Sunday, 17 November 2013

My full story

So on the morning of Friday 15th November 2013 I packed my bags for the first ever @sltcamp. Trying to explain to people what I was doing, was met with confusion. Family were told I was off to a Youth Hostel south of London with no mobile phone signal to spend the weekend with people I have only ever met on twitter. Imagine the response when they heard I only knew them via #sltchat once a week for half an hour via tweets. I then justified it further by saying I knew they were real people as I had seen a chapter written by one of the organisers in a book I had bought recently. In a final effort to show they were real people and it wasn't an e-safety nightmare I forwarded several of the planning emails and my coordinates for the weekend.

It was with trepidation that I drove down single lane tracks in a dark and secluded wood. Getting my bags out of the car I definitely did not have a phone signal so it required some positive thinking to knock on the door to the youth hostel. Never has it been so nice to be met by a fellow SLTcamper who said yes you are in the right place. Rooms are labelled, drop you stuff and we're getting set up. I had the luxury of arriving slightly early as this was my first ever teachmeet. I had decided to just do an entire weekend to find out what everyone on twitter has been raving about. I am so glad I went.

The evening kicked off with lots of finding out who people were. Twitter helped, as did the bios and blogs but the most positive benefit was meeting people face to face and having the chance to keep conversations going all weekend. Networking of this type is the strength of grassroots CPD and I will talk about this for a long time to come. I had decided to attend to meet with forward thinking SLT and I wasn't disappointed. A weekend of laughter and support from a group of adults who all want to continue their professional learning.

Such a diverse range of people, backgrounds, geographical locations and teaching positions. It meant a truly rich conversation. 6 minute presentations began at 9pm and such enthusiasm for their topics people often did have to duck to avoid the balloon timer. Such was the quality of chat many people retired at a very late hour - to be awoken nice and early with cooked breakfast.

Saturday morning meant a convoy to the teachmeet in the village hall. How can I explain to colleagues in my own school that this was an unconference to be run by the agendas of people who attended. Sarah and Stephen were great at facilitating timings and making sure that everyone had the chance to get what they wanted out of the day. Feeling free to move from pedagogy to leadership topics meant I came away buzzing with ideas and positivity to bring back to my own school.

The evening allowed for an overspill of these conversations and dancing allowed the mind to slowly digest the learning. It was another long but worthwhile day. Sunday morning numbers may have been depleted but those who stayed enjoyed many a video from inspirational leaders. Just the icing on the cake to send us home. Truly pleased I put myself out of my usual comfort zone and that the 2 hour drive allowed me to start thinking through how I can share this experience.

SLT beanie to be worn on Monday gate duty . Then I can explain why I'm wearing it to staff. This is the beginning of a new learning experience and I hope there are many more to come.

Saturday, 31 August 2013

Preparing for SLT camp

On the 9th October 2012 I started my personal journey of developing my own Personal learning network via Twitter. Hunting around cyberspace I found hashtags such as sltchat, mfltwitterati and started to follow people I came across on CPD courses.

The Lazy Teacher, Hywel Roberts being amongst the first I managed to find.

Nearly a year on my twitter journey has taken a truly positive life of CPD. Having joined in sltchat over several months I wondered what some of these like-minded people would be link in person as opposed to being virtual tweachers. I hadn't managed to take part in any teachmeets and then over the summer an intriguing invitation to sltcamp appeared.

SLT camp sounded even more exciting than a teachmeet and meant a 3 hour journey to the location for an entire weekend of CPD was too enticing to pass up. So when the launch date was given I duly set up my own account on eventbrite  - another new app. How lucky am I to be a proud owner of a pass to the first ever SLT camp.

What am I expecting? Well with the title Igniting Change there are lots of things this will mean.
Already I have experienced lots of change from my twitter journey only 11 months ago. This is my first personal blog - blog for my school once a month but this is another CPD journey. As this is a CPD weekend with no specific agenda and titled sessions as yet I am hoping for a truly organic experience. Letting all participants lead, share, question and support each other through what is a constantly changing educational environment.

What am I looking forward to? Meeting the virtual tweachers. Twitter has enabled me to participate in many conversations and to support teachers. It never fails to amaze me how supportive the twitter teaching community all are. I am looking forward to being in a room with like-minded people who are embracing change. All too often daily life puts obstacles in our way and this is an opportunity to look at what would we like to ignite as a change, has someone already done it, what problems might occur and coming away from camp fully ignited and passionate about making change.

How change makes things tricky? Having settled into becoming a more regular user of twitter I have already noticed that change can be tricky. There are ideas which are good but can only be great if they are put into place in a sensible way. I know I will be buzzing with information after a weekend of CPD and the tricky thing for me will be to temper this and embed ideas in a way that I can take others with me on this journey of change.

For my first blog I have written much more than I thought possible. Another first.