What a Relief


Earlier this month I had the pleasure of presenting 2 workshops for the Teacher Learning Network, at their annual conference for Casual Relief Teachers.

I was to talk about “Creating an Online Digital Portfolio” with a group of teachers who need and deserve much respect and support. Being my first conference presentation I felt a little nervous. At different stages during my 2 hour presentations relief swept over me for different reasons. Here’s what happened.

Encourage Discussions and Share Experiences
We began with the mandatory “getting to know you” task where I asked people to share…

  • their favourite/most successful activity to do with kids when no work is left
  • their most memorable CRT experience

I was relieved to be immersed in a lively discussion about fun activities and stories of survival under the most difficult circumstances. There was engagement rather than silence.

This BBC video stimulated lively discussions about handling challenging students.

Have a Laugh
Having a giggle at “The Paperless Future of Emma” helped me deliver the message of what’s happening in schools…the pressure to go digital. Laughter is excellent for relieving stress. 

Be Prepared
Sure enough, present at a conference about IT and there’s bound to be challenging moments with connectivity. I experienced off the scale relief when my iPhone smoothly eased into the role of WiFi Hotspot.


Watch your Tech Talk
The CRT’s had a range of experiences with technology at the schools they worked in. For some, everything was new and confusing. By showing empathy towards their situation, it was a relief to experience their willingness to learn new ways of doing things.

Share Ideas and Solutions
From any professional development session people expect to leave with something useful to apply to their work. Pre-empting a request for ideas, examples and handouts for how to get started with a digital portfolio, I was relieved to have something to offer.

How do you prepare for a conference and find relief from your nerves?

#Community Connect: Digital Badges

If you’re interested in understanding Digital Badges and creating your own Open Badge Backpack, you are welcome to join us in Community Connect tomorrow night, Thursday 6th December.


The concept of issuing digital badges in recognition of learning is new and evolving. This Community Connect webinar will be an open discussion around what digital badges are, who creates them, where are they stored and displayed, who can earn them and for what. Please come along and contribute what you know, and if time permits everyone will leave the session with an Open Badge Backpack and a few badges.

CC logo

Facilitator: Penny Bentley
Date: Thursday 6th December
Time: 8pm Melbourne, Australia
Where: The Australia eSeries Blackboard Collaborate Room 


#ozseries Community Connect: Get Creative and Productive

Come along and join Kathryn Matthews and myself in Community Connect tonight for some creative fun with apps and ipads. First up we’ll have a show and tell about your current favorites then we’ll take a look at some productive and creative things to do with your iPad.

Turn your photo into a work of art, create a colourful QR code and convert your iPad into a scanner.

WhereBlackboard Collaborate link to tonight’s session.

When: Hope to see you all at 8pm-9pm AEST

#ozseries Community Connect: Connecting and Collaborating with the Innovate Here Online Community

Tomorrow night on the Australia e-Series I will be presenting the last of a series of Community Connect webinars focussing on Connected Education, a USA initiative held during August. Here are the details…you are welcome to join us.

When: Thursday September 6th, 8 to 9, Melbourne AEST (GMT +10)

About This Session: Tomorrow night Community Connect welcomes Karen Dowling and Nyunkia Tauss from the Victorian Department of Education and Early Childhood Development’s Innovate Here team.

We identify, stimulate and support local-level innovation in Victoria, across early childhood, schools, and higher education. As part of our work with Innovate Here we help practitioners and organisations connect and collaborate with other like-minded educators, build their professional learning networks (PLN) – both online and face to face, be inspired by examples of Victorian innovation in education and share experiences of trying something new. This includes exploring how to establish an appropriate professional social media presence, and how to get the most from your PLN, whether you’d like to get ideas, share ideas, find collaborators or share your idea with a wider network (eg #VicPLN).

You are welcome to download this paper for more information about Innovate Here.

Come along to Community Connect and join us in a conversation with Karen and Nyunkea about connecting and collaborating online.

Where: Here is the Blackboard Collaborate link for tomorrow night’s webinar.

Webinar Recording: Thank’s Karen and Nyunkia for an interesting and informative session. Please select this link if you would like to listen to the recording. 

#ozseries Community Connect: Libraries, Leadership and Literacies

When: Thursday August 30th, 8 to 9 Melbourne, Australia time (gmt+1o)

This Session: Tonight Community Connect welcomes guest presenter Jenny Luca, Head of Information Services at Toorak College in Melbourne.
She is a “Networked Teacher Librarian” who is passionate about using Web applications, such as social media, in educational settings.

Jenny’s blog, Lucacept-intercepting the Web, is a fascinating record of her reflections, experiences and ideas for librarians and education. “How do you prepare for a TEDx talk?” is Jenny’s latest post about her experience of recently delivering  a speech about Education Leadership at TEDx Melbourne.

Come along to Community Connect tonight and join us in a conversation with Jenny about Libraries, Leadership and Literacies.

The recording of tonight’s webinar is available here.

#ozseries Community Connect: Face To Face Connecting and Sharing

When: Thursday August 23rd, 8 to 9 Melbourne, Australia time (gmt+1o)

This Session: Tonight Community Connect welcomes guest presenters Celia Coffa, Matt Esterman and Jess McCulloch, passionate educators involved in creating wonderful face to face opportunities for professional learning and networking.

Jess enabled educators to connect and share their “stories” at the Meeting Of The Minds Unconference in February and recently returned from Canada having attended Unplug’d International 2012.

Celia (#TMMelb) and Matt (#TMSydney) are passionate educators involved in the organisation of TeachMeet events:

TeachMeets are informal, collaborative experiences organised by educators, for educators in order to share ideas and experiences and support each other in our professional growth.

Come along, join the conversation and pick up some ideas about how you can spread the passion for connecting face to face in your learning environments.

Where: Please join this Community Connect webinar by clicking on this Blackboard Collaborate link.

#ozseries Community Connect: Working Online with Students and Pre-Service Teachers

Tonight I am privileged to facilitate a Community Connect webinar with Britt Gow. This is the fourth of a series of discussions about Connected Education.

When: Thursday August 16th, 8 to 9 Melbourne, Australia time (gmt+1o)

 This Session: Continuing with the theme of Connected Educator month,  our presenter for Community Connect tonight is Britt Gow.  Britt teaches Maths and Science at Hawkesdale P12 College, a small, rural school in SW Victoria, Australia.

Britt works online with students such as those in her VCE Environmental Science class. She will share with us her experiences of using a range of web2.0 tools like blogs, wikis, Facebook and Blackboard Collaborate, in her teaching practice.

Several Pre-Service teachers, allocated to Hawkesdale P12 College during 2011, participated in a Virtual Teaching Round. Britt will also share with us her journey through this innovative program of supporting Pre Service teachers in isolated communities.

Where: Please join this Community Connect webinar by clicking on this Blackboard Collaborate link.

#ozseries Community Connect: Connecting with the State Library of Victoria

When: Thursday, August 9th, from 8 to 9 pm Melbourne, Australia time (gmt +10).

About this session: Our third Community Connect webinar celebrating Connected Educators Month, a USA initiative, is taking us into the rich learning environment of the State Library of Victoria.
Guest presenters from the SLV Cameron Hocking (Education Officer) and Kelly Gardiner (Online Learning Manager) will talk about their work in terms of onsite programs, online resources and professional development for educators.

The SLV Education Team covers a wide range of teaching and learning opportunities:

  • Primary and Secondary school programs
  • Exhibition related programs
  • School visits
  • Tertiary and international programs
  • Lifelong learning
  • Professional development
  • The Centre for Youth Literature
  • Reading and literacy
  • Online education resources

Where: Here is the link to join the session. Please drop in and join the conversation.

Recording: Click here to listen to the recording.

#ozseries Community Connect: Out and About with the Ed Tech Crew

COMMUNITY CONNECT Celebrating Connected Educator Month #ce12

If you’re a regular listener of the Ed Tech Crew podcasts you’ll know that Tony Richards and Darrel Branson connect with many people involved in education.

This week Community Connect has the pleasure of welcoming Tony and Darrel who joins us to present their observations of the changing practice of educators in our increasingly connected world.

The Ed Tech Crew produce weekly podcasts about technology in education.

The Ed Tech Crew chew the fat on all things ICT.

Hosted by Darrel Branson (The ICT Guy) and Tony Richards from itmadesimple.com.

We discuss all things digital in education – technologies, issues, great websites, web 2.0 and much, much more!

Having produced 206 podcasts over a period of 5 years, Tony and Darrel will have many stories to tell.

And they certainly did, here’s a link to the recording of Out and About with the Ed Tech Crew.

#ozseries Community Connect: Connected Education


Connected Educator Month is a USA initiative to be held during August.

During August I’ll be facilitating a series of conversations in Community Connect (the Australia e-Series thursday night webinars) around this theme.

The purpose of the first webinar was to discuss what it means to be a Connected Educator (often referred to as Networked Teacher), how people connect as well as what projects and events they are involved in.  Throughout this session the terms Connected Educator, Networked Teacher and Connected Learner were used interchangeably.

Participants Shared Experiences

We Discussed Our Understanding Of Connected Education 

  • building relationships and communities
  • learning with others beyond our walls
  • sharing ideas with others
  • using hybrid web-conferencing to connect participants

This INFOGRAPHIC about Connected Learning Principles was included in the discussion.

We Shared our Connections and Tools

Talked about Opportunities to Connect

Communities Of Practice, Global Projects, Online and Face to Face Events

To Summarise

  • different terms often describe the same thing
  • we are already Connected Educators
  • both online and face to face connections are valuable
  • via conversations we learn so much
  • a wide range of tools and platforms can be used to connect people
  • many opportunities are out there for educators to connect with others in projects, online events, communities of practice, social media and face to face events
  • Visit the Connected Learning Manifesto, a global, collaborative document, if you would like to leave your thoughts about Connected Education.

Here’s a link to the recording of Connected Education.