WellyED Connects

In this series of blogposts, we’ll explore some of the other opportunities for you out there to connect with like-minded educators. Next up, edchatNZ, written by one of its moderators and conference organisers, Philippa Nicoll Antipas.

I’m hoping that many of you are already aware of edchatNZ and its fortnightly Twitter chats on Thursdays 8:30pm. After all, in many respects, edchatNZ is the parent organisation of WellyED. It was being connected nationally on this platform that sparked the desire to be connected locally as well, giving rise to WellyED over 18 months ago.

But did you know that there’s to be an edchatNZ conference in August?! Registrations are open now and tickets are a mere $30 – yes – $30!

In 2014, edchatNZ hosted its inaugural conference at Hobsonville Point Secondary School. It was spectacular. We pushed the boundaries by offering a low-cost, high-quality conference. With a registration fee of a mere $20, and over 300 participants, edchatNZ made its mark as a battle cry for the “lone nuts” of the world.

This year we’re back to do it again. This time, we’re setting the bar even higher with low-cost and high-quality as simply a given. We’ll be in Hamilton at the brand new Rototuna Junior High School in August for an eco-friendly event that disrupts conventional conference practice. Less sit and get, more think and do. Educators will find their tribe and be inspired to think deeper, inquire harder, and to challenge their assumptions.

If you’re unfamiliar with edchatNZ, let us say this by way of an introduction: Founded in 2012, edchatNZ is a unique community that has been primarily based online, using Twitter to connect New Zealand educators. It aims to build a collective of supportive, inspirational educators who collaborate and share for the good of the students in front of them – whoever and wherever they may be. And the community is flourishing: the fortnightly Twitter chats regularly trend on Twitter New Zealand.

edchatNZ’s aim is to empower New Zealand educators. We believe that quality  conversations are the key to a transformative conference experience. Therefore at the heart of the conference will be our “learning tribes”. Conference attendees will be grouped in tribes and guided by a tribe mentor. This will ensure that every single participant will have the opportunity to make personal connections and to be pushed in their thinking.

So, what are you waiting for? The conference will be an amazing experience, a learning challenge, and a chance to connect and collaborate. See you there!

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WellyED Connects

In this series of blogposts, we’ll explore some of the other opportunities for you out there to connect with like-minded educators. First up, Pond written by the lovely (and uber-connected) Leanne Stubbing.

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Sometimes you have to be the first to dive in. In a small pond you won’t find much and your ripple maybe me more of a splash or you may only just wet your toes. That is what it was like to be a Pioneer Educator in the Network for Learning (N4L) Pond. It was a completely new space to collaborate in and the temperature hadn’t quite reached bath tub for me.
 
Fast forward two years and that Pond is a bit bigger, a lot warmer and full of things to discover. I have rediscovered the Pond and I’m swimming around hoping others will join me.
 
So what is the Pond? The Pond is a professional space to share resources, lesson plans and ideas around teaching. The Pond is not Facebook, or Twitter, or like any other social media, which I’m pleased about. It is also only for New Zealand educators. The Pond is there to use as you choose so I am going to outline how I use it:
 
1) I have added the chrome extension for Pond onto my browser so whenever there is a news article or webpage that I think “aha! that would be good for <insert learning objective here>” I add it to the Pond and to one of my buckets.
 
2) I have set up some buckets within the Pond to collate resources in so I can find them easily myself and direct my colleagues to them too.
 
3) Users outside the Pond can use the Pond still as a search engine. I use a special hashtag on my buckets that I want my students to be able to find. They simply put in our class hashtag and the buckets pop up.
 
4) I search within the Pond and find stuff to add to my buckets.
 
I really like it because it makes my searching and collating purposeful. I can easily find things I’ve saved and alert others to it. My wish however would be for more educators to contribute to it. Why should we hold on to our precious lesson plans, web links and resources? To build a Community of Practice we must be willing to share.
 
So my challenge for you this week is to take a risk, dive in, the water’s good!
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Pizza and Pizzazz at Pukerua

Thank you to everyone who came along to Eduignite at Pukerua Bay School last week.  Despite the cold outside, the group was warm, enthusiastic, vocal and ready to spark!

A recap of talks:

  • Tara Taylor-Jorgensen got things going but reflecting on her leadership as Principal by using the principles of theatresports.
  • Tony Cairns compared good professional development (P.D) to not so good P.D (Periodic Detention) and summed up his experiences.
  • Urs Cunningham is challenging binary thinking, yes it can be this AND that!
  • Vaughan shared with us his “Lead the Dream” project to bring teachers together.
  • Jolene Butson showed us how she teaches Financial Literacy to her students by utilising the Banqer app to create a classroom currency.
  • Andrew Wooster introduced us to the joys of fishing (even taking time at the end of his talk to show us his favourite lures) and linked this to how we learn from others that inspire us and how they hook us in.
  • Paula Hay was able to give us her highlights of the recent EdTechAU conference she just got back from. Reflecting that we are doing some awesome stuff here in NZ that we should be proud of.
  • Rachel Bolstad and Dan Milward have created and developed Curriculum for the Future, a game that gets people discussing the future of education. They went through the process of how they conceptualised and iterated their game to it’s current form.
  • Matt Johnston got a couple of (larger than expected) truckloads of pallets delivered to the school grounds for some lunchtime making which turned into a large hands on building project that expanded to students designing furniture for a MLE.
  • Leanne Stubbing has been changing the culture of her maths classroom, moving from competition to collaboration, and seeing huge changes in the way that students engage with maths.

Huge thanks also to our sponsor Papa Rossi’s in Paraparaumu for the delicious pizzas that fed our tums while we fed our minds.

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EduIgnite Term 2

This term’s EduIgnite evening is being hosted at Pukerua Bay School on Thursday 2nd of June.
For those who have never been to an EduIgnite evening before it is a great chance to hear what other teachers are up to to in their classrooms and what ideas they may be pondering. Each presenter has 20 slides which auto-advance every 15 secs allowing for a succinct 5 minute “buzz” of an idea. That means you get to hear from a range of people across a range of ideas.
The first time you come to this event there is no pressure to present. Just come and absorb the goodness. The idea is that next time you will bring a friend or present your own ideas, contributing back into your professional network.
As with all our good events this one is FREE. Join us for drinks and nibbles from 6pm for a starting time of 6.30pm. Sign up here.
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Dream School Dreaming

Inspired by the EDBlogNZ March challenge, we’d like to invite you to dream with us…

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Educampwelly 2016: Play, Innovate, Transform

Ma te tokomaha ka ka te ahi

(By the hands of many the fire will be kept burning)

On Saturday, 27 February, WellyED held its second annual educamp. This is an ‘unconference’ style event – a truly democratic professional learning experience whereby the people in the room on the day determine the sessions, which are discussion-based, rather than being led by a ‘talking head’ at the front of the room.

What WellyED offered educators was a fire place, somewhere to come together to spark a light, to stoke up the embers, and to keep those brushfires of innovation alight. We were very proud to see a good mix of primary and secondary teachers, as well as educational researchers, educational friends, and overseas educators present. A dynamic mix leads to rich and robust conversations.

IMG_0374We wanted to encourage playing with ideas, to suggest educational innovations, so that we might transform practice for the betterment of Kiwi kids. We aimed to set the scene for all of this right from the get go with our “pimp yo’ name tag” station in the registration room.

We also had a Makerspace running the whole day, offering parallel sessions. There were student learners working in the space too, working in Scratch, nutting out game designs, and generally tinkering and having fun.

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The Smackdown set the tone for the day, with its quick-fire approach to ideas, tips and tricks. A number of sessions directly arose from what was showcased in the Smackdown. You can see the slides here, and they are also embedded on the educampwelly page.

From a tsunami of post-it notes, the sessions were timetabled. The themes of playing, innovating and transforming were clearly reflected in how the day shaped up.

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Everything from playing with ideas (design thinking and the very popular Socratic Smackdown), to discussing learning through play, to wondering about how we might transform education and innovate our practice by considering curriculum integration, or (and?) game design, was on offer.

Here’s Becka Nathan leading the way in one of the Socratic Smackdown sessions:

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But, most of all, it’s just heart-warming to see over 80 educators dedicated, professional and curious enough to be prepared to offer up much of a Saturday to their own learning. Thank you to you all. Thank you to the organisers. Thank you to the sponsors.

See you all again next year!

(But stay tuned for our next event, an EduIgnite at Pukerua Bay School on 12 May.)

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A number of amazing, dedicated bloggers have written about their experiences at educampwelly already. So, in case you don’t believe us about how fabulous it was, check out their first-hand experiences…

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Educampwelly: the Justin Bieber of PL

In this blogpost, Wellington teacher Debra Burson encourages us to rock along to educampwelly.

Educamppalmy what can I say?

Initially I was skeptical. Surely if you put 100 plus control freaks in a room it’s going to go pear-shaped, but I stand corrected.

Everyone was incredibly open, warm and fun. There were no annoying icebreakers and the content was practical and relevant, by educators for educators. It is by far and away the best and most entertaining PD I did in 2015. I loved the networking, the chats, the support, the bouncing of ideas and the collaboration. It is to teaching what Justin Bieber is to music in 2016, happening and ace.

Come to the Welly Ed one and bring high expectations that you will gain more from it than you expect.

Convinced? Register here. More information about educampwelly is available here.

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