Last Monday, I had the privilege of guest hosting Tom Kilgore's awesome #txeduchat as part of ISTE2016. Focusing on the idea and importance of global connections, this special event was made even more special by a number of my regular New Zealand-based #digitaledchat contributors jumping in and taking part. More than ever before, this US-based chat (conveniently Monday lunchtimes for us Kiwis!) demonstrated that global communication, collaboration and classrooms is not only the way forward but a way that should be almost non-negotiable for all educators. Non-negotiable that is, if they really want to prepare their students for local and global existence.
Monday night saw the hosting of my regular twitter chat #digitaledchat that took off on the topic of The Teacher's Voice.
This past week also had my school completing final preparations for our hosting of The MindlabNZ's Postgraduate course in Digital and Applied Learning. The most amusing part of this stage-setting was when I had six students from our junior school test our specifically set-up Wi-Fi network. These students with a range of devices and digital experience were given special access to our MindlabNZ permissions and were encouraged by me to fully test our Wi-Fi platform by accessing any social media platform they liked and to play as many HD-quality videos as they could. It may have been last period but once these students had got over the shock of being encouraged to go "social" while in school, they went for it big time. From my observance, it was fascinating to see this younger generation's extraordinary digital dexterity and very little app/platform loyalty.
Last but not least, the week ended up on another "walking" high. Frances Valentine, (the founder of the aforementioned MindlabNZ) and our Aorere Digital guest speaker only a few weeks ago, was named one of six Blake Leader awards for outstanding leadership for New Zealanders. Frances is not only a visionary but also an individual who seeks to share, collaborate and inspire leaders wherever possible. Frances was not only prepared to be our keynote speaker and while her presentation was powerful, what was even more so was her accessibility to the attendees both pre and post the formal part of our digital evening. Frances and Ian Taylor (Animation Research Limited) who I've also blogged about previously, are a new generation of New Zealand world-class tech leaders who focus on practicing as much as preaching. This is an increasingly visible trend in terms of edtech people world-wide. Theory may be wonderful and aspirational but theory plus immediate practise is personally utopic. Why? Well in my professional experience as an educator, the sooner students can practice the theory, the more immediate the reflection as is the need for any modifications for student and teacher benefit.
In closing, I find myself being drawn more and more to the words and speakings of the walkers over the talkers. When one walks their own talk, they are transparent, authentic and more likely to be collaborative, inclusive and consistent in their visions.
Walk on, I say!