I'm composing this post sitting on a Virgin Blue flight back to Adelaide at 7.52 pm. The bloke in front of me has just reclined his seat back into my face pushing the complimentary copy of Virgin Blue Voyeur magazine (you're got to wonder about Richard Branson sometimes) out of my hands. The little LCD screen on the back of his seat is at a absurd angle for viewing (not that there is anything worth viewing) and my assistant principal, Bec, has just bought me a Coke. I've barely used my Pocket PC on this trip to Melbourne and so with plenty of battery power in reserve, it's time to scribe a post.
The purpose of this trip was a conference called Teachers At Work thrown by the publishers at Hawker-Brownlow. Six of us went from my school with the sole purpose of doing the two day Understanding by Design workshop with US education consultant, Jay McTighe. Some edubloggers may be familiar with his work and I know Kim Cofino is one educator using his ideas as part of her work.
Surprisingly, I had never been to Melbourne before. But I have led a fairly sheltered existence and was looking forward to the experience. Over the two days I've experienced the sunny weather, rode in a Silver Top taxi and rode in a train past the MCG. As well as the serious business of the conference, I had hoped to catch up and meet a couple of fellow edubloggers with whom I've been interacting with over a period of time - Jo McLeay and Warrick Wynne. Unfortunately, Warrick had other commitments but after leaving voicemail at Jo's school, she rang me back on my mobile at a break time, keen to travel for more than an hour into the city centre to catch my colleagues and I for a meal and chat. That was absolutely fantastic of her to put herself out like that just to meet me and speaks volumes for the power of online connections and communication. It was also great for my teaching colleagues to see a real blogger who is a real teacher and that this power for mutual sharing and learning is real (and very easy). We chatted and although I will probably never meet the vast majority of my online teachers face to face, taking the opportunity to do so is a really cool thing to do. And just like Alex and Leigh, the Jo McLeay I got to know via The Open Classroom is the exact same person who shared a meal with us down on the Yarra.
Great blog Graham, you write so well I could imagine sitting on that plane. I thought it was just people from Perth that don’t travel much.
Hey There Graham,
Now even though you have lead a self confessed “sheltered life”, Geelong isn’t that far out of town so I reckon a taxi ride down our way wouldn’t have been to big an ask??? 🙂
Hmmm when I am short of a teaching idea for the next day I’ll obviously have to give you a Skype.
Graham, Melbourne is my home town…born in Blackburn, lived in Eltham before I left 10 years ago for international teaching. Great to hear you met up with Jo. I will be in town in July would love to meet up with who ever is around….sorry, not coming to Adelaide in the near future. Thanks for prompting a touch of a tear hearing about home base.
It is interesting as you say, this blogging thing! I have been reading blogs for quite a long time, longer than I have been writing them :-). At the beginning of this year David Warlick came to a conference I was attending in Rotorua NZ. I saw him walking down the hallway, greeted him and asked how his son was doing. That was when I realised with horror, that I didn’t actually know this man!!! I had listened to his podcasts for so long and read his blog and made comments, that it felt like I had been having an ongoing conversation with him for over a year :-). It is great how blogging and podcasting is opening our doors to both our classrooms and our countries so we can interact with like minded people and not be geographically challenged (by the way, I lived in Perth for 20 years and never went anywhere! Now I’m in NZ and seem to be hopping on a plane to often!)
I love the UbD model – I was just co-planning a tech integration project with our grade 6 math teacher yesterday, and just using the 6 facets of understanding, we came up with so many unique, authentic and fun activities and tasks for the students to do to support their learning.
Jay is a great presenter! I went to his workshop this fall and I was amazed at how deep his understanding of, well, basically everything curriculum related, is. I hope you enjoyed the conference 🙂
Greetings from one of the VIC 6.
Not sure if I can make the time to get into this blogging thing (most people seem to be writing when I’m fast asleep!), but I really enjoyed reading your post.
You write with a very descriptive, entertaining and lighthearted style.
from your buddy in seat 7B