A presentation … A process


Photo credit : Wes Warner via Twitter
Photo credit : Wes Warner via Twitter

I am presenting at the Melbourne GAFE (Google Apps for Education) Summit this week.  I have never felt very confident as a speaker but recent experiences are encouraging me to extend beyond my comfort zone.  So here I find myself the afternoon before, adding, taking, tweaking for the millionth time my presentation for tomorrow.

I have chosen a topic that I hope provides a good balance on theory and practice.  I know people like to come away with new skills but I also believe any skill / tool should be used with good purpose.  The subject is basically using Google tools to create opportunities to have learning conversations – teacher/student, student/student, student/parent, student/other stakeholders etc.  The opportunity to provide feedback / feedforward throughout the learning process instead at the end.

It is probably not a coincidence that I modelled this process in the creation of the presentation

  1. I re-vamped the presentation from a similar one I had used previously
  2. I adapted, re-worded, re-ordered according to my new audience
  3. I workshopped the presentation with a group of my peers – lots of wonderful feedback and a great opportunity for me to see the gaps in my preparation and thinking
  4. I added, subtracted, tweaked content again
  5. I sought feedback from another colleague and made more adjustments according to wise feedforward
  6. I am finally prepared to present.

I will probably write more once it is done – phew !

Professional learning junkie or just curious?

I participate in all of the following types of learning opportunities.  Some may call me a junkie but I gain something from each, something different from each.  Each type has the added value of meeting members of your Professional network created through Social media face to face. The nature of the opportunities could be summarised as follows:

Large scale conferences (eg EduTech, ISTE)

  • Sponsors
  • Keynotes – mainly Ed Guru types with a smattering of high profile current practicioners
  • Programs and Trade Shows
  • Largely big picture issues
  • Open to all but limited by funds available


Industry Association Conferences (DLTV and ACEC2014)

  • Sponsors
  • One or two keynotes
  • Most sessions run by practising teachers – practical
  • Open to all but limited by funds available
  • Lower cost ?


Teachmeets (Teachmeet Melbourne)

  • For teachers by teachers
  • Limited structure
  • Free
  • Mixture of practical skills and issues


School based Professional learning Inquiry

  • Action research
  • Practical – directly related to student outcomes
  • Free
  • Amongst colleagues

Twitter / Google+ / Scootle Community 

  • Personalised to my needs and interests
  • Online – Any time, any where
  • Creates a PLN

Is one better than the other ?  I don’t think so, but I would not want to limit myself to one type.  The mixture provides a blend of experiences that I value.

What Professional Learning Opportunities do you value ? Why ?


“Enjoy the unknown place for much, much longer. Stay in the question”

EduTECH 2014

I stand to be corrected, but I believe this quote was from Tom Barrett in his keynote focusing on Creativity.  It certainly applies to the way my brain has been working since I left the conference a number of days ago.  I am most certainly still in the question of “What can I take away from this conference and act on?” or “What impact can I have on making change?”.   My enjoyment of the unknown revolves around reading other peoples reflections and comments and mulling over the archives left by those who share so freely on Social media .  I feel quite certainly on the “Edge of chaos” Sugata Mitra’s concept when I try and connect the reality of our schools and the messages portrayed by Sir Ken, Ian Jukes and many others.

Thanks to Sue Waters who curated many resources from the recent EduTech Conference in Brisbane in a wonderful Flipboard Magazine, I am now able to re-visit them whilst processing what I heard.

All the speakers listed below exhibited the following

Passion + Story telling skills + Experience = Captivating 

Mark Hunter at EduTECH 2014 from EducationHQ on Vimeo.

Ian Jukes on educating for the future from EducationHQ on Vimeo.

Sir Ken Robinson at EduTECH 2014 from EducationHQ on Vimeo.


Professional dialogue




We have been experimenting with the use of Yammer with the specific intention of encouraging professional sharing and dialogue.   Some staff have now made it part of their Professional reading routine to share material they find, or comment on material others find.   Our school Yammer community is ‘closed’ available only to those invited who share a common email domain.   This makes for a safe space where staff who may not have used online spaces before can practise in a confined and secure space.  It operates in a similar way to Facebook – posts, comments etc.

Yammer is an Enterprise Social Network that brings together people, conversations, content, and business data in a single location. With Yammer, you can easily stay connected to coworkers and information, collaborate with team members and make an impact at work. And because Yammer can be easily accessed through a web browser or mobile device, you can connect and collaborate with coworkers anytime, anywhere.

We introduced the idea more than a year ago and it is slowly gaining momentum.  Over the past year we have seen

  • staff sharing blogs and websites they believe others will enjoy
  • staff reviewing Professional learning opportunities they have attended
  • many staff advertising class blog posts (some using the built in feature that allows a Tweet to automatically add to the Yammer feed (#yam)
  • professional conversations about different educational issues.
  • staff sharing their Personal Inquiry topics and findings.

As with any tech tool, some staff have taken to it more than others but I value the impact it has made with those who have become involved.  We have a venue to share which is available anywhere, anytime and particularly useful for those part-time staff members who often miss out on Professional learning opportunities.

Conference thoughts

I have used Storify to summarise my experience over the past few days. I feel I have come away with lots of new skills and ideas for school and classroom implementation, but many more questions than answers. I have added some of the valuable links I collected to my Google resources page


You can see the Storify in the vertical format here 

In his closing keynote Chris Betcher asked us to consider the following questions.  A new blog post on that one coming up ???