A Retrospective #2

My Retrospective #2 is a reflection on my professional development.

Being prepared to take risks (just like we encourage our students to do) has been the highlight of my last two years.

Firstly I taught myself how blog using WordPress… I remember spending HOURS trying to figure out how to make links, insert an image, create a tag cloud, and more recently add a twitter widget, and insert a Prezi. I remember in 2013 when I first introduced LearningMYway into my classroom having two (target) students put their desks RIGHT beside me so we could learn together about Google Drive, Docs, calendar and other ‘cloud-based’ learning tools. It was a blast… these students, who were my more difficult-to-engage learners, were in heaven. They had their own Chromebook, were motivated to learn alongside me and help their peers once we had worked something out together!

This year I discovered Kidblog. It was fantastic to find a platform for the students to use for the same reason I was blogging…to share our learning and reflection. They have embraced it and many find it motivational to write for an audience other than myself. Educators around the world are finding blogging motivational also. This post Literature blogging is an example.

I joined Edmodo last year…the intention initially was to create an online platform for Literacy discussion among my colleagues. However, this failed to take off…not enough of my colleagues were using these online tools to make discussions happen…I ended up doing a lot of work but no one was visiting. However it has been terrific for my class as we use it for flipped learning tasks and other classroom activities such as the Global Read Aloud.

This year our staff have joined Google+ …the intention being to use this as a sharing platform for new learning/ideas. Some of us use it regularly and we have generated a couple of valuable conversations. However, I think the key to meaningful use of Google+ for us as a staff is to learn to write purposeful replies and comments…just like we teach the students to do on our connected blogs. Replying “this is cool” is not going to generate discussion. Replies and comments need to follow the structure we teach the kids … GREET, COMPLIMENT, CONNECT, QUESTION.

As I have twittered about many times…Twitter has been inspirational for me. I would recommend Twitter to ANY educator who has a drive to discuss and discover all things current in the teaching and learning world with others who are just as passionate. I have a wonderful PLN on Twitter and I have a goal to create a twitter-driven school culture so others learn the power of connecting.

Going Global has broken down walls that surround us in our classrooms and our living rooms. In the classroom I have been excited by Mystery Skype and mystery tweeting, connecting with 5 other classes around the world for the Global read Aloud, and learning about students in other cities and countries through blogging. Personally breaking down the walls has revealed a world of educators all striving for the same goal…to match what we teach and how we teach to today’s learners.

I completed the first paper towards my Post Graduate Diploma in Education (Teaching and Learning) in 2013. Advanced Studies in Motivation and Learning was the BEST learning I have ever done. Everything involved in this paper I could relate to myself, my colleagues, or my students. I learnt so much about how people learn and what motivates people to learn. One of the most valuable things I learnt about was self-determination theory and the motivation continuum. It helps me understand my learners better.

This year I am studying Foundations of Literacy Education. It has been valuable learning HOW children learn to read…with many students arriving at Intermediate with reading difficulties the understanding I have developed through this paper will enable me to better analyse difficulties and make plans for helping them. I intend writing a separate post on ‘Using the positive features of code-based and whole language approaches to provide differentiated instruction aimed at maximising the effectiveness of beginning literacy instruction and reducing the gap in literacy achievement.’ Watch this space!

Next year I have been granted 16 weeks Study Leave to complete my Diploma. I feel privileged to have the time to do this. I will be taking Facing Big Questions in Education and Enhancing Teacher Learning and Mentoring.

I have three main learning goals for the near future:

  • to implement SOLO taxonomy into my reflection programme

  • learn more about integrating Minecraft into the classroom

  • to investigate Google Classroom with the intention of using this in 2015 in place of Edmodo

 

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