TeachTechPlay : Playback

I’m inspired and all set to hit Term 2 with more ideas after spending the last two days at the annual TeachTechPlay Conference at Ivanhoe Grammar School, Melbourne.

I was thrilled to travel and share accommodation with two amazing teachers from Oakleigh State School, Nicola Flanagan and Chantelle Sansness (recipient of the 2017 Queensland-Cooper Hewitt Fellow) here is a short video of Chantelle talking about design thinking.

The conference opened with a keynote address from Kasey Bell, digital learning consultant, speaker and blogger with a passion for technology and learning. She spoke about her book ‘Shake Up Learning’ where she shares a journey from static teaching to dynamic learning. Kasey’s website Shakeuplearningbook.com is a wealth of resources, tips and guidance in becoming a transformative educator.

I’ve been energised from reading Kasey’s book on my flight home from a very cold Melbourne!

The programme at the conference was excitingly diverse which made it difficult to decide which sessions to attend. I think I could happily have attended them all! I’m now suffering from conference ‘envy’ after hearing about so many great sessions…..But…..

My first session was with Adrian Francis and Mark Herring working with Spheros. Although I have used Spheros a few times, I’m running STEMies this coming week so I thought this would be a good call to see how I could improve my understanding 🙂 I was not disappointed. Mark and Adrian spoke passionately about the possibilities with Sphero. We programmed to play ‘Toss Game’.

Mark explored the potential of STEAM learning when the disciplines of coding, design thinking and electro-technologies are implemented into units of work.

My next session was with Mike Reading, from ‘Using Technology Better’ who shared personal stories of his years in teaching which led him to designing training sessions to help e-learning leaders in creating meaningful and purposeful training meetings with staff and colleagues. Again, an insightful and useful session.

I was delighted to be able to attend another session with Mark Herring, this time he shared resources and ideas on how to engage fellow staff members who might be reluctant to delve into the world of ‘coding’.

The second day got off to a wonderful start with Tom Barrett, he used humour and practical experiences to discuss a model for learning. One important message from Tom’s presentation was to innovate but hold on to the things that are working…..tether innovative things to old things!

My first session with Michelle Dennis on Day 2 was excellent. I too, believe VR will truly enhance teaching and learning when used wisely. Michelle answered some of the questions I have had on using Gear 360 video camera and VR. She shared ideas and allowed us to experience VR and to play!

I was really looking forward to a session with the founder of TeachTechPlay, Eleni Kyritsis. And I was not disappointed, Eleni shared some great ideas using technologies to empower student learning…….I certainly endorse the power of Explain Everything app!

I finished my second day with Trent Ray in a hands-on session discovering, playing

and designing a prototype of a digital solution to a real-world problem. My group had plenty of fun and learning going through the design thinking process to use Micro:Bit to create a ‘NoLiftO’ device to detect when students lift their laptops at inappropriate times!

One of the highlights of the conference was Eleni’s closing comments when she invited delegates to take an idea from the conference and let it grow using the picture book ‘What Do You Do with an Idea’ by Kobi Yamada and Mae Besem

…..once a teacher librarian always a teacher librarian!

Congratulations to the TeachTechPlay team; Eleni Kyritsis, Steve Brophy and Corey Aylen and their team of helpers for a first-class practical and hands-on conference.

Post Script: If you are not engaging with TeachTechPlay webshow I can highly recommend it to you 🙂

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Jackie Child
Jackie Child has been teaching primary aged students for 40 years in a number of countries. She is passionate about how children learn through constructivist pedagogy. She is a Teacher Librarian at St Aidan’s Anglican Girls’ School and a sessional tutor at Griffith University for pre-service teachers. Jackie doesn’t believe in standing still, there is always plenty to ‘do’ and learn!