Archive for May, 2012


Tweets from the Library

May 28, 2012

As Linda shares below, I discovered her while doing my research to write a Literary Review about using Web 2.0 to build your PLN. At the time, Linda’s article was the only one I could find that mentioned Twitter for Educators. Many teachers were talking about Twitter on blogs but there was hardly anything to be found in University data bases. I decided to follow Linda and last week end she wrote back. She also agreed to write about her experience here. Thank you Linda. 

I first experienced the world of web 2.0 and the power of social networking for professional development when I participated in the PLN 2008, a 12 week online course run by the School Library Association of Victoria I moved from Melbourne to Singapore in 2009, and was inspired to share the PLN with a group of colleagues there when it was run again in 2010. That course is a supported step into the unknown for the uninitiated, but as I undertook this for the second time myself , with the new tools that had come online since the first time, I gained greater confidence in establishing an online network of peers whom I could connect with for professional growth. I wrote about that experience in the FYI journal of SLAV, and that’s how Clare found me!

My professional  journey with colleagues at AIS and my PLN continues. This year we have our third PLN group at AIS, undertaking the PLN 2012. It is a small group, one of about 15 Teacher Inquiry Groups introduced in our school  this year. I am blogging about it here.  Leading this group compelled me to dust off a blog with a single post I started last December! One requirement of the group is that they start a blog, so of course I must too!

I have seen my own confidence and that of my library and teaching colleagues flourish as a result of  exposure to  the Vic PLN course; a lack of confidence, some degree of cynicism become replaced with  a willingness to take risks, try new things and greater trust of social media; a sensitising to the power of Personal Learning Networks.

My own network continues to grow. I took another look at Twitter after a colleague at AIS told me how valuable she finds it for professional learning. I have found groups I like to follow – #tlchat; #vicpln; #ozteachers; #edchat; #edtech,  to name a few.  As my Twitter use grew, I was compelled to set up Tweetdeck on my ipad. One of the teachers I follow here in Singapore – @robinthailand established a new social group here and we met for the first time on Friday – #profsocial. I met several people I had only previously known online!

New networks and tools have emerged since I wrote Staying connected.  Or at least my awareness of them is new. LinkedIn has really taken off as a professional network. I connect with groups like ALIA, and with library professional like Karen Bonnano whose posts I like to read. Library 2.0 is another great network and my library colleague and I participated in a number of sessions in their online conference last year. Through my subscription I get regular alerts to new webinars. has emerged as a great curation tool to follow. My favourites are School Library Advocacy curated by Karen Bonnano, and Social Networking For Information Professionals curated by Judy O’Connell.

Social networking for teachers is a powerful professional development tool that allows us to connect with inspirational and like-minded colleagues anywhere anytime. It’s the way I keep up to date and importantly, the way I stay motivated to learn and inspired to try new things.

Linda Twitchett. Head of Library and Information Services. Australian International School Singapore.



Learning Communities

May 13, 2012

Learning Communities

I first met Jonathon Pugh when he taught my daughter Year 7 Science in 2000. In 2012, we find ourselves teaching at the same school and though I teach in Primary and Jonathon in Secondary we regularly engage in dialogue as we make our lunch in the staff room. I shared with Jonathon that I was back at university and researching the value of web 2.0 to build your PLN. I discovered that Jonathon also had an interest in the topic of professional development and he ‘Twittered’ me this post. He asks some great questions! I’d love to know what you think.


Online Professional Learning- Virtually There?

May 12, 2012

I first met Peita late last year at a North/West Sydney REsearch Group Cocktail Party. It was an inspiring night listening to Alma Fleet as she reflected on her visit to the Preschools and Centres of Reggio Emilia, and the way this experience impacted her teaching. We had the opportunity to look at the incredible K-2 Learning Space in the school that hosted the event and to meet other like-minded educators. I stayed in touch with Peita, sharing my reflections and feedback from the night via email. I love to engage in dialogue with other professionals about the things that inspire our teaching and our philosophies around learning. This year I have been able to meet with Peita face to face, over email and now that we have established out Twitter hashtag  #nwsreggio we frequently share ideas through links on Twitter as well. I asked her if she would mind reflecting on that experience here. I also recommend the blog

Co- convening a professional learning network has its rewards and challenges. Developing opportunities for educators to learn together inspires dialogue and collaboration, sharing ideas across educational settings, ages and demographics. It is always rewarding to hear of experiences in the classroom that have been inspired by a conversation, speaker or question from one of our network meetings.

As a network we face several dilemmas. We are geographically large and our membership numbers have grown significantly over the past few years. Of course, the value we place on collaboration allows for a diverse range of views across the network; however we have found that the more the network grew, the more difficult it became for individual questions, projects and conversations to be shared.  The date and time of the meetings were also difficult to organise as the more members we had, the more commitments we need to schedule around, resulting in interested members being unable to attend.

Over several months the other convenor and I met to discuss how we can possibly meet the needs of the network as a whole, as well as individual members?   We decided to explore the possibility of online participation, allowing members to pose setting specific questions, reaching out to other network members for answers and ideas.

We began with a Twitter account, incorporating the hash tag #nwsreggio into our tweets to share readings, provocations and inspiring stories. We were able to share member responses to the recent Reggio Emilia Study Tour, and Karin Eskesen’s visit from Denmark.

We have also created a blog, hoping to share stories from teaching and the classroom with other like-minded educators. At this stage we are the only contributors, however it is being mentioned in Tweets by others. We are hoping that after our next face to face meeting more members will feel comfortable contributing, and sharing their own stories and responses to provocations.

Our first blog post was entitled “From little things, big things grow” and we hope that we have planted the seed for meaningful collaboration across and beyond our network without the restriction of time and distance.

Peita van Bussel


May 6, 2012

I don’t know Ashley, but I think this is a very inspiring post!

A Primary School Teacher

I had the privilege of attending and presenting at the TeachMeet held at Australian Catholic University last night. Not only were the presentations incredibly inspiring, but the energy and enthusiasm felt in the entire room was unbelievably motivational.

Take a look at #tmsydney for some inspiring people to follow and to read about some interesting points made in the presentations.

Below is a brief overview of my presentation about the benefits of Twitter and Blogging.

We are teaching in the 21st century, which means we need to teach in a way that suits our 21st century students. We need to ensure our students are learning the skills they need. After all, the top ten jobs in 2010, didn’t even exist in 2004. We need to prepare our students for jobs that don’t yet exist, to use technologies hat haven’t been invented yet in order to solve problems we don’t even…

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How do you learn?

May 3, 2012

I woke early in Paris, still getting over jetlag. My daughter slept. She is comfortable in her tiny apartment where she has spent the last four months whilst studying at The Sorbonne. As I lay there, I checked Twitter and linked my way through to some blogs. This habit is strangely refreshing even at the start of the day, even while I am on holidays and taking a break from my class. I guess when you are a teacher; you have an innate love of learning. You look for learning everywhere.

The first post I read for the day was from What Ed Said. She asked, “What are your beliefs about learning?” I pondered this question all day. I thought about it as my daughter pulled out the map and showed me where we would go. I thought about it as she translated the information about hiring a ‘Vélib’ bicycle. I thought about it as she rode along the Canal Saint Martin in front of me, so that I wouldn’t get lost in the busy traffic to Place des Vosges. I thought about it when she ordered our coffees in French and as we made our way up the stairs of Victor Hugo’s house. I thought about it as she purchased groceries to make me dinner on her one pot stove.

I remembered how lost she used to get when she first got her drivers’ license and didn’t even know her way to familiar places. I remembered the 6 year old she once was, who had no interest in taking the ‘trainer wheels’ off her two-wheeler bike. I remembered her grappling with concepts in high school novels. I remembered her not knowing how to make tomato soup, even out of a tin.

Yet, she has had an interest in France and its language for as long as I can remember.

“How do you learn?” I asked her at the end of the day. “How do you know how to read such complicated maps now? How did you master riding a bike? How do you manage always speaking in a foreign language? How did you learn to cook? How did you read ‘Les Miserables’ in French”

We discussed the possibilities of how she mastered so many things for the duration of my stay.

There are so many ways we learn.

Yesterday I posed the question to my class on Edmodo. I love their answers. I am probing them with more and more questions as to why they think they learn that way.

What about you? How do you learn? Do you learn from your PLN?