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Inspiring Innovative Learning

Inspire Innovate #2

The NSW Department of Education and Communities  recently held a major conference as part of their Leading and Innovating Change  Conference Series


The truly inspiring aspect of this conference was the deep work of the public school workshop leaders  who demonstrated how they have embraced technologies to engage students and enhance learning.

The teachers demonstrated how they were:

  • Implementing whole school improvement strategies to implement change
  • Using iPads effectively across the curriculum for learning
  • Creating new ways of learning through their BYOD solutions
  • Using interactive technologies to engage students with high quality digital content
  • Embracing the Makers Movement and 3D printing
  • Implementing Games based learning and Minecraft
  • Designing learning spaces for 21st century learning
  • Setting up KidsMeets and Coding Clubs
  • Collaborating using video conferencing beyond the school
  • Connecting using social networking tools
  • Using cloud based software.

Inspire Innovate

These  workshops illustrate that public schools are at the forefront of innovations in learning. The power of teachers sharing in this way and creating collaborative communities to build new knowledge about practices is a very important aspect in ensuring quality teaching.

It was a privilege to be part of this event and to continue supporting teachers who are passionate about learning.


It’s About BETT!


It’s great to access BETT via their blog and twitter feeds to see what has interested participants this year. The chat about the benefits of “flipped classrooms” has been lively and how to ensure that students do watch the video or read the on-line text before coming to the classroom remains an interesting debate.

How to engage learners in the digital age is an important question all good teachers ask. There are no simple answers but what we do know is that students in the 21st century like to utilise technology for learning.  In every classroom there are “creative producers”,” communicators” and “information gatherers” who use digital technologies to collaborate and connect with their world.

Globally school leaders have been creating collaborative learning spaces to provide their students with access to technologies.  Speakers at the BETT School Leaders Summit described how this is being implemented in their schools http://edcompassblog.smarttech.com/archives/10196 .

Specific technologies are  also being designed to help create collaborative learning spaces. Today at BETT SMART Technologies launched the new SMART Table which is  a collaborative learning centre allowing students to interact with activities on a multi-touch surface. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8h1p53Ul1vs&feature=youtu.be

Students do like their teachers to step into their world and utilise these technologies. By supporting teachers to engage students through new pedagogies, providing them with new tools and learning environments we will transform learning for the digital age.

Improving Quality Teaching and Learning


With the recent  release of the Australian Governments (DEEWR) National School Improvement Tool schools across Australia now have a guiding document to assist them improve the quality of teaching and learning within their school.

Based on findings from international research on the practices of highly effective schools and school leaders,  the National School Improvement Tool assists schools to review and reflect on their efforts to improve the quality of classroom teaching and learning.


It consists of the following nine inter-related ‘domains’:


  1. An Explicit Improvement Agenda
  2. Analysis and Discussion of Data
  3. A Culture That Promotes Learning
  4. Targeted Use of School Resources
  5. An Expert Teaching Team
  6. Systematic Curriculum Delivery
  7. Differentiated Teaching and Learning
  8. Effective Pedagogical Practices
  9. School-Community Partnerships



 The fifth domain “An Expert Teaching Team “ is  described as:


The school has found ways to build a school-wide, professional team of highly able teachers,

including teachers who take an active leadership role beyond the classroom. Strong

procedures are in place to encourage a school-wide, shared responsibility for student

learning and success, and to encourage the development of a culture of continuous

professional improvement that includes classroom-based learning, mentoring and coaching


A school which is judged as outstanding in this domain would have the following characteristics.



The teaching staff of the  school are experts in the fields in which they teach and have very high levels ofpedagogical knowledge and skill, including expert knowledge of evidence-based teaching strategies.

Teachers and school leaders take personal and collective responsibility for improving student learning and wellbeing, working together and learning from each other’s practices. The sharing and showcasing of best practice are common. In team meetings there is an emphasis on the joint analysis of student work and on teaching strategies for improving student learning. Teachers collaboratively plan, deliver and review the effectiveness of lessons.


School leaders place a very high priority on the ongoing professional learning of all staff and on the development of a school-wide, self-reflective culture focused on improving classroom teaching.

School leaders participate in professional learning activities, learning alongside teachers, and the school supports teachers to continue formal study and celebrates professional success.


As schools utilise the National School Improvement Tool to assess themselves and look for support to improve their practices they might like to consider some of our products and services for professional learning including our Digital User Groups and See, Share, Shape the Future  Conferences.


Our Training Academy is endorsed by Teacher Institutes to provide accredited training.

Teachers can participate in face to face courses or online webinars on the effective use of technology to enhance learning.  Courses in the use of Apple iPads, SMART Boards, and Video Conferencing are delivered regularly by our Education Consultants.   You can find our course catalogue here http://www.seeshareshape.com.au/shape/TrainingAcademy/default.aspx

School teams can also engage in professional learning using our 21st century professional learning tool iRIS Connect which enables teaching teams to view and share practice in an efficient and effective way. Teaching Teams can also showcase best practice by storing these videos in the “shared library “.

Our video conferencing events include SMARTIE Classes where our Education Consultants model practices by teaching your students via video conference. A range of experts, authors can also be brought to your school to inspire students through our video conferencing excursion and festivals. Our projects engage students in deep collaborative learning for a term. Find out more here




A Great IDEA!


A Great IDEA!

This year’s IDEA Conference was an outstanding event supported by the Department of Education, Employment  and Workplace Relations and Education Services Australia. The Program included International speakers such as Professor Erik Duval from the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium, Ramona Pierson CEO and Founder of Pierson Labs, Professor Patrick Griffin Melbourne University, Tim DiScipio Founder of ePaLs and M.S Vijay Kumar, Director of Educational innovation at MIT.

Panel sessions were also led by Rhyan Bloor Branch Manager Digital Infrastructure and Resources Branch, Evidence and Innovation Group (DEEWR), Ruth Wallace Director of Social Partnerships in Learning Research Consortium Charles Darwin University.

This panel was entitled ”Engaging Learners in a Digital World; Identity, Devices and Other Matters “ a link to my Prezi can be found here;


The conference also hosted the IMS Global Learning Consortium’s Learning Impact Awards and IRIS Connect was entered for the Regional Finals. It was a privilege to be included amongst the entries and to have the opportunity to discuss IRIS Connect with so many leading educators.

idea12 3

The successful winner was Charles Darwin University: Digital media supporting learning in remote Aboriginal rangers.

For more information about the conference go to:


Digital Content for Australian Curriculum


Teachers can find a range of support to assist them implement the Australian curriculum on our site including: Smart Notebooks, video conferencing events and Training  Academy courses.

The SMART Notebooks have been created during Content Creation Seminars held with South Australia’s DEECD and NSW DEC Western Region, iteach21 Centre. The Content Creation Seminars are a three way partnership with curriculum specialists, expert teachers and Electroboard Education Consultants. The Content Creation Seminars also ensure that the National Copyright Unit guidance  is provided to teacher participants about appropriate use of digital content. During the three days of the seminar teachers create SMART Notebooks aligned to the Australian curriculum. The results of their work are published on the departmental sites and also on http://www.seeshareshape.com.au/share/lessons.aspx

Our video conferencing program for 2013 will also focus on a range of areas of the Australian curriculum.  Partnering with Harper Collins Publishers and a variety of content providers it will bring to schools opportunities to support them with the curriculum. Through, SMARTie Classes, Special Events and Festivals http://www.seeshareshape.com.au/share/VC/virtualexcursions.aspx

we will support the cross-curriculum priorities:

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures
  • Asia and Australia’s engagement with Asia
  • Sustainability

And the following general capabilities:

  • Critical and creative thinking
  • Ethical understanding
  • Information and communication technology capability
  • Literacy
  • Numeracy

Our Training Academy courses for this term and next


will focus on the general capabilities:

  • Critical and creative thinking
  • Ethical understanding
  • Information and communication technology capability
  • Literacy
  • Numeracy

Our courses will support teachers to use Apple iPads and carefully selected apps to enhance learning aligned to the Australian Curriculum.

Our SMART Notebooks, video conferencing program and Training Academy courses enable teachers to integrate these technologies, creating collaborative learning spaces with which to implement the Australian Curriculum.

100s of teachers learn together via VC across three Australian states

It was a very exciting learning event when teachers from Victoria, NSW and Queensland were able to participate simultaneously    with international keynotes and national leaders. At an Australian first over 750 teachers attended three conferences held simultaneously at St Hilda’s Queensland, Sydney Church of England Grammar School NSW (Shore) and the Northern College of the Arts and Technology (NCAT) Victoria linked by video conferencing.

From NSW Tom Hodson President of SMART Technologies Canada http://smarttech.com/ shared with the three conferences SMART’s vision for a truly collaborative classroom. Dr Kristy Goodwin from Macquarie University followed with her keynote Absolutely Awesome Apps giving teachers clear guidance in selecting Apps for learning.

Susan Mann CEO of Education Services of Australia http://www.esa.edu.au/ inspired the conference with all the digital content ESA provides especially via Scootle. A panel of content providers chaired by Sue Beveridge switched seamlessly between states, Reef HQ presenting from Queensland  SunSmart from Victoria, The Sydney Opera House, Musica Viva, Planet Ark, Fizzics and Historic Houses  from NSW all demonstrating to teachers their digital content and video conferencing events for schools.

Lyn Redley from ACARA http://www.acara.edu.au/default.asp provided teachers with an update and details regarding the ICT General Capability and Digital Technologies of the National Curriculum.

Ewan Macintosh http://edu.blogs.com/edublogs/spoke via video link from Polycom London to the three conferences about designing learning for a digital age.

Conference participants over the two days also attended training and curriculum workshops or mini keynotes. Dr Kate Highfield spoke about Apps for K-6, Cathie Howe digital story telling through games, Lyn Whitfield from Polycom, Dr Myung Sook –Au  connecting Australian and Korean schools via video conferencing and Dan Haesler spoke about engaging digital learners.

Teachers had hands on experience of Apple Ipads in the Apple Learning Lounges and visited the Collaborative Learning Spaces created in each conference location.  Content providers such as Harper Collins, Philip Island Nature Parks Australia, the Kids Therapy Network, Melbourne Aquarium, the Australian Museum, Skwirk, Educational Experience, the NSW  State Library provided teachers with ideas for events and learning experiences.

The second day of the conference kicked off with three school case studies of Apple iPad implementations. Switching from each state in turn teachers heard from Tom Lee, ICT Coordinator from Monte St Angelo Mercy College about their iPad trial.  Then from Queensland where Geoff Powell spoke about the impacts at St Hilda’s of integrating SMART Boards, Apple iPads and their learning management system. Then Caitriona Tynan, from Warringa School in Victoria spoke about how her students with learning difficulties had been able to learn using Apple iPads.

General Manager from AITSL http://www.aitsl.edu.au/ Edmund Misson shared the latest on the AITSL website for teachers to understand what has been agreed nationally in terms of ICT standards. He was followed by Dewi Lloyd form iRIS Connect UK http://www.irisconnect.co.uk/who with Australian teachers John Meng Rooty Hill High, and Melissa Sharman  Blacktown Boys High described how iRIS Connect is enhancing mentoring and coaching in schools and improving teaching and learning.

Roger Pryor School Education Director from Hunter Central Coast NSW inspired teachers to consider the concept of “planning school for 21st century learners”.

Finally the conference watched the products of the iJournalists who had interviewed teachers about what they had learned at the conference. The nine students in NSW used Apple iPads to make movies of their interviews with teachers. It was an awe inspiring finale, documenting the commitment of teachers and the power of technology in the hands of the digital natives.

SMART Teachers Conference Registrations Open

Registrations are now open for this year’s SMART Teachers Conference. As an Australian first our conference will be run across thrree states in parallel linked via video conference. Teachers in NSW, Victoria and Queensland will share Keynote speakers and panels of experts across the three sites.

International speakers such as Ewan McIntosh and Niel McLean will speak from London focussing on learning in a digital world. Teachers will hear the latest from SMART Technologies, President Tom Hodson and Apple Distinguished Educators. A panel of content providers, such as Polycom, Reef HQ, The Sydney Opera House, Historic Houses will share with teachers the digital content available for teachers to support the curriculum.

Susan Mann from Education Services Australia will speak to teachers about what is being prepared and planned to support them teach in a digital world. Lyn Redley from ACARA will provide an update for them about the National Curriculum and technology and Edmund Misson form AITSL will share with them aspects of the natuional teaching standards relating to technology.

Teachers can attend a wide range of workshops to learn more about using SMART Technologies, Apple iPads and video conferencing and how to integrate these technologies to enhance learning.

Attendance at the conference is free for teachers and their participation will be accredited.

To register go to our website:


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