Monthly Archives: June 2012

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Responding to Lisa Neilsen's recent post: Unfollowing everyone but my very favorites on Twitter

I observed in the comments that her Top 25 were all American or Canadian, so in the spirit of you don't know what you don't know, here are 25 Non-North American Tweeters that I enjoy. They are in no particular order and as I pointed out to Lisa, I have a long way to go before my list is well balanced and inclusive of educator perspectives all around the world. I only read Tweets in English and from mainly Westernised countries, as I have said before in the past, everyone's a potential hypocrite and I am no different.

Darcy Moore

@Darcy1968

Learner, educator, deputy principal, English teacher, university lecturer, photographer, blogger, music-lover, likes openness and honesty. Interested in Japan.
Kiama, NSW 路 http://darcymoore.net

Rachel Boyd

@rachelboyd

A leader & a learner. DP, Classroom Teacher, 2012 Core eFellow & eLearning Leader in Auckland, NZ (formerly Nelson)
Southern Auckland, New Zealand 路 http://www.rachelboyd.com

Doug Belshaw

@dajbelshaw

Educator, Researcher, Advocate of Openness. Former teacher and senior leader, currently at @jiscinfonet and soon to join @mozilla! #digilit #openbadges
Northumberland, England 路 http://dougbelshaw.com

Josie Fraser

@josiefraser

I'm a social and educational technologist. Digital literacy, identity & citizenship, GreenICT, general mischief 馃檪
Leicester, London, Bristol, UK 路 http://fraser.typepad.com

Jabiz Raisdana

@intrepidteacher

Teacher, learner, dad, bleeding heart, music and film addict. I want to share as much as I can with as many people as I can as often as I can.
Singapore 路 http://www.jabizraisdana.com/

Ashley Tan

@ashley

Husband, father, teacher educator, Head of CeL (http://bit.ly/cel-nie), but will never grow up.

Singapore 路 http://ashleytan.wordpress.com

Kwan Tuck Soon

@tucksoon

Primary School Chinese language teacher, ICT Subject Head, ICT Mentor and E-Learning Coordinator, #edsg co-creator, Photography hobbyist from Singapore.
Singapore 路 http://tucksoon.wordpress.com

Neil Winton

@nwinton

I'm a teacher who lives and works in Scotland with an insatiable curiousity for what's coming next. Pedagoo Admin. I spell favourite with a 'u.
Perth, Scotland 路 http://about.me/nwinton

Dean Groom

@Vormamim

Writer, Game & Educational developer working in digital-culture, learning in a changing (playable) world with kids.
Sydney 路 http://www.deangroom.com

Jess McCulloch

@jessmcculloch

Creator of mutli platform narrative adventures for Chinese language students. Owned by: several cats, 3 rabbits, 2 dogs, and 1 small human. Owns: 1 husband.
Melbourne 路 http://www.jessmcculloch.net

Kerry J

@kerryjcom

E-learning, Moodle, expat Yank Australian, WoWhead, childless by choice, jazz lover, Atheist, laughs a bit too loudly, looking for answers.
Adelaide, South Australia 路 http://www.kerryj.com

Carla Arena

@carlaarena

An explorer of social media for sustainable professional development and language teaching/teaching

Brasilia, Brazil 路 http://collablogatorium.blogspot.com

Judy O'Connell

@heyjudeonline

Educator, learner, blogger, librarian, technology girl, author and consultant. Transforming education and libraries. Innovation for life.
Sydney, Australia 路 http://heyjude.wordpress.com

聽pam_thompson

@pam_thompson

Deputy Principal & Year 6/7 teacher excited about the opportunities to integrate ICT into learning. Interested in collaborating with others.
Adelaide, South Australia 路 http://thompson67.edublogs.org

Ben Jones

@benpaddlejones

Head Teacher Teaching & Learning @merrylandshs, proudly sui generis, expect the unexpected, follow me if you dare....
Sydney 路 http://benpaddlejones.edublogs.org/

Ollie Bray

@olliebray

National Adviser for Emerging Technologies in Learning at LTScotland

iPhone: 51.480728,-0.445541 路 http://olliebray.typepad.com/olliebraycom/

Warrick

@warrick_w

teacher, writer, reader, cyclist and ed-tech enthusiast.

Melbourne, Australia 路 http://warrickwynne.com

Barbara Dieu

@bdieu

life-long learner, curious and gregarious.
Brazil 路 http://barbaradieu.com

Claudia Ceraso

@fceblog

Mostly a learner. I do some teaching, too. I read poems. I take photos. I write in Spanish here: http://addendus.blogspot.com Tag: EFL education
Buenos Aires, Argentina 路 http://eltnotes.blogspot.com

Karyn Romeis

@karynromeis

Wife, mother, student, Christian, keen cook, amateur photographer...oh, and learning professional

Northamptonshire 路 http://karynkitchen.blogspot.com

jokay Wollongong

@jokay

Virtual Worlds Facilitator, Designer, Geek, Edutech, Owner of jokaydiaGRID (opensim) and the Islands of jokaydia (SL). Co-founder of MassivelyMinecraft!
Wollongong, Australia 路 http://jokaydia.com

Jane Nicholls

@janenicholls

CORE ED, EDtalks, curriculum, Media, Teacher, ICT Facilitator, eFellow, runner, photography

Dunedin New Zealand 路 http://about.me/jane.nicholls

tombarrett

@tombarrett

Inspiring and engaging learners with (and without) great educational technology. Currently working as a Senior Consultant with Notosh.
Nottingham, England 路 http://edte.ch/blog

Keamac

@Keamac

I'm a primary school teacher, keenly interested in infusing ICT & thinking skills into my classroom programme
Auckland, New Zealand 路 http://keateach.blogspot.com

Ewan McIntosh

@ewanmcintosh

We build & invest in tech/web startups (http://www.notosh.com) then export the way they work to schools & universities all over the world (edu.blogs.com)
Edinburgh, Scotland 路 http://edu.blogs.com

So, you can see that my Top 25 still only covers a limited number of countries. This doesn't mean that there are great Tweeters from North America that I follow. There are - but the world is a bigger place than the top half of America. And I didn't even need to include myself in the list 馃檪

Actually, if I weren't me, I probably wouldn't bother following myself on Twitter.

The signs are everywhere around the web - the printed newspaper is on the downward slide.聽 A couple of pointers from my Twitter feed showcases the evidence:

The hard truth: Newspaper monopolies are gone聽forever

Fairfax slashes 1,900 jobs, closes presses

There is evidence closer to home. I notice every time I am offered a free Advertiser after a quick stop for groceries at Foodland and I certainly noticed when the same newspaper lobbed on my lawn for a week with a letter compelling me to continue "enjoying" the convenience of this service.

Unlike my parents-in-law who have religiously paid for home delivery of the daily paper for decades, I probably won't notice or care when the paper version ceases to exist. Oh, and one more link for posterity's sake.

Don't just blame the web for Fairfax's failure

They're no twits

 

Running A Cohort For The First Time

So, I went to the second ITL Masterclass conference here in Adelaide on the Friday and Saturday just gone. I was fortunate enough to be one of the Cohort leaders for this smaller, more focussed conference after submitting my suggested Cohort Session. The website describes the difference between running a cohort and running a more traditional workshop or presentation:

A Cohort Session, in 4 blocks of time totalling 5.5 hours over two days. Prior to the conference, delegates choose one topic of interest only, from several available topics (see topics below). All participants who choose the same topic will form a cohort and work together to discuss and reflect on the topic for the duration of the Cohort Session. Delegates in each cohort will be able to have deep, meaningful, conversations about the chosen topic. They will sit together, to brainstorm, hypothesize, and then create a product as a result of these conversations. The product will also assist participants to recall their thinking and ideas after the conference. Each cohort session topic will be led and facilitated by a talented hand picked Australian educator. The educators are considered by their peers to be the 鈥榗ream of the crop鈥 in terms of their educational and classroom practice and the ways they embed digital technology into their teaching and learning practice. They do not necessarily use digital technology 100% of the time, but when they use it they use it for a sound educational purpose. In this conference format, participants will leave the conference with a highly valuable Personal Learning Network (PLN).

My cohort theme was "Putting Meaning Into The 21 Century Learning Buzz Phrase" and I had no idea how many of the conference participants would even sign up for it. What I did find that thinking about how to lead a cohort of educators became a very daunting prospect and it wasn't until about a month ago that the possible pathway of how to engage with the topic started to shape up in my brain. I thought that was an important topic to be discussing as there are plenty of papers and lists out there in the world stating what 21st century skills or learners should look like - but they were all heavily North American and I wondered if thinking about things from an Australian perspective might be a worthwhile concept to tackle. I also thought teaming the discussion with the development of a Tumblr site might also blend in the use of a contemporary tool to draw together the resources and ideas in one place. The concept of reblogging that is at the heart of Tumblr appealed to me as a way of pulling out the best parts of what others had already posted out on the web in our quest.

But the cohort leadership was a hard gig for me personally. I had twenty people come along for the first session, which then shrunk to twelve for the second as delegates voted with their feet to go to other cohorts that promised a better deal (which was encouraged as part of the conference culture), down to ten for the third and then a dedicated nine for the final session. I had issues with Tumblr in the first session that took up a lot of time initially - signing people up to the shared Tumblr site proved to be a hassle, then posting content on iPads was tricky for some - and I could feel the opportunity for discussion slipping away. I was happy with what I had as stimulus material but how I imagined things would stream out didn't really pan out. My ego felt a bit bruised when the numbers dwindled - but the people who stayed were really great at engaging in discussing around what learning should look like today from varying perspectives.

Still, I am glad that I took on this challenge. It has given a greater appreciation of what needs to happen to create meaningful learning for adults - and I really did plan without really knowing how this cohort thing should or could work. I was envious of a couple of the other cohorts. Simon Crook in particular looked like he had his participants eating out of the palm of his hand and they were enjoying themselves too! (I saw some of the refugees from my session one there as well - but enough about my insecurities!) But I underestimated the power of hands on activity, and left the creation of the final product too much in the take up and learning curve of Tumblr which was steeper than I imagined for the beginner. My new favourite Twitter friends, Jenny Ashby and Lois Smethurst were much wiser than me in this regard and gave their participants plenty of opportunity to create in their cohort. It might just be that my ambition (a huge topic) was bigger than my ability.

But thank you to Val and Margo of IWBNet for giving me this wonderful and challenging opportunity.

Networking

It was really great to catch up with John Pearce again, and going out to dinner with him, Jenny and Lois was the highlight of the conference for me. All three are not only amazing educators with heaps to share but are all tremendously great people who I felt really comfortable with. We had a fun time walking down Rundle Mall, having a bite of Italian food and watching Jen haggle with the sales rep in Myer for a new iPad!

Keynotes

We had Laurie Lawrence on Day One and Greg Gebhardt on Day Two. Greg was outstanding in his keynote about the future of technology in learning while Laurie was entertaining but far less useful for my learning.

Final Word

Running a cohort left very little brain energy to go to or participate in other sessions, so I can only recall an interesting chat session around social media and a very thorough Twitter presentation from Lib Howe. Now it is back to the reality of report proofreading and focussing on getting ICT really happening at my school.