Monday, 12 June 2006

Bard Wired's Bigger Bang...

Congratulations to the BardWird team - Kim, Richard, Carol & Megan for an awesome effort in organising our Regional Meeting, Teacher Only Day & BardKidz Expo. Thanks also to our willing band of helpers: Doug, Clarissa, Kelly, Kelvin. Sharon for the lovely food & Marlene & Karen for looking after us on those days. Bard Wired teachers too - giving of their own time, especially a Saturday! to be involved.
The hall looked great for the BardKidz Expo - it was disappointing that we didn't get many of our school community visiting the expo though many of our teachers and visitors for the Regional Meeting took the opportunity to check out the children's work. An expo like this though only showed products of learning as opposed to the processes they went through to actually get there (which is where the real learning is happening) I think next time our kids should organise this sort of day themselves (with our help) perhaps like a Kids Conference - there would be greater school community interest & involvement (like our recent KidsDay) & more meaningful for our students. Even so all the examples displayed around the hall would have been sowing seeds of ideas for many teachers for learning opportunities back in their own classrooms.

The Regional Meeting on the Friday, as always, was a great opportunity to network with other cluster people from around the region and to share in some PD together. Bruce Hammonds presented a workshop "Getting on Board a Vision to the Future" His presentation can be found on our Interact site. The Bard Wired cluster had the opportunity to share some of our cluster highlights & the BardWired blogspot was the presentation tool for this. So also an opportunity to showcase how blogging works for us. I spent some time (& it wasn't easy) working out how to put categories into this blog. Now each blog post can be categorised (through Delicious) & on the sidebar of this blog are category links - pretty useful really. Tessa led a session on the Learning Federation digital learning objects & everyone had some time for a play with those. We had a great turn out of about 20 people from other ICTPD clusters & our group certainly didn't go unnoticed in the small town of Stratford when went out in the evening :-)

Saturday, and the Teacher Only Day, we had a great turn out of about 80 teachers from our own schools, regional clusters and other local schools - Manaia, Omata & Hawera Intermediate. I think everybody, to some degree, was able to take something from this day to reflect on & perhaps influence their future thinking & practise or even to affirm their existing beliefs about learning & teaching. Thanks to Bruce, Jill & Jamie for their considerable input into our day. Presentations & links to our presenters sites are on the Interact site. All the photos from the day are on Flickr.

One of my highlights was to meet Jamie McKenzie, who i have been reading for a number of years and had seen deliver a fantastic keynote in Rotorua last year. Jamie delivered a great keynote for us in the morning on 'The Smart Use of Technologies'. I was a little disappointed that in our afternoon session I think we missed the mark with some of our teachers, perhaps not the best choice of workshop for such a large and diverse group. The activities were challenging for some & i think they found it hard to tie it into the bigger picture. Feedback was mixed about this workshop - some enjoyed the challenge & Jamie is definately right that learning (in this case teacher learning) should be rigorous. Some reflections from Richard of the day: "The big theme for me was again getting the kids thinking... and what makes for improved thinking in a classroom.. Well I guess it is insightful questioning that leads to enhanced thinking! Clearly a message for teachers... The accessing and then using the wealth of information on the web. Jamies slam dunk lessons are a step in the right direction, when used along side the unit that was planned and prepared for the children in our own class!"
We finished a hectic couple of days at Malones where Jamie proved he shares the same good taste in wine & showed what a mean end game he has in pool!
Please share your feedback and reflections about the day by clicking on the comments link below.
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