Well, it’s been a week since ULearn and I have to say my head is still full to overflowing with ideas, inspiration, challenges…you name it. I have been to all sorts of conferences and various PD over the years, but I don’t know that I have ever felt as inspired as I have by ULearn 07 . Maybe I was just in the right headspace at the right time, or maybe there was more to it then that – who knows. All I know is that it was a thoroughly enjoyable experience and that it has really challenged me to think about the way I do things. Not necessarily to make sweeping changes, as some of what I heard only affirmed what I was already doing, more to make me think, be reflective, be critical about why and how I do things.
If nothing else, through following links and ideas I have gained through ULearn 07, I have connected with other like-minded NZ educators through their blogs and through Twitter . I’d never heard of Twitter before the conference, but in true “me” fashion, of course I had to go and find out what it was. A little addictive I must say, although it is neat to be able to share a thought when I have it, get feedback from others and give feedback on their thoughts as well.
I have started to put in a place a few little and doable things from ULearn , and already this first week back has been one of the smoothest of the year. The kids have been very busy, very engaged and the quality of thought and depth of discussion from my 8 and 9 year olds has been amazing.
I have begun the online PD for QuestAtlantis , which I was introduced to at ULearn . The great thing is that our AP and another member of staff are doing it as well. One of the things I really like about QuestAtlantis is that it contains the “academic rigour” mentioned by Tony Ryan , as well as being motivating and engaging for the children. They get to connect with other children across the globe as a feature of QuestAtlantis as well.
I am keen to start blogging with my class. I have been keeping a personal blog since April and of course have just begun this one. I have to be able to present it to school in a way that shows I am considering privacy and security for the children. This is important to me as well, what I am battling with is how to ensure my kiddies are kept safe, while allowing the opportunity for them to connect with that wider, possibly global, audience. I could make our blog password access only, but would this narrow the audience? It’s an interesting dilemma – thoughts anyone?
We got a new toy this week too – a projector, again I am now considering ways that I can use this within the classroom without it becoming simply a glorified OHP. We had a little play the other day and used it to view a video about reading created by a class in the USA, we also created a collaborative mind map using Inspiration.
My kids also found out that no; they hadn’t placed in the Net Guide Web Challenge . They were a little disappointed, but when I told them that there were almost 3000 entries they cheered up a little. I have to say the standard of the winning classes and teams were absolutely amazing – some of the best I’ve seen in the last 5 years. Congratulations to all the finalists – you have done a fantastic job.
Well, this post is really quite long so I’ll stop for now. I have more to dissect re ULearn ,but will do that as a separate post or two.