Teachers meeting and sharing21/04/2015
In late March, a group of passionate science teachers met online to discuss their craft, write SONYA VAN SCHAIJIK and CATH BATTERSBY.
A special science-focused version of ‘TeachMeetNZ’ took place on 21 March, bringing together a group of enthusiastic educators to discuss all things science teaching.
Hosted by Sonya Schaijik and Cath Battersby, the online session was attended by a range of teachers from around New Zealand, as well as a special international guest, US-based science educator Adam Taylor.
Sonya and Cath write here about the science TeachMeetNZ.
Reflections from Cath
‘TeachMeetNZ meets science’ was a great experience for me. I learned a lot during the process and really enjoyed working with Sonya using the power of Twitter and technology. I have only met a couple of the presenters face to face and yet we were able to organise something like this collaboratively, despite being situated from Auckland to Wanaka, and not forgetting Adam from Nashville!
I learned a lot from the other presenters, and really think that there is a true community of science educators connecting through social media in New Zealand. These are all busy teachers, yet they found time to share their ideas and enthusiasm.
During his presentation, Matt Nicoll shared the quote ‘Don’t wait for it to be perfect, just get started’. This is particularly applicable to me, when thinking about a project like setting up a Google Hangout, for example.
I have been working for the Science Learning Hub for six years now. The Hub has rigorous quality assurance procedures, and while I am not saying the site is perfect, when new resources are loaded they are very polished and there is plenty of time to fix any mistakes.
Google Hangouts were new to me and the thought of the session being recorded live was slightly daunting. I had technical hitches right before the session, and had to restart my computer and I lost all my hangout app options. So no chance of a perfect, polished product when you are contending with nerves, broadband variability, multiple presenters etc.
However, the end result is very genuine. Sonya describes it as an incredible collection of science-based artefacts for the education community.
TeachMeetNZ is a model that offers participants a free professional development session and offers a rewarding challenge to those involved as presenters and behind the scenes. I am looking forward to the next one!
Reflections from Sonya
I was really excited when Cath agreed to be the host for the science session. I looked forward to seeing science teachers help in the co-creation of the #TeachMeetNZ resource for the education community.
Cath was an amazing host, and over the practice session asked lots of questions. During the streamed session, she helped put the presenters at ease, and was there to guide them through their part.
A lot of activity happens that is not seen by the audience and this all helps to give excitement to the sessions.
The calibre of presenters was absolutely stunning and they all worked hard to produce an effortless-looking session. Each would have practised for three hours, and in addition, I cannot calculate how long it took them to craft their slides and rehearse their notes so that they could keep to the three-minute time limit.
The audience was amazing and gave ongoing feedback during the live session. The TeachMeetNZ site is all set up for educators to learn to use Google Hangout and set up and run their own virtual session.
The exciting part is watching what happens next with the educators who take part. So do check them out on the TeachMeetNZ Pinterest board. Each presenter has their own page with the slides and video clip added.
I’ve been asked ‘How do you have time to do this?’ My response: how do I not have time to do something that is so incredibly exciting for education? In addition, I must make mention of my school principal Dr Wendy Kofoed (Newmarket School), who encourages innovative practice, and Virginia Kung, my critical friend, who always give me honest feedback after every session.
Sonya and Cath would like to thank all the presenters who took part and send out a special thanks to the audience who were active during the session via social media, as can be seen by the storify from the session.
Ministry of Education (2014, December 1). Connecting to share professional learning, Retrieved March 20, 2015, from http://future-focused.tki.org.nz/Schools/Newmarket-School/Connecting-to-share-professional-learning
Eliot Attridge: TeachMeetNZ science session blog post
Rachel Chisnall: TeachMeetNZ science session blog post