Lisa Neale is a seasoned educator with some serious street cred when it comes to using technology. An early adopter and unafraid to explore and then dive right in, Lisa has created the conditions in her school for staff and students to use technology for learning and is always there to support and guide. But don’t let that impressive reputation scare you off – Lisa has some amazing insights to share.
2 What led you into education?
Great question! If you ask my mom, I have been playing school ever since I was a little girl gathering up friends in the neighbourhood to learn together in our basement or the backyard. Also, during my studies at McMaster University, I volunteered at my former HWDSB elementary school, R. A. Riddell for four years. At RAR, I met a very important person whose name is Tina Falbo. She was and remains a mentor in my life. My time learning alongside with Tina instilled even more in me the core belief: learning makes a difference in all our lives. Education improves life chances and is the key influencer that brings us together. A fun fact, my first year teaching was at RAR back in 1992. The love of learning has been central to who I am and what I am about ever since I can remember. Being an educator is an integral part of my being. It is a blessing and a privilege to be an educator.
What are your go-to pieces of tech?
iPhone for sure. It is on the go mobile tech. I always have it with me to capture life. This leads me to my love of iPhoneography. During times where lots of words are in play, it’s my laptop. Lately, I am spending time exploring sketchnoting with a Pen53 on my iPad. I use my iPad daily for reading online accessing Tweetdeck, Flipboard, Feedly and Flipp. Really the tool changes depending upon the task at hand. Where am I? Who am I with? What am I trying to do? I’m very lucky to have device choice. Technology enhances learn flow, work flow and life flow. Always a blend of professional and personal for me.
Twitter or something else?
Twitter is a definite yes. It’s a social networking tool that connects me to others for so many reasons. Might be a chat, might be a DM or might be a regular stream I follow to pose questions or learn based on a theme or need. There are so many great twitter chats / streams for educators. My favourites: #ontedleaders, #ossemooc, #satchat I very much appreciate how I can learn from afar by following a hashtag and then contribute on my own terms. My PLN is invaluable and I am grateful of how I can opt in and opt out based on my needs as a learner. Instagram is big for me – professionally and personally. Why? Think of the idiom, “a picture is worth a thousand words.” Images tell stories. By adding in text with the image, each post is a short form novel and the series of posts in turn create a meaningful story that is told over time. Want to see the @AncasterSrPS school story? Here you go: https://www.instagram.com/ancasterseniorps/
Can’t say I blog much. Although I do have a blog. It has been long standing goal for me to blog more. I read a ton of blogs and am inspired by those who express themselves and share their thinking and experiences this way. I am a blog reader and a will be one day blog writer!
Has technology shifted the way you learn?
Yes. Big time. In fact, technology daily impacts how I learn on my own, with and from others. Technology has changed how we live day to day. When I am learning, I am always integrating technology to enhance how the learning happens. Technology opens learning up to be more collaborative, more participatory, more accessible and introduces the notion of 24/7, DIY and JIT learning. The power of accessing technology for collaboration with others, the openness of learning anytime, anywhere and with anyone is beyond empowering, it is essential in today’s world.
What’s your best piece of advice for those wondering how to use tech to accelerate their learning?
Here are some ways and you choose!
1. Play. Carve out time to learn informally based on an interest.
2. Spend time with others who are using technology in ways that intrigue you and are making a difference in how they learn.
3. Explore the power of social networking tools to learn from others. Twitter is a powerful platform. You can learn informally in a self-directed way where there is choice! Want to get started? https://twitterforabsolutebeginners.wordpress.com/
4. Start with one tool / app. My go to is GAFE (Google Apps for Education). Why? No cost! Communication and collaboration online and offline in the cloud. Choice in kind of tool. You can work from any device.
Behind this series: Inspired by the innovative and trailblazing Royan Lee and the #workflow series on his Spicy Learning Blog, I’m asking connected educators around our district how they use technology to accelerate their learning. In HWDSB, we’ve been talking about how to transform relationships, environments and learning opportunities. The driver is pedagogy, but the accelerator is technology. I’m hopeful that educators’ insights and experiences will kickstart a conversation and even spark some action.