My FlipLearnCon Keynote

Yesterday I published an article containing Heather Davis‘ keynote presentation from FlipLearnCon in Sydney, broken into bite-size sections. This article provides my keynote presentation, also broken into sections. Given that this was my first keynote presentation, I would appreciate any constructive feedback people would like to share, positive or otherwise.

My role at FlipLearnCon generated some useful discussion with my students. In the week prior to the event, students had been presenting speeches of their own, which were required to be between three and five minutes in length, as an end-of-unit assessment task. Many of the students were incredibly nervous but actually spoke quite well. Many of them sat down afterwards, convinced their speech was terrible and struggled to take on board the positive feedback from peers. I had told the students why I would be away for two days, and when they found out it was to deliver a twenty-minute speech they were horrified at the very thoughts.

Interestingly enough, when I returned to class the day after FlipLearnCon, they wanted to know how it went. So I turned it back to them, asking for a show of hands as to who sat down after their speech and thought it was terrible,with a large number of hands going up. I then asked for a show of hands as to who heard a speech they thought was terrible, not difficult to hear because of volume or annunciation (a common issue we found), but actually terrible. Not a single hand went up. I then shared with them that my presentation ended up going longer than twenty minutes, that there were some technical issues and that I stood up feeling incredibly nervous with the adrenaline pumping. I was seeing lots of heads nodding at this point as much of the class, other than technical issues, felt the same when presenting their speeches.

Like them, I continued, I persisted, despite feeling nervous, and gave the speech. I finished it and felt that it was not particularly great (unlike my Graduate Address, which I am still very proud of, and sat down afterwards feeling that I had nailed it) but that I had been given positive feedback which means that despite what I thought, the speech was good. I pointed out to them that with practice, public speaking becomes easier, but that being nervous is ok, as long as we do not allow the nerves to control us and stop us from taking opportunities.

Below, you will find my keynote presentation at FlipLearnCon. If you are interested in having a copy of the slide deck, you will find it here.

Part One

  • My initial exposure to Flipped Learning.
  • My first attempt to flip.
  • Flipping TPL.
  • My current place in the Flipped Class continuum.

Part Two

  • Flip based on your context.
  • Considering workflow.

Part Three

  • Demonstration of developing flipped content using Camtasia.

Part Four

  • Fast food time (takeaways)
  • Question and Answer session.

Again, I would appreciate any feedback on the usefulness, structure, delivery or content of my keynote so that I can make my next presentation stronger and more useful for the audience.

Changing Roles and Career Progression

“Time stays long enough for those who use it.“
– Attributed to Leonardo Da Vinci

I am looking for some feedback on my teaching career progression and am hoping that you, my readers, are able to help. Last year I was fortunate enough to gain regular casual employment each week until I was eventually offered a temporary contract from Term Two through to the end of the year.That role was as a Release from Face-to-Face (RFF), or as I have heard it called elsewhere, Non-Contact or Supply Teaching. In this capacity, I had a timetable wherein I moved from class to class at set times, teaching digital literacy to students from Kindergarten up to Year Six.

This year, I have been offered a contract for the full year on a Year Five and Six composite class, for three days a week. I am discovering a great number of tasks that last year went unnoticed by me, as they did not fall within my purview, mainly administration issues. I had a conversation with another teacher recently who has gone the other way, from teaching a class in a job-share arrangement, back to an RFF role, and it was interesting that she is discovering all of the things that she no longer has to worry about.

It makes me glad that I was not offered a permanent position immediately after graduating, as I am not sure how I would have coped, worrying about programming and planning, accreditation, the actual teaching and building relationships with my students, if I had also been required to complete the various paperwork and administration with which I am now faced. It enabled me to spend a year focusing on my pedagogy and classroom habits, which I believe has put me in a position for this year where I am not as stressed about juggling everything.

It has also made me think about my career progression. The end goal, for myself, at least, is to gain a permanent position in a classroom. However at this point in time, and I am open to feedback on this, I am considering that I am better off not applying for permanent jobs this year. That might sound odd, however, I feel that in the long run, my teaching, and therefore, my students would be better served by having a full year in a class, with a full year’s worth of teaching a single class with all of the associated experiences which come with that, rather than potentially being offered a permanent position mid-year, causing consistency issues for myself and both sets of students.

Students are resilient, and would get over it, however as someone who changed schools a lot as a student, I feel that the disruption, and the time for students to adapt to a new teachers routines, processes, and quirks, mid-year, would cause significant issues in regards to classroom more issues than would be worth it.

Of course, the alternative would be to simply ask my Principal to not release me until the end of the year, should I be offered a permanent position elsewhere, which I have heard of happening. However, I am not sure how well that idea would be received, both by the current Principal and my new Principal.

My reasoning makes sense to me and I am happy with the decision, but I am open to feedback and other ideas on the issue from those more experienced.

Quickly Celebrating the Small Things

I feel like I have not achieved much today, in some ways, and I do not feel like I will get much done this afternoon between a staff meeting, chiropractic appointment and a meeting that I have to go to at Warners Bay this evening. I am currently typing this on my iPad as I wait for the weekly staff meeting to begin.

I have not had time today, for reasons, to type out my next article in the series on the Staff Development a day that I attended last Monday, nor will I have time tomorrow, as it is the school athletics carnival.

The small thing to celebrate is that I received an email today advising me that I had been nominated by my Honours supervisor to submit my dissertation for consideration to be presented at the Australiasian Conference of Undergraduate Researchers ( ACUR), which takes place at the end of September, in Perth, Western Australia.

It involves a four thousand word submission which is then considered, and though I intend to submit, I will be hard pushed to get it done as quickly as I would like.

Thank you for reading, as always, and I will try to get an article done for tomorrow, but given my time pressures, I do not think I will be successful.

Collaboration

“As you navigate through the rest of your life, be open to collaboration. Other people and other people’s ideas are often better than your own. Find a group of people who challenge and inspire you, spend a lot of time with them, and it will change your life.”
-Attributed to Amy Poehler

No single teacher, on their own, causes great things in the classroom or motivates students. That may sound odd, given that most classrooms are operated by a single teacher, but we do not cause great things to happen in isolation. The great moment in a lesson occurs because we have brainstormed how to deliver a particular lesson/skill/concept with a colleague, we have asked our partner or children for their feedback, we have sought feedback from our own students on how we can be better teachers for them and put that into practice, we have been to a professional development session of some description that has lit a fire under our tail and ignited a passion we were heretofore unaware of, the office staff have printed and distributed notes for any number of reasons.

In other words, we have collaborated in a variety of ways and with a variety of people. We do nothing in isolation. Ultimately, if we do not collaborate with our students, it will be irrelevant how amazing and inspiring our lesson plan is. Without their collaboration and buy-in, nothing is achieved.

I had a conversation this morning with a colleague who delivered my program to some classes on Friday, and her feedback was very useful. She pointed out that attempting to have students save a filed onto a communal USB was very time-intensive, and recommended simply using a class list as a tick and flick sheet, with a particular competency noted at the top of each column, and a tick if the competency was achieved. That was the initial idea, and somehow in the transition to using the class laptops as opposed to small groups, the method was cast aside. I used that method this morning, and it was much easier, and much simpler to put into practice in the classroom, and also when entering the data on the spreadsheet that my records are being kept on.

Collaboration with colleagues, especially around sharing what works is vital to a teachers success. How do you collaborate?

As always, thank you for reading, and I look forward to hearing from people about the collaboration that is going on.