Newmarket teacher Sonya van Schaijik has a passion for learning and for making it possible for other teachers to connect to share their professional learning. TeachMeetNZ evolved from Sonya’s efellowship inquiry into connecting teachers for sharing professional learning.
The TeachMeetNZ initiative is part of an international TeachMeet movement which provides teachers with an online place to celebrate their learning. It allows teachers to make online connections outside their own schools so they can collaborate and broaden their professional networks and knowledge. Sonya says that TeachMeetNZ provides opportunities for teachers to share their learning. TeachMeetNZ currently provides 60 nano (three minute) presentations from New Zealand educators.
Once a term teachers come together in a Google Hangout to share what they are doing in their classrooms. This is an opportunity to meet with a diverse group from around New Zealand. Sessions are live streamed via YouTube allowing a global viewing audience. Others can actively participate using Google Hangout’s question and answer tool, or via Twitter. You can see a collection of tweets from the first anniversary TeachMeet. Archiving the presentations in a YouTube playlist means they can be viewed at any time.
Teachers who have participated in a TeachMeet say "...these are truly valuable ideas that I intend to try in my classroom soon" and "...great training in the use of online tools that could assist with students learning and engagement, especially the rewindable aspect".
Sonya says TeachMeetNZ has enabled her to better support her Newmarket colleagues through the expertise she has gained and the connections she has made.
From the Ministry of Education’s e-Learning Planning Framework:
There is always more to learn about using digital technology effectively in your teaching practice and sharing your knowledge and ideas with others. Through continuous professional learning teachers are able to explore the different ways that digital tools can be used to enhance learning.
In this example TeachMeetNZ is a vehicle for teachers to make online connections outside their own schools in order to collaborate and broaden their professional networks and knowledge.
From NZCER's Supporting future-oriented learning and teaching report:
Continuous learning for teachers and educational leaders must include opportunities for networking and collaboration with other educational professionals.
Educational professionals need to collaboratively co-construct new approaches to meet changing needs. This requires an attitude of openness and intellectual curiosity and a willingness to see things in new ways.
TeachMeetNZ is an example of an online community that provides opportunities for New Zealand teachers to network and collaborate beyond their own school communities. The collection of 3 minute 'nano' presentations that TeachMeetNZ curates allows teachers to leave a learning legacy for the benefit of other educators.