This month I was lucky enough to attend this awesome conference, along with other members of our Clearview staff and Board of Trustees. There were some excellent keynote speakers and workshops held over the three days. I would say, that as a kiwi teacher, what was missing for me was a focus on Modern Learning Practices. The Australian curriculum is quite different to ours and the focus for many of the workshops was on their national testing programme. Still, you always learn something!
I very much enjoyed Christine Haynes presentation about Coaching Teachers as Lead Learners. An excellent model for developing e-learning practices throughout a school and one that I am hoping to use parts of in my school in 2015.
Alec Couros is an inspiring speaker. His keynote discussed how we participate in the world using technology. That aquaintances can often be our biggest source of new ideas. He encouraged the audience to embrace and model connected communities and asked, "How are you contributing to the learning of others?"
Greg Butler asked, "How might we transform learning?" He urged the audience to "get comfortable with situations where you don't know the answer." Check out the excellent website http://newpedagogies.org for some excellent downloads from Michael Fullan and Maria Langworthy.
Simon Breakspear was one of the best keynote speakers I have seen. A real entertainer. He discussed learning agility as the key skill for the future, to cope with the agile career pathways that will develop. He asked, "How can we sustainably redesign learning behaviours?" He believes that learners need agency, relevance and connection. You can see some of his past EdTalks and his presentations.
There were of course a lot of cool workshops. I went to Augmented Reality, Itunes U, 3d printing, Cybersafety and a few other good ones.
Probably my key wonderings focused on the New Zealand education system and where we are in our journey towards MLP as a country. Obviously every school is different, but I came back from Australia feeling proud of where we are. It was great to get an international perspective and to chat with Australian teachers who were amazed to hear about our collaborative teaching and elearning opportunities. I felt like their use of technology in the class seemed more focused on creating content and the purpose was often to help with the NAPLAN. Yet another reason to keep standardised testing out of our education system!
Next year's conference will also be in Melbourne. Definitely worth a look when planning your 2015 professional development.
My name is Ngaire Shepherd-Wills. This website is a record of my TeachNZ sabbatical, Term 2, 2013 and then I have continued to share my wonderings and discoveries about Innovative Learning Practices. I now work for CORE Education. Views are my own.