EDUTECH is the big­gest ed­u­ca­tional tech­nol­ogy ex­hi­bi­tion in Aus­tralia, bring­ing ed­u­ca­tors and in­flu­encers from across the learn­ing life-cy­cle to­gether all un­der one roof.

The Australian Education Reporter - - FRONT PAGE - EMMA DAVIES

EDUTECH, the only Aus­tralian event that brings schools, ter­tiary ed­u­ca­tion, VET and work­place learn­ing to­gether, fea­tures eight par­al­lel con­fer­ences cov­er­ing the en­tire learn­ing life-cy­cle, plus pre-event master classes for a more tai­lored and in­ti­mate learn­ing ex­pe­ri­ence.

The con­fer­ence is aimed at ed­u­ca­tors, lead­ers and ex­ec­u­tives, man­agers and ad­min­is­tra­tors, IT de­ci­sion mak­ers, sys­tem lead­ers, gov­ern­ment and busi­ness.

At­ten­dees are of­fered un­par­al­leled net­work­ing with ed­u­ca­tors from across the coun­try, ex­clu­sive ac­cess to some of the most well-re­garded ed­u­ca­tion ex­perts in Aus­tralia and around the world, case stud­ies from lead­ing Aus­tralian schools, ded­i­cated lead­er­ship sem­i­nar ses­sions for hands-on en­gaged learn­ing, and ac­cess to Aus­tralia’s big­gest ed­u­ca­tional tech­nol­ogy ex­hi­bi­tion. Ed­u­ca­tors can even earn Pro­fes­sional De­vel­op­ment points for at­tend­ing.

Be­gin­ning six years ago as the Tech­nol­ogy in K-12 Con­fer­ence, EDUTECH was born out of the de­sire to con­nect ed­u­ca­tors with prac­tices that im­prove teach­ing and learn­ing.

Many schools and ed­u­ca­tors strug­gled when the “One Child One Lap­top” pol­icy was in­tro­duced. Help was needed with de­vice man­age­ment, BYOD, net­work con­nec­tiv­ity, Wifi, cy­ber­se­cu­rity, soft­ware choices, hard­ware se­lec­tions and tech sup­port. The ped­a­gogy and psy­chol­ogy of dig­i­tal de­vice us­age ac­cel­er­ated in im­por­tance, and EDUTECH was born.

The team at Acevents worked to cre­ate and build an un­prece­dented in­ter­na­tional expo that cel­e­brated and pro­gressed learn­ing. EDUTECH has been de­scribed as the rock con­cert of ed­u­ca­tion in the South­ern Hemi­sphere, and its success has spawned satel­lite events in Asia and the Mid­dle East.

EDUTECH Head of Ed­u­ca­tion Dr Mea­gan Vasey is a Fel­low of Engi­neers Aus­tralia and has a PHD in com­put­ing, an MBA, and first-class hon­ours in Elec­tri­cal En­gi­neer­ing. She was the found­ing STEM con­sul­tant with the As­so­ci­a­tion of In­de­pen­dent schools in NSW, launch­ing STEM and Dig­i­tal Tech­nolo­gies into the na­tional po­lit­i­cal agenda.

Dr Vasey says that for ed­u­ca­tional lead­ers at school, TAFE, Univer­sity, in work­places or com­mu­ni­ties, one of the most im­por­tant lessons to learn and im­part on oth­ers is be­ing a learn­ing per­son and be­ing part of a learn­ing or­gan­i­sa­tion.

“Learn­ing is in­nate and ex­cit­ing. Learn­ing al­lows us to ad­just, adapt and im­prove. Learn­ing gen­er­ates ideas and pos­si­bil­i­ties, and cre­ates progress,” Dr Vasey said.

“We have the ex­cep­tional for­tune to be sur­rounded by tech­nolo­gies that en­hance col­lab­o­ra­tion and com­mu­ni­ca­tion in learn­ing, but are we on the right track with these? Are we ap­ply­ing the right strate­gies, pro­cesses, tools and tech­nolo­gies, for best ef­fect, in the best way? How can we push the bound­aries, and go fur­ther?”

Dr Vasey de­scribes the con­fer­ence as an In­ter­na­tional ‘Fes­ti­val of Learn­ing’ that aims to share the art, sci­ence and busi­ness of learn­ing with a much wider range of stu­dents and ed­u­ca­tors, at much greater depth.

“As Head of Ed­u­ca­tion for EDUTECH, I work with a strong and ex­pe­ri­enced team to put the right peo­ple and or­gan­i­sa­tions, on the right stage, at the right time, and thereby cre­ate a truly spec­tac­u­lar must-at­tend event,” she said.

Over three spec­tac­u­lar, in­vig­o­rat­ing and in­ten­sive days, EDUTECH shares cut­ting edge ap­proaches that are pur­pose­ful, mean­ing­ful, rel­e­vant and ef­fec­tive.

“We have all these amaz­ing gifts in the peo­ple, tech­nolo­gies and re­sources sur­round­ing us. How can we best sup­port the com­mu­ni­ties around us through learn­ing?” Dr Vasey said.

“Where can the se­lec­tion and ap­pli­ca­tion of these amaz­ing tech­nolo­gies mo­bilise and sup­port com­mu­ni­ties in achiev­ing the good stuff, in­clud­ing com­fort­able, happy, con­struc­tive, fair, and sus­tain­able lives?

“Re­gard­less of whether it’s dig­i­tal or non-dig­i­tal, the mo­ti­vated and fo­cussed ap­pli­ca­tion of tech­nol­ogy is a pow­er­ful lever to im­prove learn­ing. How can we achieve balance, so as not to lose stu­dents or ed­u­ca­tors to a vir­tual land­scape?”

With a fan­tas­tic ar­ray of key speak­ers and master classes, EDUTECH is at­tract­ing at­ten­dees and key speak­ers from around world and be­yond, with As­tro­naut Greg Chamitoff, Pro­fes­sor of Aerospace and En­gi­neer­ing at Texas A&M Univer­sity speaking at the event.

“EDUTECH’S 2017 line-up is truly spec­tac­u­lar: Pro­fes­sor Carol Dweck is a must-see to un­leash learn­ing po­ten­tial in our­selves and our net­works. Greg Chamitoff will take you to the edge of your seat, with amaz­ing feats of nature and hu­man­ity. We are bring­ing you Louise Stoll, Charles Lead­beater, An­gela Maiers, Ian Jukes, Jan Owen, Philip Minchen, in one of the planet’s three largest gath­er­ings of world lead­ing ed­u­ca­tors,” Dr Vasey said.

The Mas­ter­classes are a big draw card for at­ten­dees, with a va­ri­ety of top­ics and ex­pert pre­sen­ters.

Dr Vasey be­lieves there are trends ap­pear­ing in ed­u­ca­tion around pro­fes­sional learn­ing com­mu­ni­ties, growth mind­set, adap­tive as­sess­ment, dig­i­tal dash­boards, well­be­ing, in­clu­sive­ness, ped­a­go­gies to sup­port cre­ativ­ity, feed­back, stu­dent agency, and en­gage­ment.

“For cam­pus ICT di­rec­tors and man­agers there are Mas­ter­classes on BYOD, Cam­pus Wi-fi, and Cy­ber­se­cu­rity, to cover all as­pects of set­ting up, man­ag­ing, and se­cur­ing your cam­pus net­work at schools, TAFES, Uni­ver­si­ties, com­mu­nity or­gan­i­sa­tions and work­places,” Dr Vasey said.

“For K-12 ed­u­ca­tors build­ing upon the 21st cen­tury skills of com­mu­ni­ca­tion, cre­ativ­ity, crit­i­cal think­ing and col­lab­o­ra­tion, we have Mas­ter­classes re­spond­ing to the Maker Move­ment, the new Aus­tralian Cur­ricu­lum — Dig­i­tal Tech­nolo­gies, and hands-on ses­sions with Make­block, led by our In­ter­na­tional and UK Key­note Ab­dul Cho­hen.

“These tacit learn­ing ex­pe­ri­ences ac­ti­vate and sup­port whole-child and whole-school, as well as in­clu­sive ed­u­ca­tion goals.

“Our in­ter­na­tional ex­pert Pro­fes­sor Jane Burns is de­liv­er­ing our Dig­i­tally Young and Well Mas­ter­class, in which you will be able to con­nect with all as­pects of dig­i­tal well­be­ing, and dig­i­tal re­sources in sup­port of well­be­ing.

“In the busi­ness of con­struc­tive and creative think­ing, Bill Jar­rard will take you through Mind map­ping. Fur­ther, Roger La Salle will show you how to achieve stronger stu­dent ac­qui­si­tion and mar­ket­ing in your school, RTO, TAFE, Univer­sity or other learn­ing or­gan­i­sa­tion,” she said.

EDUTECH is well placed to ex­plore cur­rent ed­u­ca­tional top­ics and po­ten­tial chal­lenges in Aus­tralia and glob­ally.

When asked what her thoughts were on in­no­va­tion, us­ing tech­nol­ogy in class­rooms and par­tic­u­larly fe­male teach­ers and stu­dents par­tic­i­pat­ing in Sci­ence Tech­nol­ogy, En­gi­neer­ing and Maths (STEM) sub­ject ar­eas, Dr Vasey said that STEM is in­nate.

“We need sci­ence to un­der­stand how things work, en­gi­neer­ing to make things ac­tu­ally work and that as a com­mu­nity we need to re­think sewing, knit­ting, tat­ting, dress­mak­ing and food tech­nol­ogy as fun­da­men­tal en­gi­neer­ing sciences,” she said.

“STEM is not just for boys or girls, not just for gifted and tal­ented and not just for high school or pri­mary school.”

“Tech­nol­ogy en­ables us to make things work bet­ter, and to make things in an even bet­ter way. Your gen­der might be male, fe­male, in be­tween, or even ‘apache at­tack he­li­copter’ as my kids say. It re­ally doesn’t mat­ter, we still need maths to un­der­pin ra­tio­nal de­ci­sion mak­ing in each and ev­ery field.”

“We work very hard at EDUTECH to make the en­tire expo and congress con­tent is in­clu­sive. We hope this will be­come a re­al­ity for STEM in Aus­tralia too,” she said.

EDUTECH In­ter­na­tional Congress and Expo runs from June 8th to 9th at the In­ter­na­tional Con­ven­tion Cen­tre in Syd­ney.


All images: EDUTECH Con­fer­ence 2016.


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