Inspiration

I have been very fortunate to be inspired by so many great people and events. November has been a busy month for me and I have presented at many different events.

The first was at the Association of Secondary Heads in Essex conference on 8th November. It was a great pleasure to walk with so many educational leaders in one place and to share. I spoke about collaboration with colleagues within the school and how this enriches the learning experience for everyone. Most schools have little idea about the level of expertise they have on their staff and ‘in-house’ training in a wonderfully motivating and rewarding experience for both the presenter and the audience.

I also spoke about providing students with the opportunity to help staff and follow students improve their skills and raise achievement. The example I gave was to employ Digital Leaders. I will discuss Digital Leaders in more detail below, but essentially they are students who learn and explore advanced ICT and computing techniques and tools and then support teachers and students to develop digital skills and troubleshoot problems.

I also discussed how educators collaborate using a range of social networks, but especially on Twitter. The last section was devoted to showing the conference a collection of tools that can help collaborative learning and teaching.

See the ASHE presentation at http://prezi.com/ev51nr0wnr6h/collaborating-sharing-with-the-ashe

LFEThe next event was the London Festival of Education on the 17th November. I was invited to the festival to discuss my work with UKedchat, which I administrate along with its creator, Colin Hill. It was my great pleasure to present with Tim Rylands, an absolute educational legend and a truly inspiration speaker. The day began with an interesting, but worrying interview with Michael Gove by David Aaronovitch. For most of the morning I was in the Green Room with Tim and Sarah Neild. I learnt lots about how to present and how to prepare for speaking. I also had a chance to meet Nigel Canin of 2Simple, Tony Parkin, Angela Angeli and Mary Farmer face to face for the first time and also spoke with many other educators I know from Twitter. For this reason alone, the festival was wonderful. My workshop about UKedchat and Social Media went well and the experimental live UKedchat about ‘Could social media an effective method of CPD for teaching staff?’ was low-key, but interesting. I really enjoyed listening to Michael Rosen and Anthony Horowitz discussion the important of reading and other topics. Both were so inspiring!

TM Essex Logo DateA huge event that I had been looking forward to for a long time was TeachMeet Essex on 19th November. Tom SherringtonAndy Knill and I had been planning this for months and the evening didn’t disappoint. I had a wonderful time and I thought it was one of the best TeachMeets I had been to, although I am completed bias as I was hosting the event. I had two presentations. The first was a two-minute rant about why teachers should be on Twitter and should take part in UKedchat. In the second presentation I explored a few of my favourite educational digital resources at the moment. There were so many wonderful presentations. They will be uploaded to http://teachmeetessex.co.uk when I can find the time!

KidsMeetThe final two events both happened at the headquarters of the Night Zoo Keeper in London. I was lucky enough to attend the first ever Digital Leaders KidsMeet on the 23rd November. It was an amazing day of exploration and fun for four of my Digital Leaders and many other teachers and pupils from schools around the country. Each school presented to the group and share ideas and what they are doing in their school. There were also workshops on blogging, Raspberry Pi programming and much more. See all the details on the live blog at http://digitalleadernetwork.wordpress.com

TwistThe last event was on 30th November – TeachMeet Twist. There were the usual great presentations that you would expect at a big TeachMeet, but the twist was that there were discussion sessions on a range of topics. See the videos at http://www.youtube.com/user/teachmeettwist. Thanks to Jodie Lopez-Collins, Paul Hutson and Oliver Quinlan for organising such a great event.

This has been a superb month and I feel inspired and ready to teach some amazing lesson. Once again, my PLN has reinvigorated my teaching and I am full of ideas and excitement. Roll on December…

Edublog Award 2012 Nominations

ImageIt is time again to nominate tweeps from my treasured PLN and I have been thinking about who and what to choose for many weeks. There are so many superb educators out there who do their jobs superbly day after day just for the love of teaching and the joy that come from helping children be the best they can be. I feel very proud of my profession and by nominating a few of my colleagues I hope to show how proud I am of them.

My wiki page was celebrated in the Edublog awards as the ‘Best Educational Wiki’ last year which has been one of the highlights of my professional career. I hope that all on my list below can be celebrated in the same way. To me, you are all winners.

Individual Blog

Karen Bolotin’s @kbkonnected Tumblr blog at http://kbkonnected.tumblr.com is a superb collection of edtech and classroom goodies. Browsing just for a few minutes will give you enough ideas for lessons for weeks. Thank you for sharing great things!

Best group blog

The growing Digital Leader movement http://www.digitalleadernetwork.co.uk of empowering a group of dedicated children/students to provide help, training and creative solutions for their classmates and teachers has benefitted countless people across the UK. It provides student the opportunity to engage with technology and collaborate to enhance to tech experience for everyone. Follow developments every Thursday at 9pm GMT with #DLchat.

Best class blog

I love http://www.edutronic.net by @Edutronic_Net and the students in his school. It is a wonderful example of how blogging has empowered the students to shape their own learning and explore the world with an audience from around the world.

Best ed tech / resource sharing blog

When I first made my tentative way on to Twitter and began finding my own CPD opportunities online some 2 years ago, one of the first blogs I found, enjoyed and during to read regularly was http://www.whiteboardblog.co.uk by @dannynic. It is a wonderful blog which shares the best resources and ideas on how they can be used in your classroom. Thanks for the inspiration Danny.

Best teacher blog

Mark Anderson’s @ICTEvangelist blog at http://ictevangelist.com is a superb place to find all sorts of teaching ideas, advice, stories from the classroom and support with edtech. He is also an endless source of iPad information and tips. So if you have something beginning with an ‘i’ you should be following him on Twitter and reading his blog.

Best individual tweeter

I really wanted to write something for this category to explain that there are simply too many fab educators out there who tweet the best resources, ideas and advice. So I’ve chosen someone who does all of that and also makes me laugh and is always helpful to everyone. That tweep is @shelibb. She is a authority of using iPads in the Primary setting and has bee a leading light of the Digital Leaders movement, which has helped so many educators and children.

Best Administrator (SLT) blog

http://johntomsett.wordpress.com by @johntomsett is an amazing blog by an inspirational headteacher. Each and every time he blogs he has make me think about how things could be better and that teaching really is the best profession in the world.

Best twitter hashtag

#ukedchat is the online hub for education in the UK. The weekly discussions cover a myriad of educational topics and push forward the understanding of what is possible in the classroom. In my opinion it is the best CPD on the internet. It’s based at http://ukedchat.com.

Best free web tool

The free tools that has made biggest impact in my classroom this year has to be http://www.classdojo.com. The children love it and it has continued to improve and it is now a vital part of my teaching.

Best educational use of audio / video / visual / podcast

I have recently discovered http://www.l4l.co.uk by @eyebeams. I’m amazed at the passion, insight, but most of all the fact that he is able to record a daily podcast/Audioboo on important, useful and relevant educational topics which keep me informed about what is happening out there. It has become compulsive listening.

Best open PD / unconference / webinar series

The TeachMeet movement http://teachmeet.pbworks.com/w/page/19975349/FrontPage provides an amazing learning experience for all who take part. The format of micro presentations keep the events interesting and fresh. I learn so much each time I attend a TeachMeet, but more than that, I feel inspired in so many different ways and ready to try lots of new things.

Lifetime achievement

I recently had the great opportunity to work along side Tim Rylands @TimRylands at the London Festival of Education. I knew Tim mainly by reputation, but watching him work was an amazing experience and he has focused my thinking about presenting CPD forever. Tim and his associate Sarah Neild are an impressive team. Tim has inspired so many teachers from around the world and I can not think of anyone who is more deserving of to be recognised for a lifetime of remarkable achievements. See his blog at http://timrylands.com.