Science teacher Michael Harvey, who publishes on TES as doctorharves, explains the power of collaborative learning and why he uses Twitter for networking.
Tell us a bit about yourself
I am a third year teacher in Auckland, New Zealand. I specialise in science, particularly senior physics and chemistry, with a focus on the nture of science at junior level.
I have recently been awarded the honour of being a Microsoft Innovative Education Expert and have also just completed a postgraduate certificate in digital and collaborative learning.
I am keen to create networks of educators and I’m part of the SciChatNZ Twitter committee and also contribute to TeachMeetNZ.
How has studying digital and collaborative learning helped you in the classroom?
I love learning and if I want my students to be learning new things and not resting on their laurels, then I have to be a role model myself. I felt further study would challenge me as an educator and give me the opportunity to collaborate with other teachers around New Zealand.
I have discovered how technology can be used as a tool for learning, as opposed to just a driver of it.
It has definitely helped me in the classroom, especially with growth mindset. I have tried new things, made mistakes and learnt from them. I am a better teacher, I hope, because I make mistakes.
What do you think makes a good resource?
A good resource is one that has been road-tested in the classroom. Many of my resources have been refined over time, where the first draft is added to after being utilised in the class.
In my opinion, the best resources are the ones which involve several activities and let the students do the most work in the classroom. You teach a little theory and then they work on the application.
It is also important that resources have some differentiation so students can explore the lesson at their own pace.
What tips would you give a teacher who is considering publishing their resources on TES?
Keep it simple to start with. Focus on one or two concepts that are reinforced with short activities in the lesson.
Twitter is a great tool to raise your profile and I strongly recommend using social media to become known in the education community.
Why do you think it's important for teachers to be a part of a collaborative community?
It is critical that teachers be collaborative. Bouncing ideas off each other and challenging the thought processes behind certain actions enables teachers to improve their practice.
There is no point trying to reinvent the wheel. Through TES I can provide ideas that have worked and also learn from other teachers about their ways of teaching different concepts.
doctorharves' TES shop
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