Learning beyond walls #2…

As I said before…

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. Skype allows us to collaborate with anyone, anywhere, (almost) any time.

On a cold, wintry morning, twenty educators rose early for an a voluntary professional learning session before school hours.

Kathleen and Kelly are a couple of vivacious and energetic, young teachers at a school a couple of hours away from ours. They were in their classroom early, supported by their principal Ruth, to share their experience and advice with us via Skype. At my school, teachers gathered in the library to further their own learning about class blogging to promote literacy.

Many of our teachers started class blogs this year for the first time. A few were blogging with their classes last year. None are bloggers themselves.

Kathleen and Kelly talked us though their class blog and explained how it is an integral part of teaching and learning literacy. They answered questions about how to encourage students to blog and parents to comment. We saw a delightful video of students talking about the benefits of blogging. We were shown evidence of students’ progress in writing, through the development of their comments on the blog. Teachers left the session inspired to move their own class blogs forward, armed with new ideas and examples.

As always, here’s what I learned:

  • Teachers enjoy learning from other real, live teachers, sitting in their own classrooms.
  • Hearing voices from outside can be powerful, even if they say the same things voices inside have already said.
  • There are incredible, generous educators out there, willing to share with anyone who is open to learning from them.
  • Passion and love of learning are contagious.
  • Offering every kind of support, when people are ready, is an effective way to instigate change.
  • Teaching is changing. Ways of learning are changing. The possibilities are endless.
  • A head of school who makes breakfast so his teachers can learn is an example to all.
  • If you have an idea, run with it. Don’t wait for a better time, particular conditions or permission to try. What’s the worst that can happen?

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14 thoughts on “Learning beyond walls #2…

  1. Hi Edna,

    Thanks so much for inviting Kelly and me to share our love of blogging with your staff! It was a new experience to present via Skype and really showed how easy sharing across the state (or globe) can be!

    We were so thrilled to hear that we gave your staff some new ideas (even if you said it all before) and we look forward to following their blogging journey!

    Kathleen🙂

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  2. Thank you Edna for pointing me in the right direction once again. You are also a connector: I loved Kathleen’s blog and subscribed.

    What you say about hearing it from the outside is so true. Hearing the voices from the inside after a while sounds like droning. So…..I know that I owe you a post, but I just had a flash of an idea. Would you like to do some teacher training via Skype to a MEXTESOL local event, July 2nd (lovely Saturday) to EFL teachers in Morelia?
    Just asking, Ellen

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  3. Edna,hello, thank you for sharing your learnings,it would be sad if we stopped being life long learners.
    I like your attitude,if you have an idea run with it,don’t wait for a better time! this has been a long time mantra of mine,together with the notion that as educational leaders we should support those early adopters who are ready to move,we need to capture that enthusiasm and work with it,promote it and resource it.
    I wouldn’t classify myself as an experienced blogger, a raw beginner more likely,I am constantly amazed by the literacy progress made by our young bloggers and it was a powerful learning experience for me to be involved in the Skype PD session this morning.As a result Kelly and Kathleen have arranged for some of their students to visit me and assist me to find my way around their class blog,which I already visit on a regular basis.

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  4. Hi Edna,

    I thoroughly enjoyed our Skype session yesterday morning, it was great to share our blogging experiences in a relaxed and informal setting. It was terrific your staff had questions for us, and they seem very keen to learn about the benefits of blogging.

    Thanks for allowing us into your school, it was a great experience!🙂

    Kelly

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  5. Edna, Kelly, and Kathleen Your love of learning is contagious, I’m sure. With all three of you together on a skyping session, teachers could have nothing but a fantastic time. Loved the post Edna. At our school we are now beginning to see students learning beyond walls. This is thrilling me to no end. Hats off to you ladies. Keep on sharing your energy and love of learning.

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  6. Hi Edna. Reading this post, I was really struck by the comment “If you have an idea, run with it. Don’t wait for a better time, particular conditions or permission to try.”

    This is so relevant for us teachers trying new things with ed-tech – in my recent position, I took my students and school to places they’d never dreamed of by running a few global projects. I took a risk – and ran with my ideas, only telling people about them after I’d started & was pretty confident of success. Its amazing what you can dream up in the middle of the night.

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  7. Hi Edna. Great post! I’m not an educator in a school, but as an L&D person I do have responsibility for the adult learners in my organization. Your thoughts and ideas transfer over very soundly into the corporate world and there is lots to learn from each other. Your last bullet, “If you have an idea, run with it. Don’t wait for a better time, particular conditions or permission to try. What’s the worst that can happen?” Has been a sounding board for the past year, and I’m certain my colleagues are getting tired of me pleading for them to innovate regardless of circumstance. Thank you for beating that drum as well. The areas/methods available in which to learn, generate learning (and thinking) and conversation is quite exciting isn’t it?

    I look forward to your future posts!

    Quick note to the site host: On the “examples and stories” page, there is not an area in which to post your stories as suggested.

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