There are so many educators connected using tools like Twitter and Facebook nowadays. But there is simply not enough emphasis on action – on making and creating resources, not simply sharing and consuming them. There is so much experience, expertise and ideas amongst us we need to push our networks into action and into creating great resources to support teaching and learning.
Fortnightly or weekly EduMaker sessions that gather people online who are willing to contribute to make something useful/powerful/unique/practical. Something that other teachers, colleagues and students might pick up and use in their classrooms.
Each session might have a simple focus such as “story starter images” and a simple technology focus too, such as Flickr CC images collated using Dropbox.
As a group we may learn from the tools used but the emphasis is primarily on creating something new and useful.
Each session would be led by someone who has thought through the maker session and considered how best to collaborate; which tools are most suitable etc.
Each session would begin at the same time every week/fortnight, as links posted on a site or doc become live, with a short period of participation – but the maker session would run and run after that, with people adding things as and when they can.
Feel free to share your thoughts on how we could kick things off and ideas to take it further. Please add yourself to the Google+ community I have set up for EduMaker
With seven days to go until we fly out of the UK for the last time, I thought I would spend some time writing about the lead up to our departure. I suspect there will be some adventures when we arrive which might also merit a blog post or two.
I have been slowly tracking the departure date on my calendar as it looms closer. At first it wasn’t visible, months off. But slowly, week by week it has been approaching and now I see it, right there. Next Wednesday afternoon.
With some friends getting the ball rolling we have been slowly clearing any of our remaining possessions before we leave. You see in mid October we sent just about everything we own to Melbourne on a ship and so are currently living with our second string of “stuff”.
Actually it has been amazingly liberating to live without being surrounded by lots of “stuff”. Everything that we are using or is still in the house will be sold, given away or indeed part of many tip runs to come.
I suppose such a move to send our belongings to another country forces you to look around yourself, to say what does all this “stuff” really mean to us? We are currently living with the rejects. It is an awkward relationship. A temporary one at best. With many of the sad mixture of items who didn’t make the boat, earmarked for the charity shop. When you surround yourself with “stuff” that you no longer have any investment in, no monetary value of note, certainly no sentimentality involved, you see those whom you love with a lucid glow that is different. Not new, just different.
It all started when we sold our house and moved into a rental property back in September. I loved that house and didn’t see myself ever moving, why would I? But when faced with a new day, that brings about new opportunities, things simply change.
Christmas has been lovely as usual and although there has been some muted generosity, due to luggage weight allowances, we have had a lovely time together with family.
Admittedly carving the turkey was not with my usual knives with their “distinctive one piece, molybdenum/vanadium stainless steel design” or their Japanese heritage or indeed the striking balance and craftsmanship you register with every touch. In fact it was with a bread knife from Tesco’s – but you know the turkey still tasted the same. Maybe better.
Last Summer I was invited to speak at a school’s conference in North London by John D’Abbro. I soon realised that this was not going to be a normal event. John challenged me to speak to the teachers attending about some of the most difficult times in my working life.
The conference theme was “Stepping out of your Comfort Zone” and I certainly was going to be doing that. For the first time publicly I spoke at length about some of the most painful and darkest times I have faced in teaching. Exploring the true lows I faced during 2010 and to a room full of strangers. I had lost sight of what my comfort zone was!
I learned a great deal from sharing those stories. It proved a really important emotional turning point for me and as delicate as they were to share, the process proved cathartic and significant. I spoke of those people around me, my amazing wife Helen who propped me up everyday and Neil Hopkin who cooled acidic moments with his unwavering support.
I had no script, no previous version to draw on – just the emotions from those days and some distance that enabled me to weave something meaningful for those who were listening. I tried my best to keep it together.
It is close to two years now since I had mornings when I had to pull the car over, on my way to school, and try and stop crying. Hard as those times were I reach back into that darkness now with a steady hand and draw strength from getting through those days.
There were two distinct moments when my mind was made up. The first was during a languid time spent walking along Manly beach in Sydney, looking down at my feet as the warm water rolled in and sucked out again. Watching my prints scrubbed free from the sand. I knew then.
Although in all truth I didn’t need much more convincing, I also remember being on the beach at Port Willunga just south of Adelaide. The sun seemed to be lingering on the Southern Ocean horizon, as it dipped and I watched the only surfer for miles, I clearly remember thinking that Australia was going to play a part in my future.
I have been lucky enough to travel back to Australia a handful of times over the last few years with Ewan for our NoTosh work. The trips have always been a great deal of fun and filled with laughter. We have worked in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane. Great memories.
And yet I still always remember those moments on the beaches of Sydney and Adelaide – all in all it is an easy decision.
On January 3rd we fly out of the UK to start a new chapter in our life in Melbourne. I would not be telling the truth if I didn’t say I was nervous and slightly anxious about it all. But I am also really excited, open minded and completely committed to what comes next for my family and for NoTosh.
No doubt we could have convinced ourselves it was not the right time, or that we will leave it a few years. But sometimes you just have to get on with it and step away from those who just say “wouldn’t it be nice if…”
I am looking forward to feeling the sand between my toes again.
This is one of the finest descriptions of a class blog I have ever come across:
Welcome to 1JR’s class blog. We are a class of ground breaking inventors, unstoppable creators and powerful thinkers. We learn cooperatively together but most importantly with a shared dream of success and impact. We are shaping the future and grabbing every opportunity life throws our way. Join us as we work hard to reap the rewards…after all, to appreciate the beauty of a snow flake, you’ve got to stand out in the cold.