For today and tomorrow, I have the opportunity to attend our annual North Central Teacher’s Convention in downtown Edmonton, Alberta. There are 16 school divisions of teachers that attend these two days. For me, it is a different route to get to a learning and leading destination. This means that instead of a steady 30 minute drive on a highway, I experience the almost eternal set of traffic lights, pedestrians, abundance of vehicles in tight downtown spaces. It made me think of the students that we work with and made me think of a few questions…..
* when there is a change of routine and/or pace, how can teachers and/or students prepare themselves?
For these two days, I looked at my new schedule presented by the Convention committee and chose what sessions appealed to me ahead of time. I noted times, room numbers and entered these into my daily schedule. I also liked having being able to change my mind or leave early for another session easily since the mobile schedule was readily available for me to check.
I also mapped out (yes, Googled it!) where I would park and then entered this into my vehicle’s navigation system (love GPS) so that I could arrive on time.
* how is collective learning shared?
Twitter is a phenomenal way to share, receive and learn from other teachers around the world. It is also an easy way to follow the learning, ideas and reflections of Convention-goers. I added to and checked the #NCTCA2015 twitter feed throughout the two days. For those twitterati, one can use Hootsuite or Tweetdeck that will stream specific keywords/hashtags for you (a social media “dashboard manager”). It is also the time to click on Tweets that appeal to you and learn more about the person behind the tweet (and ‘follow’ them if you like what they are saying). If you want to save the whole lot of tweets, my favorite way is to use Storify and swipe over specific tweets to save them to refer to later.
Gathering information and or writing notes can take on a variety of ways from low tech to high tech. Paper and pencil, post-it notes, tweets, Google Docs, Microsoft Word, online notetaker apps like Notability, Paperport Notes, audio notes, video clips and even texting can assist!
* how do you reflect on your learning?
Taking or gathering notes and listening to speakers is a wonderful thing, but what are you going to do with this overview and/or newfound information? Are you reviewing it to share out to others? Are you comparing it to other information? Is this a new trend or new to you? How does this affect what you are currently doing? What connections to the curriculum or society can be made? Are you able to share your learning with others and make comments? All of these questions allow you to ensure that the conversation does not just stop after the end of this learning (particularly this Convention, but what about students, how do they or how are you scaffolding this learning?)
Overall, planning ahead, asking questions (or sharing those questions with students) and sharing learning makes for any changes in routines an opportunity!