2009 – The Year That Was

2009 was a huge year of personal learning outside of my classroom and I’d like to recognise that the opportunities that arose over the past 12 months were a direct result of the work I had been doing in my classroom in 2006, 2007 and 2008 (so thanks to all of those talented and amazing students who taught me so well and allowed me to work along-side them).

2009 presented the chance to share what I had been up to with others far removed from my little classroom in a suburb of Sydney. So here’s how it went:

January – saw me travelling throughout the UK on my Premier’s English Scholarship, making and meeting friends and seeing first hand Games Based Learning in classrooms. I was very excited to attend my first Teachmeet (on my birthday) at BETT09, and amazed to catch up f2f with many of my PLN.


February – March: I had the opportunity to present at a number of conferences and Professional Learning workshops at a local, region and state level, sharing how I used web2.0 technologies in my classroom.



April – May: Back with the DET I was involved with the Blog trial and took part in f2f meetings with like-minded educators from around the state to assist in the department developing a blog platform for all DET students and teachers. Began writing a Narrative Unit for the Curriculum Directorate based on a digital game for use with Stage 2 students.

June – July: Travelled to Washington, USA for NECC09 where I took part in many fantastic workshops, tutorials, discussions and events. Met up with some in my US PLN and joined in my first “Web2.0 Smackdown”! Moved on to Barcelona where I nervously presented at my first international conference, and then learnt a great deal at an imagination conference in Vancouver. Whew! A really busy month or so :-}


August – September: Back at school and trialling a wiiMusic project with my class – fun, interesting and many more possibilities to be explored here! Presented again at Sydney University for eLit (Primary English Teachers Association).

October: Headed back to the US to present at a Visual Literacy Conference in Chicago where I showcased the visual literacy aspects and opportunities of web2.0 tools and applications. Had the chance to visit Yellowstone Park whilst travelling – unbelievable :-0


November: Visited Canberra and Parliament House to receive my National Teaching Award for Excellence by a Teacher. An exciting and really proud moment of my career and year!


December: Found out that my joint proposal for a workshop at ISTE 2010 (in Denver Colorado in June 2010) was accepted so can look forward to further travels mid year 2010 already.


So that’s it – a busy year out of my classroom where I have grown as a learner, presenter and person. I’ve been able to see a bigger picture and refine my thinking in many areas, but have been affirmed in many of my deep beliefs about learning, children, and authenticity.

Thanks to the countless people who have shared so much of themselves with me this year – f2f, on twitter, through blogs and conferences. I love learning with such a diverse and supportive group of dedicated professionals.

With 2010 upon us lets take a breath, think peaceful thoughts and then get on with another great year of learning and sharing. We WILL make a difference!


I am currently in Vancouver, BC, attending the 7th International Conference on Imagination and Education where I have been introduced to the work of Dr Kieran Egan and the Imaginative Education Research Group (IERG).

” Imaginative Education is an approach to education that effectively engages students’ emotions, imaginations and intellects in learning.

The Imaginative Education Research Group has developed theories, principles and practices designed to explain, describe and implement this approach.

Imaginative Education offers a new understanding of how knowledge grows in the mind, and how our imaginations work and change during our lives. The IERG has developed innovative teaching methods based on these insights that offer new ways of planning and teaching….”


The 2 day, pre-conference workshop, showed alternative ways of thinking about education and the different kinds of understandings that come into play as children grow and develop and make sense of their world.

Examples of classroom applications demonstrated what the approach look liked in action, and planning frameworks were shared and explained.

We then spent some time trying out the approach by playing a number of thinking games/activities and beginning to plan lessons using the  frameworks to encourage creative and imaginative ways to explore traditional topics and content.

There were lots of opportunities to share ideas and questions about IE and this was really important so that our early thoughts could be clarified as we contemplated incorporating this approach into our teaching toolkit.

Check out the IERG website for more info, research, examples, resources and lesson/unit ideas.




The Why To of Web2.0

How the Web Transforms Everything

An exciting day spent listening to some of Australia’s premier edubloggers:

plus the blog guru himself – Will Richardson!

A great opportunity for our school group to hear and see first hand how the web is transforming learning and teaching, and to consider why we must embrace and work with web2.0 to keep learning in schools relevant – for our students and for ourselves.







Deep understandings



……….. just a few things on our “to do” list when we are back at school…………

Here is a mind-map I jotted out at the event, a way of sorting the information/thoughts/opinions from the esteemed presenters 🙂