As I sit (eating spicy wedges) at Queenstown Airport I am reflecting on what an amazing community I am a part of and how they inspire me to improve as a teacher and try new ways. I have just spent the past 4 days (including my weekend!) learning, sharing and refocusing.
So what is it all about.
After about 3 years of teaching (a few years ago now) I was lucky enough to be given a VC (Video Conferencing) class. I had 3 F2F students and the rest were at the other end of the country. I taught one lesson a week on the VC and then helped the students through their work via Google Sites and what ever web 2.0 tools fitted the situation. This was through Otagonet. The Otagonet community of E-teachers were and are a brilliant group of teachers: supportive, challenging and yet all focused on the same goal. Through Otagonet I met other teachers from throughout the VLN who are just as great as the Otagonet people
This experience led me to become involved in further study my MA in Teaching which then connected me to a TLRI trial on Knowledge Building and using Knowledge Forum. We have just had our first symposium this week and what a great learning experience. Reporting and hearing about how teachers are using Knowledge Building Principles and their experiences with Knowledge Forum.
What I really appreciated at the end of the day was not just the learning and developing of ideas but the laughter and fun we have all had over the past 4 days. I got to meet my VPLD online mentor for the first time f2f, which was just great. This sense of community that for most of the year is online, but for a couple of days here and there when we get to meet up, I really value. I always feel rejuvenated and have the knowledge that what I am doing in the classroom with technology is on the right track.
It was great to see those who were in Wanaka these past few days- just AWESOME.