Image by Chräcker Heller from Pixabay
This year sees a new venture added to my retirement activities. An unexpected invitation came from the UK Future Teacher 3.0 team and this was too good an opportunity to turn down. The small UK team are an absolute powerhouse, a great example of how much can be achieved with the right blend of experience, and expertise and a shared commitment to inclusive practice in teaching. Lilian, Alistair and Ron have orchestrated monthly webinars for teachers in HE and FE since 2017 firstly as part of an Erasmus Plus funded project but now unfunded and undaunted! I have had the privilege of contributing to several sessions over the years and I really value the network and the resources they create as OERs.
Using an open source tool called Xerte they are able to create reusable learning objects which include interactive content and are media rich and accessible.
Of course, one of the bugbears of doing anything at the "bleeding edge" is that new tools and approaches are constantly being developed but the FT3 UK team have even turned this to an advantage! The second iteration of webinars was Reactivated -bringing new ideas to enhance the earlier recordings and this current series is Reflected, where the focus is on building upon what we have learned through reflection "because future teachers never stop learning".
In my final years at Warwick I led a course for final year students who were considering teaching as a career. Central to my course design was both virtual exchange and reflection. We used an open source tool Mahara as a private reflection space and students were able to keep private journal posts every week which could, if they so wished, be used as part of their assessed eportfolio. This process of regular reflection incorporated into the course design helped to establish the importance of reflection to those working in time constrained and often demanding roles in teaching. Taking time to take account of how you are feeling and to, over time, develop a picture of the direction you wish to take - these things are so important in life. Sharing some of these thoughts with others can also help to strengthen your professional network and can even lead to unexpected outcomes such as new connections.
I'm not great at sticking to routines but I do use my blogs to think things through and it has been helpful over the years. Reflecting through writing on a diary or a blog can really bring my thoughts into focus and help me find a way forward. I look forward to reading reflections from others who have been part of the Future Teacher network.