aha moment, being a teacher, PLN, students

I’ve Always Been a Teacher – Edna’s Aha Moment

Edna was one of the first international connections to my PLN and has been one of the most inspiring as well. Never afraid to lend and ear or give advice, she has been a wonderful person to learn from. Edna is a teacher and curriculum coordinator at an IB PYP school (Primary Years Program) in Melbourne, Australia. She blogs at What Ed Said and is @whatedsaid on Twitter.

I’ve always been a teacher. Not the sort who does the same things year in, year out, though. I’ve always enjoyed change and challenges and been willing to experiment with new ideas.

But I’ve been teaching a long time and I admit there have been things I have done just because I always did them that way. I always liked using computers, but I had no idea of the possibilities…

My ‘aha’ moment came a couple of years ago, when I read an extract from ‘Navigating through the Storm, Education in Postmodern Democratic Society’ by Ron Aviram, head of The Center for Futurism in Education, in Israel. To be honest, till then, I had not thought much about the fact that education in schools hadn’t changed, while everything else in the world was changing rapidly and radically.

Then I attended my first international conference in Singapore, a gathering of 700 IBO educators from the Asia Pacific. What motivated me wasn’t so much the content, as the opportunity to network with educators from around the world and to witness the things that teachers had done in their classrooms and schools.

I started reading online and began to discover some inspirational education blogs.  Soon I had subscribed to quite a number and was reading voraciously online about educational reform and how others were integrating technology into their classrooms.
I started experimenting with web 2.0 tools and implementing them into my teaching. I introduced my class to ToonDoo and Voicethread to enhance their learning. We learned together.  As I discovered new and useful tools, I shared them with my class and with other interested teachers at school.

The ICT teacher at my school was thrilled to have an accomplice at last. We started a voluntary tech group for interested teachers to experiment together every fortnight before school. Our ‘Thinking group‘ which meets on the alternate week had been sharing readings and implementing Visible Thinking and soon the 2 groups began to merge as a 21st century learning group.  Discussions centred on making learning relevant and authentic, including the integration of technology. This is my in-school PLN.

I joined nings, such as Classroom 2.0 and PYP Threads and began to participate online.  Then a friend encouraged me to start writing my own blog. At first I didn’t think I had anything to say. Then I didn’t think I would have any readers. But I pushed forward and was soon addicted. I had more things to write about than time to write them.  I didn’t care if I had an audience or not, the process was part of my own learning.

And then, by far the best thing happened. I had dabbled in Twitter and not yet seen the point. But, once I figured out the benefits of following educators and educational hashtags, and once I discovered #edchat, I was on the road to the most powerful learning yet. Over the coming months, I began to develop a worldwide PLN. Learning from them and with them, I discovered and uncovered resources, tools, ideas, challenges… and inspiration. Interacting with educators around the world has pushed my thinking, clarified my ideas and motivated me to explore different kinds of learning for myself, my students and my school.

I’ve always been a teacher. Not the sort who does the same things year in, year out, though. I’ve always enjoyed change and challenges and been willing to experiment with new ideas. But I’ve changed more in the last couple of years as a teacher and a learner than in the preceding 25 years!


1 thought on “I’ve Always Been a Teacher – Edna’s Aha Moment”

  1. This Aha Moment is now my favorite of your sharings. I now call you and Edna the dynamic duo. Do you think we could clone Edna and have one of her in every school district/parish/province (what ever they call your school division) around the globe? It would no longer be Waiting for Superman but Waiting for Edna! Love both of you. Thank you two for sharing your thoughts and knowledge with educators throughout the world. May October become the best month of your teaching career.

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