Sunday, May 9, 2010

Pass it on

I was so excited when I switched on my computer this morning and fired up TweetDeck to see a DM from Edna saying that she's recommended my blog! I have been writing a personal blog for over a year now - ever since accepting a job in Switzerland - as I wanted to keep a record of what was happening in our lives and to share the experience with family and friends. However I've only been blogging to reflect on my teaching for about 6 months. I think at the time I started writing this blog it was more survival than anything else. Moving to a new school made me think deeper about a lot of things I had been doing for years. As my new school was a long way behind from an IT perspective, I've tried to find the right ways to suggest to teachers that they move out of their comfort zone and take on the teaching of some 21st century skills. As mentioned in an earlier post today, I needed to find the WHY of what I wanted to do, rather than just tell them the WHAT and the HOW. What started off as a collection of fairly random thoughts about teaching, has evolved into a celebration of students' inquiries, a way of reflecting for me and a way of looking forward to where I want us to go next. Writing straightens out my own thoughts - however I never thought that what I was writing about would be remotely interesting to others. From very small beginnings I have now found myself part of a community of learners. I write down my questionings and wonderings and I get fantastic feedback. I read about the amazing things that other educators are doing and it inspires me to do more too.

Today's recommendation is from Edna Sackson's What Ed Said blog. As she explains:
It’s part of an initiative called ‘Vale a pena ficar de olho nesse blog’, which means ‘It’s worth keeping an eye on this blog’. The recommended blogger copies the picture, with a link to the blog from which they received the award and recommends ten of their own favourite blogs.
As a way of encouraging teachers to use more IT, I have been running a series of Techie Breakies. So far we have looked at Twitter, Blogger, Google Reader and a variety of Web 2.0 tools that have been introduced to the students at our school this year. At the session where we were setting up our Google Reader accounts, teachers asked me for some recommendations as to which blogs they could include in their readers. These are the ones I recommended:

Kelly Tenkely's iLearnTechnology blog - Kelly was the person who really got me blogging by organising the iLearnTechnology blog alliance. As a result of joining the alliance I became part of a group of 74 educators - reading the blogs from this amazing group of teachers is often the highlight of my day! Thanks so much Kelly for all your hard work in setting this up and supporting us all. (For anyone else who is interested Kelly is starting a round 2 of the alliance - check out her post here.) I really like Kelly's blog and recommended this to our teachers because she not only introduces many new tools and resources, she also explains how these can be integrated into the classroom.

Another blog I always look forward to reading is Shelly Terrell's Teacher Reboot Camp. I first started reading this blog at the beginning of this year when she was writing the 30 Goals Challenge (now available in an E-book) which is truly inspirational. This blog also led me to the #edchat discussions that take place on Tuesday evenings (my time in Europe).

An educator that I met a number of times when in my last school is Kim Cofino, who worked at another school in Bangkok. Kim and I ran into each other a couple of times at conferences and at the Apple workshops in Bangkok. Kim's Always Learning blog prompts me to think deeper. I like Kim's perspectives on technology integration and am always interested to read about her international perspectives.

As I'm working in an IB school, I also try to read blogs by teachers who are teaching the different IB programmes (PYP, MYP and IB). Recently I've started following Jessica's Stars and Clouds blog where she reflects on her teaching of the PYP in Italy. I also follow Edna's What Ed Said blog from a PYP school in Australia. I always look forward to Edna's Toons, and I love how she uses the PZ Thinking Routines. The one MYP blog that I follow on a regular basis is Clint's Learning on the Job blog, especially the way he uses the IB Learner Profile.

Other blogs I always look forward to reading from the blogging alliance include the Bits and Pieces Place, Digital Tools for Teachers, Integrating Technology in the Primary Classroom and Bright Ideas which are always full of great resources and ideas for using them in the classroom.

Finally one of my favourite blogs is The Magic of Learning - Langwitches Blog. I'm lucky enough to have collaborated with Silvia's students on the Around the World with 80 Schools project and her blog posts are a real inspiration to me, encouraging me to seek new ways of connecting with schools worldwide.

I think one of the most important lessons I've learnt from the whole blogging experience is that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. By connecting with teachers around the world, the vast majority of whom I have never met or spoken to in person, I have become a better and more reflective teacher myself. Thanks everyone!

1 comment:

  1. Hi Maggie. I was catching up on some reading when I saw this post. Thanks for the support! And thanks for the suggestions of blogs to follow. I'll be adding a few to my reader.