Last week my class and I discussed why we tell stories, and I drew on this discussion today for my keynote at the #onandup conference at Plymouth University. As the final year trainees head off into their first jobs, I urged them to carefully consider their own stories and to actively plan how these might develop well into their careers.
I was given the brief to ‘tell my story’ for the keynote, with particular reference to the part that networking and sharing ideas has led to some of the interesting opportunities I have had. There was a clear and present danger here for self indulgence so I built my story around the ideas from my class on why we learn about stories, with the main points of the presentation introduced using videos of the children’s ideas.
From having fun to the importance of communicating and sharing practice, developing core skills to considering values and morals, the children did an excellent job of reflecting on stories, and framing points I feel have signposted my own story as a learner and teacher. Starting from my childhood projects with cassette recorders, moving through my music production work to teaching practice and my first teaching job, the process of putting together and delivering this lecture was an interesting exercise in reflection.
The final section was framed by two particularly perceptive children who gave the message that we learn how to write stories so that we can write our own stories; so we can imagine future possibilities and put in place what we need to make them happen.
I also delivered three workshop sessions on the use of technology and web tools in the classroom. I was aware that the expectation here might be lots of high-tech ideas that could be taken away to the classroom, but I wanted to look a bit deeper than that and explore taking a critical eye to the use of technology. Starting with Ruben Puentadora’s SAMR model, we discussed a variety of different tools I had used with my class, each time asking what the benefits and challenges were, and how it might affect learning..
We had some interesting discussions around the challenges of using technology in the classroom. I was also pleased to hear many trainees being critical about the use of some tools with certain age groups, and really drilling down to how the tools I showed might affect learning rather than just facilitating engagement and development of ICT skills.
Telling my story at this event a way was a valuable opportunity to reflect on the whirlwind of the first few years of my career, and to take stock of what I have learned and achieved. It was a real privilege to talk to trainees as they are about to write the next stage of their story, and it made me think about how I might write the next stage of my own.