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What's the most powerful professional e-learning experience you've had?

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Started by Enabling e-Learning 29 Jun 2011 10:32am () Replies (22)

In 140 characters (or more, if you're feeling chatty!Wink

Was there a 'light bulb' moment - or was it a slow-rolling sustained exploration over time?


  • Chrissie Butler (View all users posts) 07 Nov 2011 10:06am ()

    Being able to take video footage of a student engaged in an activity, show it to a colleague or parent who wasn't present at the time (either by sitting down with them or posting it in a shared spaces using Voicethread) and chat about what is happening and possible next steps.

  • Diane Henderson (View all users posts) 15 Aug 2011 11:56am ()

    Every day there is a "light bulb" moment.  But recently watching my 20month old grand daughter flicking through the i Pad and wondering how on earth we are going to cater for these students in schools and as teachers!

  • Anne Sturgess (View all users posts) 15 Aug 2011 9:11am ()

    My most powerful e-learning took place in 1982 when I was a student on the Diploma in Special Education course. We visited a local school where we had the privilege of observing a young boy with cerebral palsy use a computer-assisted device for the first time; a wand operated by his cheek muscle, which was the only muscle over which he had full voluntary control. This allowed him to communicate via the computer and meant that he could finally demonstrate the extent of his wonderful intelligence and imagination. I was immediately captured by the potential of technology as a catalyst for meaningful learning for all children but especially for those who learn at a different pace and level to others and/or require significant adaptation to their learning environment in order for them to thrive as learners. It is wonderful to see assistive technology used to help students access learning and also to see e-Learning tools used to extend students in their learning (i.e. differentiation).

  • Suzie Vesper (View all users posts) 12 Aug 2011 11:07am ()

    For me personally, one of my light bulb moments was attending a Natcoll course on video editing using Final Cut. I had signed up to the intermediate level class as it was the only one available before I needed to use the software to edit videos from a conference. I had thought that I would cope OK being relatively quick to pick up new tools but the class was just me and two professional video editors that were comparing Final Cut to another tool they normally used. There was a lot of editing jargon used and assumptions about what people knew and I have never had to concentrate so hard in my life to keep up. I was exhausted at the end of each day. I realised that this is how teachers have probably felt that I have worked with to support them in using ICT when this is not an area that they have any confidence in and it was completely outside of their comfort zone. It was a humbling and illuminating experience.

  • Tessa Gray (View all users posts) 12 Aug 2011 11:25am ()

    Great points Suzie SmileMaybe the most powerful part of the learning is the 'hard bits' where we challenged the most?

  • Stephanie Thompson (View all users posts) 12 Aug 2011 8:17pm ()

    For me it was finding out about twitter and all the great connections I've had from that!

  • Melanie Matthews (View all users posts) 13 Aug 2011 4:33pm ()

    I agree twitter has helped me, challenged me and absolutely delighted me with professional learning. It would be without a doubt my most powerful experience professionally.

  • Enabling e-Learning (View all users posts) 15 Aug 2011 9:36am ()

    There has certainly been plenty of discussion online about how Twitter is an excellent tool for professional learning. How do we reconcile this kind of 'dipping one's toes in the water' kind of learning, with the deep, sustained processes that are described by Timperely et al. in the Best Evidence Synthesis on Teacher PLD?

    I blogged about this dilemma recently...but I guess the devil's advocate  question is: does micro-blogging 'count' as effective teacher learning?

  • Allanah King (View all users posts) 15 Aug 2011 10:32am ()

    I think it depends. If you have a Twitter network of a couple of dozen people, rarely check your Twitter stream and rarely tweet yourself you are not going to get a lot out of it but if you build a network and make connections it can be a great source of knowledge and interaction.

  • Melanie Matthews (View all users posts) 16 Aug 2011 6:03am ()


    Few of those reading this will be interested or have the
    time to read much further because it is more than what twitter offers of 140
    characters or less. Twitter actually introduced me to the VLN and because those
    on twitter were talking about it I had to get my feet wet and try it. Is the
    VLN considered effective teacher learning?

     Your question sent me to my pit of confusion, very annoying, but got me thinking. I work in a small rural school with a great bunch of technophobes and without an ICT cluster to
    help me with developing my effective eLearning practice.  When my ICT Cluster Facilitator left, due to a lack of funding, she engaged the Lead Teachers in Twitter. The idea was to help all of us to stay connected and interact with individuals in the world of education.

    Twitter has helped my students and I connect with and collaborate with schools in England e.g. mapping each other’s classroom, have ongoing learning conversations with a school in Auckland, Skype a school in Hamilton to help with our mihi mihi’s, discover how blogging has increased the writing skills of a school in England, connected me to world leaders in education I can read their blogs and interact with them, I can ask a question and get it
    answered from people around the globe when those around me can’t help me, the
    list is endless.  I have felt safe enough and supported enough through my twitter community to reflect publically on my teaching practice. I have engaged in webinars and bought professional readings written by my twitter PLN that are relevant to what my goals are  in my professional learning.  In which space can I have the Prime Minister
    of New Zealand want to follow what I have to say or perhaps check that I am not
    a threat to the nation’s security, either way it excited me. Perhaps not
    effective PD but great for the ego. I have been introduced to eLearning Tools
    and given great examples and models of how they can engage thinking, creativity
    and collaboration within my classroom on numerous occasions. I liken it to
    ULearn except in this instance it is FREE! I don’t consider this to be dipping
    my toes in; I see it as up to my neck in it!

    I am a full time Yr 5/6 Teacher, Deputy Principal and ICT Lead Teacher (I get no release time for any of these responsibilities). More importantly I am a mother and partner.
    My spare time is very limited and to go and read novels you refer to by
    Timperely et al, in my limited spare time is not very appealing at all. If I
    had professional release time to do this then I would say thank you and enjoy
    every minute. To read 140 characters or less in my spare time and gain what I
    have listed above and more in my practice definitely counts as effective
    teacher learning.  

    Thanks for the pit of confusion I can honestly say in the past I would have shrunk
    away from your devils advocates question and thought I was wrong about twitter
    but today my confidence has grown and I believe I can say twitter has helped
    that confidence greatly because I don't feel like I am on my own in my small
    rural school surrounded with Technophobes whom I adore.



  • Enabling e-Learning (View all users posts) 16 Aug 2011 9:21am ()

    I applaud you, Melanie, for putting your thoughts out there and responding so honestly to my (deliberately provocative!Wink) question. It is an issue I myself have grappled with - what counts as effective, blended PD? - but I think increasingly that a variety of activities (such as online in the VLN/Twitter and F2F) that challenge our thinking and keep us inquiring about how well how students are engaging with the curriculum are essentail.

    You paint a powerful picture of the importance of being connected to our colleagues, especially when we are isolated or very busy. The aim of a space like this is to help teachers to connect and begin to engage in a variety of learning opportunities to support/extend their learning in schools. The community relies on people like yourself being brave enough to share their thinking in public.

    Your post reflects a fierce desire to keep going with your own learning - a competency that not everyone develops - so good on you.

    Your contributions are highly valued in our community - do keep sharing. We all benefit when each of us is confident enough to participate in these spaces.Smile

  • Tessa Gray (View all users posts) 12 Aug 2011 10:55am ()

    The most powerful professional learning experience for me, was a couple of years ago when I attended a whole day hands-on workshop at an Apple Innovations conference in Rotorua. It was about creating digital content (gaming) by writing writing code using Adobe Flash. We were presented with a scenario and we had to work collaboratively in a group to solve creative and artistic problems together. At the end of the day, presented our 'games' to the other groups.

    It was insightful - how people communicate, problem-solve and work together. The technology posed a high-end challenge and the whole experience took us all out of our comfort zone. It was challenging, engaging, funny and memorable.

  • kidsincharge (View all users posts) 11 Aug 2011 10:29am ()

    For me it was not necessarily about elearning. Discovering constructivism, learning using Processes and formative practice was the big change. It just turns out that  ICT's are excellent tools for this kind of learning. Looking back now I realise that to have this kind of classroom it takes a fundamental shift in thinking. A shift in thinking that I don't think everyone is prepared or have the inclination to make.

  • Enabling e-Learning (View all users posts) 15 Aug 2011 9:39am ()

    I agree that there is a nice synergy between the effective pedagogy approches in the NZC and the opportunities offered by 'web 2.0' technologies. In fact, the powerful shift for many with e-learning is understanding when you do and don't need technology, if that makes sense. Developing an inquiring approach to teaching, so that technology is used deliberately, can be a huge shift for all of us.Smile

  • Isaac Day (View all users posts) 12 Jul 2011 10:57am ()

    Our data suggests that our cluster walkthroughs have been powerful, the responses also clearly outline other initiatives and the variety of opportunities we have provided, including having Tony Ryan work in our schools with us for a day each.  I feel that variety may be the key, as we are all at different stages and think differently.  Therefore no one thing sticks out as being any more powerful than the other.Smile

  • Enabling e-Learning (View all users posts) 19 Jul 2011 4:17pm ()

    Deidre, Nigel and Isaac - thanks for sharing your experiencesSmile. You all touch on the value of seeing others work, something that is often really hard to manage in our busy lives, especially for those schools so geographically isolated.

    Walkthroughs in your own school, though, can be just as powerful - sometimes we can feel very cut off in the walls of our own classroomFrown.

    What are your views on videoing each other?! - would that be as powerful as actually being there?

  • Deidre Senior (View all users posts) 12 Jul 2011 10:38am ()

    Most powerful e-learning experience - where do I start? Online study (Post Grad Dip Tchg endorsed in ICT) through Otago, ICT Clusters, Conferences over the past ten years, online 'buddies' and their blogs, time by myself trawling sites and resources, time with students exploring uses of sites and resources, talking with colleagues, visiting other schools . . . . the list is endless . . . but all VERY valuable in creating a picture for me of what I need to be doing and where I need to be heading . . .

  • Nigel Frater (View all users posts) 12 Jul 2011 10:26am ()
    Linking Digitally Cluster's Photography Exhibition 2011 photoset Linking Digitally Cluster's Photography Exhibition 2011 photoset

    Visiting other schools to see the wonderful stuff happening. Pt England really stands out.

    Also the stuff we are achieving in our PD Cluster is amazing too. Check out our Photography Exhibition from this term!

  • Enabling e-Learning (View all users posts) 12 Jul 2011 9:52am ()

    Thanks for sharing your comments, Innes and Stephanie - and for being the first 'off the block'.Smile

    I think with technology, in particular, the pace of change is so fast that it's always a focus for our own learning, as well as thinking about the oportunities for students' learning, too.

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