#edchatnz Reading Room

Last year I shared a weekly reading with staff at my school to provoke thinking. As this was quite successful and lead to many great discussions, my good friend & #edchatnz founder Danielle Myburgh has asked me to share a weekly reading for #edchatnz. I hope that many of you will join us in the #edchatnz Reading Room this year, reading, sharing and commenting so we can all push our thinking forward together.

Also, if you read anything mind blowing, please share it with me so I can feature it!


Inaugural Social Sciences Chat

Last night was the first #socscichatnz where we discussed Social Sciences teaching and learning in NZ. The first session was pretty much a general chat, moderated by Mary Robinson we answered these questions:

  1. What do you love about teaching Social Sciences? (With a 1. What topics do you like to cover?)
  2. What frustrations are there with teaching Social Sciences? How do we overcome these?
  3. What’s the value in teaching Social Sciences in schools?
  4. What skills and content are key to teaching Social Sciences?
  5. Share a great Social Sciences lesson you have taught this year

Here’s a storify of highlights from the chat.

These chats are running Monthly 8.30pm on the 3rd Sunday of the month. This means the next chat will be on November 16th at 8.30pm. Some ideas were gathered at the end of last night’s chat for the next topic so a poll will probably come out before then through @socscichatnz.

What are we doing to provide for learners born in 100 years?


I am a big fan of twitter chats and regularly take part in many chats based in various countries. Recently, however, I have found that they are becoming ego chambers filled with back patting and lacking critical thought. Still doing great things to connect educators, share ideas and support each other but not really allowing time or space for critical discussion to occur.

That is until the 2nd Birthday of #edchatnz last night. It was a doozy! The topic was “How can we meet students’ needs when the world changes so fast” and Rachel Bolstad (@shiftingthinkng) gave a masterclass in developing critical discussion within the fast-paced environment of a twitter chat.
Continue reading

The Inaugural #edchatNZ Conference

On Friday and Saturday last week I attended the first #edchatnz conference. It was an awesome 2 days of connecting, sharing and engaging in educational discussions. A few things have really stuck with me over the past couple of days:

  1. Our students at HPSS are awesome. here they were having a normal Friday of Extended Hub and then 3 hours in a Small Module whilst over 300 educators visited our school. A group of students had arrived early to help check delegates in and almost all students ended up in situations like this:
    Apocalypse Now students undergo the #edchatnz grilling and discuss their learning

    Apocalypse Now students undergo the #edchatnz grilling and discuss their learning

    I was so proud of how well they handled answering questions about their learning, next steps and how the school structures impact on that by so many interested teachers whilst also getting on with the learning for their module. If you were on of the teachers who visited my module with Danielle, we would love to hear your feedback on what you saw (especially any critique for us to work on).

  2. I loved the comment from Mark Osborne about the conference allowing us to engage in far deeper discussions than the 140 character limit on twitter allows us to do. I was mulling on how we can continue that when Reid started up the Blog Meme which is now doing the rounds. I am looking to extend this connection further so have been working with Danielle on an #edchatnz Blogging Challenge which will be released in the next couple of days.
  3. It was awesome meeting so many people face to face when you have been engaging in discussions with them through twitter and blogs. This will make it far easier for us to use those connections in more depth now that we have a live person behind the handle. Perhaps this is the spark to allow us to challenge each others practices as well as praise them? So many people also makes it frustrating when you realise how many people you didn’t catch up with! A challenge for me at ULearn to meet up with some of those missed this time.
  4. I absolutely loved the discussions that were occurring. So many people with a passion for pushing the boundaries and improving our collective practices. I also loved how many Pre Service Teachers were part of the 2 days. Really look forward to seeing them engage in our teaching community over the next couple of years!
  5. My workshop on Creativity across the curriculum was really well attended. So much so, the late arrivals had to drag chairs from elsewhere to be able to sit down! It was a bit scary at first – A few interactive activities thrown out and a bit more of a Steve rant from the front but absolutely incredible to see so many wanting to increase the development of creativity in their students. Even more awesome to receive tweets over the past couple of days from people showing how they have already used some of the ideas 🙂 Snip20140813_17 I am running a similar workshop at ULearn and have ideas after this one of how I can improve it to help teachers further. Have also had a couple of other possibilities arise to share this workshop elsewhere – crazy and exciting!
  6. EduBookChatNZ is going to be great. If you read this blog regularly you will know that I enjoy reading and sharing edunerdery. Now I get to share those with a group reading the same book at a relatively similar time. Get a copy of Key Competencies for the Future and join us on #edubookchatnz.
  7. A surreal moment as Karen Melhuish-Spencer quoted Hattie whilst using examples from my blog in her final keynote. Snip20140813_18 It showed to me that sure there are big researcher types in this world but lets look to what we are doing in our schools as there is plenty of great practice happening around us if we share it.
  8. Linked to this was some thoughts about what impact my blogging and sharing online seems to have had on others. There were people really keen to meet me and some with a sense of looking up to what I was doing and sharing online. This was quite strange for me to deal with. What it shows to me is the power of sharing your learning online for others to see. I blog to help myself sort through my thoughts but also because I realise there might be someone else out there who those thoughts it might help as well. Your new idea gleaned from a conversation or reading you have been doing; that activity you tried out; that thing you have been struggling with if shared online could be just the thing to inspire others to take a risk or try something new. I look forward to being inspired by all these new bloggers in the wake of #edchatnz.

EdChatNZ Blogging Meme

If you get included in the blogging meme: copy/paste the questions and instructions into your own blog then fill out your own answers. Share on twitter tagging 5 friends. Make sure you send your answers back to whoever tagged you too.

1. How did you attend the #Edchatnz Conference? (Face 2 Face, followed online or didn’t)

I was there for both days of the conference. On Friday I was teaching through most of the day so my involvement was mainly through inviting people in to be part of my Hub and my Apocalypse Now module. Saturday was far more of the conference experience for me.
2. How many others attended from your school or organisation?
 As we were hosting, our entire school was involved on the Friday – staff and students. On the Saturday there was still over half of our staff and a smattering of students attending (yes, students voluntarily at a conference on a Saturday!).
3. How many #Edchatnz challenges did you complete?
 After setting the challenges for everyone I embarrassingly did not complete them all! I think it was 12 that I did complete. I missed the food sculpture, highest point, new technology (although did get to see the Ultimaker 2 3D printer in action that we have on order) and the dancing challenges. Am most disappointed about the dancing challenges as I often dance randomly throughout the day.
4. Who are 3 people that you connected with and what did you learn from them?
So many awesome face to face catch ups with incredible twitter colleagues that made the weekend feel a bit like Edu-Nerd party of the year! I especially enjoyed catching up with 2 ex student teachers Emma (@emmaotearoa) and Jess (@ikanarat). But have to give special mention here to 3 connections that reminded me of important things:
Reid (@ReidHns1) is brilliant. He laughs often and loudly and as someone with the nickname of Excited Puppy I love to find other teachers who are genuinely stoked in what they do.
Jonathan Finnerty (@FtFinnerty) was a student of mine in my first few years teaching and it is really cool to see him as a confident Geo teacher soaking up the inspiration. It was cool seeing him make his first tweet after the conference (that first risky step done) and I hope we see him connecting regularly online (no pressure now…)
Aaron Huggard (@MrHuggard) spent 3 hours of Friday sitting in my module with students. In speaking with him on Saturday he felt it was time spent well extremely well – if you want to experience a school, do so from a students perspective.
5. What session are you gutted that you missed?
 Hard one, lots of awesome workshops I missed while teaching and presenting myself, didn’t get to see Pam Hook talk on SOLO but I would have loved to have been in Heather Eccles (@heccles01) session in support as she helped preservice teachers find the ways to connect with the awesome NZ education communities.
6. Who is one person that you would like to have taken to Edchatnz and what key thing would they have learned? 
Would have loved to have taken Michael Harcourt (@harcoumich). He is an incredible teacher who has inspired me over the past 7 years. We used to work across a desk from each other and bounce ideas back and forth, he always had an article or book to suggest for me to read. When I moved back up to Auckland I turned to Twitter for that regular bouncing of ideas (we still skype but once or twice a term isn’t enough!) and so it would have been full circle to bring him to #edchatnz.
7. Is there a person you didn’t get to meet/chat with (F2F/online) that you wished you had? Why
 Would loved to have chatted with Mark Buckland (@mjbuckland) face to face. Looking back through the tweets he was in a session I ran and in a couple of others I attended but somehow didn’t manage to connect. Will make sure this happens at ULearn!
8. What is the next book you are going to read and why? 
 Just started reading Creativity Inc today which I have been looking forward to for a while. If the new Ewan McIntosh book arrives it will be that next as I continue on my journey with Design Thinking. Otherwise Tait Coles’ Punk Learning that I got in the book swap at EdchatNZ conference, have read his blog for a while so interested to see what the book adds.
9. What is one thing you plan to do to continue the Education Revolution you learnt about at #Edchatnz?
 I want to help encourage more people to connect not only on twitter but by sharing their learning through blogs. Mark Osborne’s keynote pointing out the depth of discussion available when we meet face to face can also happen through blogging and commenting. Would love to see more people start with this – this blogging meme will help!
10. Will you take a risk and hand your students a blank canvas?
Have become reasonably well known now for some of the risks that occur in my classes…A blank canvas is all good but I would also add a couple of constraints to the activity – this is what causes the creativity to occur.
Who do will I tag with this meme:
All people I’m not sure are blogging yet, hopefully this meme will extend their connection with #edchatnz:
@MrHuggard (ok one that already blogs but I’m still keen to see more of his ideas online!)

How Might We make the most of a conference?

I love conferences. Incredible learning, great networking and a lot of laughs and fun. This week will be full of those at the EdChatNZ Conference but I want to ensure there is the final fun part involved as well. Inspired by what the Geography Collective challenged conference attendees to do at the GA Conference this year:


I am creating a list of missions for people to achieve during the EdChatNZ Conference on Friday and Saturday. The missions for the speakers are the same as above but there are some changes to the rest to reflect the sharing ethos of the #EdChatNZ conference.

At this stage it includes such things as new technologies, food, post-its, autographs, questions, selfies and grelfies.

See you all Friday morning!


This post is part of my Questioning Quest.

What if you could ask anything of a teacher at HPSS?

A gimme for my birthday!

This week Hobsonville Point Secondary School is playing host to the inaugural #EdChatNZ conference. Amongst all the amazing workshops, Ros Maceachern (@rosmaceachern) is giving a presentation on the way we operate at HPSS. What we (particularly Ros) need to know is what you would like to hear about?

Please contact Ros either via twitter or email her any questions or topics you would like to hear about at ros.macheachern@hobsonvillepoint.school.nz. Or of course you can comment here and I can pass it on to her.


This is a gimme post for my Questioning Quest.

Advice for Twitter Chats

From a small start at the end of 2012, the NZ twitter education chat #edchatnz has grown exponentially. The last chat had around 1000 tweets in the 60 minutes that the chat ran for. It was moving so fast that some very experienced Edchatters were struggling to keep up with what was happening, let alone those new to taking part. There are lots of posts out there offering advice for teachers new to twitter (such as this great one by @lisa_madden) but not much advice on venturing into the often fast moving world of a twitter chat. Hence, this post: How to take part in the awesome learning of a twitter chat when you are new to them.
Continue reading