At the end of May I attended the Technology K – 12 National Congress. I think this is one of the premium events in my PD calendar. This was my brief overview from the first day.
This week I am attending a two day K-12 national conference at Darling Harbour. The focus of this conference is around technology and is being attended by 1500 delegates from across Australia.
As I am writing I have just listened to presentations by some international speakers. Alan November and Stephen Heppell. Both of whom spoke about the trends in education across the world and the need to change teaching practice. To not only equip students with essential work skills and behaviours, but also to engage students. To make them more effective learners. To change how classrooms work and to leverage technology along with current best practice to improve outcomes. One of the common threads from speakers today has been to recognize the ability of technology to individualize learning and to move towards less teacher centered classrooms and towards student centered learning. There is also a strong sense that iPads and other mobile technology has shifted the range of possibilities for schools in general.
It was also interesting listening to Barry McGaw, Chairman, Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA). He spoke about the structure of the new National (digital) Curriculum and the inclusion of technology as a Key Area as well as becoming an integral part of all other subject areas. The roll out of the National Curriculum is already occurring in some States. In NSW its roll out has been delayed until around 2015. Barry McGraw also recognized that the current Naplan testing isn’t reflective of the Curriculum and needs revision. A digital online format for the Naplan test is in development. This test is also expected to be adaptive and will be focussed around the Curriculum.
I also attended a series of workshops which looked at specific areas of interest. Topics explored were around virtualization, 1:1 tablet programs and Digital Curriculum.
At the end of this first day Sir Ken Robinson, who is regarded internationally as a leading proponent of educational innovation, delivered a wonderful live online session to the packed auditorium of delegates. The discussion with Sir Ken centered around creativity and tapping technologies to drive transformation. He was a very compelling and engaging speaker.