Newcastle ‘all a Twitter’ following forum

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The  New Institute Forum held on 13th October proved to be a great success with a good crowd enjoying the presentations from advertisers around the issue of just how might we ‘brand’ Newcastle.

twitter-bird-logoDuring and following the forum, the Newcastle ‘tweeps’, (users of Twitter as a social networking medium), took up the challenge to contribute to just how might we brand Newcastle. 

Hundreds of ‘tweets’ later, and the power of social media was demonstrated, leading to coverage on local radio and an ongoing sense of fun and enjoyment at being able to contribute.

Imagine using Twitter to gain feedback around a particular topic or activity within a school community? Maybe a way of generating interest in an upcoming activity, or getting ideas about a particular topic.  It’s fast, and anytime, anywhere.

Pedagogical shifts: everybody’s business

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cowmoodleIt was great this week to get an email from an Aussie ex-pat who is working in Holland, with some great commentary on the tensions which can exist when we roll out infrastructure and tools and, indeed, online spaces.

There is also a range of viewpoints about the futility which exists when we simply provide the infrastructure and tools and fail to create shifts in pedagogy. We do need, however, to go beyond the view that this is simply a failure of the employer, and to start to think about why it has taken until very recently for a more mainstream acceptance that this ‘stuff’ isn’t going to go away, and that if we are to be able to sincerely regard ourselves as professional educators dedicated to optimising possibilities for young people, then maybe we have to enact significant parts of the necessary pedagogical shifts ourselves.

Here in NSW we ‘did’ the training model: remember TILT ?

We’ve been very good at smiling benignly at the early adopters. We’ve been happy that there has been something for our children to ‘play with’ when they’ve ‘finished their work.’

It is up to all of us to have a renewed view of what the work is, and that it’s everybody’s business. It is simply no longer good enough; over two decades since it has been all around us, to make excuses like:”Oh I’m just not much good with technology..” or “the internet is good, but we’ve got to be careful that children don’t lose the ability to use a real library..”

Having said that, there is a need for us to look carefully at how we structure the ‘delivery’ of curriculum and ideas in an online world. I am a great fan, for example, of Moodle, but can understand some trepidation that it may only become a very structured content delivery platform, rather than the Collaborative Online Workspace which it can be; a virtual learning environment, where the 24/7 nature of access enables the collaborators to invite others along to share the fun they are having learning. Lots of the work we’ve been doing with Moodle lately at has been aimed at this level of environment creation, and in our focus on the key imperatives: to Connect, to Collaborate, and as an aspiration for our shared future, to Create: not only demonstrations of our learnings, but a new paradigm for assessing our understandings about the role of a place we might call school. It’s about moving from the notion of School Planning, to an inclusive and connected focus on Planning School

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