I’ve had an awesome few weeks!
I should be confessing to having spent a wondrous time sleeping in late, smelling the roses and catching up with friends and family over a coffee during my three week school vacation, but little time has been spent in those pursuits.
Instead, I spent the first week of my vacation attending, presenting and then ‘processing’ all that I heard, experienced and learned at the schoolstechOz Conference (some really great stuff), then in the second week of my vacation, enjoying the mind blowing journey that the folk at Youth Literature – State Library Victoria have led participants through in their first time offered Shift Alt Story: an introduction to digital storytelling and then finally, this last week of my vacation, preparing four different presentations for the upcoming Pearson National Learning and Teaching Conference to be held in Brisbane in early November.
While I’m exhausted – and look forward to returning to work next week to finally have a ‘rest’ – I feel re-charged and re-energized by everything that I’ve learned and explored. Learning has that kind of impact – doesn’t it!?
One of the highlights of the schoolstechOz Conference was having the opportunity to hear Alan November speak. It was many years ago that I first heard of him through a work colleague. I recollect her raving about the impact this doyen of education had on her and without a doubt feel the same passion now that I’ve finally had the same opportunity! His message is crystal clear: teach our students the grammar, the punctuation and the syntax behind the Internet. He was humorous, informative and is a very easy going presenter who lets the words and examples tumble out and fall into place in the listener’s mind. I feel really lucky to have been present for both his Keynote address: Who owns the learning? and then later on the first day a breakout session: Implementing the three pillars of web literacy. Listening to Simon Breakspeare’s keynote presentation Leading the future of learning was also an outstanding highlight of the schoolstechOZ conference. As he described our changing world with breathtaking speed, incredible visuals and heart warming examples, his message focused around how educators can sustainably redesign the learning process and how we can nudge all educators into new learning paths so that learning can be made intrinsically engaging. So much of what he had to say reflected my own thinking and even some of the posts I’ve published here on NovaNews. I was blown away to see him use some of the same examples I’ve used to underline messages I’ve tried to share. If you ever get the chance to hear Simon speak – do it! Like me, you’ll come away inspired!
When promotion for the online Shift Alt Story: an introduction to digital storytelling course landed in my inbox, I knew that I’d be taking on an online learning experience over a very busy time. Unable to stifle the urge to explore what sounded like a really interesting course though, I registered! WOW – what an interesting, enlightening and enjoyable experience it has been! The four units – What is a story; Connecting to stories; Sharing reading and Publishing stories – have opened up new and exciting worlds in which we can see the impact of transmedia and the way in which teenagers today embrace and engage with literature. Seeing how reading has moved beyond the covers of a book to exciting and exhilarating digital places has been mind-blowing! Working my way through the course has been an eye opener and it’s clear that much time, effort and thinking has gone into the planning of this program. To enhance our ability to engage students with literature, this is a course which should be completed by both English teachers and Teacher Librarians.
While my preparation for the Pearson National Learning and Teaching Conference has involved many hours of thinking over the last week, I’m left with a great feeling of accomplishment as I worked through the process of fine tuning my thinking so as to be able to share my knowledge, thoughts and experience about topics for which I feel so passionate. Sharing my own insights and experience about the incredible value of both PLNs and lifelong learning go hand in hand with my passionate desire to excite in both students and staff a love of reading. Being able to light a spark of excitement about the incredible joy and benefits that can be derived from both learning and reading is an exciting opportunity for which I am grateful to be involved. The four presentations: Learning is a lifelong journey – Feel empowered; Personal Learning Networks: Transformative and powerful; Engage readers: Stage a Literary Festival and Repackaging reading for the 21st century – are ‘Breakout’ Sessions to be held against the backdrop of some great keynote presenters.
It has been an intense three weeks that has seen me sitting at my computer for countless hours – day and night. I’ve had lots of fun though!!