Earlier this month I had the pleasure of speaking at and attending EduTECH in Brisbane, Australia. This was my first trip down under and it was exciting to meet so many passionate educators. I have worn both the attendee and speaker hat at many conferences and EduTECH was an especially inspiring experience.
The first event that I attended at EduTECH was a dinner in the company of Australian educators. Before arriving to the dinner I was able to connect with Christine Haynes, a fellow Apple Distinguished Educator and Technology Coordinator from Adelaide. She shared her experience as an American teaching in Australia and introduced me to other educators from her school. This group of teachers was warm and welcoming and particularly helpful when it was time to navigate the dinner menu.
On the second day of the conference I attended a few sessions and spoke to a large group of teachers. My talk “Scannable Technology: Embrace an ACES Mindset” covered a range of ways that QR codes and augmented reality can be used in different learning environments. I shared experiences from my time as a one-to-one iPad classroom teacher and the work that I have done with the nonprofit LitWorld to create interactive library spaces. After the talk many educators shared their own stories about how they are using scannable technology in their schools as well as their plans for the future.
This same day I had the chance to listen to two inspiring speakers discuss transformative classroom practices. Sylvia Libow Martinez introduced a variety of tools for maker spaces and covered the importance of introducing tools to students with a purpose. Her insight into creating engaging maker spaces for learning pushed the boundaries of how many people envision traditional classrooms. This presentation included lots of ideas for teachers just getting started with maker spaces and those who were looking to expand their knowledge base.
Later in the morning Jennie Mageria shared the story of transforming learning in her classroom with technology tools. She discussed her journey of starting small to dreaming big with how technology could change her learning environment. In her presentation, Jennie showed student videos and talked about the way that her students became content creators for authentic audiences.
Although I have traveled to many fantastic education conferences, this was the largest international event I’ve had the pleasure to both attend and present. EduTECH was well-organized and featured speakers from around the world. It was very exciting to see so many passionate educators share big ideas and stories from their own classrooms. As I always find at conferences, the voices off the stage are just as powerful. Speaking with teachers in between sessions and listening to their takeaways gave me much to think about as the conference wrapped up. Visiting a new country and hearing global perspectives on education was a transformative experience!
Monica Burns is an EdTech & Curriculum Consultant and Apple Distinguished Educator. Visit her site ClassTechTips.com for more ideas on how to become a tech-savvy teacher.