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Showing posts from January, 2015

Time to be ...

It never ceases to amaze the amount of quality professionals we have in education. I was speaking with a few friends of mine recently, in this group there was one who was previously a life-coach, another a former GM of a tech company, a qualified real-estate agent and a medical scientist. As the night went on we all began to talk about our journeys into education.  Through listening to their stories I discovered that many of us shared a similar burden, the desire to make a difference in the lives of children.

Discussions continued about how this desire often got lost due to the overcrowding of curriculum, external expectations and eventually we got to ourselves. When I say ourselves I mean we as teachers began to become less self disciplined in our personal routine, our attention was spread to wide and our ability to truthfully reflect was distorted.

This reality hit most of us from left field. We thought that we were doing okay but then we had realized that we were part of our own pr…

Being a Globally Connected Educator with a Globally Connected Classroom

As educators we live is such an exciting time to teach. With the onset of the Internet we have had the ability to embed and curate videosgamifyblog, have Minecraft in the classroomflip the learning, use QR Codes, access social media and potentially video conferencing some educators could see that it is too much; however, I see its potential to benefit students and enhance professional development for educators. 

There has been no time in history where access to information has been so immediate and available. The potential for teachers to connect and be supported in collaboration, not bound by schools, districts, states and even nations inspires me. I am acutely aware that being globally connected presents the ability to bring expertise, skill and knowledge into my classroom beyond my capabilities. 

The networks that I have help me to design activities that measure students’ higher-order thinking skills, problem-solving ability, capacity to locate, evaluate, and use information. T…

How to Create a Culture of Learning and Success?

This post has been inspired by a discussion that took place on 18/1/2015 on #Aussieed. The chat looked at the concept of the #notperfecthat Club with @jenanamorane @martysnowpaw and that each student is perfectly imperfect and that is okay.
As I was reflecting on my own education and experience as a student I realized that it wasn't until I reached university that I experienced a culture of learning and success in formal education.
Even though teaching has been something that I had wanted to do from some of my earliest years, schooling was not something that I enjoyed. I recently had coffee with one of my teachers and her comment was “… school didn’t serve you well as a learner, did it Brian! In those days we taught everyone the same and expected everyone to meet the standard within a given timeframe. Time for support was a luxury we didn't have.” As a student, I didn’t perform well. I was a learner who learnt outside of the norm and if I wasn't able to get things as quickly…

Innovation Through Reflection

Last week whilst catching up with a close friend of mine the question was posed “How have you become such an innovative educator?” This question took me by surprise, he is a well-known lawyer known for his ability in court to be incredibly pioneering and he was asking me for advice!
After taking the time to think about this I believe I found my answer. For me I feel that the key driver behind the innovative practices in my classroom was reflection. Looking at what I had previously done, analyzing this, making some minor adjustments and then trying it again.
This is something that in my previous career as a Gymnastic Coach I would always do with my athletes but until that moment I hadn’t made the connection to innovation.
An example form of my reflective processes was in the past I would write down how I felt a lesson went, what went well, areas that needed to change and how students interacted. For many years this worked; however, it didn’t give me much traction. So at the beginning of…

So what's so good about Minecraft?

As a primary teacher I was asked this question early in 2013. My response ashamedly was very naive and ill informed. At that time I had only seen it through the eyes of pop culture. Many of my students had been using it to the point of addiction and frustrating me with conversations about creepers, modes and worlds.
Thankfully after much research and experimentation my reaction to this same question is vastly different.
A bit of history on Minecraft – it is one of the original block building games created by Markus Persson @notch in 2010 then further developed by Jens Bergensten @jeb_ and the Mojang team. In 2014 Mojang was acquired by Microsoft.
A proven way I have been able to describe Minecraft is it is like a digital lego. Students are able to do many things, they are in control of the learning, they experiment, take risks and learn from their mistakes. The by product of this is their engagement and motivation level is high so disciple problems rarely surface. The basic edu version c…