C21Teaching Weekly: Term 1 Week 5

It is that time of the week again where I send out a summary of the articles that I have published this week over on c21teaching.com.au. There are big things coming, so stay tuned each Saturday or head over to C21 Teaching.

Recent Articles

  • FTPL – How to log in to Mathletics
    • This Flipped Teacher Professional Learning video was made by request and shows you how to log into the Mathletics platform as a student, teacher or parent.
  • Do we need to rethink our engagement with Twitter?
    • In this article, I reflect on the way that educators use Twitter and our role in society given some of the vitriol that occurs, asking whether we should be doing more to combat it after reading about why one journalist closed her Twitter account after suffering years of personal attacks directed at her.
  • Twenty-First Century Skills
    • A reflective article questioning why we refer to some these skills as being twenty-first-century skills and the implication that they are therefore newly discovered or hold a newfound important when they are not newly discovered and do not hold any newfound important.
  • Friday Freebie – Guided Reading Group Template
    • This week’s free resource is a template for tracking your reading groups which can easily be modified to suit any age or ability group of students.

Reflection on a week as @EduTweetOz Host

“I know what I have given you…
I do not know what you have received.”
– Attributed to Antonio Porchia

Some time ago I was contacted by Allison, co-administrator of the @amuseEd Twitter account and asked if I was interested taking a slot as host of the RoCur Twitter account, @EduTweetOz, which I was. I had followed the account with my own Twitter account some time prior and found the concept very interesting. Some hosts appealed to me more than others, and there were some great conversations that I had participated in due to the host of the time sparking my interest with something. Indeed, a conversation one weekend around initial teacher education (ITE) sparked a five-part blog series (Part One can be found here). I have grown my own Professional Learning Network (PLN) immensely as a result of the conversations initiated by various account hosts and been challenged, inspired and motivated to continue to push myself to develop as a teacher.

I was rather fearful, however, of a few things. Firstly, Dr. Inger Mewburn (@thesiswhisperer) published an article in 2011 (though I am sure I recall reading one more recently, but was unable to find it) that made mention of something I felt in relation to hosting the account:

Fear of being ‘found out’ as fraud, not really knowing enough/being smart enough to be Phd student (@orientalhotel)

Otherwise known as ‘the imposter syndrome’ (thanks @boredpostdoc) this is apparently common in PhD students. As well as possibly being related to self-esteem and perfectionism, this emotion could be the by-product of the nature of PhD study itself. As the old cliche goes: “The more you know, the more you know what you don’t know”.

Though the quote above is specifically in relation to being a PhD student, I felt this way about hosting the account. As a teacher in my first year out of university, I did not believe that I had enough knowledge or experience to be qualified to host the account. This was in spite of believing that I would be able to generate some interesting conversations. I was also concerned that I would put something out there that would turn out to be completely wrong. My other concern was time management. I was not entirely sure that I had the time I felt that hosting the account would require to give it ‘a proper go.’

I spent some time chatting with Allison about my concerns and though I was still unsure, I very much felt like an imposter, and we worked out a timing. As I am attending OzFlipCon15 in October, I wanted to try and get in a week prior to that, in order to generate some discussion about Flipped Learning, and potentially network with some other attendees.

Despite my concerns, I genuinely enjoyed the experience of hosting the EduTweetOz account. There were some excellent conversations, and it was interesting hearing about people’s concerns surrounding Flipped Learning. I made a number of new connections through the various conversations that I engaged with and my blog had one of its busiest weeks ever. My concern about time should, perhaps, have been about time management, and not investing too much time, to the potential detriment of other responsibilities and relationships. Mrs. C21st (semi-)jokingly commented to me on the opening Sunday night that my week of hosting began “so, I’ll see you next weekend.” I do have a tendency to get fully invested in projects, and become somewhat oblivious to things going on around me, and I very much did that whilst I hosted.

One thing which I had not anticipated was the speed at which the EduTweetOz feed would move. To read something which had been linked to, and then come back to either favourite or retweet it, I would need to open the specific Tweet; and there were a number of occasions where I went to favourite or retweet something, only to have the feed move and I ended up doing so to a completely different Tweet. I enjoyed being able to engage with a wider range of educators than I otherwise have access to through my own PLN, and the array of ideas that comes with such a large PLN. I was also able to showcase some of the learning that my students had been doing and build the connections with my Classroom Twitter account, @MrEmsClass.

I will admit that I was mentally drained by the end of the week, and achieved very little that weekend that was on my to-do list, That said, I thoroughly enjoyed the week and feel that the benefits of connecting with such a wide array of educators, engaging with a variety of conversations topics, and growing my own PLN far outweigh the minor inconveniences. I did make sure that I cooked an amazing dinner for Mrs. C21stT at the conclusion of my time as host, though, to thank her for her understanding of my need to invest a significant amount of time in the experience. If you are unsure whether or not you want to host, i would definitely recommend it as a worthwhile experience.

The Primary Teachers Journal Club

It may sound like some sort of advanced Breakfast Club, but it is actually a new online professional learning network, aimed at pre-service teachers, and those teachers wishing to keep stay involved in academic discussions.

I first saw hashtag some time ago, and was curious about the concept, so I followed the hyperlink to Charlotte Pezarro’s blog, where I read this”

In this section, I hope to present interesting journal articles for discussion by pre-service, newly-qualified and established primary teachers. I will be limited to articles that are accessible without subscription; but there are plenty that are worth reading and pondering. Along with the reference, title and abstract, I will post some questions to scaffold the discussion. These questions will help us to reflect on the article, but by no means are you restricted to responding to these questions; feel free to ask your own or discuss any other thoughts you had while reading the article.

The first article put up for discussion was a recent one written by Gert Biesta and published in the European Journal of Education earlier this year. The title, “What is Education For? On Good Education, Teacher Judgement, and Educational Professionalism” was one I was intrigued by, and the questions that were prepared for it were sure to generate some robust discussion.

Unfortunately, I ended up not being home to take part in the discussion (for reasons outlined here) and have had read the Storify of the discussion (available for reading here), and I wish I had been involved. I’ll be keeping my eyes out for the next one. I recommend that you have a look and get involved. It will be professional development of a slightly different nature.