Over the past 18 months I have been lucky enough to build a wonderful personal learning network, mostly through Twitter and blogging. I couldn’t begin to list the ways it has helped me to further my learning and my teaching.
This year, participating in the PLP Connect U project, I have continued to build a connected network of wonderful educators who inspire me to learn more, teach better and share often. These connections allow me to bring experiences into the classroom I know would not have been possible before, such as the learning we did yesterday.
Our inquiry unit for this term is, ‘How do we design and create furniture for a particular purpose?’ After spending the last few weeks learning about the design and features of different chairs we are now delving into the design process of making our own model chairs. It soon became evident we needed some skills in woodworking from someone with a greater knowledge than mine.
With perfect timing I happened upon the blog, which the PLP Connect U – Animals and Habitats team were using to share their experience of Project Based Learning. They had made possum boxes at one of their schools and it was obvious they needed some woodworking skills to produce this. It was time to do some investigating.
After an email to Ben Gallagher, he was able to suggest a student who had worked on the boxes and was happy to do an Elluminate session with us.
So yesterday the kids all crowded around the Interactive Whiteboard to hear Harris’ presentation. It was amazing! Harris worked through the slide show he had prepared, sharing with us tips for using a hammer, a drill and saws as well as how to choose the correct wood. He spoke with such confidence and the students were mesmerised by his expertise. He then answered our questions without hesitation. We did have a few technical hitches where our class didn’t have a microphone but it certainly didn’t matter, especially as we now have the recording.
As a teacher it was such a powerful experience to watch our expert share his knowledge with the class. And he wasn’t an expert in the traditional sense but someone who was confident in his knowledge and willing to share it. The students in the class listened attentively and took on board all of his advice. Can teaching and learning be any more authentic?
How have you connected with an expert, classroom or teacher?
Do you have a similar classroom experience to share?