Tony Gurr

Posts Tagged ‘education’

Want to Build a GREAT School? Follow These 10 Commandments…

In Educational Leadership, Our Schools, Our Universities, Quality & Institutional Effectiveness on 12/07/2016 at 9:39 pm

LEARNing Monkey (Abigail Adams quote TG ver)

This was the post that I planned to use to re-launch my bouts of bloggery this summer…

 

In the end I went with an ‘easier’ option…because it was so bloody difficult to plan, draft and finish! I started by reflecting on all the schools I had worked with this year…and all the ways I had tried to support their plans and initiatives (an ‘annual’ review, if you will).

 

It wasn’t enough! So…I went back 5 years (and almost every blog post I had ever written)…still didn’t quite cut it!

Blogging sucks (sign)

I found myself going back to the work of EDU Jedi Masters and their discussions of ‘what works in schools’…combining this with the THUNKS of those that helped me consider ‘what matters in schools’…and, reflecting on all the pearls of wisdom I had picked up from the school improvement, accreditation and institutional enhancement programmes I had worked on.

exploding head

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That got me closer (but I had close to thirty pages of notes) – it was time for a procrastination pill!

Netflix Pill TG ver 100716

In the end, I decided to do a ‘career review’ – yes, reflect on the successes I had witnessed and LEARNed from, all my failures (because they helped me more than the successes I may have had and helped co-create) and all things I still have on my EDU Bucket Listafter over 30 years in the busyness of LEARNing.

 

The listicle of my ‘Magic 10’ Commandments started to take shape…but then the last episode of this year’s Game of Thrones forced me to binge-watch the earlier 50 episodes!

Procrastination (dice now never later)

What? I’m on holiday, too!

 

So…just to prove that all those quotes you can pull up (if you google ‘procrastination’) are hogwashhere you go:

IMAGE CREDIT: https://creativetheology.files.wordpress.com/2013/05/10-commandments.jpg

If you want to build a GREAT school…

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Thou Shalt ‘begin with the end in mind’ and ensure that your school is built on a focussed and clearly stated purpose – and make sure that all members of the school community understand, share and are committed to this purpose and the goals of the school…

Purpose CoP TG ver 100716

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Thou Shalt believe in the transformative power of LEARNing, place LEARNing at the heart of your decision-making and walk-your-talk…

Change and Thinking TG ver 100716

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Thou Shalt recruit the best TEACHers you can, retain them (at all costs) and renew their talents, skills and knowledge at every opportunity you find…

Good School (quote) TG ver 100716

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Thou Shalt plan, implement and renew a curriculum / assessment framework that emphasises LEARNing the ‘right’ things in the ‘right’ way…

Delivering LEARNing TG ver 100716

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Thou Shalt provide caring and effective leadership, create the conditions for wider shared-, teacher-, and student-leadership – and evaluate the quality of this leadership in terms of the level of trust you build and the amount of LEARNing co-created across the school…

Leadership TG ver 100716

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Thou Shalt create an environment and climate that is organised, secure and safe – yet provides for risk-taking, creativity and imagineering at the student, classroom, departmental and school level…

Success TG ver 100716

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Thou Shalt create a culture that is driven by professionalism, collaboration, and stakeholder involvement – and is fuelled by an ethos of feedback, improvement and results… Leader Shadow TG ver 100716

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Thou Shalt build and maintain a classroom-focussed LEARNing culture grounded on high expectations for both students and TEACHers, dialogic TEACHing practices and an approach to the adoption of EdTech driven by ‘fitness-for-purpose’ and ‘LEARNing first, TECHnology second’… 

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Learning WoG TG ver 100716

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Thou Shalt adopt a research and evidence-based approach to change and planning – and balance the use of external best practices and internal research findings, as well as ‘big’ and ‘small data’…

EBP TG ver 100716 

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Thou Shalt use a range of policies, processes, and practices designed to evaluate and enhance the quality of decision-making, curriculum and assessment systems, classroom teaching, professional learning communities, allocation of resources, and stakeholder involvement across the school…

Quality TG ver 100716

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That’s 10, right?

 

As I was boiling all the Commandments down, I did ask myself whether I need to ‘spell them out’ more. I hope they are clear…as I hinted, they are all backed by solid research and evidence-based practice (EBP) – but I have seen them ‘work’ and know they ‘matter’!

 

Can I rank them – in terms of importance or priority? Not really – but I’d be interested to see how you might…or (even more) see if you would add any others…

 

T..

 

 

The DNA of GREAT Teachers – 3 “listicles” you have to read!

In Classroom Teaching, Guest BLOGGERS, Our Schools, Teacher Learning, Teacher Training, Uncategorized on 18/03/2014 at 9:59 am

Last week, allthingsLEARNing offered a bout of bloggery from guest-blogger Steve Brown (Is it all in the Genes?).

Today we have a follow-up guest-post from Cas Olivier (all the way from Harties“, a small resort town in the North West Province of South Africa). I never actually got to Hartbeespoort on “my walkabouts” around South Africa – but now I have a reason to do so…next time.

Cas (guest post slide) 01

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The story of how I bumped into Cas in the blogosphere is a funny one!

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About 8 months ago, I was desperately looking for some new images to “steal” for one of my own posts on “GREAT TEACHers”. Yes, I know…some of you “hate” this phrase – but, come on – who among us all does not want their students to say something like – “Tony Hocam is a GREAT TEACHer”?

go on, tell the truth now!

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Well, I was at a total loss – couldn’t find anything new to steal…sorry, “inspire” me! I had got totally fed up of using “brains” and “mirrors”!

I had lunch with my big, little girl and told her what was going on (actually, she wanted to know what all the “swearing” was about…the foul language that had been pouring out of my study all morning)!

Expletive (four)

I mentioned that I had overdone the whole “brain” thing – but I (still) liked the notion of “organic” TEACHing! She looked up and said “Dad…what about DNA – that’s cool”!

I jumped up…kissed her…and ran back to the study!

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Not five minutes had passed…and the wave of obscene expletives began againbloody Google had spat out Cas’ book The DNA of GREAT TEACHers (spat it out straight in my eye it did) and I hated him almost immediately…with a passion!

Expletive (sixteen)

Hey, I am human – get over it! Least I’m honest…

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You see…the same thing had happened to me when I “invented” (yes, I also “steal” ideas from me daughter – I am THAT daddy!) the term ASSESSment Literacy back in 2011 (I still “hate” Richard Stiggins…not really!) LEARNing, CURRICULUM and EDUCATIONAL Literacy, however, are still “mine” (and my big, little girl had nothing to do with them…that time it was “Dexter”, my dog…who will soon have a blog)!

I calmed down…and started “stalkingCas via his website-cum-blogLEARNingDESIGNs – could he be my long-lost brother (my dad had spent time in Cape Town, Durban and the Free State in the late-40’s), acaba?

Cas Hocam – I know you were born in the Free State…but, when exactly WERE you born? I want a date…and a pregnancy calendar!

 

I fell in love with the sample chapters that Cas was so generously sharing on his blog – I liked the complex simplicity of his THUNKs…and the common sense those thunks were screaming at me!

I forgave him (!)…got in touch via mail…and, his first act of cyber friendship was to send me a copy of his book. 

Paying It Forward is alive and well…in the “Harties”!

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Cas and I started chatting about him doing a follow-up to Steve’s post – and although neither of us are fans of “listicles” (TY – Kevin Stein aka @kevchanwow in the big, bad Tweetiverse) he thought it might be fun…to do THREE of themin one post!

So, over to Cas!

DNA Question (for Cas)

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The DNA of GREAT teachers are described from a plethora of vantage points and they all have merit.

My vantage point is my latest book: The DNA of Great Teachers in which I use the ‘DNA-concept’ as metaphor to explain teaching paradigms and explain how teachers’ genetic teaching make-up influences their mindsets and teaching practices.

Once I started to “decode” teaching-DNA, I began to understand more and more about what made GREAT teachers so GREAT!

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GREAT Teachers (for Cas) 01

Let’s start with beliefs – and my first “listicle”:

 

The 10 Beliefs of GREAT TEACHers

  1. Teaching means to facilitate learning.
  2. Lesson planning means converting the curriculum into learning challenges.
  3. Their main tasks are to guide and support students.
  4. Are firstly followers and then leaders.
  5. Teaching is like developing new medicine. It must be based on patient needs and not the design preference of the manufacturer.
  6. The momentum of great teaching is maintained by questions asked by both themselves and the students.
  7. When students are not learning as expected, they change their approach.
  8. They cannot teach learners anything, but can make them think.
  9. Learning always starts from the known and progresses to the unknown.
  10. Lesson must cater for ‘short-legged’ and ‘long-legged’ students.

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As Tony might say – have a THUNK about it.

How many of these reflect your understanding of your own DNA? How many of them are beliefs – that walk-their-talk in your classrooms? Are there any in there that you might disagree with? Why / Why not?

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GREAT Teachers (for Cas) 02

The second of my “listicles” is more focused on the classroom (I’m not that sure if that term is growing on me or not)!

Before you read mine…What would your own Top 10 List include?

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Questions (Joseph O Connor quote) Ver 03

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The 10 Things That GREAT TEACHers “DO” in the Classroom

  1. Determine the learning status of students and then become leaders to guide their learning.
  2. Manage their classes through good relationships.
  3. Deviate from their lesson-plan to enable students to gain quick learning-wins.
  4. Provide learners with scaffolds to work out their own answers.
  5. To achieve productive silence in a class, they ask questions. To achieve productive noise give students an activity to do.
  6. Use at least 5 teaching methods.
  7. Never give answers to questions. Rather provide students with scaffolds to enable them to work out their own answers.
  8. Ensure learners are acknowledged and feel clever.
  9. Ensure students master logical, critical, creative and big picture thinking skills.
  10. Encourage learning risk takers to speak their minds.

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How many were similar to your own listicle?

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GREAT Teachers (for Cas) 03

List 03now, this is one of my favourites.

None of us are “perfect”…we all have room to grow. But, GREAT TEACHers often take their DNA…and turn it into an “art form”:

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The Top 10 Things that GREAT TEACHers “do” to Improve

  1. Discuss their teaching with colleagues.
  2. Learn from any source to improve their teaching.
  3. Appreciate positive and negative critique on their teaching.
  4. Do not take critique personally.
  5. Keep on looking for better ways to engage students in more creative and challenging learning.
  6. Open to advice.
  7. Willingness to change.
  8. Remind themselves that they should not be the main source of information during lessons.
  9. Keep on looking for ways students can discover and create their own answers.
  10. Keep abreast by reading about teaching.

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Now, here’s a thunk or 2 (again, to “steal”…sorry, to be “inspired”…from Tony)!

How many of you work in schools that give you the “space” to do these things? Schools that create the conditions for “DNA mutation and adaptation” to take place – through LEARNing conversations between LEARNing teachers

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GREAT Teachers (for Cas) 04 (with cover)

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Cas Olivier   –   www.LearningDesigns.co.za   –   casper@mweb.co.za 

Is it all in the Genes? (from GUEST BLOGGER – Steve Brown)

In Classroom Teaching, ELT and ELL, Guest BLOGGERS, Teacher Learning, Teacher Training on 05/03/2014 at 8:25 am

Today’s bout of bloggery is from Steve Brown (aka @sbrowntweets on Twitter).

I first came across Steve when I was pointed in the direction of his blog post “21 Questions for Language TEACHers”. I have to admit I had not stumbled upon Steve’s blog – the very-easy-to-remember(The) Steve Brown Blog” – until Mike Griffin gave him a nod in one of his posts and I kicked meself for not seeing it earlier.

I loved his questions so I decided to stalk his blog pages a wee bit more. When I came up for air, I told him (via Twitter) that I was sorry I had had not recognised his “bloggery genius” earlier – and then asked if he’d be interested in answering a question (rather than just helping us thunk over his – he has just done another wonderful “quiz” for all us teachers, too…take a look)!

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He agreed – and here we are this morning!

THUNKers Wanted (for Steve)

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When Tony asked me to do a guest post on his blog I was flattered, then excited, then a bit scared.

I got (really) scared at the point when he “suggested” I try answering this question:

DNA (LEARNing TEACHer) Blog ver 01

Freakishly scary, right?

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I mean, where do you start? This question isn’t just about what makes a good teacher, but what (if anything) is hard-wired into a person that predisposes them to effective, reflective, developmental teaching.

At least I think that’s what the question is!

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So, let’s start with a definition of a LEARNing TEACHer.

I would suggest that this is a teacher who continues to LEARN throughout their career. Someone who recognises that completing a teacher training qualification does not make you the “finished article”. Someone who realises that there is no finished article.

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Parker Quote (for Steve)

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Someone who constantly seeks ways to…

improve,

develop and

enhance their skills & talents.

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If this is our definition of a LEARNing Teacher, maybe we can identify what qualities such a person needs to have.

They need to be able to take new information on board, to respond well to feedback, to pick up new information and ideas, and to have the technical skills to put them into practice.

LEARNing Quote 01 (Steve)

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Of course, much is made of such qualities in the world of ELT teacher training courses. Trainees are expected to make steady progress from observed lesson to observed lesson, absorbing new information from input and feedback sessions then putting it into practice at the very next opportunity.

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But all that stuff is LEARNable!

Adams Quote (for Steve)

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You can LEARN how to manage a class, how to give instructions, how to do effective boardwork, how to clarify language, how to correct errors. This is what the ancient Greeks called poeisis – the implementation of techniques. You learn what needs to be done, then you do it.

Is that all that teaching involves though? Is it just a matter of following set procedures, using tried and tested techniques?

Sure, you need to be able to acquire those technical skills, but you also need to know when to use them.

Best TEACHers (new ver) TG

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Teaching is an essentially human activity; you’re working closely with real people, and these real people will respond in very varied ways to the techniques you implement.

A sensitivity to these responses and an ability to react appropriately are therefore crucial. This is more like what the ancient Greeks called praxis – action that is informed by a wider context, taking into account the moral, socio-economic or political consequences that your teaching might have, beyond the classroom.

I mean the impact on the students’ lives, and the resulting consequences for society in general.

Resnick Quote (for Steve) TG ver

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In terms of what goes into a teacher’s DNA, therefore, the skills themselves are less important because they are LEARNable. What is more fundamental is an inherent AWAREness of the “implications” of employing these skills.

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But the question isn’t just about a good teacher; it’s about a LEARNing teacher.

So as well as an awareness of what you’re doing, there needs to be something else in the DNA that “drives” you forward, that keeps you “wanting” to LEARN more.

Resnick Quote TG ver

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I would suggest that this requires FOUR qualities:

Interest

You can’t LEARN how to be interested in something – either you’re interested or you’re not. So you need to have an interest in the subject you teach, and you also need to have an interest in the whole “business” of teaching and LEARNing.

Motivation

Again, this has to go in the DNA because you can’t LEARN how to want to do something. Desire to take action comes from somewhere very deep down. 

Inquiry

I suppose you could argue that this is very closely related to motivation, but it’s not exactly the same. While motivation is a desire to take action, inquiry is a desire to find things out. You can have your interest piqued or your curiosity raised, but I think that a constantly questioning approach to life, or a reluctance to just accept everything as it is, is something you either have or you don’t have.

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Tolstoy Fish Quote (new ver) TG

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Humility

In order to get better at something, it is important to be able to recognise how bad you are at it. In fact, failures or shortcomings need to be welcomed and embraced as opportunities for development.

We tell this to our students, so we need to demonstrate these qualities in ourselves as well. Humility is certainly something that can be developed, but the ability to equate failure with opportunity is something that some people find very difficult, and others find impossible.

LEARNing and ADAPTATION (Steve)

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I’m not sure I’m doing very well here in describing what the DNA of a LEARNing teacher looks like, though.

Can we visualise it?

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Apparently, regular DNA looks like this:

DNA (Steves Ver)

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You’ve got the four chemicals Adenine, Cyostine, Thymine and Guanine, surrounded by sugar and phosphate.

Maybe the DNA of a LEARNing Teacher can look pretty similar.

Replace the four chemicals with Interest, Motivation, Inquiry and Humility, and surround it all with…AWAREness!

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What if 06

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Of course this is incredibly “unscientific” and I apologise to everyone who actually knows something about DNA. I would welcome any comments from such people.

Trying to answer Tony’s question has raised three related questions for me, which I think I can answer now:

Steves ANSWERS

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Steve Brown

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What EXACTLY are the “Skills” needed by 21st Century TEACHERS? – The “Robocop” Upgrade…

In Classroom Teaching, ELT and ELL, Quality & Institutional Effectiveness, Technology on 18/02/2014 at 3:24 pm

21C Teacher (Robocop ver) 160214 TG

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I have been heard to say that you can’t throw a rock into the blogosphere these days without hitting a post or article on the 21st Century “something-or-other”.

Love it or hate it – the notion of 21st Century Skills is one of those HOT topics these days – especially in Turkey. Sadly, however, the discussions on EDtech here seem to be dominated by some very strange creatures…you know them as:

21C Digi Cheerleaders

…IDIOTS, mostly!

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The real problem is:

Digi Cheerleading Rabbits

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IDIOTS that are breeding like bloody rabbitson steroids!

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IDIOTS that (still) do not link the 21C concept to real LEARNing – choosing instead to focus on what seems to be both the engine and the fuel of the 21st Century…..

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Don’t get me wrong…I’m not some kind of EDtech luddite who wants to put a stop to the so-called tablet and akıllı tahta dönemi we are currently witnessing in Turkey.

Turkey is my adopted home, I am a “milli enişte” and I am amazingly proud that I helped co-create one of Turkey’s first “digital natives” (and also one of the toughest and most beautiful, too – ask me about the “Türk kızı” who took down men twice her size on the Turkish TV version of “Wipe-Out”).

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I am a “daddy”, too!

A very proud one….

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21C LEARNing FIRST

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But, my business is LEARNing (as if you didn’t know) – not TECHnology. And, I’m interested in how we actually “do” something with all the talk-we-are-talking these days – talk about the new kids on the curriculum block:

  • INDEPENDENT, CRITICAL and CREATIVE THINKING
  • PROBLEM-SOLVING and CREATIVITY
  • COMMUNICATION, COLLABORATION and SHARING
  • COGNITIVE and EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE
  • ETHICS, ACTION and ACCOUNTABILITY
  • LEADERSHIP, AGILITY and ENTREPRENEURIALISM
  • CURIOSITY, EXPERIMENTATION and RISK-TAKING
  • SELF-DISCIPLINE, RIGOUR and REFLECTION
…even:
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IMAGINEERING
(a wonderful “skill” that brings many of the above together)… 
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 21C SMARTBoards and DUMBIdeas

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We know here in Turkey (not that different to the rest of the world…really) that we still have major challenges with:

  • ORAL and WRITTEN COMMUNICATION (the 3R’s in TURKISH) – of course!
  • ENGLISH LANGUAGE (the 3R’s in ELL)

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But, the TECH (and the so-called “new digital landscape”) still gets many more column inches and pixels than student LEARNing.

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Our raging debate, a debate that others in the US and Europe have picked up, centres on Turkey’s plans to purchase 15,000,000 tablets over the next few years (as part of the Fatih Project) – and has international and domestic commentators really talking:

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Actually, I’m not sure if we should be talking about the tablets (the PM was today…again and again and again) – we should be discussing the skills the tablets are supposed to be ushering into Turkish schools.

…and, the impact of these skills on TEACHers.

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In an earlier post, I discussed how these 21st Century realities are creating a new set of roles for TEACHers:

However, discussion on how these roles translate into a new evolving set of teacher skillsliteracies and fluencies has been (very) limited – especially, in Turkey.

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Isn’t it time we started to ask some REAL questions:

  • What skills do TEACHers (in Turkey) need as we continue our march into the 21st Century?
  • How many of these skills actually relate to how we deploy and use TECHNOLOGY?
  • How many of them relate to effective LEARNing and TEACHing?
  • What do TEACHers actually think themselves – and what do their LEARNers think?
  • How effectively is TEACHer (and LEARNer) LEARNing being promoted and supported (in Turkey)?
  • What else needs to change to make the 21st Century “wishlist” a reality?

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Hey, maybe we can even start asking some of the most basic questions.

Questions like:

21C TECHnology SECOND

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I’d love to see some fresh ideas and comments. 

If not (and you are a lover of “bedtime reading”) – here’s a little list of some resources on allthings21Cskills:

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Tony’s 21st CENTURY LEARNing Library

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2014 ELT and ELL Conference Calendar for Turkey…Ver 6.1 (Upgraded for May Events)!

In Conferences, ELT and ELL, News & Updates (from the CBO) on 29/01/2014 at 2:59 pm

ELT & ELL Conf Calendar (TG ver)

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It’s been a while since I updated the infamous Conference Calendar – but with all the news I was seeing from BETT 2014 (a few weeks back) I thunked that I’d best get me skates on and do another update!

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Those of you that know the ‘ole Blog, know that I try to keep my ear to the ground on all the lovely conference events that are coming up in…

Canım Türkiyem (TG Ver 03)

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This year I started well early. I did Ver 1.0 of the Conference Calendar just after Summer couple of months back. After a few upgrades this evolved into the last version (Ver 3.1) in December – time for Ver 4.1!

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Before we get to canım Türkiyemas you might also remember, I usually start with the ones that only the “rich kids” can go to!

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As I said, 2014 has just kicked off with a “BIGGIE” – a very EdTech BIGGIE! So, I have removed the BETT event

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Of course, the other upcoming “BIGGIES” are:

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  • 13-15 March
  • TESOL Arabia (20th International Conference) – Hyatt Regency (Dubai, UAE)
  • Theme: Methods and Means in ELT

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  • 26-29 March
  • TESOL 2014 – Portland, Oregon (International & EL Expo)
  • Theme: ELT for the Next Generation (See also #tesol14 on Twitter)

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  • 02-05 April
  • IATEFL 2014 (48th Annual International IATEFL Conference & Exhibition) – Harrogate (International Conference Centre)
  • Theme: ELT for the Next Generation

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…but, I also wanted to add a couple of others (that have great potential):

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  • 03-09 August
  • Pilgrims – 40th Anniversary Conference, Kent University, Canterbury,
  • Theme: TBC (Details available soon) – @PilgrimsTT on Twitter)

STOP PRESS…Sadly, we got word last week that Pilgrims have decided to postpone this event. The good news is that they already have plans to try and pull it off in Summer 2015!

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but...

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…I know why you have really come to this post…the conferences and events where we can get some decent çay and (even a simit):

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CONFERENCE cay ve simit (2013 to 14) TG ver

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Seriously, have you ever had a simit in London…in Ireland…in Harrogate (!)

…just don’t get me started on that crappy “tea” they serve there…!

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Türküz, Doğruyuz, Çalışkanız…ve daha güzel çay (da) yaparız!

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Canım Türkiyem has been building up a great reputation for its events over the past few years. The çay and simit help, of course, but it is the sheer range of our events that really does the job…and the dedication of the teams that put these events on!

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So, without further ado – here are the ones we currently have on the calendar, thus far:

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JANUARY 2014

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FEBRUARY 2014

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MARCH 2014

  • 01 March
  • Özel Çevre College – 10th Annual Çevre ELT Conference (İstanbul, Turkey) 
  • Theme: The Call of Carnival (…Check out their FB Page, too)

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  • 01 March
  • EALTA  SIG Conference – Çağ University, Faculty of Arts & Sciences / ELT Department (Mersin, Turkey)
  • Theme: Assessment for Academic Purposes (Contact: Şehnaz Şahinkarakaş – sehnazsahin@gmail.com)

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APRIL 2014

  • 05 April
  • 4. Yeni Nesil Eğitim Konferansı – Acıbadem Doğa Koleji (İstanbul, Turkey)
  • Theme: Eğitimde Değişim Hareketi (Doğa Koleji, İstanbul Üniversitesi ve Vitamin işbirliği ile) 

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  • 12 April
  • ODTÜ Geliştirme Vakfı Özel Denizli Okulları – The 1st National ELT Conference (Denizli, Turkey)
  • Theme: ELT for 21st Century Learners

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MAY 2014

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  • 31 May to 01 June
  • Eğitim Teknolojileri Zirvesi – Yıldız Technical University, YTÜ Davutpaşa Kampüsü Kongre Merkezi (İstanbul, Turkey)
  • Theme: EDtech in canım Türkiyem

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JUNE 2014

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SEPTEMBER 2014

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As ever, there are a couple more in the pipeline – funny, there has not been as much scrapping for those ever-so-valuable weekends in March and April this year. There are rumours of a whole bunch of events in Konya…but someone is keeping details of these under wraps!

WATCH THIS SPACE…

I’ll let you know more details as more events are confirmed – but do drop us a comment or 3, if you hear of one that is a “go”!

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Creativity (Annie Dillard quote 01)

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2012/13 Conference Calendar
2011/12 Conference Calendar

Back to Basics – “QUESTION Basics”, that is!

In Classroom Teaching, Teacher Learning, Technology on 04/11/2013 at 2:45 pm

DNA (LEARNing TEACHer) Blog ver 01

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I’ve been getting a lot of flak recently for doing so much on all that “bloody TECHnology stuff”!

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Come on…not my fault!

I’ve been doing a few programmes / projects of late that are designed to put the TECH into the EDwithout forgetting the LEARNing – especially the TEACHer LEARNing!

Afterall…

Tech Change (Clay Shirky quote) ver 01

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…and, Clay is a guy I choose not to disagree with too much

(unless it’s about hair-styles)!

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Now, the plan (for this current post) was to look at some of the questions that we (as TEACHers) really need to be asking ourselves as we look at ways to “use” (more) EDtech – to enhance what we need to be doing….to help our students do more with the stuff they are supposed to be LEARNing….with us!

Yes, that’s a mouthful…and a half.

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That’s because we need to be doing more than just “DOing” stuff in the classroom…

Thinkers wanted (blog ver 02 TG)

…we need to be THUNKing DOers – in our classrooms!

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What I was going to do (in this post) was look at a few of the questions all TEACHers need to ask BEFORE they jump on the latest band-wagon or hand over their credits cards to one of the many…

Digital Cheerleaders ver 02

…that are out there – lots of whom (sadly) are TEACHers, too!

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You know, questions like:

LEARNing First TECH Laters 01

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This one is even “sexier” (probably because I stole and co-opted it from Clay Christensen):

LEARNing First TECH Laters 02

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Not only the EDtech you “hire” yourself…what the school also hires – for you!

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Why, Tony?

Why do we need to question everything?

I just want to get on with my job…

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Well, because…of what Uncle Clay (the first one) tells us above – but perhaps, more importantly,

NEW and SHINY

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Let’s look at an example (very) close to home (if you live here in canım Türkiyem):

Fatih Project

I am a Turk now – can say what I want about OUR projects!

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Did it work? Is it working? Will it ever work – if we throw more money at it?

Why not?

DUMB things with SMARTboards (Heidi Hayer Jacobs quote) ver 02 TG

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What’s the price-tag?

Taxpayer

Me thunks…someone, somewhere got some ‘splaining to do – to all us tax-payers!

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Questions, questions, questions…are GOOD!

Never let anyone tell you any different…

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If we start asking these types of questions (about allthingsEDtech), others just start bouncing around and out of the old grey matter:

How does this tech 01

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But, heywhy stop at student LEARNing:

How does this tech 02

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…when we can (also) do so much more with our own TEACHer LEARNing!

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Questions, questions, questions…

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…because we all know (especially if you speaks a wee bit of Mandarin):

Questions (Chinese Proverb) ver 02 TG

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Now, that was what I WAS going to say (in this post)…but I won’t – because a few of you are a bit fed up withall that “bloody TECHnology stuff”!

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So, let’s really get back to “basics”:

What is this

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NEXT TIME…söz!

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2013/14 ELT and ELL Conference Calendar for Turkey…Ver 3.0

In Conferences, ELT and ELL, News & Updates (from the CBO) on 03/11/2013 at 12:18 pm

ELT & ELL Conf Calendar (TG ver)

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As you all know, I don’t usually get the Conference Calendar rolling till mid-November – but a couple of people asked me if I can spread the word about a handful of events that were coming up in…

Canım Türkiyem (TG Ver 03)

…just after Summer. 

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So, I did Ver 1.0 of the “Conference Calendar” a coulple of months back…then, evolved this into Ver 2.0 in October – this is the second expanded version!

…and, as you might also remember, I usually start with the one that only the “rich kids” can go to!

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The International events over 2013-14… 

So, here you go…(still) without the “sauce” (that will be in Ver 3.0):

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Of course, we have the “BIGGIES”:

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  • 22-25 January (2014)
  • BETT 2014 – London (ExCel London – London’s Royal Docks)
  • Theme: Generic 

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  • 13-15 March (2014)
  • TESOL Arabia (20th International Conference) – Location – TBC
  • Theme: TBC

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  • 26-29 March (2014)
  • TESOL 2014 – Portland, Oregon (International & EL Expo)
  • Theme: ELT for the Next Generation (See also #tesol14 on Twitter)

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  • 02-05 April (2014)
  • IATEFL 2014 (48th Annual International IATEFL Conference & Exhibition) – Harrogate (International Conference Centre)
  • Theme: ELT for the Next Generation

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…but, I also wanted to add a couple of others (that have great potential):

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  • 11-15 November (2013)
  • The Macmillan Online Conference 2013Speaker Schedule
  • Theme: BE, ELT, EAP (Join for FREE right here)

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  • 03-09 August (2014)
  • Pilgrims – 40th Anniversary Conference, Kent University, Canterbury,
  • Theme: TBC (Details available on 01 December – @PilgrimsTT on Twitter)

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but...

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…I know why you have really come to this post…the conferences and events where we can get some decent çay and (even a simit):

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CONFERENCE cay ve simit (2013 to 14) TG ver

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Seriously, have you ever had a simit in London…in Ireland…in Harrogate (!)

…just don’t get me started on that crappy “tea” they serve there…!

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Türküz, Doğruyuz, Çalışkanız…ve daha güzel çay (da) yaparız!

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Canım Türkiyem has been building up a great reputation for its events over the past few years. The çay and simit help, of course, but it is the sheer range of our events that really does the job…and the dedication of the teams that put these events on!

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So, without further ado – here are the ones we currently have on the calendar, thus far:

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NOVEMBER 2013

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DECEMBER 2013

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  • 14 December
  • ATAFEN College – 4th ELT Conference (İzmit/Kocaeli, Turkey)
  • Theme: Keys ‘R’ Us (E-mail: atafenenglishteam@hotmail.com) 

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MARCH 2014

  • 01 March
  • Özel Çevre College – 10th Annual Çevre ELT Conference (İstanbul, Turkey) 
  • Theme: The Call of Carnival (…more on the way soon)

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MAY 2014

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JUNE 2014

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As ever, there are many, many more in the pipeline – I just love it when all the schools start scrapping for those ever-so-valuable weekends in March and April…but not as much as all the publishers and their staff!

I’ll let you know more detials as more events are confirmed – but do drop us a comment or 3, if you hear of one that is a “go”!

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Creativity (Annie Dillard quote 01)

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2012/13 Conference Calendar
2011/12 Conference Calendar

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Does Twitter Help Teachers LEARN, GROW & “Get Off The Planet Faster”… (Pt 03 of 03)

In Teacher Learning, Technology on 24/09/2013 at 4:00 pm

Twitter Blog Post 13 (Who are the Twitterati)

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Some of you probably thought my use of the term Twitterati in that last post was a bit “cruel”.

I have to admit, it’s true that some definitions, like those at the Urban Dictionary – the ones I just pointed you to towards, look as if they could have been written by teenage geeks that secretly want to join the gang of “cool kids” at their High School (or were simply written by homophobes, perhaps).

There are no real secrets surrounding the Twitterati in any field/sector or interest area – they are dead easy to spot.

Twitter Blog Post 15 (The REAL Twitterati)

BTW – I hate the term “follower” with a passion…just so you know!

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Yes, some tweeps might prize their status in an “elite crowd”, they might have an ego bigger than a bus, and…they might even shed a tear when so-and-so manages to gather more “followers” than those in their own Twibe (go on – you know what this is).

It doesn’t matter really – in EDUcation, I define Twitterati as those who use Twitteractively (or like me, over-actively) – regardless of the motivations for doing so.

The “elite” side of things is still there – this crops up because, as Tom Whitby has pointed out (in the case of the USA), there are so bloody few of us!

Now, you see why I asked the question I asked…

Twitter Blog Post 11 (Twitterati mutual masterbation)

…not just because I am a High School “mean girl”!

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Is it only me that finds it ironic that so many of us promote the use of Twitter…to the so-called “unconnected” or “semi-connected”by posting on Twitter?

But, then again – how do we reach them?

Neyse…

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Tom has calculated (or made a “calculated guess”) that there are only 200 to 300,000 “connected” educators in the US (the ones that would probably have a Twitter account and do loads more on-line stuff). This is from a total population of between 7.2m to 11m EDUcators…across the USA – that’s around 4% or 1.8%, if we use the extremes (read his post to find out why no one “knows” how many American teachers there are).

OMG! That ain’t a lot…ain’t many at all!

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Tom’s post also got me thunking – about how popular EDUtweeting actually is.

Taking my lead from him, I randomly selected 8 of my favourite EDUthunkers (and authors) and also 8 of my favourite “connected” EDUcators (people who have a decent digital presence and leave enough footprints to inspire me…and help me LEARN). In truth, there’s a bit of overlap between the two groups – but let’s not quibble.

As these people mean so much to me in my “second life”, I wondered how many other people might feel the same. Yeah, I had to use “followers”sorry!

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Here’s what I came up with:

Twitter Blog Post 14 (Tonys Tweet Roll)

Kinda frackin’ drops off after “Sir Ken”, don’t it? 

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But, take a closer look…and then…compare those numbers with Justin Beiber or Paris Hilton (above)!

Sorry (bw)

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Lady Gaga puts on a good show…I like the way she pushes the envelope in dancelove her views on “tolerance”! BUT, come on – how can she have 40,167,626 more followers….than Howard Gardner?

The man is an eduGOD!

BUT, then again…look at HIS followers.

Even our dear own RTE has more followers than the big, bearded guy in the sky!

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If these numbers are some / any kind of indication of the amount of thunking we are doing (across the planet…yes, the whole bloody world! ) with regards EDUcation, TEACHing and LEARNing….

…we are sooooooooooo screwed!

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When we think about Tom’s numbers…on connected TEACHers, the same type of worry starts to get to me. Of course, many of these non-TWEACHers (yep, you got it!), could be doing loads of other great professional development stuff (reading those “book-thingies” or doin’ some of that there book LEARNin’, for example) – we just don’t know

In fact, no-one knows for sure how many TEACHers are actually on Twitterespecially…in…

Canım Türkiyem (TG Ver 03)

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I tried to find out…let it never be said that I do not go that extra mile for you all…and got a high-priority, emergency tweet to Dick Costolo (CEO of Twitter) asking him a (very polite) question…

Twitter Blog Post 10 (Tweet for Dick)

 …the buggar ignored me!

Does he not know who “I” am? At all?

 

Actually, way before this…I did do a bit more hard-nosed research.

Just before Summer, I was lucky enough to be invited to be a co-presenter at a series of technologically-themed professional development seminars. These were held over 3 glorious weekends (on the Island of Cyprusthe Northern bit!) and, in total, around 375-400 teachers (from around canım Türkiyem) participated in these 2-day events (and did a lot of dancing, too…a lot)!

As part of my sessions, I did a few quick straw-pollsyou know:

A.   How many of you have a Twitter account?
B.   How many of you use Twitter to develop yourself professionally?
C.    How many of you use Twitter with your students (as part of their learning opportunities)?

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The responses:

Twitter Blog Post 16 (My data)

Didn’t fill me with confidence!

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But, at least…a lot of people who came over to the Island (in Summer) said they would give it a try – many have tweeted me (yeah!)…lots have “friended” me on Facebook (I share a lot there, too).

This is how we reach our semi-connected or unconnected TEACHers…on Cyprus, in the Summer, while dancing!

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We collaborate (face-to-face),

connect (face-to-face) and

care (face-to-face)…too!

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I’m gonna need a “Postscript”

– ain’t I?

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NOTE from the CBO:

If you are interested in following some great EDUcators and TEACHers on Twitter, why not take a look at some of these lists:

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And, give these ones a quick gander, too:

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I’ll be honest, I do not follow all of them – and there’s a couple of them in there that I wouldn’t be seen dead tweeting (or twerking) withthe choice is all yours!

Twitter Blog Post 03 (21C Culture 3C ver)

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P.S: If you have found these last posts useful, why not print them out…”adopt” a non-TWEACHer…take him for coffee and “walk” him through the Twitter process (tell him about your experiences, show him your account & favourite tweets (& tweeps), let him ask his own questions…play around together!)  😉 

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Does Twitter Help Teachers LEARN, GROW & “Get Off The Planet Faster”… (Pt 02 of 03)

In Teacher Learning, Technology on 23/09/2013 at 11:36 am

Now, I know that some of you might have thunked that those questions were a bit “silly“…certainly not the stuff of a serious scientific inquiry into TEACHer LEARNing.

Especially, that last one…Number 04.

I’ll come back to that later, promise!

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The thing is, you see, we need to remember that:

Questions (Joseph O Connor quote) Ver 03

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Question number 01 was prompted by a recent report (sent to me as a Twitter “attachment” no less) – a report that tells us that Twitter is actually making today’s kids (our “dumbest generation” ever, many have suggested – people like Miley Cyrus as you might have seen in the first part of this series) …“smarter”.

Yes, I said “smarter”!

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This report is based on the work of Andrea Lunsford (a professor of writing and rhetoric at Stanford University) – and she suggests that the increase in writing (in terms of both quality and quantity) that her research has uncovered is down to the fact that students are doing more “life writing” (the social, fun variety that blogs and social media sites, like Twitter, encourage).

Now, there might be some academics out there that want to tear down Andrea (you go girl!) – but her work is adding weight to similar, earlier work. The work of Gary Small – work that has been picked up and made more “digestible” by guys like David Weinberger (yes, you can “click” on these little red links…and crawl further down the rabbit-hole)…

…as well as a few of my favourite (paper-based) BEDtime READing over the past few years (you HAVE TO read these books):

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The bottom line is that there is now a tidal wave of thunking (and research) that is showing us that TECHnology (and Twitter) is helping kids and young adultsLEARN faster – and, inşallahbetter.

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I guess the question I was really toying with is…

Twitter Blog Post 09 (Is it the same TEACHers)

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There’s certainly a great deal of interest in helping TEACHers get better at “doing” Twitter – more tips and hints than you could shake a stick at:

 

Then, TEACHers can go “PRO” – with Social Media (non-TEACHing, yani) Gurus:

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Blogger (still ignore you)

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Some of my favourite ELT bloggers have done some excellent posts on the benefits of Twitter for teachersVicky Loras did a great post in her recent “PD in Focus” series. 

However, it does not stop there – Primary Teachers, like Karen Lirenman, have done the same in posts likeUsing Twitter in a Primary Classroom 

Work in the College or H.Ed arenaNo worries – try Suzanne Holloway’sUsing Twitter in the College Classroom“. 

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The SECRET (Expletive)

 

We even have stuff for kindergarten TEACHers

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All great stuffGR8 stuff!

but...

…and some of you (them…) are gonna “hate” me for this!

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Remember what I was saying about the type of 21st Century LEARNing Culture…you know, the one we all need to “live within” to LEARN, GROW…and get off the planet (as quickly as we can):

Twitter Blog Post 03 (21C Culture 3C ver)

It’s a bit more than “pretty graphic” – designed for a pain-in-the-ass friend of mine!

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There’s certainly a lot of LEARNing to be had from these tweets and posts!

The other question here (of course), to borrow Tom Whitby’s lovely turn of phrase

Twitter Blog Post 11 (Twitterati mutual masterbation)

Yani, how many semi-connected or unconnected TEACHers “read” this stuff?

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…and then, we have the matter of my second question:

Twitter Blog Post 12 (FQ #02)

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Does Twitter Help Teachers LEARN, GROW & “Get Off The Planet Faster”… (Pt 01 of 03)

In Teacher Learning, Technology on 23/09/2013 at 5:56 am

Twitter Blog Post 01

A few days back, I re-introduced my “model” of what 21st Century LEARNing Culture might…should look like.

You know, the type of organisational or institutional climate that might…could create the working / learning environments that would allow us all to be the best possible versions of ourselves.

I did the original version around 30 months ago but decided it needed an upgrade…

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I was well-proud of myself…these things take ages to create!

Twitter Blog Post 02 (21C Culture ver 03)

…that was till a dear friend of mine got me some “feedback”!

 

Feedback via Twitter (in three or four DMs, of course)!

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The feedback went something like this:

“I love the way you put your rose-coloured glasses on when you do posts”

BUT

(I knew what was coming)

“…there are just too many ideas there…too many thunks, as you would say – couldn’t you just give us a simple version…a snappier version that we could all remember”!

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He had a point (buggar) and I had a go:

Twitter Blog Post 03 (21C Culture 3C ver)

Not too shabby…if I say so meself!

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Snappy, sexy…and…grounded on the communicative power of the number “3”.

A politician’s wet dream…

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Then, I smelled the coffee!

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Why was I doing this?

Why was I “dumbing” down what I believe in – for an “audience”…of one?

Why was I aggreeing with someone that it is OK to drag our thunking down to the lowest common denomitator…or wordbite?

WHY (joker Face)

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Because, sadly, we live in a world that has become addicted to “solving” its problems in one of four ways:

Twitter Blog Post 04 (the Twitter EGGS)

Sometimes all four at once!

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…and the little Twitter bird tells us this is OK.

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Not just “OK” but a prerequisite…if you want to be “liked” or “followed”…

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Time for a RANT

Oh, deary-me…me-oh-my

is Tony getting ready for a rant, acaba?

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Nooooooo – when have you ever heard me “rant”?

This post has been in the pipeline for a while – I wanted to look at how we (as TEACHers) are using Twitter to help us LEARNADAPT to the rapidly changing eco-systems that we live in…and use the tools that these systems are giving us.

Oh, yes….and share a few useful links!

The rant (that never was) was an after-thunk…I might come back to it later.

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Twitter (bird announce)

Those of you that know me and connect over twitter, know that I share….big time! Twitter has become my main vehicle for sharing things I stumble across…I am interested in…I am sent.

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I read a LOT.

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I signed up for Twitter in February 2011like most men, I was a late developer.

I wanted to use my Twitter account to share good stuff on LEARNing, EDUcation and TRAINing – and 99.99% of my tweets are about these things (the rest are about my dog….Dexter and my favourite “guilty pleasure”….Dexter)!

Since that time, I have clocked up around 11,400 tweets95% of which carry a bit of “bedtime reading” – a link to a blog post, an article or report, or an infographic….even a video or podcast (from time to time).

Twitter Blog Post 05 (Tonys stats)

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HELLO! My name’s Tony and I’m a tweep!

HELLO, Tony!

Well, I haven’t tweeted for 2 hours, 37 minutes and…

DAMN! …fell off the wagon, again!’

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That’s around 1.6m characters (each tweet allows you 140 of those) I have thrown into the tweetiverse (you can guess this word, yes? I’ll be doing this a lot in this mini-series).

Trust me – I am not the “worst”…there are many other tweeps out there far worse than I (and not just Miley Cyrus…and all the parental tweeps she upset recently with her “twerkingnot tweeting)!

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BUT, and…as I saidI read a LOT!

Because of my love of “BEDtime READing” and my talent for wishing to inflict it on others – that means that there are, approximately, another 11 to 13 million words I have communicated to my other tweeps…through the tweets I have sent over the past 30 months!

Twitter Blog Post 08 (Total Novels)

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Now, on the whole – my bouts of tweetery have been greeted “warmly“. Many of them are RT’ed (retweeted)…a lot of them are “favourited” (I’m guessing to be saved for laters…as we TEACHers are often in a class when the little twitter ringtone kicks in).

Every now and again I get a lovely little tweet or DM (direct message) saying something like:

Twitter Blog Post 06 (Yasemins comment)

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Yasemin’s comment, BTW, could be roughly translated as “These links are sick“! (“sick” in teenage-speak, yani…meaning “so cool”)! OK – so she actually said “I am sick about these links of yours”! – but that does not translate as well…

Just so you know!

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But, what got me thunking…was whether I had done the LEARNing that 13 million words (of READing) seemed to suggest. Whether my tweeps had also done the same amount of LEARNingor (even) READing…as I had done.

Maybe, they had done even more!

And, perhaps more importantly…how had we used that LEARNing for ourselves – and to add value to our classroom practice and LEARNers.

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I realised I needed to do some research….#crowdsourcing even!

Twitter Blog Post 07 (Crowdsourcing FQs)

How would YOU answer these questions?

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