Blogging from a Plane*

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In the not so distant past, a not so young man moved from Yorkshire to London,

He had enough years under his belt to know that the streets were not paved with gold, but wanted to see if he could survive and enjoy the capital city.

Not knowing many people but willing to learn, he was introduced via Twitter to educators such as Dawn Hallybone and Tony Parkin, both of whom welcomed him into their circles, building on various bonds between the north and south.

Since those first intrepid steps, that man is now both honoured and humbled to consider many of these on-line connections as friends ‘both on and off the field’.

One Sunday morning a few months ago, when I should really have been doing something else, I stumbled across #aussieED through people such as @dughall and @urban_teacher. Maybe they too were pontificating and delaying what they should have been doing, but their tweets led me to a real sense of energy and collaboration. The willingness of teachers from Australia as well as New Zealand and various parts of the US to share and learn was obvious. #aussieED seemed to be taking the very best of #UKEdChat and various other online chat forums, while building their own unique identity.

Through Google Hangout, Twitter and email conversations with @dan_bowen and others, I was then able to build up a link of possible contacts for an upcoming trip Down Under with @tagtiv8.

In addition to the usual luggage, I packed leaflets, stickers, business cards, a presentation and even a Tagtiv8 Number kit in the belief that someone may actually want to play.

A stop over in Singapore opened my eyes and changed certain perceptions. The mass consumerism of fashion and technology was mind-blowing. The malls were in Christmas overdrive, far more so than the UK!

photoIt was also interesting to note the emphasis on android platforms rather than Apple. But therein lies the subject of another post further down the line.

My first few days in Sydney were spent acclimatising and simply exploring, wandering, following @amazingholt‘s recommendation to utilise ‘the art of noticing‘ and believe me, I noticed a lot.

Owing to the size of Sydney and the work schedules of various people, it soon became apparent that one TweetUp would not be possible, so #tweetupsydX featured Parts 1, 2 and 3. Each was special in its own way and huge thanks are extended to @dan_bowen, @MRsalakas, @madgiemdEDU and @teachmisssutton for coming out to meet me. I learned so much about the education systems over here, the use of technology and the dramatic rise of #aussieED. The connections already established between educators from the two hemispheres was apparent:

“We’re already following each other…I love their ideas!”
“That @urban_teacher…he’s a legend, a rock star!”

As well as scribbling notes on napkins, a Google Document was set up so that we could continue to share the people, the links and join the dots and ideas in time. We also just swapped anecdotes, smiling at successes and rolling our eyes at various mistakes made along the way. What struck me was the real warmth of these people, their passion for learning and absolute honesty. There were no egos…the way in which they viewed and celebrated the online education community was genuinely rooted in discovery and collaboration.

@MRsalakas drew a parallel with elephant grass, whereby the roots are developed so well that when growth does occur, it is both magnificent and sustained. There was also a great comparison made between certain rugby teams  and Team #aussieED, whereby the props and forwards do not do what they do for individual glory, rather they run headlong into the opposition for the good of the team. This approach also links well with the wise words of @debrakidd, whose excellent book, ‘ Teaching: Notes from the Front Line‘ is being read and re-read during this trek.

So now the journey continues with the descent into Melbourne…and hopefully more links, connections and friendships…

*Thanks to @lordlangley73 for the title…a sequel to ‘Blogging from a Barge’ from even more moons ago.

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