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