Monday, May 4, 2009

Being Inspired - Part 1

'Lifelong learning' is another 'buzz' term that has been floating around for a while. It's a great theory, and something we want for all of our students. It is not until recently that I have really felt like a life long learner. Being a part of a worldwide learning community through blogging, has introduced me to a range of people who motivate me to learn and be a better teacher. Some of these people are the fantastic teachers I've had the chance to collaborate with, and some of these people are my own students.

Since being involved with blogging I have learned about dozens of new web 2.0 tools that have made my teaching life richer. In the past, I have found that biting off too many new things has left me feeling overwhelmed, but seeing the fantastic ways that teachers around the world are using these tools gives me a drive to try out anything that comes to my attention and then share them with anyone who'll listen (and even some who won't). 

It's not the tools that have inspired me though. It's the experiences I've witnessed kids having because of them, and it's the inspiring teaching (and teachers) that I see that go with these experiences. It has already been a great year of professional learning for me and I would like to take an opportunity here to reflect on, and acknowledge,  some of the people and experiences that have contributed to my new learning.

Myles Webb, is a teacher from New Zealand. I was introduced to his 2008 class blog (Tamaki Today) at the end of last year, and was blown away with what I saw. I felt like I was visiting his classroom and could see the excitement and love for learning that his students were getting through blogging. Myles and the sharing he does through his blog, have given me the resources, confidence and drive to recognise and better meet the cultural learning needs of students in my class.

Bill Chamberlain is a teacher from Missouri, USA. Bill's class was my first introduction to collaboration online. We were both reading HOLES by Louis Sachar with our classes at the same time. I'd noticed this and thought it was pretty cool that 2 classes on opposite sides of the world were having a similar experience. I shared this with my students, we marveled at the coolness and that was that. A couple of weeks down the track, Bill had his students comment on the reflection questions I had posted for my kids to answer and we then responded to his task the next week. It seems simple thinking back, but as a new blogger, this was my real introduction to what blogging with students was all about. This made me realise that our classroom walls were no longer holding us in, and that the blog was not just between my class and I. Bill is constantly thinking and pushing us all to step out of our comfort zone as we expect our students to do. 

Joe McClung, also from Noel, Missouri, is my most recent collaborator. During our recent school holidays here in Australia, I had an opportunity to SKYPE into Joe's class and talk with his students. They are a great bunch of kids who asked some really good questions about our class and school life in Australia. Thanks to a terrible answer about Aussie Rules football, this chat has spawned a lot of learning for both classes, and has been a really rewarding experience for me as a teacher and is still providing in my classroom. Seeing photos of Joe's kids with the footy we sent over and reading their presentations on AFL, really slammed home the idea of a global learning community. For those of you that have read earlier posts on this site, it's obvious that Joe loves being a teacher and consistently reminds us that learning does not have to
 be dull, and that there is definitely room for fun in the classroom.


These three fellas (official Aussie spelling) are just a few of the teachers that have motivated and inspired  a lot of my classroom learning this year. The conversations I've had with Michael Fawcett, Pam Thompson, Paul Luke, John Strange and many others, and the comments left on this site have all contributed to my professional learning. It's a great thing to be a part of and I encourage EVERYONE to find something that keeps YOU on your toes and makes you want to do better. 

Jarrod Lamshed

6 comments:

Wm Chamberlain said...

I can honestly say that as a teacher I have never been busier than this year, and I have never been happier. The collaboration and learning that has taken place over the last 9 months has been the best professional development I could ask for.

John Strange said...

The more I read and learn about what you and what I call Mr. C's Group (and it is really not his group but that's what I call it anyway), the more impressed and astounded I am about what you have done and are accomplishing every day. Wow! And I have learned this all because one of my students commented on Mr. C's blog, he responded with a comment, I copied that comment to my class blog so that all my students would (well, should) see his comment and let him know that. he then asked did I Twitter. I said Ugh (to myself) but signed up as winetimejs so you know how important I thought it was. (Now I have a second twitter identity which will emerge after classes). Then I encountered jlamshed, teachernz and all the rest. What a magnificent adventure these last 5 weeks have been.

THANKS TO ALL OF YOU!

DLR said...

Mr. Lamshed, hello. My name is Dana, and I am in Dr. John Strange's EDM 310 class. I think that it is both wonderful and amazing that your class has been able to participate with another class across the world through the internet. It is obvious that it has enriched not only your students' learning experiences, but your teaching experiences as well. Good luck in the future! If you would like to visit my blog, you can go to reevesdedm310summer09.blogspot.com.

Kitty Ruzic said...

Greetings from Alabama, USA. My name is Kitty and I am a part of the EDM 310 class of Dr. John Strange. The importance of collaborating internationally in classroom learning is becoming crystal clear to me from blogs such as yours. Your students and your "lifelong learning" can only be enhanced from these efforts as everyone realizes this is just the beginning. My blog is ruzickedm310summer09.blogspot.com, please feel free to visit. Thank you again for sharing, your enthusiasm is contagious!

Megan said...

Hi Mr. Lamshed, my name is Megan and I am part of Dr. Strange's EDM course. After reading your post I can see how going outside your comfort zone technologically can definitely open up doorways in the classroom. By infusing such practices such as skype and blogging in the classroom, students can become more cultured. This then gets them ready for what is to come, technology wise, in the future. Thank you Mr. Lamshed for your post. If you would wish to contact me my twitter name is Bamamcb07 and my blog website is http://brownmedm310summer09.blogspot.com/

Nicole said...

Mr. Lamshed, I am in Dr. Strange's EDM course as well and it has been nice following up on you in your posts. You set no limits to your learning and maximizing your tools to be a better teacher. Your students are very lucky to have someone as dedicated as you are in making them as prepared for our world today and future as you do. It is nice to see you recognize and show appreciation to those who have inspired you along the way. I see you are already following me on twitter (I think) you can also check out my blog website for Dr. Strange's class at http://coomernedm310summer09.blogspot.com/