What a week in education in New Zealand! The Festival of Education was the most visible event this week, but there were also lots of smaller happenings around the country such as FarNet's Digital Horizon Conference in Whangarei, Connected Rotorua Meeting 'Let's Talk Google', Educamp Dunners. Somehow I ended up playing a part in a few of these this week...
My personal and professional highlight was presenting at TechMeetNZ on Saturday morning as part of the Festival of Education. Under the expert guidance of the ever-patient +Sonya Van Schaijik with superb support from +Marnel van der Spuy and +Kathy Scott a group of 7 NZ educators presented on a topic of their choice for 3min each, live streamed on air - with actual face-to-face audience in the room with Sonya at the Festival of Education. Sonya had asked me earlier this year to take part and I was happy to, only realising fairly late into it how much additional attention might be attracted by it being part of the Festival! It was nerve wrecking and fabulous at the same time!
As part of my role I am used to presenting to groups of people on various topics, and I have used my TeachMeetNZ topic "Supporting Universal Design for Learning with Google Apps for Education" before as a trial run for Saturday. Where this differed though was that when presenting in a live Google Hangout, there is no verbal or non-verbal feedback from the audience. On top of that, the clock is ticking, and it can be a challenge to say everything within the 3min and still make sense!
I was first up, and everything went well. My co-presenters +Diana Wilkes, +Justine Driver, +Myles Webb, +Juliet Revell, +Manu Faaea-Semeatu, +Emma Alaalatoa-Dale were so knowledgeable, it was fantastic to hear their presentations, I want to go away and study each of their presentations again as there is much to learn from all of them! You can find them here, just click on their names.
So what do I take away from this? There are lots of great things happening in NZ education at the moment. Individual educators are happy to share with each other and the world in a rewindable way (the recording is available here and be available on the TeachMeetNZ wikipage). +Juliet Revell made some great points in her reflection, and the main thing I read in there was every day we ask our students to put themselves out there, push themselves beyond their expectations. Do we do the same for ourselves? Do we practise what we preach? I can honestly say, this weekend I did.
Would I do it again? Definitely, not just in the TeachMeetNZ format, but I am also thinking about flipping my teaching in other ways. To go with my UDL theme, I am thinking about revamping some of my resources and tutorials and maybe presenting them as voice or video recording - what do you think?
One other thing I learnt over this last week is to get over some of my self-doubt; I am in awe of these amazing educators I have been presenting with at TeachMeetNZ, of the people I am in touch with on twitter, on Google+ etc. but I sometimes doubt that I am meant to be there, that I have got something to say that is worthwhile for others to hear. The support, feedback and love from everyone I have worked with this week, at the LwDT hui in Auckland, at Digital Horizons in Whangarei, at Connected Rotorua, at TeachMeetNZ and everywhere else, means so much to me so that I am saying to myself - like I have often said to my students - you have something worthwhile to share. Now it's your turn: How and where will you share?