Agency and Ownership

Last week I attended uLearn15, an epic conference in Auckland with 1700 teachers and 250 sponsors and exhibitors. On the first day I ran a Breakout session called Agency and Ownership: Why the How? Initially planned as a smallish interactive workshop, it proved very popular as people chose their sessions so it grew into a large presentation to around 250 people with a lot more of me talking from the front.

Core Education filmed this presentation and streamed it live from their conference website. You can watch it here (jump to 11.50 where it actually starts):

Or, if you don’t have an hour and a half spare, this post will cover the highlights.

We have all heard the terms Learner Agency and Student Ownership of Learning. We all have the same vague understandings of what these are about. This presentation was focused on working out they actually look like in the classroom. What the practices are that we as teachers can implement to enable and empower students to truly own their learning.

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How Might We best share our Geography practices?

Each year I help to organise our Geography Awareness Week in New Zealand. Most of the time it is about creating some quiz resources and a couple of fun activities to help students see the relevance of Geography to their lives. This year I wanted to get Geography teachers across the country sharing their best practice. Some subjects have started twitter chats (#engchatnz and #scichatnz) but I wanted to have an event that would enable non-twitter users to engage in conversation as well. This led to us having a Geography Teach Meet NZ online yesterday:

Thanks to the amazing Sonya Van Schaijik for helping us get this together. There were some great ideas shared and I have had really positive comments from Geography teachers (both on twitter and in the “real world”) about how they found it.

Kim Randall shared Google Maps Engine Lite which is a free web based GIS tool, an incredible resource for us Geo teachers. I look forward to playing with this and getting to know it better!

Steve Smith spoke about taking overseas field trips. Although harder to organise, the payoff is definitely worth it with the passion and engagement it brings.

I spoke about how Design Thinking can work in Geography. If you follow this blog you will not be surprised about this topic (see my other posts on Design Thinking here).

Craig Perry shared how he uses SOLO Taxonomy in Geography to help make learning visible for students.

Heather Eccles was lucky last sharing the power of making authentic connections around the world with her students.

Hopefully, this has helped provoke discussions about effective pedagogy in our Geography classrooms. The challenge now is how do we keep the discussions going? The Pond may provide space for this in future when the Communities function is set up but this will take some time. I’m not sure enough NZ Geographers are on twitter for chats to be the answer. Leaving me with my question for today:

How Might We best share our Geography practices?

 

This post is part of My Questioning Quest.

 p.s. mind turning after posting this. VLN could be a good place but I like the idea of international connections being able to contribute as well. With so many schools moving to GAFE is a Google+ Community the answer for this?