In Sydney Australia, SMART Technologies hosted the third Inspire Greatness Conference at Abbotsleigh Girl’s Senior Campus. The conference was two days of NESA accredited professional learning for Australian teachers framed by the 22EdTech capabilities developed by global research.
This year’s conference also saw the Global Launch of edu.catalyst a community for leaders around the work to exchange innovation and practices.
SMART Technologies supports three learning communities around the world for students, teachers and leaders. The Conference focused on teachers but also included many “think leaders” who contributed to the learning of the teachers and who enjoyed being able to collaborate and network with innovators.
At the end of the conference the SMART ANZ Team used SMART ‘s Shout-Out to capture feedback about the conference. For these educators the quality of the keynote speakers was an outstanding aspect of the conference. Teachers are not always able to attend events to hear from some of the best minds in the world and for them to personally meet many of our keynotes was very motivational.
Clear for these teachers was the impact of what the keynotes had communicated and what they were planning to take back to their classrooms to start the next term. Tim and Judy Sharp inspired teachers to “be brave", "to teach the whole child”, “include everyone”, ”never under-estimate kids” and give “kids the freedom to explore”.
From Gianncarlo Brotto teachers learned “new perspectives” about “the future of work” how to “shine a light" and “transform education”. They learned from the EdTech Capabilities panel of four outstanding Australian school executives, “the impact of technology on learning” to listen to "student voice”, the importance of “technology in teaching” and that “social and emotional learning is a priority”. The teachers planned to assess their own capabilities and to share the EdTech Capabilities profile with their school leadership.
Listening to Professor Stephen Heppell teachers learned that “details matter” and that we have a "moral imperative to improve the learning environments of children” and that "learner led education is key”. As a result of listening to this inspiring keynote the teachers determined to “review students’ learning spaces” and to “make small changes for BIG impact” such as implementing , “BYOP, (bring your own plants) into their classrooms”.
Teachers commented after listening to Annabel Astbury, Head of Education at the ABC that they were “inspired by her passion” and “the importance of her work in Media Literacy”. Teachers also listed as a takeaway from the conference James Curran, Associate Professor from University of Sydney’s point that there are “algorithms everywhere” and that they will be teaching “the skills and concepts of the Digital Curriculum as opposed to teaching just about a specific tech”.
What they were also taking back to their classrooms was inspiration from the Think Sessions and meeting the presenters including “Gamification” from Bron Stuckey, “Poetry and the digital world” from Libby Hathorn, “Tales from his tech travels” from Ben Wells, “Girls in Stem” from Melissa Isaacs.
Almost unanimously they would recommend the conference to their peers and come again next year.
When we asked them about the Training, they were complimentary about the quality of the presenters, “expert teachers” demonstrating new tech and how to use these practices. They were very inspired by SMART Learning Suite Online and how to use if for “formative assessment” in particular.
From the Innovate Stream teachers learned, to code, about robotics, to understand AR, VR and AI and how to use SAM Labs. They praised that fact that there were so many hands-on workshops.
The participants also commented on “the quality of the food”, “the people”, “being able to collaborate and network” and “the intimate environment”, “the Partner showcase meeting people like the Sydney Opera House, Makers Empire, Octopus, UNSW Global, Teacher’s Mutual Bank and Teacher’s Health and Life Skills”.
Participants commented that by looking after them with Yoga sessions and massages we illustrated that teachers must “look after me as well as the kids”.
Asked what they would improve most said it was inspirational, motivational and the only thing to improve was having “more of my colleagues here!”
To understand some of their experience, watch the below video of the event.