Saturday, 16 January 2016

The year that was - 2015

My reflection on 2015

(long overdue post I started a few weeks back)
This past year was a mix of some really wonderful times, and many periods of intense struggle. I have not blogged in months and retracted from Twitter considerably, and there are many reasons for this that I won't go into now and mentioned it briefly in my blog post a few weeks back. 

This is my annual recap/self-reflection of the past 12 months. I'm extremely thankful for the wonderful people that have been part of my journey, and the inspiration they have given me and influence they have had on my life.

In no particular order, here they are:

1 Every Classroom Matters Episode
At the end of 2014 I was approached to record an episode with Vicki Davis (@coolcatteacher) for her Educational Podcast show 'Every Classroom Matters' on my 'TweetingAztecs' project. The episode was recorded in January, and what an interesting experience that was doing an interview with someone on the other side of the world. The episode was aired in May (coincidently on my birthday) -Lesson Plan: Creative and Wildly  Engaging Ways to Teach with Twitter 

It was such an honour to be part of Vicki's show. I have admired her since becoming a teacher and connecting online. She truly is such a wonderful educator that shares so much and inspires many. Check out her show and blog:

2 Teachmeets
During 2015 I managed to organise 4 Teachmeets in the region, including two successful ones at the University of Southern Queensland Hervey Bay Campus with more than 20 educators attending. I absolutely love Teachmeets and what they stand for, the. The sharing by teachers is always inspirational, helpful and fascinating. 

I also presented at the first Teachmeet Sunshine Coast in March, and ran TeachMeet session at EduTech and presented at the same event. Teachmeets are definitely part of my future planning for 2016 and to see how we can have more in Queensland.

3 EduTech
I was privileged to have the opportunity to be a speaker at EduTECH 2015 with Matt Esterman. Originally Simon McKenzie was also going to join us, but unfortunately could not, but he was still a great help with providing resources and support. It was great working with Matt and being part of the Conference. Matt is such a generous and passionate educator, and someone that I love connecting with. He is the one that introduced me to TeachMeets and I'm very happy to call him one of my closest edu-friends. EduTECH was great to attend because I managed to catch up with some edu friends from all around the country. The conversations outside the speakers is what I found the most beneficial and stimulating. 
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Picture by Helen Bremner (

4 Engage Summit
I was fortunate to be part of the Engagement Behaviour & Learning Summit at QUT in July. It was a great event organised by Linda Graham. It was the biggest audience I ever presented before, more than 300 people from all sectors of education. Check out some of the presentations online. Here is mine on using Social Media with my classes.

5 Masters
I started my Masters with CSU - Knowledge Networks & Digital Innovation this year and it has been extremely challenging juggling it with everything else. Two subjects down, and six to go. Along the way I managed to get a Distinction with the second subject - Design Thinking with Ewan McIntosh; and having a study partner in Jordan Grant to help and support.

6 Eric Sheninger
In May my school hosted Eric Sheninger for a workshop after I had made contact with him to set it up. It was great having him here and spending time with an educator that loves sharing his knowledge. The workshop was excellent, and just having him over for a relaxed barbecue was another opportunity to connect and chat. He also presented at the TeachMeet sessions at EduTech, and delivered a great Keynote. I look forward to meeting up again in the future and following along all the great work he is doing.
Me, Eric & Stuart Taylor

7 #28daysofwriting
Tom Barrett challenged people online to join him in doing #28daysofwriting to kickstart some creative and reflective writing of glogs. It was quite a challenge, but I'm so happy that I managed to complete it and write a blog each day. No idea how some people maintain regular blog posts, as I struggle to find the time or inspiration, but this was a good learning month with writing. Might need to challenge myself again to help this blog get a roll on.

8 Other Highlights
So much goes on in a school year, and there is so much to be grateful for. My students performed brilliantly and seeing them grow is what makes all this hard work worthwhile every year. I've had the chance to present at another school to share my knowledge of various tech tools, and helped teachers at my school become more proficient with Google tools. I helped a number of teachers write the Google Educator Level 1 exams and more to follow in 2016.There was the first ever Queensland EDCAMP, which was great to be part of and present at. The #TweetingAztecs project just keeps on going, and I have talked about it on many occasions; now I look at what else I can do. Doing a book review on TER Podcast, and being on one of the EduTECH episodes was another highlight. 

Lastly; seeing my wife get to half-way point of her School Counselor Education Masters and watching our 4 year old little girl develop, are the closest highlights to my heart. Spending time with my girls is my favourite part of every year.

I'm sure I missed a few points; but I know that everything that takes places, the good and bad, makes me into the educator that I'm becoming.

In 2016 I'm looking forward to being involved with the 3rd International Heutagogy Conference in Brisbane in May, presenting at the CSA Queensland Conference in July, continuing with my Masters Year 2, organising TeachMeets, daughter starting Prep at the school we both work at and anything else that happens along the journey.

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