Learning beyond walls…

Learning for teachers isn’t limited by the walls any more. We can share ideas, discuss our practice, learn with and from other educators outside our own institutions. And I don’t mean through conferences and workshops, live or virtual…

Skype allows us to collaborate with anyone anywhere. As soon as I asked ‘Who wants to learn with us?’ Judith Way said she would love to!

We often gather before school to learn together. I’m lucky to work with a group of teachers committed to ongoing learning and always in search of ways to improve teaching and learning in our school. Over the past few years we’ve had regular voluntary early morning sessions before school, to discuss readings, explore new tech tools, share learning from outside workshops, push each others’ thinking and learn from each others’ experiences.

Yesterday was different, though. Judith Way, a well known teacher librarian and seasoned presenter joined us via Skype to chat with us about responding to literature through a range of web 2.0 tools. She talked us through a variety of examples on her reading wiki and teachers enjoyed seeing familiar and unfamiliar tools used in novel ways to express student learning. One favourite was Google Lit Trips, which we haven’t used at all and teachers were excited by the possibilities for using Google Earth in interesting ways.

Watch this space for follow-ups! Des, who a year ago was a reluctant tech adopter without a shred of confidence to experiment with new tools, was applying ideas from the session already today. (Read about her transformation here.) She was thrilled with her class inquiry into how best to express their learning and their shared exploration of Toondoo. In our next week’s session, we’ll take some time to explore Judith’s wiki slowly on our own and discuss how we might adapt her ideas to suit our learning needs. 

There were teachers from all over the world who expressed interest in learning with us. Hopefully we can create more opportunities to make this happen!


5 thoughts on “Learning beyond walls…

  1. How wonderful that your learning team is interested in voluntary sessions. I would love to have that in my school. Today we will have an old-fashioned conference, with an ex-associate of mine who will be presenting Strategies for working with Graded Readers in EFL.

    I just received a bunch of information from my PLN on the same topic ans have talked with my coordinator to be able to share the info from my PLN with my colleagues too. Judith Way’s reading Wiki is awesome and has so many doable ideas (that I had already put into practice) so I plan to share that too. Many of my colleagues are scared of computing and since they are tenured, nothing can make them change or even go the extra time to come into a voluntary meeting time. We also have classes all through out the day so, having us get together is a rarity.

    I am sure that I have learned much more through my developing PLN than through the stand and deliver workshop I will attend today.


  2. Just wanted to let you know that this blog post really inspired me! We are struggling with finding ways to encourage teachers to share what they are doing in their classrooms. Many are feeling “shy” to share the wonderful things they are doing in class. I loved your idea of the early morning learning session and am thinking of implementing something similar here (uh…lunch though…we’re not so much the early type here in Latin America!).

    Thanks for re-focusing my passion and finding a way to help my teachers share theirs! I look forward to hearing about what else gets shared by and with your staff!



    1. This group has been an example of some of the most successful learning in our school. It’s always been voluntary but most people want to come anyway!


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