THE 2018 EDUTECH con­fer­ence aims to equip ed­u­ca­tors with the new­est tools, ideas and strate­gies to in­spire the next gen­er­a­tion of stu­dents.

The Australian Education Reporter - - CONTENTS - EMMA DAVIES

CON­FER­ENCE di­rec­tor Sa­man­tha Young says that school lead­ers come to EDUTECH to learn about the lat­est in best prac­tice for ed­u­ca­tional re­search and lead­er­ship, new ad­vances in tech­nol­ogy, learn­ing en­vi­ron­ments, and ped­a­gogy and cur­ricu­lum in­te­gra­tion.

“When ed­u­ca­tion’s lead­ers share the re­spon­si­bil­ity of en­gag­ing and pre­par­ing young, dig­i­tally na­tive peo­ple to lead suc­cess­ful and pro­duc­tive lives in the 21st cen­tury, the only way to see sus­tained im­prove­ment in stu­dent out­comes is for ed­u­ca­tors and school lead­ers to be con­stantly im­prov­ing their the­o­ret­i­cal knowl­edge and ev­i­dence-in­formed inquiry and man­age­ment skills,” Ms Young said.

The Mas­ter­classes of­fered at EDUTECH are a fan­tas­tic way to sup­ple­ment the congress, with case stud­ies of ev­i­dence-based re­search pre­sented in a practical and eas­ily di­gestible man­ner that jus­ti­fies why and how dif­fer­ent lead­ers are able to adapt those strate­gies to their own school.

Ms Young be­lieves that hear­ing from the top ed­u­ca­tion lead­ers of to­day will pre­pare school lead­ers for to­mor­row.

“Ev­ery school has their own unique set of strengths. Some schools are more suc­cess­ful in ped­a­gog­i­cal content knowl­edge, some in in­no­va­tive im­ple­men­ta­tion of the cur­ricu­lums, or some in dig­i­tal tech­nolo­gies and oth­ers in up­skilling and im­prov­ing or ex­pand­ing teacher ca­pa­bil­i­ties,” she said.

“Many schools un­der­take their own re­search stud­ies and have valuable in­sights to share; un­der­stand­ing the strate­gic di­rec­tion of other schools gives you a bench­mark in which to walk away with, and fresh ideas to spring off.”

EDUTECH is for the ed­u­ca­tion lead­ers want­ing to em­power their staff to take ed­u­ca­tional risks and re­alise their full po­ten­tial.

“EDUTECH has al­ways been a start­ing point for col­lab­o­ra­tion. I’ve al­ways be­lieved that com­pe­ti­tion makes us faster, but that col­lab­o­ra­tion makes us bet­ter,” Ms Young said.

Swin­burne Univer­sity Depart­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion Deputy Chair Dr Therese Keane is speak­ing at the con­fer­ence. With more than 20 years’ ex­pe­ri­ence teach­ing IT in schools, she stresses the im­por­tance of a strong lead­er­ship role in over­see­ing new tech­nolo­gies, and work­ing with the strengths and limitations of staff and school re­sources.

“I am the Chair of the ACS ICT Ed­u­ca­tors Com­mit­tee, where we work with teach­ers to as­sist with the teach­ing of the Dig­i­tal Tech­nolo­gies Cur­ricu­lum. We are work­ing to­wards pro­vid­ing teach­ers with re­sources and though lead­er­ship to sup­port them in the teach­ing of Dig­i­tal Tech­nolo­gies,” Dr Keane said.

“Like any in­ter­est in life, it is im­per­a­tive that there is wide read­ing, con­sult­ing and net­work­ing and the op­por­tu­nity to work with new tech­nol­ogy to en­sure that there is a con­text and op­por­tu­ni­ties for im­ple­men­ta­tion,” she said.

Dr Keane is in­volved in the pro­vi­sion of pro­fes­sional de­vel­op­ment to ICT teach­ers, re­search into the use of tech­nol­ogy, gen­der in­equal­i­ties in STEM based sub­jects, robotics in ed­u­ca­tion and com­put­ers in schools for teach­ing and learn­ing pur­poses. She is also a stal­wart for em­pow­er­ing girls in STEM.

As lead men­tor for the Robo­cats – a girls-only robotics team – and the Vic­to­rian Tour­na­ment Di­rec­tor for the FIRST LEGO League, Dr Keane be­lieves a pos­i­tive and nur­tur­ing environment is es­sen­tials for girls to par­tic­i­pate and take risks in STEM with­out feel­ing in­ad­e­quate.

Dr Keane will be speak­ing along­side col­league and As­so­ci­a­tion of In­de­pen­dent Schools South Aus­tralia ed­u­ca­tional con­sul­tant Mon­ica Wil­liams, dis­cussing the re­search into the use of tech­nol­ogy in schools and the hu­manoid ro­bot (NAO) work­shops for pri­mary and sec­ondary school stu­dents.

“I have in­ves­ti­gated 1:1 pro­grams from a teacher, stu­dent and par­ent per­spec­tive, the use of hu­manoid ro­bots in schools, and the un­der­rep­re­sen­ta­tion of fe­males study­ing com­put­ing both at sec­ondary school and in ter­tiary ed­u­ca­tion,” Dr Keane said.

“We be­lieve our project could be of in­ter­est to other ed­u­ca­tors, es­pe­cially those who might like to find out more about how we im­ple­mented a dif­fer­ent type of tech­nol­ogy into var­i­ous class­rooms,” she said.

“Con­fer­ences like EDUTECH are also a great way to net­work with other like­minded peo­ple, and spark and gen­er­ate great ideas.”

“EDUTECH has al­ways been a start­ing point for col­lab­o­ra­tion. I’ve al­ways be­lieved that com­pe­ti­tion makes us faster, but that col­lab­o­ra­tion makes us bet­ter.”

Dr Therese Keane will be speak­ing about the use of hu­manoid ro­bots in the class­room.

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