Friday, 18 July 2014

Evernote @ CSA Conference 2014

Towards the end of last year the Assistant Principal nominated me to present at the Christian Schools Australia Conference in July this year. I was excited and nervous at the same time about the prospect of speaking to a group of educators in an hour long workshop at a big Conference. My topic would be 'Blended Learning: Using Evernote as a LMS to raise the academic bar'.

I had many ideas and resources collected over the years that I could select from, and I had just done a completely paperless class experiment in year 10. I followed this up by getting rid of all my paper folders and scanning everything into the cloud. I use Google Drive as my storage space, but my documents are backed up in other places too. Now I am trying to get rid of more paper as I move through this year.

I constructed a detailed presentation that expanded a lot on my EduTECH Teachmeet talk from June, as this one had to be 60 minutes rather than 7 minutes. I used some fantastic resources that can be found on Australian Evernote Education Ambassador Bec Spink's Website -
Also various resources from page and my own examples created from my classes. I covered the basics of Evernote, what I have done and what are the possibilities for teachers in using Evernote in schools and in their personal lives. The workshop went very well, and there were a number of 'wow' moments from the attendees. That was a sure indication of success in conveying the message. Many of the attendees stayed around afterwards, asking questions, getting further advice and I have had some make contact with me already asking further guidance.

I have estimated over the past 2 years I have introduced Evernote to about 100 students and teachers at my school and now at other schools. I love sharing my passion for Evernote, its possibilities and its usefulness.

Thursday, 17 July 2014

EduTECH and Teachmeet reflections 2014

EduTECH 2014 lived up to my expectations and exceeded some from the 2013 event. So much more going on this year, and different speakers. Some familiar faces, speakers and topics that have dominated some of my twitter feed over the past 12 months. My highlights from the Conference included the Teachmeet sessions, Dan Haesler, Ewan Mcintosh, Ian Jukes and Sir Ken Robinson. The common theme in all the talks related to the fact that we need to change education, need to change the way schools are run and policies are made. We need to serve the needs of our students better by preparing and offering them the best opportunities to grow.

Ewan McIntosh focused on Agile Leadership, and a key point i took away from that is to focus on one thing at a time, there will be struggle, but at the end do it well. This resonates with how I used Evernote from the start, I have obsessed and focused on using it well, integrating it into all aspects of my life. I still struggle at times, but it is becoming more and more natural in all my teaching. 

Dan Haesler on students engagement also fits in well with my thoughts that should empower our students to change the world. He said that every single child has the power to change someone's world, and that is what we need to remember. The concept of relationships being key to engagement is also part of my own teaching philosophy, and an area that I hope to keep on improving. He had a great slide that showed this:

Ian Jukes concluded the event with his keynote, which was very powerful and energetic. His topic of 'Education being in a Disruptive Innovation Age' was very interesting, challenging and the perfect way to conclude the event. His message needs to make it though to the policymakers in education, we need a new mindset in education for the future.

It is 2 days of intense non-stop conversations and presentations that inspire and challenge education in Australia. Finally meeting some of the people that I have connected with online was a highlight for me. The Teachmeet event that was organised by Matt Esterman was a wonderful privilege to be part of. I shared this stage with so many amazing and inspiring teachers. My topic was on Evernote and how I have used in my classroom this year. Here is a link to the presentation (click on image): 

I'm hooked on the Teachmeet concept and look forward to starting my own Teachmeet up in the Fraser Coast region this term. It is a fantastic experience to be part of and one of the best forms of professional development for educators. Look at the site for more information. Here is a list of the presenters from EduTECH sessions.

TeachMeet SessionTimingsPRESENTATIONS
Day 1 - Session 1
Hosts: Matt E
1:30pm-2:15pm1. Ewan McIntosh - teacher ;-)
2. Rob O'Brien
3. Michelle Jensen
4. Simon Crook
Day 1 - Session 2
Hosts: Steve B
3:15pm-4:00pm1. Cathie Howe
2. Steve Brophy
3. Richard Prowse
4. Jacques Du Toit
Day 2 - Session 1
Hosts: Simon C
10:40am-11:25am1. Jill Andrew
2. Jessica Leonard
3. Nadia Merchant
4. Rachel Kathriner
Day 2 - Session 2
Hosts: Simon M & David G
2:25pm-3:10pm1. Simon McKenzie
2. Annalise De Mel
3. Nicola Martin
4. David Gall
Now I look forward to the second half of the year, to continue connecting, learning, sharing and applying some of the new ideas.

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

A start in reflection

At the start of June I had the privilege of attending EduTECH in Brisbane, visiting a number of Brisbane independent schools and present at the Teachmeet event during EduTECh. I travelled down from Maryborough early on the Monday morning with two other educators to visit four schools during the day. It was a quick stop in with these schools that were very accommodating in giving us their time and helping us gather new ideas. We had visits to Grace Lutheran College, Northside Christian College, Somerville House and St Aidans Anglican College. All these schools have different areas where they are extremely successful in and it was a wonderful opportunity to hear from these educators about their practices with their senior cohort to raise the academic bar.

That evening we joined a number of former students that are studying at universities around Brisbane for a meal. Great to see them, and hear about how their studies were going. This brought memories of two of my previous posts;  Relationships are the key and The end of 2013 chapter. One of my driving forces in education is the role of having strong positive relationships with your students. The development of mutual respect, understanding and trust form a recipe for success.

The 2-day EduTECH conference was again a wonderful opportunity to listen, learn, connect and interact. I will have a separate blog post on some of my key take-aways from EduTECH later this week. I was also fortunate enough to have presented at the Teachmeet event during EduTECH, organised by Matt Esterman (have a look at his blog - My Mind's Museum). I will also have a blog post coming on this soon.

There was so much going on after driving back from EduTECH late that Wednesday night. Over the next 4 weeks there were assessments to grade, reports to write, meetings, athletics carnival, plus multiple other admin to get done. Now i will attempt to gather some thoughts of the past term, with particular focus on EduTECH and Teachmeet events.

Looking forward to sharing these soon.