tb_admin 31 May 2017 Uncategorized

EduTech and the Future of Education

The shape of the Australian education landscape is quickly evolving. In fact, many leaders, professionals and companies are focused on upskilling their workforce using non-traditional methods. The digital transformation is at the forefront of contemporary education, particularly within the spheres of classroom learning and student engagement. As technology continues to affect this sector at an unprecedented rate, the need to be adequately equipped and informed about education technologies, including devices and tools, e-learning and interactive online courses, is growing.

EduTech: the education event

Learn more about improving education and training outcomes, relevant innovative technologies, and classroom infrastructure at Edutech. EduTech is the biggest education event in the Southern Hemisphere as well as across the Asia-Pacific. This mega-event brings together educational experts, technology providers, and teachers. It features one large exhibition of vendors, and there are nine pre-event masterclasses and eight parallel conferences to choose from.

When and where is EduTech happening?

EduTech will be held at the International Convention Centre in Sydney. The pre-event masterclasses are held 7 June 2017 while the expo and congresses will happen on 8 and 9 June 2017.

EduTech content, value, and opportunities

EduTech is where the education sector gets together to learn, share ideas, and network. It’s a unique event because it gathers schools, VET, and tertiary education providers under the one roof. Teachers can claim professional development points for attending.

However, this major event is more than educators. Libraries, executives, IT decision makers, and workplace learning providers also attend EduTech. Attendees can connect with top global education experts. In addition, EduTech features Australia’s biggest educational technology exhibition.

Masterclasses

The 2017 masterclasses cover subjects such as teaching kids to code, BYOD, and cyber security. EduTech’s masterclasses are designed to be interactive, with smaller groups led by keynote speakers.

Congresses

EduTech’s congresses this year range from the K-12 Ed Leaders Congress to the Tertiary Education IT Leaders Congress. Each congress features renowned speakers exploring topical issues in the field, and they cover long-term and practical issues.

Exhibition and networking

Attendees will also enjoy touring the large exhibition. Major brands such as Google for Education, Pearson, and HP have exhibited or sponsored at EduTech. EduTech’s Networking Platform is free for attendees, so use it to find business partners, speakers, and vendors whom you’d like to meet at the event. Interested participants can stay engaged through social media, where EduTech offers useful updates and news about related events.

EduTech is the event to attend if you’re in the education sector or educational-tech field. Along with learning opportunities, this mega-event gives you access to networking and marketing resources.

Targus is the top supplier of carrying cases and tech accessories, and we have a range of quality products for educators and professionals. We will be showcasing the full range of products at EduTech and would love to meet with you. We invite you to visit us and see the latest range of protective gear and discuss the needs of schools.

Hear From Your Masterclass Speakers 2017

Cyber Security – Information Security

What resources would you recommend to a school before they implement BYOD programs to safeguard their students?

BYOD looks to optimise resourcing requirements on the part of the school by having students provide and also maintain their own devices. However, this brings with it a whole host of further issues.

To manage these a number of measures should be taken. The following are two critical ones we would suggest:

  1. A comprehensive, clearly understood BYOD usage policy, customised to suit the particular school or institution and very clearly conveyed and understood by all involved (staff, students and parents). The policy should define mandatory best practices and behaviour expected, as well as requirements and guidelines for the device itself. For example, the installation of a recommended anti-virus program and possibly also of specific software prescribed and even provided by the school for security purposes.
  2. Some form of Network Access Control, implemented as a single device or several devices, that would restrict and control access, monitor activity, and protect against malicious intrusions on the network.

What is your key piece of advice for educators teaching students about online security risks?

Students would be immediately safer online if they understood more clearly the implications of some of the things they say and do on the Internet. Similarly they should have a systematic understanding and the practical skills to know how to protect themselves from possible repercussions by more effectively and consciously using privacy controls. Education should then be two pronged, knowing the consequences and understanding the technology to keep them safer.

Cecil Goldstein – Cyber Security trainer, Australian Centre for Cyber Security, UNSW Canberra, ADFA and AxisAgile
Elena Sitnikova – Critical Infrastructure Research Leader, Australian Centre for Cyber Security, UNSW Canberra, ADFA
Masterclass: Cyber Security/Information Security

Maker Spaces

What will be the biggest influence that creating Makerspaces will have for the future?

Makerspaces provide students with a way to explore learning through hands-on experiences. Workplaces are needing graduates to come to them with skills in collaboration, critical thinking, and creativity, and makerspaces help to foster these skills.

What has been the biggest takeaway for education since Makerspaces have co-existed in traditional school environments?

As teachers try to find new ways to provide students with the skills they need and with opportunities to learn through creative exploration, makerspaces are becoming places that students can explore in a digital and physical world. More than just the space though, the Maker Movement is embedding itself into classrooms through day to day activities, providing a way for teachers and students to explore STEM-based curriculum.

Amber Chase – Acting Director of ICT – Calrossy Anglican School (Tamworth, NSW)
Masterclass: Setting Up A Maker Space

Teaching Kids to Code

What has been/will be the biggest hurdle introducing coding into school curriculums?

Teacher capability and awareness of the requirements of the curriculum – without a doubt. There is a tendency for the media and marketing organisations to simplify the expectations of the curriculum in order to make it more accessible to the mainstream audience, when there is a real need to ensure that students are constantly stretched and exposed to increasing complexity of concepts as they advance through the years. It’s also imperative that correct decisions are made about choice of programming language etc – since the goal is for students to begin using their coding skills as a tool in other classes and learning activities, so domain specific languages prevent that from occurring.

What has been the most innovative method you have seen in a school for teaching coding to students?

The thing that has had the biggest impact on our programs at the schools I’ve taught at has been the use of Grok Learning, largely for the design of their courses combined with the auto-marking capabilities that provide instant, useful feedback to students. Many of the free options out there are either too guided/rote, or don’t provide useful error feedback, which doesn’t help students understand the reasons for their errors or how to fix them. At every school I’ve taught at since I stumbled across the NCSS Challenge years ago, I’ve introduce the Challenge (and now a Grok all-access subscription) because the team there really get what students need. It also helps that no other organisation in Australia or internationally can boast the familiarity of the curriculum that they have.

Bruce Fuda – Educator, Australian Computing Academy – University of Sydney
Masterclass: Teaching Kids to Code

What has been/will be the biggest hurdle introducing coding into school curriculums?

Until recently, the biggest hurdle was actually getting coding into the curriculum! Now that the Digital Technologies curriculum has been endorsed by every state, the focus is a little different.

Getting teachers confident with the curriculum is the biggest challenge we’re facing right now. That means both teacher professional development and resources that are specifically designed for use in the classroom. We need teachers who are enthusiastic about the subject, and that means they need to be confident in delivering the curriculum at all levels in engaging and exciting ways.

The other big challenge in teaching students to implement digital solutions – whether that be through coding, creating user interfaces, or problem solving with data – is that the variation in skills and knowledge of students in the classroom is so great that teachers need to be delivering lessons that suit students at very different ability levels. In one classroom, you might have a few students who have independently developed programming skills through clubs, as a personal hobby, or even through working on open source projects, but you’ll also have students with very little experience in computers at all. Having resources that allow every student classroom to be challenged and engaged is critical.

Grok Learning is an innovative program to teach students to code. How do you see your platform developing in the next 5 years to further develop coding skills for the classroom?

At Grok Learning we’re really excited about what we’ve got planned for the next few years. We’re already creating more resources to support primary students and teachers. We’re recently released our first courses targeting years 3 and 4, and have more in the works. We’re also already working on covering not just the coding aspects, but also exploring other conceptual ideas expressed throughout the curriculum.

We’ll also be expanding our resources to include a lot more languages and technologies: C, Arduino, Javascript, and Unix to name a few, as well as growing our existing resources in Blockly, Python, SQL, HTML & CSS. More open ended projects are also on the pipeline: image manipulation, data science, full stack web development, and embedded projects.

The next few years will also bring a lot more resources with a range of teacher support and direct links to the Digital Technologies curriculum. We’ve partnered with the Australian Computing Academy to create resources for the classroom and professional learning opportunities for teachers across Australia. This includes visiting regional areas and showing teachers how these concepts can be explored without expensive physical resources.

Dr Nicky, Ringland Educator, Australian Computing Academy – University of Sydney

Student Acquisition

Students or not – is that the right question?

In looking to workshop both student attraction, enrolment, and retention there are some common elements that need to be addressed. Of course the curriculum is important, so too the delivery and the quality of the educators, but in looking to address this one must ask, what would the ideal student wish for in selecting their place of study?

On the surface this may seem like an obvious and easy to answer question, but in fact this is far from the truth. Looking at this from the student perspective, with the “I Wish” thought in mind, brings up many scenarios. In reality the answer deepens on just which lens you are looking through.

Exploring just some of those questions brings up many possibilities including fees, location, mateship, brand, language, and facilities just to name a few.

To properly look at this question requires the exploration of a thinking platform that lays out all the possible scenarios in a single matrix diagram that will hopefully lead participants in workshopping this complex issue to some insightful answers; perhaps answers not in the past even considered or – maybe more properly put – questions previously not asked.

Roger Lasalle – La Salle Matrix Thinking, Business Management – Innovation – Opportunity – Marketing
Masterclass: Marketing & Student Acquisition

Insights into Education from Educators in 2017

How do you envisage how the classroom will be change in the next 5 years?

The classroom of the future will be organised to optimise online and physical self-discovery. Think innovative ways to tactilely interact with specially developed learning apps that bring wonder back into learning such as virtual reality married with unprecedented connectivity to other kids, experts, and teachers from around the world.

Creel Price – Investible, Entrepreneur | Educator | Entreprenaissance Evangelist

The capabilities of artificial intelligence (AI), perhaps more aptly described as cognitive systems, is growing in leaps and bounds; crunching through mountains of data to derive insights, recognising images (and people), understanding and responding to natural language queries, and even being able to detect emotion from the expressions on our face, the words we choose and the cadence at which we speak.

AI systems “learn” by being fed massive amounts of data from databases, documents, YouTube videos, social media, the information we store in our smart phones and computers, and how we use and interact with devices and people.

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We’re already seeing AI-based voice systems like Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Siri, and Microsoft Cortana that act like rudimentary personal assistants. Within the next 3-5 years these systems will become full blown digital assistants that we interact with on an ongoing basis, helping us organise our lives, answering questions and doing things for us – all from a natural language voice interface.

We will also see technologies such as augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) becoming common place. AR headsets will resemble regular reading glasses and eventually smart contact lenses, and VR headsets will become much lighter and more comfortable to wear for extended periods.

When you combine these factors together, one can imagine that in a classroom of the future, AI-based digital assistants will be used to personalise many aspects of the student journey – from cognitive tutors and highly intelligent search tools to career advice. And, AR and VR will be used to illustrate concepts to individual students or a classroom as a whole. Learning will become much more about experiencing things rather than reading about things, or watching a video. There’s so much potential to really change the way that children (and adults) are educated.

These technologies also pave the way for extremely customised curricula – catering to students who excel in particular areas, are interested in niche topics, or who have mental or physical disabilities. We can also expect VR-based full-immersion skills training to become a differentiator for schools. VR is already being used in industry for this purpose, such as using specially designed VR systems to learn how to correctly paint a Boeing Chinook helicopter or simulating team para-jumping to fight forest fires.Shara Evans – Technology Futurist | Keynote Speaker | Innovation Strategist

The economic transition currently underway in Australia will impact on TAFE Queensland’s products and learning environment into the future. CEDA (2015) and CSIRO (Reeson etal. 2016 & Hajkowicz etal. 2016) highlight disruptive digital technologies that will heavily impact future workforce skills, with knock-on effects to education and training needs.

Further, it is anticipated that the trend for improved work-life balance and work flexibility (hours and locations) is growing, as is the shift to increasing numbers of freelance, casual, outsourced, part-time workers and self-employment. Technology supports these trends and will influence learner expectations and the trend towards work-life flexibility will continue to impact the design and delivery of education and training, or work-life-learning flexibility.

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The Flipped Classroom, Student Centred Learning, gamification, applied research, and peer-to-peer learning approaches radically change:
  • how educators and students interact
  • the learning experience
  • learning resources and content
  • logistics and course design
  • educator skill sets, for example facilitation skills and higher order digital literacy

Various delivery modes, which include face-to-face (F2F), mixed-mode and online will continue to be important. Each mode of delivery can utilise different pedagogies or approaches, such as Flipped Learning or Project Based Learning. The key focus of such a model must be on the level of engagement that each mode can provide.

Technology is an integral component of mixed-mode or online learning. TAFE Queensland has already invested in many digital technologies, and there is scope to continue to add to this portfolio of assets and increase our capability to engage with and use digital technologies effectively, so that we are well equipped to both enhance the learner experience and support the digital capabilities of our educators.Jodi Schmidt – CEO, TAFE Queensland

What is the priority skill focus for continued professional development for educators?

Educators need to rapidly retool as facilitators rather than teachers – guiding students through learning applications and tips and tricks to harness technology. Our one size fits all approach to learning and classification based on age will need to be replaced by facilitators that help plot a learning path tailored to each student’s requirements.

Creel Price – Investible, Entrepreneur | Educator | Entreprenaissance Evangelist

Impressing the value of education on young learners.

Andrew Brown – TecNQ, Innovative Educator

While understanding the use and application of new technologies is vital for educational development, it is essential that educators are equally competent in the “soft skills” associated with their profession. Educators need to be knowledgeable in the practical classroom application of positive psychology, emotional intelligence, affinity space and effective communication, and leadership development skills. So too, developing a clear understanding and appreciation for different learning styles and needs is essential in any successful classroom; all the while being very aware of the implications of the latest brain research and how young people actually learn.

Andrew Stark – Head of Libraries and Information Services & Associate Dean Professional Learning at The Southport School

We need to urgently prioritise support for teachers to ensure they’re adequately equipped to deliver best practice in building students transferrable enterprise skills and capabilities. This is both in initial teacher training and ongoing professional development, so they have the skills to deliver best practice.

Better teaching enterprising skills doesn’t necessarily mean adding additional classes or subjects to the curriculum. A key recommendation is to embed them in the classroom through immersive learning. For example, in FYA’s $20 Boss program, young people learn enterprising skills such as project management, financial literacy, and creative thinking while they set up their own business.

Jan Owen AM – CEO, Jan Owen AM – CEO, Foundation for Young Australians

From an educator standpoint, it’s imperative to keep up with advances in the world of emerging technologies – whether it be AI, AR, VR, 3D printing, robotics, or anything else that comes along – and integrate these technologies into their course plans. Aside from educators learning what’s possible, adequate budget needs to be set aside to acquire and experiment with technology. Rapid advances in technology are going to have a massive impact on our society. If we don’t empower educators with the right tools, how can we expect our children to have relevant skills when they leave school?

Shara Evans – Technology Futurist | Keynote Speaker | Innovation Strategist

Education in the current environment has a growing emphasis on the need to enable and support not only the acquisition of knowledge and information, but also to develop the skills and resources necessary to engage with social and technological change, and to continue learning throughout life
(Owen etal. 2006). As such, there is a need for TAFE Queensland to expand our vision of pedagogy
to ensure our learners are active (not passive) consumers of content, and that learning is a participatory, social process that enables a more personalised, demand driven approach.

The TAFE Queensland Learning and Teaching Framework identifies seven principles that guide practices which support the careful construction of student-focussed high quality learning environments: physical and virtual, real and simulated. The seven principles are: Learner Engagement; Program Design; Authentic Assessment; Inclusive Practice; Learning Environment; Critical Reflection; and Learner Skill Development. All seven principles are supported by educational technologies and digital pedagogy.

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Our educators require the skills and capabilities to deliver to students using digital technologies and relevant pedagogies, and as always it’s important that we consider the learner’s’ profile and how they consume information.

There are two distinct streams of learners – Millennials or Gen Z (those coming into the education stream and into the workforce for the first time) and the older workforce (Baby Boomer tail, Gen X and Y) who are involved in lifelong learning and/or may be displaced and need retraining for a second and third career.

These two groups have distinctly different profiles but will be subject to the same environmental pressures in the coming decades. While Millennials are largely digitally literate, the older workforce may struggle to keep up. Programs to rapidly attain digital literacy may be needed, not only for the workforce but for our educators and training professionals.

Tech savvy Millennials may be more digitally literate than educators, and able to instantly access and share information via more approaches. Educators will need to keep abreast of student use of technologies. They may harness media for pedagogy whilst also mitigating against the technology channel overshadowing the actual learning opportunities. They may also need to be alert to misuse of technologies (Pandey 2015).

Future educator training designed to support digital learning must emphasise the purpose or ‘why’ educators might use certain tools and not just focus on how to use the tools.Jodi Schmidt – CEO, TAFE Queensland

What has been the most innovative method you have seen introduced in a classroom for teaching coding to students?

The use of Unity3D has been the biggest leap forward in teaching coding. This is what the basis of my talk will be at EduTech. I am just about completed with a research report on it as well.

Andrew Brown – TecNQ, Innovative Educator

What is one of the biggest challenges as an educator in classrooms today?

The availability and development of in-class technology has advanced more rapidly than the skill level and understanding of many classroom practitioners and students. One of the biggest challenges within the classroom context is understanding the application (but also the limitation) of the available technologies and whether their use is value-adding to both the educational experience and outcome.

Andrew Stark – Head of Libraries and Information Services & Associate Dean Professional Learning at The Southport School

In my opinion, one of the biggest challenges as an educator in classrooms today is, how do we redesign the learning system to have the greatest effect on our students? With researchers such as John Hattie (2012) focusing his lens on the impact of the teacher on the student’s learning there is the push to have teachers identify ways that they can redesign the learning environment, redesign pedagogy, and redesign assessment.

The question however remains, how do we re-imagine the concept of school to make the teaching have the greatest effect on student learning in real and authentic ways and what will this look like in the next five years?

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As we drill down into this question the focus is drawn further away from the upfront teaching and redirected firmly to the learning. Having a shared understanding of what learning looks like is essential so as practitioners we can identify ways of embedding this into practice. Learning is the essence of what happens in the classroom every day, but when we discover what good learners are and the keys to switch all learners on, we unlock their adaptability and willingness to engage with education.

As rich learning takes our attention, the practices we used to engage and build the knowledge and understanding of students develop. Our willingness to explore and experiment, to iterate and learn through failure increases. Why? Because the impact on the students we teach becomes measurable. We see them lift in a myriad of areas, socially, emotionally and academically, moving towards the one year’s worth of progress for one year’s input as Hattie (2015) puts forth. We see in students a heightened disposition to go through the pit of learning (McDowell, 2017) and come out on the other side as they see their journey is built with the support of others in an environment of trust.

Over the coming years with the focus shifting onto quality learning, there will become less distinction between “content” and “skills” as they are in fact reliant upon each other. The focal point will become teachers knowing their students so well that they will have the social capital required to tap into the student’s passions to ensure both content and skills are acquired in rich and authentic ways. For example, with our Stage 3 cohort, we have been experimenting with allowing students to show us what they know in multiple ways, giving them voice and choice in their assessments and class tasks. This could be done through making, designing, video creation, writing, oral reflection or presentation based on a success criteria that is explicit and clear.

We could have done this within the confines of a “traditional” classroom; however, to do this in such a way that all learner’s (the teacher included) learning is maximised, it will become essential for us to move beyond the four walls of our classroom. As my principal Tim Bowden identified, “Teaching is improved when it’s not a solo practice, teachers working in the presence of one another can give each other feedback and support” (2017).

How we create this collaboration will look different at different schools. In my context, we removed the walls and purpose built an open plan learning space that can cater for in excess of 100 students and 5 teachers. In this flexible learning environment, with all of the Year 5 and 6 students there is no hiding as we are constantly in the same space as each other. Co-teaching, monitoring, mentoring, conducting observations, and coaching occur on a daily basis outplaying rich and genuine profession development within an authentic known context – all of which also have the foundation that we can learn from others.

When we slow down and professionally collaborate we go on the journey of capacity building with the other teacher. We invite each other to explore how might our practice enhance and amplify the learning. An example of this is the ability we have to utilise fluid and flexible groupings. We could have multiple teachers explicitly co-teaching a large group of students while another is working with a small group of 10. Through this increased capacity provided by this style of grouping, students become known to their teachers in deeper ways. As a result, we can create resources tailored specifically to them and what their requirements are. We find ways to integrate the information and knowledge they need to understanding into contexts that are relevant to them.

When Bring Your Own Technology (BYOT) was implemented at our school there was a lot of thought that went into the potential implications from both the teaching and learning perspectives. The intentional decision was made to make the program voluntary, taking the pressure off the teachers being immediately able to use them efficiently and effectively. In doing so a larger proportion “opted in” because there was a spirit of “let’s choose to get involved when we are ready”. By the conclusion of our first year, a majority of teachers and students were using their devices in multiple lessons on a daily basis. Over time, the desired culture grew and it enhance the overall educational outcomes. In leading the change it was essential to look at the value of change educationally.

Without this BYOT rollout across Year’s 5 through to 12 we would not have the current drive towards individualised and personal learning for every student (Mathewson, 2017). The technology has become a tool that teachers can choose with their students to curate, disseminate and transmit resources, points of inquiry and reflection.

As educators who impacts the lives of our students in positive ways, we must be willing to grow and be open to the prospects of being vulnerable to expand our capacity. Central to this vision is a desire to do the best for the students. With this value we recognise the benefits of doing a quality job with the small things, as through this greater things happen. Therefore, any time a teacher can expose themselves to new educational theories and practices, their teacher efficacy increases.

To have a culture grow there is the need to have a vision of where schools can position themselves and grow to, and the structures and mechanisms to support this. Technical decisions need to be made to ensure this works and as such, where I envisage the classroom will heavily be driven by the framework of teacher leadership (Harris & Muijs, 2002) under the distribute leadership (Leithwood & Jantzi, 1998) of our principals as it is a pertinent vehicle to empower this goal of creating more effective teachers, revitalising school systems, and impacting student achievement.

References:
Bowden. T (2017). Quoted by Singhal, S. & Ting, I (2017) Composite classes on the rise as some schools go even further. Sydney Morning Herald 21 May. http://www.smh.com.au/national/education/composite-classes-on-the-rise-as-some-schools-go-even-further-20170517-gw6jdp.html
Harris, A., & Muijs, D. (2002a). Teacher leadership: Principles and practice. National College for School Leadership.
Hattie, J. (2012). Visible learning for teachers: Maximizing impact on learning. Routledge.
Hattie, J. (2015). What doesn’t work in education: the politics of distraction. Pearson.
Leithwood, K., & Jantzi, D. (1998). Distributed Leadership and Student Engagement in School.
McDowell, M. (2017). Rigorous PBL by Design: Three Shifts for Developing Confident and Competent Learners. Corwin Press.
Mathewson, T. (2017). These 7 trends are shaping personalized learning. Education Dive http://www.educationdive.com/news/these-7-trends-are-shaping-personalized-learning/434575/

Brian Host – Classroom Teacher, ICT Integrator & STEM Learning Coach