One of the themes for Connected Educator Month 2015 was collaborate, and in the second of our N4LPresents webinar series we met some of the educators who created two communities that are all about building professional relationships and connecting like-minded people together.
#scichatnz opened up a platform for scientists and educators to share ideas and resources which has lead to educators feeling less isolated and encouraged to take a risk and try different strategies.
The #scichatnz group was formed by a group of teachers who are passionate about science education and exploring ways to have more science specific PD discussions. Rachel Chisnall from Taieri College in Dunedin and Chhaya Narayan from Elim Christian College in Auckland met up with others online and came together to create a fortnightly Twitter chat. The team has grown to also include Jennie Lyall from Wanaka Primary School, to lend a better perspective of primary education.
In the webinar Rachel, Chhaya and Jennia joined me to discuss their motivations, as well as the challenges and the exciting aspects of what being connected via a hashtag enables.
#Wellyed is a group of Wellington educators interested in fostering a community which shares its innovative practice, and offers ‘warm and demanding’ support for one another. The #wellyed blog contains some great stories about education in Wellington, not just from the educators point of view but also the learners perspective.
During the webinar Tony Cairns (Wellington High School), Stephen Eames (Raroa Normal Intermediate), Leanne Stubbing (Kelburn Normal School) and Diana-Grace Morris (Ridgway School) all shared their thoughts on the benefits and advantages that come from being able to connect informally with a range of other teachers.
In the webinar Tony described how much he appreciates the connections between the “lone-nuts” around the country and rave about the ideas he is finding joyful at the time in his teaching practice. Stephen talks about how a collaborative group like #wellyed allows him to share ideas about what he is trying within his classroom, and have useful feedback from others. Both Leanne and Diana-Grace talked about how #wellyed is special community of teachers that helps to foster collaboration, in part by organising real-life meetups. Some of these events are informal social ones, and others are more PD focused, for example the “play-dates” that allow teachers to explore games and the concept of gamification within education. These events have taken place at a range of secondary and primary schools across the Wellington area.
Both #scichatnz and #wellyed are great examples of “people-power” – passionate and engaged “lone-nuts” – teachers who have found ways to collaborate, innovate and educate.
Don’t be afraid to share!
#scichatnz – scichatNZ@gmail.com
#wellyed – email@example.com