

Again, all the presenters have very聽individual stories to tell. I think that’s the message we want to give – it’s a very personal journey and there’s no ‘one size fits all’ element – so lots of discussion during that event as well 馃檪

Beginning on Monday 27th September, Falkirk is holding a week long ‘Learning to Achieve’ festival.

Various events will be held all over the Falkirk area to celebrate learning and Teaching, and on the Thursday of that week there will be a TeachMeet in Carronshore primary School from 4-6pm. The group of Chartered teachers who organised the above CPD activities thought it would be a great idea to hold a Chartered TeachMeet in the same venue between 6.30 and 8pm. I should add that the requests to hold both the TeachMeets came from Falkirk staff who have never actually attended one, but had heard of the concept through the grapevine and thought it sounded like a great idea.

David Noble has agreed to chair the event, and Dorothy Coe has already signed up to give a 7 minute presentation (I’ll add my name soon – and聽will try my best to persuade some others here to do the same!)

  • Finally…….

Writing this blog post has helped me realise that I’m going to be busy when聽I return to class teaching in August! 馃檪

A Successful Falkirk TeachMeet!

聽I think we all had a great time at the first Falkirk TeachMeet聽– I know I did, anyway!

It was great to see it all coming together as people worked very hard behind the scenes to make sure that everything was just as it should be. KatieJohnCassieRichPeter聽were all beavering about two hours before ‘kick off’. A mention needs to be given to the staff at Carronvale House, Larbert聽. The venue was great and we couldn’t fault the service and value for money 馃檪

There’s loads of other people to thank, too.聽John聽deserves a special聽mention for doing a brilliant job as M.C.聽The presenters were all great – and聽Con聽had us laughing in the聽aisles as he entertained us with his singing during his talk on how twitter is a great tool for CPD 馃檪

A great big thank you again, too,聽to all our sponsors ……..聽聽 and the loan of the Smart Board from Steljes was just brilliant!

Unfortunately I didn’t get round to timing my presentation (and probably blethered聽some unnecessary nonsense as well)聽 so聽I only told half of the ePortfolio story that I’ve been working on with聽a small group of P6 children recently.

I suppose that making a 7 minute presentation requires similar skills as the art of 聽summarising what you want to say on twitter? I still struggle to join in with twitter converstations because聽I聽usually fail miserably to聽get points over in just 140 characters.

Here’s the gist of my presentation from TeachMeet Falkirk. It’s followed by some snapshots of the children’s ePortfolios …. and an explanation from one of them as to what聽he perceives an eportfolio to be about.

View more presentations from carronshore.

Play the presentation below to hear the Primary 6 perspective ………. ePortfolios in Plain English?

Falkirk TeachMeet Update – Take 2

At the time of publishing this post, there’s only just over聽1 week聽remaining until the first Falkirk TeachMeet! This is a follow-up to the聽previous post I wrote about what has been involved in the organisation of the event. A few of us are meeting up at the venue this Thursday to have a think about practical issues such as plug point locations and seating arrangements and general agenda issues.

Thankfully, others had stepped in聽almost as soon as the wiki had been set up with offers of help:

Sinclair Mackenzie聽聽聽organised a Flashmeeting and posted on the wiki that聽an edit will be made available for replay immediately after the event. So far 8 people from far-flung areas of Scotland聽– and at least one other from the other side of the world – are going to be able聽to聽take part聽during the event – and many others will be able to easily access it later via the replay.

On the evening, the Flashmeeting will be run by David Noble

Katie Barrowmanhas organised a Glow Meet聽– I’m not sure if that’s the first time that this has happened during a TeachMeet event?

Because of all this聽technical stuff going on, I was asked to find out things. I popped along to the venue and here’s what they told me:

  • wired or wireless – RJ45 connection
  • Broadband
  • no firewalls or restrictions
  • no proxy settings
  • venue will provide a password for wifi
  • download speed is 2264 kbps, upload is 320 kbps
  • I think it all means that the flashmeeting and the Glow meet can go ahead?

    Fingers crossed 馃檪

    But there were other decisions to make about our first Falkirk Teachmeet. For example, John Connell questioned the insistence that all presentations should be based firmly in classroom practice in this excellent blog post.聽Before reading this, I hadn’t actually thought聽too much about the聽rules and regulations involved when organising a local TeachMeet event. It was comforting to be able to call on the other helpers so that we could make collective decisions. We felt that we had to make our own rules to suit our unique circumstances. The majority of the Falkirk Teachmeet attendees are new to the concept and only heard of it via an email that聽I had permission to send out to all schools and various groups.

    We decided to change the three of the normal rules:

    • 聽Those who wanted to attend the TeachMeet聽after reading about it in the email were asked to simply聽reply聽and I added聽their names to the wiki. We didn’t want them to聽feel they had to聽sign up聽directly to the wiki, in case聽they saw as it as a barrier to attending if they were not familiar with editing online spaces.

    • When we noticed that some of the ‘new to Teachmeet’ attendees were signing up to give 7 or 2 minute presentations, we decided to limit the number of presenters. It’s great to see that these new people聽are volunteering to聽share their stories of what they’re doing in class and it didn’t seem right that they might leave their first聽TeachMeet without having had the opportunity to present.

    • The third decision聽was to bend the聽presentation rule that states, “everything must be happening in a classroom now“. This rule appears on the TeachMeet wiki in the organise your own section and the page was last edited by Ewan McIntosh (one year ago according to the wiki history tab?).聽The rule聽appears to have been聽interpreted聽to mean that聽‘YOUR TALK MUST BE ABOUT EXPERIENCES OF WORK IN CLASSROOMS.’ … well, that’s what was copied and pasted by someone on to the Falkirk TeachMeet page and very recently on to聽the new聽East Lothian page. On the face of it, therefore, it聽seems quite controvertial to allow people who are not currently in class to talk ……. and to talk about about things that are not actually happening right now. But in our defence, the decision was made by something聽Ewan said when he commented on John Connell’s post mentioned earlier:

    “…….Perhaps what鈥檚 required additionally to the realists鈥 innovations of TeachMeet is that equally essential headspace to think what would happen if? Let鈥檚 call it DreamMeet. You must talk about things that are not happening in classrooms We could have some fun reversing some of the TeachMeet constraints, and it would give me an excuse to put my head back around this particular unconference鈥檚 door!”

    So – I hope that what we manage to do聽with Falkirk Teachmeet ’09聽is to have聽a mixture of things that are happening in real classrooms right now …. and聽a bit of that ‘DreamMeet’ proposition thrown in for good measure:-)

    Falkirk TeachMeet Update

    tmfalkirk

    It’s now 2 months since I wrote a post about how I was ‘toying’ with the idea of arranging a TeachMeet event here in Falkirk – and a lot has happened in that short time. In a couple of weeks, almost 60 people will come along to Carronvale House聽to take part, and many teachers聽from Falkirk聽will have their first experience of this new聽style of CPD (some of them have also volunteered to share teaching experiences with others in a 7 minute presentation).

    I’ve been reading on twitter聽that others have also聽been contemplating organising a local TeachMeet, and some have asked me about the聽practicalities聽of聽planning such an聽event.聽聽This post is a summary of how聽the聽initial聽idea developed.

    When I mentioned the possibility of having a TeachMeet in Falkirk, Cassie Law聽was very keen. She’d already attended the TM Student edition (where she gave a 7 minute talk) and was sold on the whole idea. Later, we mentioned it to another Falkirk teacher, Richard Olyott聽– so then there were three 馃檪

    Soon after that, a colleague at work suggested that the idea might be of interest to the primary ICT co-ordinators. We meet with the representatives from each primary school here聽three times a year. Initially, I was a bit concerened that they’d think that the notion was a bit bizarre … teachers giving up their own free time to attend聽a CPD event that had been organised by other classroom teachers. I came up with the idea, however, of introducing them to two great free online tools that聽I suspected they would find useful in their classroom practice at the same time – that way, if TeachMeet wasn’t for them, they’d have gotten something out of the short presentation. The two tools were Prezi.com and the great random name picker tool (traditionally used at all TeachMeets) – both did in fact prove to be a success as they went down a treat 馃檪

    The Prezi I made to introduce the TM concept is included below:

    聽At that time, there was no date set for a TeachMeet event in Falkirk.聽At the Scottish Learning Festival TM in September the three Falkirk ‘pioneers’ met Nick Tait and Peter Graham, two other interested Falkirk teachers. During an interval the participants were asked to make a promise to do something as a result of having attended that TM. We publically announced on twitter聽聽that the Falkirk event would go ahead聽on the evening of聽one of our November in-service days. The following day, Nick Tait posted the details on the TeachMeet wiki聽and the challenge was issued – there was no going back!

    After that, we spent a couple of evenings discussing things on Twitter and decided that the best thing would be to meet up again in person.聽One of the聽items on the agenda聽was a聽possible venue -and finding the ideal place was proving to be the biggest challenge.聽Just before聽our October break, however,聽I telephoned Carronvale House in Larbert, a venue that Falkirk Council have used in the past for their annual ICT Fair. On paper, it appeared to ‘tick all the boxes’. It’s about a 10 minute walk from a train station where trains arrive directly from Stirling, Glasgow and Edinburgh (some people from Glasgow had already signed up on the wiki and had requested that the venue be close to a train station),聽is minutes drive from the motorway, has聽wireless and wired internet connection, charges half price for evening hire,聽provides food, has a ‘bring your own bottle’ policy (and even supplies the glasses).

    One of their rooms was聽available for hire聽that evening, so after consulting the others via email, we decided to just go for it and book it there and then聽…. 聽and worry about paying for it afterwards 馃檪

    During the October break, I聽emailed聽Anne from聽Steljes聽and asked if there was any chance of sponsorship, and on the same day that she got back to me, Con Morris from the National CPD Team got in touch via twitter to say that they were also going to provide sponsorship. Ross, Louise聽and John聽have agreed to support the event as well.

    Ben聽was聽聽interested in attending a TeachMeet event after hearing about the notion via a conversation with Tom Barrett聽. I聽discovered this after reading this聽twitter post by David Noble:

    TM Parslad

    David’s reference to the fact that some of the people originally involved in getting TeachMeets going would be attending the Falkirk event motivated me to ask聽聽John Johnston聽to chair the Falkirk聽TM and I’m ‘mega pleased’ that he has agreed to do this. It’s also great that my line manager聽supports the event and gave permission for me to聽contact all Falkirk schools聽via email.

    It’s been quite a journey organising the first Falkirk TeachMeet and聽this post has only told half the story –聽 I’ll publish now and save the rest for Falkirk TeachMeet Update – take two 馃檪

    ePortfolios Revisited

    A month or so ago, I wrote a post entitled ePortfolios in the Upper Primary Classroom?聽I’m now聽聽investigating using the concept with upper primary stage children in Carronshore Primary School.聽聽The children are Primary 6 stage and last session they were given their own wiki space聽which they used to record some things they’d been learning in class. I want to carry out a wee bit of research to see if it’s possible to use the same type of wiki聽to create an ePortfilio.

    Before I meet with the children, I need to decide on the purpose for the ePortfolios, and what sort of template design would be appropriate. I’ve already聽decided to use the basic PBworks academic workspace with the children because they are familiar with the layout so don’t need instruction on how to use it. The children are also familiar with a number of free online tools and how to embed these in to a wiki. As I’m not based in the school at the moment, I think it’s important that a teacher there is involved in the project. The class teacher isn’t familiar with using any type of online spaces, but Evelyn W, who is currently teaching art in the school has just begun to look after the Carronshore Blog, and is keen to be part of the ‘experiment’.

    Before deciding on the structure of the ePortfolios, I’ve done a bit of background reading (again) and come up with some ground rules for myself. These ideas are taken from a variety of sources and are not listed in order of importance:

    • The first page should contain an overview of the eportfolio and provide an explanation of the overall goals.
    • Reflection should be the ‘heart and soul’ of the ePortfolio
    • Be wary of聽 learners聽focussing to much聽on technology skills, thereby puting less emphasis on the content
    • Guidelines as to what is to be included聽shouldn’t be too prescriptive
    • The children should feel they have ownership of the ePortfolio
    • There should be a structure in place, but this should allow freedom for creativity
    • The learning takes place in the constructing of the ePortfolio, rather than in the end product
    • Children need to be introduced to the concept and given clear reasons for constructing an ePortfolio
    • Children should be given regular and useful feedback on their reflections

    I also聽think it would be beneficial for me to聽revisit my own experience of using online spaces with upper primary stage children. These spaces were not ePortfolios – but I think that parallels can be drawn. 聽At the time,聽background reading helped me to gain a clearer insight聽and the thoughts that follow have been influenced by;聽Buckingham, Stern, Lafferty, Green and Hannon – and others………….. that’s the disclaimer bit聽(I’ll not refer to them individually here).

    Every primary 7 pupil聽was given the opportunity to personalise their聽individual blogs. The children聽chose their own theme and created avatars. This helped聽them to gain a sense of ownership of their on-line spaces聽– they were allowed to play and experiment with them.聽 They were, in fact,聽testing聽out different versions of聽current and possible聽identities Up until then, the聽main audience for their online spaces was themselves, but they were also聽eager for peer approval during that stage.

    So –聽when setting up the ePortfolios for the primary 6 children, Time will need to be given so that the children can customise their wikis. There won’t be as many themes to choose from, but they will be able to use various online tools to help them establish ‘ownership’. For example, activities such as making vokisand designing weemee characters might be useful here.

    聽Once their new online spaces were ‘designed and furnished’, the children were free to choose the content of their blog posts and wiki writing. The informal learning that took place happened primarily by means of experimentation rather than by following external instructions and directions.

    Although, the ePortfolios will be more structured than the blogs and wikis were, the children will be involved in the planning stage so that they can have a say as to what that structure should look like, and as to what sort of content should be included.聽

    聽 Guidance was聽given聽by providing a sense of online audience by submitting comments on the children’s posts regularly. Offline, new interesting posts were shared with the children. This had the effect of influencing the others to add to their own blogs – often on a similar subject. They acted as role-models for each other. The children were asked if sharing their online writing in this way helped聽them to get to know each other better:

    • “In our blogs, we’re allowed to write about what we聽聽want to write about, so we’ve got to know each other better”
    • “Some people in class don’t talk very much, but I can read their blogs and find out more”
    • “I feel as though I know my friends even more now because of what they write on their blogs”
    • “I like when we read the stories that people in our class have written on their wikis, and how good they are”
    • You get to know what peoples thoughts and dreams are through their stories on their wikis”

    By adopting a similar approach, I hope that it will provide opportunities for聽reflection and self-assessment …聽聽key ingredients聽for聽building聽successful ePortfolios. I also hope that this sense of audience will increase motivation.

    I suppose that an important difference between the blogs and wikis that聽I’ve used with children in the past and the ePortfolios that we’ll set up soon, is the clearer聽motive for creating them. This聽 will be discussed at the outset. Goals will be set initially to help establish聽a sense of purpose.

    tmfalkirk

    I hope to have my first meeting with the children next week and when I get the ePortfolios up and running, I’ll give a wee update as to how things are going at the TeachMeet Falkirk event next month!

    TeachMeet Beginnings … in Falkirk?

    teachmeet  blog

    I was asked casually recently if I would consider organising a teachmeet event here in Falkirk. I’ve attended four different teachmeet type events – the聽first聽one was聽in 2007. I must have heard聽about it via someone’s blog at the time. When I signed up to go along and be part of the event, I recognised 3 or 4 names on the list聽聽 .. but when I look at that same聽list now, at least 40 of the names are known to me – how my learning network has grown!! Since then, I’ve attended TeachMeet08聽SLF2008, TeachMeetSE09聽and LeadMeet09聽….. and I’ve also signed up for TeachmeetSLF09. It’s evident聽from the wiki activity that the TeachMeet concept is extremely popular in the聽UK, and further afield聽but I wasn’t sure where TeachMeet originated from.

    Organising one here in Falkirk seemed very daunting but it soon became clear that at least a few others might be willing to become ‘co-organisers’. Cassie, Rich and聽Scott聽seem ‘up for it’, but how do we spread the message to others in the authority? Over the next two weeks, however,聽I’ll be in contact with the ICT co-ordinators聽from each primary school and it seems like a good opportunity to introduce them to the idea. Teachers from schools in each cluster come along for a half day to hear about ‘what’s new in ICT in our authority’ and I have a short slot to talk about a possible Falkirk TeachMeet and get some feedback from them – but where to begin? It seems to me that I need to tell them the whole story in order to ‘sell the idea’. I considered sharing聽the rules, etc.聽but the gaps in my聽knowledge about about the origin of how TeachMeet started聽led me to ask my twitter network and, as usual,聽helpful replies began flooding in. Thanks to Nick, Ian, Rob, Ewan, David, another David聽and Andy聽( apologies if I’ve forgotten to mention anyone who replied)

    So here’s the聽story …. as I understand it.

    The story of TeachMeet begins in May 2006. Ian S wrote a blog聽post about how much he regretted not having been there. He said 聽…

    聽“In 2006 I missed an opportunity. Its not often I look back and 鈥業 wish I had done that鈥 but this was definitely one of them.”

    I can understand why Ian was sorry that he didn’t accept the invitation to attend. According to the ScotEduBlogMeetup wiki聽it was a great success. This is a quote from the wiki:

    聽“What a night!聽聽 We had a great and productive night and the wifi worked! “

    Andrew Brown also mentioned the impact that ‘meetup’ had on him in this blog post.

    He wrote:

    Last year I went through for both eLive06 and TeachMeet06, which were brilliant. It was a great opportunity to meet up with people that I had been reading online for some time, and put faces, personalities and perhaps most importantly contacts to the words and pictures streaming in to my aggregator. About a dozen people, some of whom I had met before, but a great opportunity. I came home on the train the next day very positive and enthusiastic about the future of developing community around the country/world in using technology in education.”

    聽聽聽聽David Muir teachmeet 1 mediumprovided a link on twitter to聽a photograph taken on the evening in the Jolly Judge in Edinburgh. He mentioned that聽it was taken聽 …… “before we invented the name“.

    So when did the term ‘TeachMeet’ first appear? How did it evolve from the May 2006聽ScotEduBlogMeetup …… to newtechmeet…. to the TeachMeet name (and home) we know today?

    Well …… 聽I’ve found this great discussion of how the name TeachMeet was coined and I think I can trace the ‘invention’ of the name back to David Muir’s contribution to the wiki. David wrote an entry on the discussion area.

    He had this to say:

    ”聽I posted a whole pile of suggestions – mostly for my own amusement rather than as serious suggestions. I like the sound of ScotEduSlam but I think it falls down on the “does what it says on the tin” criteria. The other one I like is TeachMeet. I saw that Ewan called this page “newtechmeet” and remembered that a wise man once said, “It’s not the tech, it’s the teach!”聽 So I came up with TeachMeet… which almost rhymes.”

    So there it is聽–聽 the name ‘TeachMeet‘ was ‘born’ 馃檪 …. but I still need to find聽the answer聽to another twitter question I posed:

    How did [TeachMeet] grow so big so quickly?”

    The twitter responses all point to one source:

    • “How did [TeachMeet] grow so big so quickly?” My guess would be that it was thanks to @ewanmcintosh
    • @ewanmcintosh was the real driving force behind teachmeet but it was also an idea whose time had come!
    • @ewanmcintosh For which we are eternally grateful!
    • TeachMeet came out of many conversations and frustration with establishment. Sleepless nights & 拢s from me 馃槈

    The last entry here came from Ewan McIntosh聽and I’m pleased that he worked so hard to help TeachMeet grow ‘so big so quickly’聽 ……… and there might even be聽one in聽Falkirk聽 at some point to add to the ‘TeachMeet portfolio’ 馃檪