Earlier this year I had never heard of the DEECD Innovations Showcase. Had no idea whatsoever what it was or what was involved, and I am a little bemused as to how that came to be!
I have been fortunate enough to attend several outstanding conferences in the past, on Local, State, National and International levels. So when I cottoned on that this event was happening I was all over it, and having been granted permission from the Powers That Be to attend the DEECD Innovation Showcase, and it proved to be a great experience.
To hold a conference that showcases the outstanding things that educators are doing across the state of Victoria is a remarkable feat, seeing that there are so many of us doing so many great and wonderful things.
The day began with 2 wonderful young Secondary Students, Elizabeth and Shafiqah, being introduced to MC the days events. Both girls, currently in Yr 12 and members Victorian Students Representative Council did an outstanding job of introducing speakers and holding their own throughout the proceedings.
After we’d heard from the likes of the Hon. Martin Dixon, MP, Minister for Education, Katrina Reynen, Innovation and Next Practice Division, DEECD as well as other Key Speakers, sharing their thoughts, beliefs and goals for Victorian Education is was time to move to the first of my 3 sessions for the day. In saying this, it’s the biggest pitfall of attending a conference, having to choose and select sessions to attend and if you’re like me, picky and wanting to go to everything, making the choices can be extremely difficult. Now in saying this… I feel I chose exceptionally well!
Learning through Games (catchy title!), was my first session and it was impressive! 8 schools showcasing the extraordinary things they do in relation to using Games in the Classroom to foster and encourage learning! There were Yr. 11 students developing their own games for the Xbox Games Console, a number of Xbox Consoles attached to the Xbox’s Kinect device in which student’s actual movements controlled the character on the screen! This was a great way in getting students actively engaged in what they were doing and there were so many varied applications for using such an innovative gaming device in the classroom. The number of mobile devices being showcased was also astonishing. iPod Touches, iPads, Nintendo DS’ and Sony PSP’s were all being used to compliment learning. This was such a great hands on session to attend and I must say that it was a first for me attending a conference and dancing and singing to Michael Jackson in front of a group of strangers (well sober at least)…
Yr.11’s from Melbourne High writing games for Xbox.
From here I moved to ‘Better Blogging’ which was hosted by a fellow GTA Graduate in Kelly Jordan and her colleague Kathleen Morris. The session, as the title states was devoted to how teachers and students can use Blog within their classroom settings. Both Kelly and Kathleen had their audience thoroughly engaged and wanting to know more. The examples shown of what they had done, and were currently doing, were outstanding and made participants of this session want to create a Blog and get started immediately! Links to both Kelly’s and Kathleen’s Blogs are below!
2KM/2KJ Blog: http://2kmand2kj.global2.vic.edu.au
Kathleen’s Blog: http://primarytech.global2.vic.edu.au
Kelly’s Blog: http://teachingliteracy.global2.vic.edu.au
My last session for the day was attending ‘Learning in Little Big Classrooms’ run by Anne Mirtschin, a very success educator who does amazing things with technology, even when her access to technology has been limited. Anne’s session demonstrated and highlighted the importance of Global Collaboration between schools, teacher’s and students and how software, as simple as Skype for example, can be used as such a powerful tool! The highlight of the session was a live hook up via Skype with a Malaysian School who performed their adaptation of ‘The Lion King’, in song and dance, which was spectacular! It was simply great to see someone with a passion for technology, working in a small rural school achieve so many wonderful things. It was a session the proved that technology can enhance teaching and learning opportunities in so many ways, no matter where you’re located or what resources you have.
And then, like all good things, we had to come to an end, and WHAT and end it was. I have been to quite a few Professional Learning Days and Conferences of recent times and I can say that the finale’ that was put on show by DEECD was fantastic. To have Anh Do, one of Australia’s greatest comedians finish off such a great day was a perfect fit (I know that DEECD are perhaps not known for their sense of humour however this was a great!).
There are so many things that I’ve not discussed or shared, owing mainly to there being far to much, and I feel I’ve gone on long enough!