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Posts tagged ‘IRIS Connect’

Measuring Innovation in Education

This latest report from the OECD confirms what we have seen in schools that there is a “ fair level of innovation in the education sector, both relative to other sectors of society and in absolute terms, 70% of graduates employed in the education sector consider their establishments as highly innovative on par with the economy average of 69%”.
The report also importantly found that “there have been large increases in innovative pedagogic practice across all countries covered in areas such as relating lessons to real life, higher order skills, data and text interpretation and personalisation of teaching.”
Teachers in Australian schools who have adopted pedagogical practices articulated in the Productive Pedagogies or the NSW Quality Teaching Framework would be familiar with these concepts. Our Training Academy has focussed on Quality Teaching and how to use technology to enhance ‘higher order thinking skills“ and to solve to ”real life” problems. https://www.seeshareshape.com.au/shape/TrainingAcademy/default.aspx
Our video conferencing events have also modelled innovative practices, bringing “real world” experts to classrooms to engage in the creation of content and new knowledge. https://www.seeshareshape.com.au/share/VC/SpecialEvents.aspx
In terms of teachers’ practice the report indicated that teachers have” innovated in their use of assessments and in the accessibility and use of support resources”. The creation of digital content to support learning has also been a key focus of our education consultants. Creating interactive learning objects or highly engaging, iTunesU courses or ebooks has now become part of many teachers lesson preparation. Our website provides access to models of this content: https://www.seeshareshape.com.au/share/story.aspx?sc=0&id=23821&ch=3
“Education organisations have innovated in the area of special education, creation of professional learning communities for teachers, evaluation and analytics and relationship building with external stakeholders such as parents.
Overall innovation has been higher with regards to classroom practices than school practices between 2000 and 2011”.
It has long been understood that within schools the quality of teachers can be quite different. Improving practice between classrooms can be challenging. IRIS Connect is a professional development system for schools to use to assist the transfer of innovation and best practice within the school context and to create professional learning communities. https://www.seeshareshape.com.au/see/iris.aspx
For support in using technology for innovation contact your ELECTROBOARD Education Consultant.


Connecting 2Teachers


This year to build the capacity of teachers to use  technology to benefit teaching and learning we undertook a range of activities to motivate and inspire teachers and students.

Video conferencing program

During the year we delivered a total of 149 Virtual events. A total of 639 schools participated and 18,332 students were involved. In term 4 we ran 50 VCs, with 188 schools and 5226 students. In the two years that we have been implementing our Collaborative Learning projects we have seen the participation rates steadily rise matching the increased use of video conferencing in schools across Australia.

Our program of VC events will be enhanced and improved and an exciting array of events will be run in 2014 for students and teachers. See the program below:


 Professional Learning program

Our Training Academy trained over 22,000 teachers. In the last 6 months we had 1376 requests for training which were provided by our training team.

We have developed over 110 registered and accredited courses aligned to the national professional teaching standards and which cover areas such as Australian curriculum integration, creative and critical thinking, SMART Technologies, Apple  iPads, video conferencing and a wide range of ICT in Education topics relevant to teachers.

• To see how our Professional Development impacts on teaching and learning, please watch this video:


We are members of the Apple Consultants Network and our Apple team develops courses to support schools integrate their current technologies with their Apple iPad implementations and to support schools with their BYOD strategies. A series of courses designed to show how the iPad can be used to support learning in the classroom was also developed. Learning Meets were planned to showcase how Apple iPads can support teaching and learning.

IRIS Connect

The IRIS Connect Team ran four National Forums this year via video conferencing. The number of Australian schools using IRIS connect has reached over 50. The forums  are enriched now by the ideas from Australian schools sharing their practice as well as hearing the stories from the more than 650 schools using IRIS Connect in the UK.

Early Years


Our new SMART Table4421 Collaborative Learning Centre is being used in many Early Years settings and enables collaboration. Inclusive and accessible, the SMART Table engages early years – primary learners, including students with additional needs, in active discussions, problem-solving and small group collaboration activities.


As a company we support hundreds of conferences  across Australia. We assisted principal associations and professional teaching associations to run their conferences and showcase latest technologies and how to use them to benefit 21st century learning.

We connect with teachers through our Facebook pages and twitter feeds, website and newsletters and look forward to hearing what ways we can be of further support to you in 2014.

Get the “Edge”


In Milton Chen’s latest book he identifies six leading edges of innovation in schools. http://www.edutopia.org/educationnation

The Thinking Edge: Turn ‘either/or’ debates into ‘both-and’ syntheses eg rather than teacher-centred instruction or student-centred learning he offers a synthesis.

The Curriculum Edge: The curriculum edge represents the growing trend of transforming and reorganising the most fundamental educational activities; what students are taught and how their learning is assessed.

The Technology Edge: Until every student has his or her own computer, the benefits of using them on a regular, ongoing basis are undercut.

The Time/Place Edge: Represents the destruction of the old view of education happening within the four walls of the classroom.

The Co-Teaching Edge: Partnerships with others who can support the effort, including parents, professionals in other fields and students.

The Youth Edge: Today’s students are marching through our schools, carrying a transformational change in their pockets in the form of powerful handheld devices.

 Over the next six months we are providing in a wide range of activities to support innovative schools. To get:

The Technolodgy Edge attend the “Festival of Learning”

 •The Youth Edge attend  the “iPad Learning Meet”


  The Co –Teaching Edge attend the National IRIS Forum



The Time/Place Edge  join one of our Collaborative Learning Projects eg the CardBoard Challenge  


 We hope to see you there!

Register for these events at www.seeshareshape.com.au

Read more at https://www.smore.com/f3b5



The Future is Now! ACEL2013


The ACEL 2013 Conference http://www.acel.org.au/conference2013/  held in Canberra was an outstanding event which brought together a range of international and national leaders to consider the future of education.

 An outstanding moment at the conference was a panel of senior students representing schools and colleges across the ACT who spoke articulately about their experiences as learners and what influenced them most. They were quick to acknowledge the importance of  “a passionate teacher” as the motivating influence on their learning.

 This was a key theme throughout the three days where Directors General from three states spoke importantly of the need for schools to have flexibility particularly for staffing and to solve their pedagogical problems through collaborative learning processes. Schools need to be more agile working within guiding policy frameworks but with reduced red tape and with the capacity to customise learning for the needs of their communities.

President of ACEL Jim Watterston opened the conference and inspired leaders to work collectively.The locus of control has to be at the school he said as you can’t have the brightest person in the centre. We need to be a team of 10,000 schools who work together collectively. There are many things to learn from our international colleagues but the answers remain in our own suburbs.

 Tony Cook Associate Secretary noted that the new Department of Education would be more streamlined without Employment and with an evolving role.  The Commonwealth will provide a stable simple and sustainable approach to funding giving schools teachers and parents certainty for the future. There will be a renewed focus on what students learn through a robust national curriculum, improved quality of teaching and related support services with a greater say for teachers principals parents and the community about how their schools are run. Indigenous education programs have been moved to the Prime Minister’s Office and $22 million will be allocated  to  Rural and Remote areas to improve literacy learning.

 Dr Bob Brown advocated the importance of establishing a Global Parliament with Global Governance especially over our environment. Bob suggested that we should encourage our students to perceive themselves as global citizens and to role play what is coming.

 Vice Dean Kirsti Lonka, University of Helsinki identified the triple demands on their teachers which included technology versus the old study plan and the increasing inter-culturalism of Finland. Digital natives don’t know about a world without technology she said and  they have developed their own set of practices including: flow, experience in knowledge creation, extended networks, making and sharing groups, working on screen, internet searches and the flexible use of digital media. For these students the traditional classroom is like an aeroplane where they being told to stay in their seats and turn off their technology until they land!

 Dr Mark Dawson from University of Southern Queensland spoke about collective pedagogical capacity which describes the school combined capability to lead the development and implementation of a pedagogical framework for school improvement. CPC has a powerful impact on teacher’s willingness to engage in extended focussed and connected social learning processes that challenge teacher’s assumptions and beliefs about learning and their pedagogy and practice. The pedagogical framework should be generative in nature and the learning processes should be meaningful and transformational for teachers.

 Lee Crocket Designer, Entrepreneur, Author  has  identified the following set of 21st Century Fluencies:

  • solution fluency: define, discover, dream, design, deliver, produce publish debrief
  • information fluency: ask, acquire,  analyse
  • creativity fluency: identify, inspire, interpolate
  • media fluency: message, medium
  • collaboration fluency: establish, envision, engineer ,execute and examine

 The ideal is to develop a global digital citizen with personal responsibility, altruistic service and environmental stewardship.

 Professor Viviane Robinson University of Auckland recommended to leaders that engaging in deep work over an extended period of time within their schools was the key to successful improvement. She said it is the quality of the organisation into which an initiative is introduced, creating the conditions under which the bullet can do its work which is critical.  For instance, leaders need to know the professional development they are going to introduce to their schools  in detail, plan the implementation and continually follow up with middle leaders.

 Dr Michele Bruniges, Director General of NSW Department of Education and Communities and Richard Bolt Secretary Department of Education and Early Childhood Development Victoria both confirmed the importance of empowering school leaders to focus on:

  • Quality teaching
  • Active learning
  • Coherence
  • Sustained action
  • Collective learning

 The Education Leaders who attended my presentation were interested to hear about how we have been using 21st century tools to support teacher professional learning. Using video conferencing to provide access to experts such as Barbara Arrow-Smith, through Master Classes and  SMARTie  classes https://seeshareshape.com.au/share/VC/support.aspx and webinars for accredited teacher professional development. https://seeshareshape.com.au/shape/TrainingAcademy/VCOnline.aspx

They were also very interested in IRIS Connect as a 21st century solution for building collective pedagogical capacity within their schools. https://seeshareshape.com.au/see/iris.aspx







OECD Report “Trends Shaping Education 2013”


This  publication from the OECD, Trends Shaping Education 2013 provides an ”overview of key economic, social and technological trends and raises pertinent questions about their potential impact for education”.

 The section on technology is divided into areas which report on “Universal Access”, the “Exponential Use of the Internet”, the “World in Your Pocket” focussing on the expansion of mobile phones, a “Digital Society”  which examines social networking whilst “Local Diversity” looks at the increasing diversity of cultures using the internet . It also considers the transformation of the internet through the use of Apps and cloud computing and finishes looking at the implications of cyber-safety for educators.

Each chapter then poses questions for education.

Critically it points to a trend across the world to the increase of computers in the work place and also in schools. However it asks whether “schools are adequately preparing students with the techniques and skills needed to take advantage of these opportunities that ICT offer”.

It states that “teachers’ use of ICT often lags behind the technical skills required by the students by the time they enter the workforce”  and asks “how can education ensure that students develop these skills and how might teachers be better prepared for this? “

The report recognises that technological development is continuing at a rapid pace and questions whether education can keep pace with this development and asks the question “what are the benefits and costs of student learning through technology”.

In its section, the Exponential Use of the Internet, the report asks whether educators can “develop their students’ critical capacity to use and contribute to the wealth of information that the internet affords”. And whether “the search and find mentality of students actually alters cognition including the way we store and retrieve information and how this might influence how we teach in the classroom?”

Like other advocates around the world in acknowledging the rise of “app development”, the report asks the question “is it important for students to learn the programming skills to develop their own apps?”

In examining mobility and cloud computing it asks “how can education utilise these advances to enrich student learning environments” and ”how can educational apps improve learning in the classroom and extend it beyond?”

The ELECTROBOARD Solutions Training Academy builds teacher capacity to utilise technology in the classroom, particularly the integration of SMART Boards, Apple iPads and video conferencing.

Creating student learning environments that allow for collaboration across settings and countries is a key strategy for our Collaborative Learning Projects. Such projects enable students co create content and share information through safe interactions beyond the classroom.

Our Training Academy provides teachers with webinars on the use of educational apps that align to curriculum and our IRIS Connect 21st professional development system utilises the cloud to store videos of practice for teacher reflection.

For more information about all these services  designed to “help teachers be better prepared” go to:



Sustaining Professional Learning Communities

Dewi Lloyd from iRIS Connect UK  www.irisconnect.com.uk travelled to Australia recently to be part of the SMART Teacher’s Conference and to engage with schools and universities in Australia who have been implementing iRIS Connect.

At the iRIS Connect Learning Community held on October 17 schools from NSW and QLD shared their practices via video conference. Schools agreed that the value of iRIS Connect was its ability to create and sustain learning communities. The schools presented how they use iRIS Connect to enable deep conversations about practice. Using the Shared Library they can share “snippets of practice” for literacy or numeracy or ICT across the school.

Some schools are using IRIS to capture “how to’s” so that endless training for process and compliance strategies such roll marking, organising excursions, bus and playground duty and can be recorded and stored in the Shared Library for all teachers to access  for “just- in- time” learning.

Videos of Professional Development sessions, key speakers and experts who come to the school can also be uploaded to the Shared Library for review and for teachers who were unable to attend the session.

Research has identified that quality professional learning occurs when teachers work in teams focussed on improving pedagogical practices within their own context.  The knowledge about how to do things well exists in the school and needs to be shared across classrooms.

iRIS Connect enables schools to establish trusted professional learning communities within the school where teachers share their practices and are able to chat anywhere anytime about what they are learning by watching the lesson. They can share videos of their practice in a secure web environment and reflect on that practice at a time that suits them.

To join the iRIS Connect Learning Community or for more information contact


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