In excess of 70 rural new graduates were involved in a fantastic professional development forum with world renowned educator, Stephen Heppell, and representatives from Apple Australia exploring ways in which we can engage young people in learning into the future.
The venue was filled to capacity with very enthusiastic new graduates. Leading Educator, Stephen Heppell, began the day exploring a range of issues relevant to providing an engaging learning environment for today’s young people. He outlined three key areas for consideration – learning spaces, the importance of the teacher and using the communication strategies that young people utilise.
Stephen outlined a number of exciting initiatives that he is currently involved in where teachers and young people are involved in creating learning spaces for young people today. Many of these spaces were designed in consultation with the students to create spaces that help them focus and share their learning. Many of these spaces were shoeless and contained child centred furniture rather than just traditional chairs and tables. Check out some of his ideas: http://rubble.heppell.net/
Teachers are important too
Stephen then moved his focus to engaging learning and the importance of teachers in this equation. He showed examples of teachers who create learning experiences that provoke good conversations and the importance of explicit teaching regardless of whether this was within a classroom environment or elsewhere.
Youth friendly communication technology was present in all areas of Stephens’ presentation. It is an important part of the learning process for young people. He supports schools encouraging students bringing their own devices and phones from home and use them to extend their learning. Stephens’ presentation showed the importance of our schools in our local communities and the value gained when they work together.
An Apple a day
The afternoon session focussed explicitly on the use of technology in our schools. The very friendly Apple Team presented the session based on the SAMR framework (http://hippasus.com/resources/tte/puentedura_tte.pdf). There presentation showed how technology could be moved from “substitution” to “redefinition”. It highlighted the importance of Professional Development for teachers to skill them to help students to be innovative and creative learners.
The session was concluded with some practical examples, showing how iPad Apps can be used by teachers in making learning more engaging for students. Demonstrations about the use of simple apps can be used in the classroom, like Popplet (www.popplet.com), Creative Book Builder and a variety of others available on the CEP site (http://www.ipadsforeducation.vic.edu.au/1-to-1-learning-success).
The forum was a great way to challenge our thinking, refocus us toward learning and remind us why teaching is such a fabulous profession. Live, learn and enjoy the journey.
Video clips made of the day