Now that Kerri's done all the hard work, I'd like my reflections of this learning experience to focus less on what was said but the pedagogical understandings that I picked up as part of my learning experience leading up, during and after the presentation. So here we go!
Who dares wins. Sonya only asked me to present after she had noticed my visibility during #engchatnz twitter chats. If I had not been engaged with fellow English practitioners in one context, I would never have been given such an awesome opportunity in the TeachMeetNZ context and to collaborate with such extraordinary New Zealand teachers.
Presenting online means the world literally is your stage and anyone could be watching. Immediately after the presentation, I was contacted by two inspirational and highly talented educators from my past. One Colin North (HOD Science- Waiuku College) was a brilliant mentor to me during my HOD days and is an amazing classroom teacher. The other Heather Greaves (Deputy Principal-Oturu School, Kaitaia) was a peer of mine when we were completed our respective Masters degrees. Over eight years, Heather was an exceptional online practitioner and brilliant visionary regarding the effective benefits of digital teaching for student learning and achievement.
Digital "fails" means you are learning. To ensure we were good to go for the big broadcast, Sonya took us through 3 full rehearsals and started our work the best part of three months ago. During the presentation, we are required to introduce ourselves visually and oral live on screen before sharing and talking to our Slides presentation via the Hangout. Although I had used Hangouts a number of times before, it is politely to say that the first rehearsal was heavy on errors and matters of timing. By the second rehearsal we were nailing it. At the final (and dress/tech rehearsal), going first I decided to present before sharing. Even then Sonya was calm and collected and politely reminded of the correct order required. Needless to say, by the time of my presentation, I was ready and highly prepped and thankfully had left all my mistakes and miscues back in the rehearsals as did my fellow presenters. What was most interesting was that while I was rehearsing and getting the Slides completed, I became so immersed in the learning journey that it wasn't until the Saturday that I became focused on the ultimate outcome and finished artifact.
Learning from & with others is not only more effective but more fun. When it is just you and the content in the learning context, it can be very hard to stay motivated and to effectively engage in your professional learning surroundings. When you are in a team learning environment however not only does affirming peer pressure motivate you to produce for yourself and your team but also you learn just as much from your team members as from the content. This is even more so when the team members have such a consistent passion for digital, student learning and achievement and are happy to share share their vast expertise.
Authentic learning is everything. The fact that right from the start we were working towards a live educational presentation using a range of digital media meant that we are doing learning for a real outcome. This meant we had to learn how to embed our presentation, use Google Hangouts collaboratively and how to create and edit our presentations' bottom thirds. Through working towards an authentic, real and legitimate outcome meant that the learning was also very authentic, real and legitimate. This has huge relevance in the classroom setting as when students see the reality of their learning, they too are more likely to engage and value what they are receiving.
Lastly expectations are everything. Through all of the lead-up, Sonya never once questioned either our ability to deliver in terms of technical expertise, content provision or live presentation. In short,we had a job to do and with Sonya's leadership guiding us through the process, there was no real option other than to be successful in our endeavor. Sonya was also very explicit in what she wanted in terms of content format, presentation structure and setting. In doing so and being so clear, her standard was very clear and as such was easier to work towards.
In closing, being involved in the #TeachMeetNZ professional learning presentation was a fantastic learning experience. I strongly recommend that if you ever get the chance to do something similar grab it. After all, you have nothing to loose, everything to gain.