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’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:
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.
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?
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?
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?
What has been/will be the biggest hurdle introducing coding into school curriculums?
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?
Students or not – is that the right question?
Insights into Education from Educators in 2017
How do you envisage how the classroom will be change in the next 5 years?
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
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?
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?
What is one of the biggest challenges as an educator in classrooms today?
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.