Welcome to my Professional Learning blog.
My name is Matt Nicoll and I am a high school teacher in New Zealand, interested in improving the classroom experience for my students. I am open to trialing new approaches and hope to use this blog to reflect on my ideas and practices.

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Lucky Devil!

I look at where I am with my philosophy and ideals of teaching, and the initiatives that I have tried in the past 10 years. I have been incredibly lucky. Yes, I have the kind of personality which allows me to take risks and to learn from mistakes (after a few moments of throwing my toys!). But the reality is that, on more than one occasion, someone else with control over a Professional Development budget (phew!!!) decided that it would be good for the school/college to send me to ULearn, Learning@School and ICOT conferences.

Someone else decided that it would be good for the school/college for me to be exposed to some amazing educators and learned researchers. Someone else decided that I was someone (often the person) to spend a large chunk of the PD budget on. Talk about lucky!!!

It didn't really dawn on me after my first two conferences that I had an obligation to my peers to share what I had learned, whether I agreed with it or not. I failed to see that I was being trusted to be both a filter and a mouthpiece in exposing my colleagues to some amazing innovations in teaching, and the new shifts in the evolution of pedagogy and education. I was very selfish with what I had learned. You lucky soul; you selfish sod!

Maybe I am being a little tough on myself, because I did share. But I only shared with my department and in meetings of others who had been identified as being leaders of pedagogy and innovators of technology in my previous school. I also presented at "cluster meetings" but these were rare. It is only with the 20/20 vision of hindsight that I feel guilty for not sharing more. I am also aware that I was oblivious to more effective ways to share.

Fast-forward to 2012. Thank goodness for ULearn and thank goodness for Twitter! Not only was I even further inspired by amazing educators, I also had found a vehicle for connecting with other educators and to share what I had learned. How things have evolved since then!! #edchatNZ, Virtual Professional Learning network, Ethos Community, my own blogs, class blogs, a few articles in NZ Science Teacher, and now #hackyrclass and #edSMAC. I think I'm doing my part to share after the luck of having others believe in me.

It would be remiss of me not to mention those who did believe in me and those who continue to support my passion for sharing. Thank you to Ross Brown, Headmaster at Napier Boys' High School, for sending me on those first conferences. Thank you to the ICT Directors at St Andrew's College, Grant Saul (now Westlake Boys' High School) and Sam McNeill, as well as to our Head of Teaching and Learning, David Bevin.

Then there is the wonderful Danielle Myburgh of Hobsonville Point Secondary School, who set us on the #edchatNZ journey. Philippa Nicoll deserves a special mention as my fellow agent-of-change and "hack buddy"; without her support and ideas, #edSMAC would not exist, nor have the potential to connect my current colleagues with the world! There are many others, but without being lucky enough to have the support of these people, my journey would have probably sent me down a cul-de-sac and I may not have persevered. I have been a lucky devil...

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