21st Century Collaborative

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I’m getting ready to leave Malaysia tomorrow, which means I’ll be back in NZ in time for the start of the TUANZ bus tour for 2007 when it comes to Christchurch next Wednesday. Last year I had the privilege of travelling with the tour – this year it’s the turn of two international speakers to share the circuit, Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach and Miguel Guhlin, both from the USA.

I’ve had a bit of communication with Cheryl as she’s prepared for this event – wanting to know more about the NZ education environment so that she can bring the right sort of message. I’ve just had a read of her blog, and noticed a recent entry titled Connections- Networking in New Zealand in which she describes a pre-conference chat that she had with some NZ educators using Elluminate to talk about ICT implementation in New Zealand schools – more of which is reported on the TUANZ conference blog.

All this is very exciting, and bodes well for a good series of meetings around the country. I couldn’t help thinking of just how much progress we’ve made in NZ over the past 6-7 years. Back when the ICT strategy was first released we had no idea of what blogs, wikis, web-casts etc were – and here we are immersed in this sort of technology as a part of our everyday work with students – as well as for our own professional learning.

I note on Cheryl’s blog that my friend Rachel Jeffares introduced her to the NZEdublogs Wiki that contains links to a range of blogs and wikis that have been set up and are being used by students in NZ schools. This morning I was in a school here in Ipoh, Malaysia, with my colleague from CORE, Jedd Bartlett, ( who happens to be the one who set up the NZEdublogs Wiki) where, among other things, we were introducing a group of teachers to the concept of blogs, wikis and podcasts for the very first time – and Jedd referenced this Wiki. Small world – but one that is rapidly becoming more connected as individuals discover the power and potential of these tools for sharing, expressing ideas, being creative and communicating generally.

The focus of our morning’s session with the Malaysian teachers was collaboration, with a focus on how we have so much to learn from each-other when we collaborate in an online environment. Cheryl’s blog entry illustrates this idea for me very well.

I wish you well Cheryl, as you tour our country with your thoughts and experiences from the US!

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