Saturday, October 31, 2015

Connected Educators

October was "Connected Educators" month. I was invited to collaborate to on a project to develop an e-book with a group of highly motivated people, all who have a interest in education based here in New Zealand.


The chapter I wrote is about the amazing opportunities that I have enjoyed through connecting with others through Twitter.

Enjoy the book!

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Teacherpreneurs, Twitter and Transformation

Teacherpreneurs are considered to be highly effective, connected and resourceful educators who actively seek opportunities to grow their skills, collaborate, share best practice, ideas and research. They have a passion and determination to improve education in their setting and beyond. What excites me is that teacherpreneurs  can develop leadership opportunities to influence positive change  to education systems  for the better. With the incredible rise in technology and more demand for student agency the teacherpreneur can enable change to determine a more relevant curriculum for learners. These leaders create opportunities for educators to connect, share, grow their knowledge and expertise and influence education systems to be relevant to our students future roles in their communities. Teacherpreneurs cross oceans and cultures to make connection with other educators and advocate to transform curriculum. Their focus is to co create new learning that is relevant, authentic, personalised and technology rich, building on the diversity and strengths of all learners

October is Connected Educators  month globally and in Aotearoa, New Zealand. 
Connected Educator Month supports educators to thrive in a connected world. Sharing and collaboration centred on personalising learning needs and strengths across our country and global networks.

Thinking about Connected Educators month has prompted me to update my reflective blog and share my own personal experience about the power of connecting on Twitter and how Twitter has facilitated amazing learning and  incredible experiences for me. Through Twitter I have connected with teacherpreneurs and innovative educational leaders from all over the world.

In 2013 I was a  new Twitter user. I only had a vague idea what it was about – but I set up an account for Freemans Bay School. I received a tweet from Lene Jensby Lange asking about our e-learning model at Freemans Bay School. Lene had checked out my principal’s blog and followed up with a couple of questions about our e-learning model

Lene is a founder of Autens Educational Design Consultancy in Denmark. This consultancy facilitates and leads innovation to support educational leaders to align their school vision with new and renovated school design.  I asked Lene if I could meet her in Denmark to discuss links between learning design and school design as part of my travel fellowship in 2014.  Not only did Lene agree, but she showed me around a whole lot of schools and organisations and I was able to stay with her and family in Copenhagen – where the conversations flowed into the night.

Since then we have been great twitter mates!  We often have tweet or Skype, problem solving and sharing perspectives and experiences. Networking with Lene led to being invited to become a member of the Global Schools Alliance.

The vision of GSA was developed by a group of global educators:
  • David Price, OBE (member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire)
  • Andrew Raymer (Founder and former Head of Matthew Moss UK)
  • Dr. Steven Edwards (White House and World Bank advisor)

GSA aims to have innovative schools collaborate and be part of a learning community that will influence education systems across the world.

Lene Jensby Lange
Global Schools Alliance
Dr. Steven Edwards
Vega Schools
Washington D.C., USA

Sandy Hooda
Vega Schools
New Delhi, India
The GSA Founding members selected and evaluated progressive schools from for the Alliance. Member schools are considered highly effective and innovative in their respective countries. These schools agreed to bring their experience and knowledge to work together to improve the standards of education globally.

The vision of Global Schools' Alliance is to ensure children experience a better quality of education no matter where they live. Our mission is to collaboratively improve education that engages and empowers learners within the context of their culture and language.

The founding school leaders are from eight top-rated schools internationally.

  • Muriel Summers, Principal, A.B. Combs Magnet Elementary School, Raleigh, USA
  • Mark Moorhouse, Headteacher, Matthew Moss High School, Rochsdale, UK
  • Natalie See, Principal, Hilltop Road Public School, Merrylands, AUS
  • Allan Kjær Andersen, Principal, Ørestad Gymnasium, Copenhagen, DNK
  • Sugandha Mathur Anand, Head of School, Vega Schools, Gurgaon, IND
  • Sandra Jenkins, Principal, Freemans Bay School, Auckland, NZ
  • Carl Jarvis, Executive Headteacher, EOS Teaching Alliance (Hartsholme & St. Giles Academies),    Nottinghamshire, UK
  • Barbara Cavanagh, Principal, Albany Senior High School, Albany, NZ

The  GSA first symposium was held in October in New Delhi and was hosted by Vega School founder Sandy Hooda.

Although each school at the symposium was from a uniquely different part of the world we all shared a vision  of working together to promote rich, innovative and personalised education. You can see from the following table of participants the diversity represented. It was humbling as well as inspirational to be part of this GSA symposium.

Ni Putu Tirka Widanti (Ika)
Yayasan Kul Kul
(Green School)
Bali, Indonesia

Green School is located in Bali jungle. It focuses on fostering green/ enviro school thinking.
Jeffrey Holte
Learning Coordinator
Liger Learning Center
Phnomh Penh, Cambodia

The Liger Learning Center, in the jungle in Cambodia, has one goal - to create change agents within their own country
Allan Kjær Andersen
Ørestad Gymnasium in Denmark

Ørestad Gymnasium (upper secondary school) has a framework for cross-disciplines and an extended use of IT-based learning by revolutionizing educational space in a structure without traditional classrooms

Melissa Daniels
Founding Director
High Tech Middle Chula Vista

High Tech High is a group of schools in San Diego, USA. These schools focus on effective use of technology and digital learning.
Andy Raymer
former Head of School Matthew Moss High School
Vega Schools Board Member
Rochsdale, UK

Matthew Moss is the "most radical school in England" according to Professor David Hopkins and was featured in Innovation Unit's influential publication "10 Schools for the 21st Century". a highschool in UK Mathew Moass  has a focus on child centered education through project work.
Barbara Cavanagh
Albany Senior High School
Auckland, New Zealand

Albany Senior High School has a focus on project based learning supported by coaching students to ensure the development of dispositions for learning and life
sj headshot.pngSandra Jenkins
Freemans Bay Primary School
New Zealand

Freemans Bay School has a curriculum design is focused on engaging, enriching and empowering learners.
Pawan Gupta
Board Member
Vega Schools
Dehradun, India

Pawan Gupta is a historian, thought leader and expert on the spirit of India. Pawan has established village primary schools in the Himalayas utilising cultural and historical perspectives relevant to these school communities

During the conference we visited the Vega School construction site and will be watching the development of these schools with interest.

On the final night  of the symposium  we attended a large meeting where Vega Schools had invited parents, politicians and media from Delhi to hear about schools in Global Schools' Alliance. The meeting also included the state of Haryana Education Minister Ram Bilas Sharma.

The sharing of each other’s school vision was inspirational and refuelled our shared commitment to lead education that ultimately builds on learners’ strengths and diversity to equip them to contribute positively to their communities.

My twitter journey has connected me with a range of committed  primary and secondary educators  from all over the world. Twitter has enabled me to be meet and be involved with inspirational educators and projects across the globe.

These global leaders of education are committed to  transformation of  education in their countries. Student agency is the common thread of these schools’ curriculum – all engage in projects in some form or other.  All are advocating  to break down the homogenous systems of education, based on ranking and one size fits all models and developing systems that will strengthen diversity and learners talents in an increasingly globalised world. All are from very different cultural, social and political contexts. They have a shared mission to influence education systems to give our learners the skills and dispositions needed for their future lives.The GSA leaders  have taken the concept of teacherpreneur to a new level.