One of the most incredible conferences is over, having to say goodbye to new and old friends from around the globe is never easy but so much learning took place! This event was made by teachers for teachers and that was so evident due to the relevance of every single keynote and workshop. As much as I would have liked to be Hermione with her time splitting necklace and attended each and every workshop, my non-magical side allowed me to attend four amazing workshops and dozens of keynotes.
Following this, I watched Jessica Hale on the main stage discussing her story behind the development of Oasis International School in Kuala Lumpur. During this workshop, we had time to stop and think about our own school and the application of the six Learning Principles. This assists us to explore the possibility of our school being an Innovative Learning Environment. We explored the course of action and identified a range of strategies for change.
I was very excited to meet Anna Kinnane and Paula Christophersen writers of theAustralian Technologies Curriculum. We had the opportunity to hear from these astonishing people who explained the different ‘thinking’ that appears in the new curriculums. Our focus was on ‘Systems Thinking’. From this workshop we learnt the ins and outs of Systems Thinking and its application within the classroom. The key messages from this workshop was that systems thinking is based on seeing connections, it focuses on inputs, processes and outputs. A multi-casual approach to learning will facilitate and help students to understand this complex phenomena including the other types of thinking.
Finally, I heard from Jon Corippo who shared the best practices for administrators and educators who seek to have more engaged teaching staff who are therefore more effective. We identified how to provide effective professional learning that would reach each member of staff. This included strategies and protocols that provided me with a range of ways to further engage staff in learning. Some of these include voices from the outside, divide the work, flip staff meetings, shadow a student challenge, Ed Camp and more! Throughout this workshop we were introduced to leaders who have made differences to staff meetings in their schools including John Eick and Brent Coley. This workshop had a huge impact on me. Within my position as an educator and a technology innovator and integrator I want to enact change, to demonstrate other ways of teaching, facilitating and learning. This workshop gave me some great ideas. A key quote; ‘staff meetings are for building craft and culture’ Jon Corippo.
Amongst these workshops were a wide range of different keynotes from national and international speakers. From an expert in the use of GarageBand, Matt Henrich who worked with the audience to pull together an iPad orchestra to travelling to space in a VR head set with Dr Rebecca Allen.
One particular keynote that truly resonated with me was that of Dr Kelly Grogan. This outstanding educator who is the Head of Innovation and Staff Learning at CISHK focused on the vitality of relationships with education. We were lucky enough to see how Dr
Grogan worked to build connections with a range of people within her environment to create positive change within pedagogies, environments and attitudes towards learning. The ‘common language’ that she uncovered was visible thinking. Through this culture of thinking flourished an amazing interconnected relationship that made learning better for all students. I think that the most beautiful part of this whole journey was Dr Grogan’s focus on meeting the needs of her schooling community. A truly selfless task to make the lives of others around her better.
Music seemed to be a common theme this year as Paul Hamilton took to the stage and sung his way through his 5 minute keynote sharing his journey in creating the amazing If I were a Wizard. This was a great story of challenges, problem solving and perseverance. Even when he was told no, he went back to the drawing board and made what was already brilliant even better!
Another fantastic story share with us was that of Paula Jamieson fromTe Akau Ki Papamoa, NZ. Her focus was on ‘The People, the people, the people’ making connections and the consciousness of teachers.
To close the event the one and only Carl Hooker full of educational ideas jumped up and with so much enthusiasm took too the mic with one incredible rap. This rap can be found on twitter somewhere hiding behind all of the different letters and pictures.
If you ever want to attend a conference where every piece of learning is relevant, every single presenter and attendee was there to learn, to share and to be the best them this is it! The focus of the event was not only on teachers but the students we teach as well. This conference not only concentrated on the effective use of technology in the classroom but also went unplugged! There were great workshops for leaders, first and long-time tech users and the prizes WOW the prizes were just incredible. I even won one mean game of Scissors, Paper, Rock I played against over 10 people and won! The environment was warm, relaxing friendly and inviting. What more could you ask for? If you were to attend a conference and you had a choice this one far out ways others I’ve been to before!
A huge thank you must go out to the team at St Hilda’s on the Gold Coast. You are all amazing!