Monday, April 14, 2014

What Are EduIgnite Events And Why Are They So Special And Important?

Last week I had the privilege of being involved in EduIgniteRotovegas.  Have you heard of these events before - or been to one?  If you haven't then I'd absolutely recommend being part of this movement.  First, a little bit about EduIgnite.

EduIgnite events enable educators to meet together - either face-to-face, or virtually, to share their interests and passions, and to support each other in their professional learning journeys.  Presentations are short and snappy and the theme is one of energy and enthusiasm - just what we need at times, particularly as this can be such a pressurised profession.

“Fast-paced, fun, thought-provoking, social, local, global—Ignite is all of these and more. It’s a high-energy evening of 5-minute talks by people who have an idea—and the guts to get onstage and share it with their hometown crowd. Run by local volunteers who are connected through the global Ignite network, Ignite is a force for raising the collective IQ and building connections in each city.  And, via streaming and archived videos of local talks, local Ignites share all that knowledge and passion with the world.”  EduIgnite - Emerging Leaders

I loved the description on the main website - Ignite - "Ignite is a geek event in over 100 cities worldwide."  As a self-confessed geek, this was music to my ears and I had wanted to become involved for some time.

My Twitter PLN is very important to me and, as chance would happen, a message popped up on the Monday night - three days prior to the event - asking if anyone would be keen to join in.  Without a great deal of thought, I tweeted back that I would love to... and before I knew it I was involved - and presenting!  No pressure at all and yes, I could have something ready by Thursday.  (Secretly... YIKES!!  What have I done??)

There was no need to panic.  We had a practice using Google Hangouts - many thanks to Sonya  (@vanschaijik on Twitter) and also Monika (@Belchick1 on Twitter).  I had all the theory behind Google Hangouts but little of the practical side.  I'd absolutely recommend using this tool - it has huge potential for flattening and flipping the classroom.  For more information about Flattening the Classroom, please check out the work of Vicki Davis@coolcatteacher on Twitter.
If you'd like to know more about using Google Hangouts in the classroom, please click here.

My presentation was on changing how we provide homework - and in fact changing the whole concept of homework.  This links back to a previous post and the presentation slides are included here, along with the link to the TeachMeetNZ wiki where all our presentations are stored - it's a fantastic professional learning resource too.  My presentation recording and slides are also here.

The session itself was a great way to learn more about what drives our colleagues - there is a lot more to EduIgnite Events than just sharing practice.  It's about learning - ours and the students - and can also be a reminder about why we got into this crazy profession in the first place.  It was just such a fantastic opportunity to share with others, but one of the things I loved the most?  Hearing about what interests and drives others.  You can hear the enthusiasm when they are sharing.  We need more of this, especially in challenging times - just so we don't lose our passion and we can help support others to retain and grow theirs.

Many thanks to Marnel (@1MvdS on Twitter) and Anne-Marie (@mrs_hyde on Twitter) for organising this event in Rotorua - it truly was a privilege to be part of this growing community and I'm really looking forward to many more of these!

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