Thursday, September 8, 2011

Are YOU Going to uLearn11?

are you a seco
ndary teacher? are you in an ICT cluster? then you are likely going to ulearn11 in rotorua next month, and boy, are you lucky! ulearn is a fantastic conference, with a wide variety of workshops to choose from and wonderful things to hide your credit card from in the vendors' room. (go ahead, get something. i have to be frugal because i just got new toys.)

ulearn is great in that it will recharge your batteries, give you a great helping of motivation, and turn you on to some of the things you can do to help engage your students with your subject. however, there's a caveat. secondary teachers quite often have the opportunity to attend a conference and experience some elearning, and then...get back to the craziness that is high school and ncea and it all goes to waste.

this year, however, you have a better opportunity. that closed door that is "no term 4" is now a window - an opportunity for you to practice your new skills and perhaps implement one or two things into your planning for next year, while you have some quieter time with the seniors gone.

the trick is this: don't try to do everything. go to the conference, experience all of the amazing, happy-to-share-everything teachers there, have a good play with all the tools, and then focus on, say, ONE thing you think you could add in starting at the beginning of the year. this thing could be as simple as changing your planning from pen & paper to a google doc you can share with your students & parents. or a wiki or website where you can share resources with your students. the secret is not to make it some earth-shattering, "i am going to be the #1 eteacher!" change in your teaching. adding in e's is like weaving, bringing in a thread of red here, a tad of green there. it is not throwing out the whole cloth and buying a plastic poncho. remember, IT is a tool for you to put into your repertoire, not the whole toolbox. look, i started out with just a mrs faulkner bebo page where i posted quizzes and study links for students (remember when bebo was all the rage?). it grows from there.

and please, make yourself known to other secondary teachers. i have created a group for secondary support on the community site so that we can help each other and support each other in our struggle to keep up with our primary brethren. i know there are several other secondary teachers who are experienced eleaders who will be happy to meet you and help you on your way.

have a fantastic time - i can't wait!

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