This post was written by Sue Beveridge, SMART ANZ Education Advisor.
Over two days of the fall 2017 Australian school holidays 150 teachers, educators and thought leaders joined together to discover how to Inspire Greatness in our students and prepare them for their future.
The conference held in North Sydney at the Sydney Church of England Grammar SHORE school was free for teachers making it possible for school teams to attend and consider nextsteps collaboratively. The evaluations of the conference demonstrated the participants’ deep learning through the future actions the schools will undertake for example technology audits, reviewing their learning spaces and ICT Responsibility Agreements with their students.
The outstanding Key Note speakers and THINK Session leaders inspired teachers throughout the conference. It was clear from the social media response and the formal evaluations that the key themes presented by the speakers motivated and confirmed the practices of the participants who had already planned how they would implement these new ideas in their classrooms.
Here are a few of the highlights:
- Dr Kristy Goodwin’s keynote regarding the i-Generation and ensuring their digital health really resonated with teachers. Her challenge to teachers to embrace not reject technology was certainly taken up by the participants who spent the two days learning how to use the SMART Learning Suite, robotics, coding, 3D printing and drones in the classroom.
- Lou Bowe helped the teachers to understand the differences between the ICT Capabilities in the Australian curriculum and Digital Technologies and how schools are implementing them in the classroom. Charles Branciforte illustrated how his school had embraced technology not as a “shiny bright thing” but as a means to enhance learning.
- Dr Simon Crooke shared the results of his research and advocated the importance of technology and STEM. Teachers valued this and saw through their own hands-on experience with the many STEM tools provided how STEM could be implemented using child-focused learning in their classrooms.
- Dr Kelvin Gregory inspired teachers to rethink the design of feedback and assessment focusing on students’ ability to evaluate and analyze not simply recall content thus guiding their students into the skills that will be meaningful for them in future employment. These were the skills that Cathie Howe identified in her THINK Session as critical for the future of our students.
- Dr Bronwyn Stuckey took the “Pedagogical Hammer to Technology” and challenged the conference to put FUN into Learning and school. Participants took up the challenge and the majority of participants indicated that they intended to add game based activities or build play into their programs for the next term.
- Jeff Lowe shared the international data regarding technology investment and the level of impact to date. He indicated it is time that we use technology to engage students to take the impact on their learning “above the line”. This was a constant feature of the next steps schools had planned as a result of the conference and they believed that the learning they had experienced over the two days gave them the ideas, tools and skills to engage their students more effectively.
- Giancarlo Brotto spoke to the audience about the importance of social and emotional skills and referenced the work of John Hattie’s visible learning and providing effective feedback to students.
- Jacqui Barton also inspired teachers to see how technology and literature enhanced the literacy learning of students and shared the magic of digital resources.
We were thrilled to see an overwhelming response from attending teachers that SMART Learning Suite is an extraordinary tool enabling them to implement these key themes. Teachers are excited to interact with their students’ devices, gamify their lessons using SMART Lab, and engage their students in ways they have not experienced before. Some plan to use SMART amp for collaboration and project-based learning and sharing. Attending teachers were also very enthusiastic about how SMART Learning Suite could assist them with better assessment practices.
Overall, it was a wonderful event with presenters who were generous in sharing their knowledge. and teachers who were excited to engage and to get inspired. We can’t wait to see how the knowledge gained translated to greatness in classrooms.
Discover more presentations from the conference on our Facebook page, and let us know what you would like to see next time!