Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Professional development - up close and personal

Last week the #AsiaED slow chat on Twitter, which was moderated by Simon Youd, discussed personalised professional development & professional learning (PD/PL) for teachers. This week Simon is continuing to moderate, but with a different approach, and has set the challenge of creating a post, video, or podcast reflecting on last week's chat. 

By coincidence, it is now exactly 12 months since I started blogging, and so this is an ideal time for me to reflect on the impact blogging has had on my PD/PL over the last year, and whether it will continue to have an impact in the future. My original plan was to blog for a year, just to see if I could write and share my thoughts and reflections on a fairly regular basis. I've managed to do this, averaging over two posts per month on my blog. 

In addition to writing for my own blog, I've also written a number of guest blog posts for other sites, for example hereContributing posts to community blogs, rather than just to my own, has resulted in some great feedback from teachers around the globe. Sites like BAM Radio Network's EdWords blog, Innovate My School.com, and Pedagoo.org, are all great places to submit pieces to. 

A number of contributors to last week's #AsiaED chat mentioned the importance of creating content, rather than simply being passive consumers of content. This is something that is increasingly recognised as being important for our learners, so why not for us as educators too? I have found blogging to be a useful way to reflect on my practice - what works, what doesn't - and use these reflections to hopefully improve my practice moving forward. So, whilst it began as a bit of an experiment, I plan to continue blogging for the foreseeable future.

Although writing blogs can be time-consuming, I've found I am getting slightly quicker at it. I was also concerned to begin with that I would find it difficult to find material to write about, and occasionally I do publish the odd photoblog! However, another important change for me this year was when, in May, I signed up to Twitter. Since then, interactions and conversations I have had on Twitter have provided inspiration for many of my blog posts, for example here

In fact, apart from when I studied for my Masters in Education, Twitter has provided me with the most useful PD/PL I have experienced since becoming a teacher. Education chats on Twitter, such as #DitchBook, #INZPirED, and of course #AsiaED, have proved particularly helpful. There are many educators using Twitter who are incredibly supportive and generous, both with their ideas and resources. So again, Twitter, which for me started out as something of an experiment, will continue to be one of my main go-to places for PD/PL.

Other ways for personalising professional development obviously include attending relevant education conferences. In the last 18 months there have been a couple of useful conferences held locally that I've attended, and these have been helpful. I also gave a presentation at the recent Google in Education Summit here in Bangkok. 

So to summarise, I feel that blogging has helped with my professional development, by providing a concrete way with which to reflect on my teaching. Participating in Twitter education chats has also given me much to think about in terms of PD/PL, as well as a very supportive and helpful PLN. In the coming year I plan to continue blogging, both on my own site and for community blogs, as well as continuing to participate in Twitter education chats. 

I'd be interested to hear others' views on their most effective PD/PL...

Friday, 11 December 2015

A field trip to the zoo - in photos

I recently took my Grade 11 biology students on a field trip to our local zoo. In this post I will share some photos from the trip. 

This field trip formed part of our study of animal behaviour. Whilst at the zoo students were expected to make observations of two different animal species in order to compare their behaviour. They were also asked to think about the arguments for and against zoos, and to find evidence to support both sides of this debate. 

I will post a full account of the pre- and post-trip activities in a later blog.