Highlights of 2012

Dec 26, 2012

What started in 2011, continued in 2012 as well - I travelled, I learned, I was invited to speak at conferences, I ran workshops and I co-hosted teachmeets. To my delight, TeachMeet Int'l won second runner up in the Edublog Awards 2012!

The year started with our trip to Cuba - it was a fantastic holiday with no internet access whatsoever! In March, we explored Berlin and Potsdam, in April we flew to Boston, saw the sights and tried our very first clam chowder in a bread bowl! (Absolutely delicious!). Then we headed for Toronto, and on our way there we stopped to visit the Niagara Falls, both on the US and the Canadian side. In Buffalo I treated myself to what is now my beloved Kindle Touch. I never leave the house without it!

In January it was my school's turn to host a Comenius meeting. 31 students and 19 teachers from 7 European countries came to Zagreb to meet their project partners and to learn from each other.

The spring was abound with conferences: Microsoft Slovenia invited me to speak about LEAP 21 at the SIRIKT conference in Kranjska Gora, Slovenia. I co-hosted two fabulous virtual TeachMeets, two Studentsmeets and presented at the Sydney TeachMeet via Skype.  I gave a short presentation about Studentsmeet in the Teacher Track of the eTwinning conference that was held in Berlin. I co-hosted the first Croatian Teachmeet Live in Zagreb and ran a workshop on online testing tools at the TESL Toronto. My presentation Online Testing Tools was also well-received by the audience at the TESOL WebHeads 2012 and at the Virtual Round Table Conference. Sonja and I organized a new series of webinars for students, during which we hosted 17 webinars, all of them  well-attended by school seniors from across Croatia and beyond.

I became an Intel Master Teacher after attending seminars in Prague and in Swindon. There I finally met my friend Rose f2f after being friends online for three years!  

I spent the summer at the Adriatic, but I wasn't idle at all because I was getting ready for my first tour ever -I was one of the speakers in the CARNet project Schools 2.0 and at the end of August I ran workshops about the Skills of the 21st century in seven schools in different parts of Croatia. It was a great experience and I felt like a rock star. it was still summer when I was notified that I'm one of the three finalists for the Hubert Humphrey Fellowship. Who the Humphrey fellow for 2013/2014 is, will be announced in March 2013.

Autumn brought more speeches and workshops - all of them my favourites: I gave a motivational speech about my unplugged eLearning to the participants of the e-Learning Academy. I talked about the Skills of the 21st Century at the national eTwinning conference, gave two workshops on Twitter and two on Facebook at the INFO fair, co-ran a workshop on Web 2.0 tools in eTwinning projects, moderated the second TeachMeet Live in Rijeka and co-hosted the third one in Zagreb. On September 29, we organized the third virtual TeachMeet, which, in my opinion, has been the best Teachmeet ever held!

Autumn was also marked with some writing work that I was commissioned to do as part of a two-strong team. The other half of this strong team was Bart, "my partner in crime in some lovely educational projects and the key member of my PLN". These 2,5 months of extremely hard work, lack of sleep, immense creativity, mutual inspiration and invaluable support are proof to our constant quest for knowledge and lifelong learning.

Even more learning took place in November when I was given a fantastic opportunity to attend the course "Creating interactive textbooks with iBook Author" at the Future Classroom Lab in Brussels. I can't say now which I was looking forward to more - the course itself or the visit to the amazing Future Classroom Lab! Or to Belgian waffles! Not to mention Belgian dark choc with nuts! Well, whichever it was, it all lived up to my expectations... and more!

December brought some more wonderful, but unfortunately also some disturbing news. However, I'm determined to deal with it, to be persistent and to turn it to my advantage.

And of course, it goes without saying, my favorite color in 2012 was definitely cobalt blue.


Dec 23, 2012

This morning I got an email from my dear friend Jean-Paul Auffrand, an English teacher from France who I met in Finland back in 1997 when we both attended a course on how to introduce modern technologies into foreign language teaching. That was 15 years ago! Since then we've implemented many a modern tool in our teaching, but what I appreciate most when it comes to new technologies is that that they've given us the opportunity to stay in touch over all those years, for which I'm so grateful!

Jean-Paul's email made my day. He sent me a list of paraprodoskians. According to Wikipedia, a paraprodoskian is:
"A paraprosdokian (pærəprɒsˈdkiən/) is a figure of speech in which the latter part of a sentence or phrase is surprising or unexpected in a way that causes the reader or listener to reframe or reinterpret the first part."
Here are some more:
The voices in my head may not be real, but they have some good ideas!
Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don't mind it doesn't matter.
Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
To steal ideas from one person is plagiarism. To steal from many is research.
A clear conscience is the sign of a fuzzy memory.
We don't stop playing because we grow old, we grow old because we stop playing. 
I used to be indecisive. Now I'm not so sure.

You're never too old to learn something stupid.
We never really grow up, we only learn how to act in public.
To be sure of hitting the target, shoot first and call whatever you hit the target.
Change is inevitable, except from a vending machine.
Going to church doesn't make you a Christian any more than standing in a garage makes you a car.
A diplomat is someone who tells you to go to hell in such a way that you look forward to the trip.
When tempted to fight fire with fire, remember that the Fire Department usually uses water.
The only thing that interferes with my learning is my education. (Einstein)

More here.

TeachMeets "r" us

Dec 4, 2012

I've written about teachmeets here and here and everywhere, but I simply must write about this favorite topic of mine again, because TeachMeet Int'l that Sonja, Bart and I run, host and moderate has been nominated for this year's Edublog Awards in the category Best Open Professional Development along with other prominent conferences and  PD courses.

We're all so excited and proud to see that TeachMeets have earned the recognition they, I believe, fully deserve.  Because TeachMeets give a voice to ordinary teachers who do extraordinary things ... extraordinarily well!

TeachMeets in numbers:
  • 67 teachers from more than 40 countries from across the 6 continents presented at 3 virtual international teachmeets;
  • 20 teachers presented at 2  virtual regional teachmeets;
  • 44 teachers presented at 3 teachmeets live
That's why I invite you to vote for us: Click VOTE HERE, choose the category OPEN PD and vote for TeachMeets. Voting is open till 11:59 PM US Eastern Standard Time on Sunday, December 9th.
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