Sunday, August 3, 2014

"There's a #FirstTweet for everything"

Seven years ago today I sent my first Tweet... a time before the RT, #tags, clickable links, @usernames and the celebrity Tweet! 

It's interesting to look back at those first few Tweets and the beginnings of a truly inspirational professional learning network.  Try it, especially if you've been Tweeting for a few years. 

Find out the date you sent your first Tweet here

Personalise the bold text below with your Twitter username and a date range that includes your first Tweet.

from:username since:yyyy-mm-dd until:yyyy-mm-dd

Copy and paste into the Search Twitter field from your home page at

Plus some familiar faces popped up when I checked out my first followers and my first follows using Tweet Tunnel.  
Twitter has certainly been a game changer for my learning.
How I manage my Twitter in 2014

Friday, July 25, 2014

Counting down to #EduCampAKL tomorrow

The following post originally appeared on #edChatNZ Blog

What motivates kiwi educators to spend 4-5 hours together, sometimes more when they travel, and on a Saturday?

Maybe the opportunity to share with like minded learners, mixed in with a bit of geeky stuff and a whole lot of networking and fun…essentials of an EduCampNZ event!

EduCamp in Auckland originated in 2008 as an unconference. Educators already connecting and sharing through blogs and Twitter, decided some kanohi ki te kanohi would definitely add value to their existing learning and sharing online.

The unconference model was a no-brainer as it seemed to reflect the serendipitous-ness of social networking. In comparison to traditional conferences, unconference is participant driven (whoever comes is the right people), sessions are scheduled on the day and the event itself is free.

In hindsight the strength of the online networking was also pivotal to initially spreading the word and continues to be a force in and around all EduCampNZ events.

While most EduCampNZ events include a focus on digital learning the programme is developed on the day by whoever is there. Sessions range from demos and hands on to lively conversations as well as an active backchannel sharing on Twitter and collaborative docs. Many events will also include participants contributing from a distance … you don’t have to be there, to be there.

As attendance is free, EduCampAKL events have been hosted through the generosity of local schools providing breakout spaces and wifi. All participants are encouraged to bring a digital device and be prepared to go with the flow! (

This year EducampAKL will be on Saturday 26th  July, thanks to the team at Western Heights School in Henderson and  principal +Ash Maindonald . Everyone is welcome and encouraged to connect now through the wiki and online.

In the past year over a dozen events have been organised locally and supported nationally around New Zealand. No two events are the same as they are inspired and realised through a desire of participants to share and learn in an open environment. 

If you are keen to attend or organise an event check out the EduCampNZ wiki and participation ideas. All content is available under Creative Commons

Plus some tips here for organising an unconference (via +Fiona Grant &  +Anne Kenneally

+Caroline Bush

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

"Create to Learn"

The Manaiakalani Digital Immersion PLG is designed to support teachers in their first year teaching in a digital learning environment where learners are 1:1 with a digital device. Teaching as Inquiry provides a framework for Manaiakalani Digital Immersion PLD and direction for the facilitators who are supporting these teachers.

During last Friday's Digital Immersion PLG we used the following hypothesis, in response to the ongoing evaluation of Manaiakalani by The Woolf Fisher Research Centre, to ground our thinking and dialogue.

'The learn-create-share cycle generates opportunities to learn from texts and across texts and to explain/reflect/demonstrate that learning, through creation' (via Rebecca Jesson)

We took time to explore current practice while referring to the ‘Create to Learn’ hypothesis to support our thinking in response to the following questions:

  • How often are you including opportunities for students to create to learn?
  • Where and how could you include increased opportunities to create to learn?
  • Teaching as inquiry - identify possible teaching and learning opportunities aimed at achieving the outcomes you have prioritised for your inquiry.
  • What are the learning needs of your students? Effective pedagogy and the digital learning environment
  • What are your learning needs? SAMR: scaffolding use of technology to support learning
Explain your Teaching as Inquiry focus in the style of a CommonCraft or RSA Animate

This session included an opportunity for teachers to deepen their understanding of their Teaching as Inquiry focus and to consider the possibilities afforded as a result of creating to learn in the digital learning environment.

Explainer videos have been shared on blogs, Google Drive in our Google+Community, with colleagues and students. They will contribute to the documented evidence of each teacher's inquiry and can ground further thinking and professional dialogue with facilitators and school leaders.

Videos shared on Vimeo

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Go West!

EduCamp Auckland is heading west again in 2014. This year's unconference event will be on Saturday 26th  July at  Western Heights School, Henderson thanks to principal +Ash Maindonald and his team for hosting.

Follow #EduCampAKL on Twitter and check the wiki for updates and tips for how you can participate and contribute. Collaborative docs will be live early Term 2 to register your interest.

EduCampAKL is a free, unconference event where participants are encouraged to "go with the flow, follow their passion and take responsibility for their own learning"(

Explore ideas for participating and learn more about EduCampNZ events from past participants (video and blogposts) on the EduCampNZ wiki.

A bit about Smackdowns... 

I wanted to share a bit about the purpose of the Smackdown at an unconference as it is not simply a share-fest. At its heart the Smackdown is an opportunity for participants to introduce themselves while alerting everyone to what contributions, questions and learnings they are interested in pursuing.

At EduCampAKL events, the Smackdown is strategically placed at the beginning of the day to alert participants to the learning opportunities in the room, connect with like-minds and ideas quickly and follow what they are passionate about learning.

Contributions to Smackdown can be anything from a useful tip or tool to participants sharing 'big questions' that are currently challenging practice.

Contributions to Smackdown are short (less than two minutes) and delivered quickly to avoid extended conversations around topics that do not meet the needs of all participants. Links to further information are recorded on the Smackdown doc for participants to follow up. 

During the Smackdown participants are encouraged to be alert to the people and themes that they are interested in exploring further and in greater depth during the unconference and beyond e.g. ThinkSlam, Birds of a Feather...see the wiki for  more.

Check the wiki for events in your area. If you are keen to organise your own event the wiki is open and you are invited to use and repurpose any of the content and ideas that have been shared.