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Please welcome this week’s host, Angela Ryall

I’m just a newbie starting out in the education world. I come from a before and after school care background and prior to that I worked in a prep school in England. I have been casual teaching for a little over twelve months and have found myself settled into a school in the western suburbs of Sydney where I have just finished an 8 week block on stage 1.

I am inspired and motivated everyday by the children I teach. I’m still in the “everything is new” phase of teaching and I find such depth and inspiration by seeing other teachers teach and working out what is effective and not so effective for others. This in turn motivates my practice in the hope that I can constantly improve.

One of the biggest challenges I see is presenting a curriculum that is challenging to adapt to the world around us. Our students need to become problem solvers and critical thinkers and there is little space to integrate these skills in a crammed curriculum. I’m a big believe in technology in education and the benefits associated with kids learning to code. This has been the biggest reward in my early days in starting coding clubs and seeing children interact with a whole new dimension of their learning.

If I had the ability to change something within the education system, I’d definitely push for more project based learning in a holistic curriculum approach. I think it’s definitely the way our system needs to head so students can see the link between the curriculum areas.

This week I’m aiming to give you a glimpse into the university final year and how we are moving into the workplace. Small steps preservice teachers a taking to make big changes.

Follow Angela on Twitter @angelaryall93 

craig

This week we welcome Craig Smith as our host…..

Please tell us a little about your background in education. Why did you decide to become involved in education? What are some of the roles you’ve had and what does your current role involve?

I’ve worked in special education for ten years, predominantly focusing on working with children on the autism spectrum. I was a pipe organist heading into university with a view to be a high school music teacher, but then as I learned more about teaching and the educational contexts I could be working in, I became more enamored with the prospect of primary school teaching as I liked the idea of working with younger children when they were becoming acquainted with a whole new world of concepts and ideas for the first time. I really valued the idea of education as a functional tool, as something to genuinely and effectively provide skills and resources to children that you could actually see them implementing and finding independent success with. Ultimately, this is what lead me to the world of special education, as I wanted to work in a space where this functional focus on skill acquisition was absolutely paramount. I became a bit disenchanted in my early days with the scope and prospect of the mainstream curriculum, I realised that I needed to feel a deep sense of commitment and importance to what I was teaching, and for me this is what I thankfully found in special education – teaching social skills, emotional regulation needs, communication strategies, and engaging students in academic pursuits with the sort of creative, flexible and inspired approaches than I felt I could render more fully within the special education paradigm. As I go on, I realise just what an increasingly fascinating dialogue the special education and mainstream education systems have with each other, pushing and pulling into each other and constantly challenging our ideas of universal design and inclusion.

I work as deputy principal for the Aspect Hunter School, part of Autism Spectrum Australia. We are based in Newcastle and have around 126 students at our school. As well as my work in the school, I also coordinate educational outreach projects where we work in collaboration with other schools to help develop and implement autism pedagogy practice, positive behaviour support and universal design. I am a PhD student at the University of Newcastle, an Apple Distinguished Educator, and an Accessibility Ambassador. I have had the opportunity to deliver speaking tours overseas, visiting teacher roles, and in December of 2016 I was invited to speak in Shanghai at the United Nations, discussing technology, autism pedagogy and accessibility. I also author free educational content for educators and families, including the iBook ‘Minecraft in your Classroom’, iTunes U course ‘Explore Everything with Pokemon Go’, and many more that you can find at my website www.autismpedagogy.com

Who or what keeps you inspired and motivated in your work?

I feel an immense sense of responsibility to work fervently in collaboration with everybody towards the goal of helping us get better and better at reaching all learners. I am fascinated with the potential of implementation science at helping us turn student goals into tangible realities, of frameworks like lesson study to help teachers teach each other about teaching, of innovative ways to connect families and schools in order to establish more successful working relationships, and of the immense role that technology is playing in accessibility and helping us to articulate universal designs for learning.

What do you see as some of the biggest rewards and challenges for people working in education today?

I find the biggest rewards for people working in education today is the opportunity to observe the impact of our work in more immediate terms than perhaps ever before. I love seeing our students take a special interest they have and work with us to further develop their skill in the area of their special interest in a way that has been able to yield some fantastic life opportunities. Those moments when you see the quality of life of a student increase as a result of the hard work everybody is putting in is absolutely magical. This is also one of the biggest challenges for people working in education today, to be able to take the time to realise every student’s potential, to diagnose the best way of fostering this potential, and implementing the result, within the confines of a system that at times is not necessarily geared towards the personalisation of this process.

If you had the ability to make changes to the education system in Australia, what would you do?

I would provide one of Schopenhauer’s telescopes to all educators and policy makers, giving us all the opportunity to project ourselves two hundred years into the future while we reverse the scope and look back at our current situation with the hindsight of time. I think about so many children who find it so hard to find success in our 2016 mainstream and special education classrooms, and I think about two hundred years into the future and what the schools might look like then: one hour in the classroom perhaps, three hours working with a community mentor, two hours of functional therapy, more time with family perhaps, more time being children, more time to move into an inspiring future.

What role do you see EduTweetOz playing on the education scene in Australia and what are your hopes for the account this week?

I feel that EduTweetOz provides a valuable opportunity to keep the momentum of dialogue going week to week between all tweeting teachers in Australia. We all need to keep talking, keep thinking, keep identifying needs and conjuring solutions, and initiatives like EduTweetOz I feel are helping work towards this. For my week with the account, I am eager to share a side of education that reflects more of the functional, social skill, emotional regulation, communication, special interest driven approach we take in and out of the classroom. I am eager to share ways in which we celebrate the different brilliance of all students. I am eager to hear and share on the dialogues engaged between my other tweeting teacher colleagues all across Australia and the world.

Connect with Craig via twitter @wrenasmir

Danielle Lynch

Welcome this Week’s Host, Danielle Lynch

Please tell us a little about your background in education. Why did you decide to become involved in education? What are some of the roles you’ve had and what does your current role involve? I grew up in England and went to a school which had very high academic standards and inspired me to learn in all subjects. I had thought about teaching when I was in secondary school, but put it out of my mind when I went to university, loved studying and continued on to do a Masters, and considered the possibility of a life in academia. It wasn’t until I had begun a full time PhD that I began to think that perhaps there were better options, particularly given the climate of the university world with reduced numbers of jobs in theology. So I decided to take time out from the PhD and complete a PGCE in Religious Education as a stepping stone into a much more secure career. I had two fantastic mentors in my placement schools – one of which was a pretty tough school to work in – when I was training, and they helped to make me the teacher I am.

I have always taught Religious Education, a compulsory subject in secondary schools in England. Since training as a teacher, I have worked in three very different schools in the North East of England – one state, two Catholic. The post I left before I came to Australia was in an outstanding Sisters of Mercy Girls’ Academy. There I worked with a fantastic team of specialist RE teachers.

After much consideration, I decided to pursue a career in Australia. I was delighted to be appointed as Head of Religion in St Augustine’s College, Cairns, for January 2015. Unfortunately visa delays (which you may have heard about if you follow me on twittter) meant I didn’t arrive in Australia until May – but I managed to complete my PhD in the meantime (although I had to return home for the viva in the September holidays). I am working on making up for lost time! My role involves coordinating the department and fostering the academic study of religion across all years in school (7-12).

Who or what keeps you inspired and motivated in your work? I love new challenges, and this keeps me motivated – for example writing and implementing a new curriculum (or three…), which has been my biggest challenge since arriving in Australia. I also like learning about new educational strategies and tools with the students, as they can often teach me something. I have rolled out flipped learning across all senior classes in my subject this year. It has been successful so far! I find that connecting with other teachers is often key to my own professional learning. Most of all, though, I love challenging the students to think outside the box and learn to think critically and openly about a variety of traditions and belief systems, and thereby develop their own beliefs from a position of knowledge rather than ignorance.

What do you see as some of the biggest rewards and challenges for people working in education today? The best part about being a teacher is that you will always have a funny story to share at a social gathering! You learn to always expect the unexpected, and to take nothing for granted. This makes the job exciting. The biggest reward has to be in building positive relationships with the students such that you watch them grow into young adults, ready to take on new challenges once they leave the school gates for the last time.

The biggest challenge has to be in avoiding the politics that inevitably surrounds education. Having arrived from the UK a year ago – where there is at least one innovative educational strategy implemented with each changing government – I think teachers have to learn to be resilient and to believe in their training and knowledge.

If you had the ability to make changes to the education system in Australia, what would you do? When I arrived, I was surprised, but also a little bit pleased, to discover that there were no external exams in Queensland. I realise that this is about to change, and perhaps it should in order to ensure that senior students study with academic rigour, but I would not want to go back to the English model of teaching to the test, particularly as we did with our GCSE students. I don’t want to be in the position where a student asks “is this going to be on the test?” I like the flexibility that the Queensland curriculum allows for. Having taught in Australia for over a year now, I would definitely change the amount of assessment. For students to complete 5 comprehensive assessments in each year of their senior schooling is totally overkill. Not only that, but it takes away teaching time. Give me a three-hour external exam instead of this!

The main thing I don’t want to see is for Australia to follow England down the route of testing for the sake of testing. Too much attention was given to “data” showing “progress” such that we fabricated level indicators 1-8, and then broke them down further into a, b and c, such that we could show the powers that be that a student had made progress during a year because our mark books said 4c at the start of the year, and 4a at the end. I like the way that Australia trusts teachers to be professional and teach students to make progress, without constantly checking up on them.

What role do you see EduTweetOz playing on the education scene in Australia and what are your hopes for the account this week? I hope to connect with teachers across Australia during the week, and I hope to learn a lot from them about their experience of education in Australia and beyond. I also hope that I have something to bring to the table from my experience in England and my last year in Australia.

Is there anything else you would like to add? I love teaching in Australia. It is the best move I’ve made. I think every teacher should get out of their comfort zone and teach in a new environment – whether that is a different school, town, or country – to expand their understanding of teaching. I am also an academic, and love getting involved in theology conferences around Australia.

You can connect with Danielle via @DALynch46 or her Blog

Also check out a chat she moderates: @REchatOZ

Please welcome this week’s host Violet Verbena

Who or what keeps you inspired and motivated in your work?
My students inspire me! I genuinely enjoy the company of young people and I love feeling like I am fighting the good fight.
What do you see as some of the biggest rewards and challenges for people working in education today?
The rewards are inherent in feeling like you are making a difference.  The challenges are having decisions made about education by people who are not and have never been teachers.
If you had the ability to make changes to the education system in Australia, what would you do?
I would cut the red tape to give teachers more freedom.  Research is very clear that standardised testing does not improve learning outcomes.  Check out High Tech High in the US.  They are doing really cool stuff.
What role do you see EduTweetOz playing on the education scene in Australia and what are your hopes for the account this week?

I will be discussing a very distressing and traumatic event which happened in my community last year.  We had a student suicide and it has been a very sad and distressing journey.  Hopefully people can learn from what we did right – and how we got some things wrong.

If you require help we recommend contacting Headspace in your state or Lifeline on 13 11 14

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Welcome this Week’s EduTweetOz Host, Alethea Kinsela

Please tell us a little about your background in education. Why did you decide to become involved in education? What are some of the roles you’ve had and what does your current role involve?

My first teaching gig was as a piano teacher, which helped pay my way through high school and university. I’ve tutored primary, secondary and tertiary students in just about everything, from media to English, and Latin to maths. I initially thought I wanted to be an Education Publisher, but all the Education Publisher jobs required applicants to have a Dip. Ed. and two years’ teaching experience. So, after completing an Arts degree, I enrolled in a Dip. Ed. At the end of my second year of teaching, I didn’t bother applying for publishing jobs. I was hooked. I left teaching temporarily to study archaeology, and as a result of this, I landed a job designing and delivering school incursions and excursions for La Trobe University’s Young Archaeologists’ Program. In response to the many teacher requests for information and resources about Ancient Australia, I wrote and published an archaeology textbook for school students on this topic. I now lecture in the School of Education at La Trobe University and run archaeology workshops in schools across Melbourne.

Who or what keeps you inspired and motivated in your work?

My pre-service students’ attitude to learning is a constant motivation for me – they have enormous enthusiasm for teaching and a thirst for knowledge that at times seems unquenchable. My colleagues at La Trobe are truly inspirational, and I get a huge buzz from working with teachers of such a high calibre.

What do you see as some of the biggest rewards and challenges for people working in education today?

The rewards, I think, are the same as they have always been: that inner glow we get when we witness students rising to challenges and accomplishing feats they may have previously believed were unachievable; that astonishment we feel when we provide our students with the building blocks and they transform them into something more spectacular than we thought was possible; and that sense of personal achievement when a lesson runs so well that the students thank us on completion.

The challenges, however, are immense. Teachers have been, and forever will be, at the mercy of constantly changing policies, standards and curriculum models. Until we free education from the restraints of government oversight, bureaucracy will continue to choke our profession. My pre-service fourth-years will enter classrooms next year that are already vastly different to the ones I taught in less than a decade ago. Their teaching ‘quality’ will be measured and weighed by bureaucrats with little or no classroom experience, let alone expertise. Their tertiary education has equipped them not only with techniques, methodologies, theories, approaches and practical classroom skills, but it has also instilled in them the importance of offering understanding, cultivating acceptance, nurturing critical thought, valuing creativity, and celebrating diversity. Once they become graduate teachers, they will quickly realise that, more often than not, the system in which they work values these unquantifiable qualities far less than ‘national benchmarks’.

If you had the ability to make changes to the education system in Australia, what would you do?

Make it mandatory for anyone appointed to the role of Education Minister to have education qualifications and teaching expertise. Scrap NAPLAN. Introduce Gonski funding in full. Reduce administration work for teachers. Ensure schools have the autonomy to introduce initiatives and make changes to existing systems and structures to best suit their staff and students. Remove bureaucratic control of education funding. Put the ‘A’ in STEM. Re-introduce and adequately fund the Safe Schools Program in every Australian school. Make tertiary admission selection procedures more rigorous to ensure that we are accepting not only quality students, but students who will be well-suited to the job – i.e. not necessarily those with the highest ATAR results, but rather those with the passion, commitment, drive and integrity required for the teaching profession. As a result of this, and to compensate existing teachers for their overtime hours, substantially increase teaching wages.

What role do you see EduTweetOz playing on the education scene in Australia and what are your hopes for the account this week?

The EduTweetOz platform is a great opportunity for teachers right across the country to connect, collaborate and share ideas. Having such a diverse range of hosts, topics, questions, discussions and resources only enriches the teaching community. This week, I’d love to hear about people’s experiences as pre-service teachers and as pre-service or graduate teacher supervisors. I’ll be sharing some of my experiences working as a pre-service teacher. I’ll also post links to a variety of resources I use in classes, including topics such as student/teacher wellbeing, creative arts, humanities, YA fiction and children’s picture books, and gender and sexuality. And, of course, archaeology!

Connect with Alethea via Twitter or her website

 

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Welcome our Host for Book Week, Yvette Poshoglian

Background

I retrained as a teacher mid-career after working in the book industry and as a journalist. English teaching is the flip-side of those coins and I completely romanticised it thanks to Mr Keating in ‘Dead Poets Society’ and Mr Holland in ‘Mr Holland’s Opus’. I’m proud to say I’ve had those moments (no students on desks of course) – they are the gifts that keep on giving. I had the most wonderful public education and those teachers completely inspired me. I have only ever wanted to work in public education. I won a scholarship to teach English in south-west Sydney with the NSW Department of Education, which was fantastic because I knew at the end of my studies that I would have a permanent position. Since then I’ve worked on secondments for the Department – recently with teach NSW in the areas of pre-service teacher support and career advice in STEM teaching (ironic for an English teacher); and now I work at The Arts Unit with the NSW Department of Education, looking after the NSW Premier’s Reading Challenge. I work alongside incredibly dedicated teachers running arts programs. I also write books for children –‘Ella and Olivia’ and ‘Frankie Fox, Girl Spy’ – among others, so it’s basically the dream job.

Who or what keeps you inspired and motivated in your work?

I am completely driven by equity in education, and by finding ways to bring opportunities to all students across our state. Along the way I’ve met so many inspirational teachers who have enlightened me about their teaching practice in other subject areas and with other age groups. Teachers are truly life-long learners. In my current role I get to work with great teachers who are implementing incredible literacy and reading programs at their schools and to absorb their strategic thinking and capacity-building in their regions. Technology, innovation and the ability to be creative are also drivers for change. The Challenge is in its 15th year and we are ramping it up with loads of virtual author events, school events – technology is very much at the core of the role.

What do you see as some of the biggest rewards and challenges for people working in education today?

Teachers are in elite company, because we know what it is like to be genuinely fulfilled by our work. The challenges are many and myriad and they always will be. I’m particularly concerned about new teachers and the high rate of attrition. We lose them before we know it and before they can make their mark. We need to think strategically about how we can support new teachers, particularly in their first years out.

If you had the ability to make changes to the education system in Australia, what would you do?

Implement the Gonski reforms. Pay teachers more. Get rid of standardised testing. Make reading for pleasure a compulsory part of every school’s day.

What role do you see EduTweetOz playing on the education scene in Australia and what are your hopes for the account this week?

My teaching eyes were opened when I began using twitter as a learning and networking tool. While working with pre-service teachers finishing their university studies, I implored them to join twitter and underscored how important social media is in developing their networks and in particular how useful threads like #edutweetoz are. I have met loads of colleagues through twitter who I now work with in a professional capacity. The movers and shakers in our profession are on twitter. The conversation is happening right here. So I want to hear from you about books/reading/literacy strategies!

This week is Book Week

Let’s share the excitement! Tell me what you’re doing to celebrate books, reading and authors at your school! Are you working on a school wide literacy program? Is it working? What changes have you observed? Have you had an author visit? What impact has that had? What are you doing in your library? How important is your librarian’s role in your school? Could you be doing more? Let’s share creative ideas for reading? Let’s share resources. Let’s talk about our favourite books – personally – and to use in the classroom. This week is all about the impact of reading on leisure and pleasure. Let’s talk about Reading Challenges!

You can connect with Yvette via @yvetteposh or her website

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Please Welcome our Host for Science Week, Michelle Neil

Please tell us a little about your background in education. Why did you decide to become involved in education? What are some of the roles you’ve had and what does your current role involve?

First off I should admit I am NOT an educator. Not a professional teacher although my job does involve me occasionally training freshly graduated chemistry majors and I am a volunteer scientist with CSIRO’s Scientists in Schools program at a few schools in my area. I have been with the CSIRO SMiS program since just after it started. More specifically I am a science graduate. I have a Bachelor of Science majoring in Chemistry and co-majoring in Forensics from Queensland University of Technology (@QUT).  I work in the field of chemistry in a laboratory (QC) or Quality Assurance (QA) and have done since 2001. My husband is a physics major (You know the sitcom Big Band Theory?…. Yes, I do know people similar to that… Not the same but similar!)

I am NOT an academic. I am a “lab rat” and a complete science geek!

So why a scientist on @EduTweetOz?

Simple.  Welcome to National Science Week.  #NatSciWk

Who or what keeps you inspired and motivated in your work?

Funnily enough I don’t see a lot of people during my work (i.e. general public). Laboratories are usually a bit “secret squirrel”. Half the time you don’t know there is even one there. Take my last job. QA Officer at one of the biggest vitamin manufacturing plants in Australia. You wouldn’t guess that it also houses a laboratory that works in 2 – 3 shifts per day too would you?

I am, however, a people person. To get my “people fix” I volunteer with 2 interesting associations: CSIRO’s Scientists in Schools and the Australian Citizen Science Association.  I am also a member of the Australian Science Communicators (@auscicomm) as well as a Toastmaster at my local Toastmasters Club. I play sax in a 20 piece big band. Nothing better for de-stressing than playing sax in a big band I find!

As I mentioned, I am one of the volunteers (or #SciVol) for the Australian Citizen Science Association. I volunteer behind the scenes on their social media (i.e. Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter @CitSciOz). I am one of the people who answer requests, re-tweet interesting articles and even schedule and put up posts. Not having done the whole social media “Page Management” thing before I have actually had a very steep learning curve in social media in the last 2 years. I have been taking a series of MOOCs about Social Media via Coursera (Northwestern). So many interesting things to learn in MOOCs (hint: try the Robotics one from QUT via Coursera! Challenging but really interesting)

What do you see as some of the biggest rewards and challenges for people working in education today?

Pay and respect. Teachers seriously do not get paid enough or get enough respect from policy makers and bean counters as well as parents of their students. Also, as one teacher I know said to me recently “I am no longer paid to teach. With this new curriculum I am no longer a teacher. I am a robot that measures student performance”. Powerful words but I have also noticed it is true. Teachers don’t have time to teach. Classrooms too full, parents working long hours and not able or willing to help in classes or do homework at home with kids (sometimes it is just too late too – guilty!), teachers working long hours especially at home…. The list goes on!

On the flip side I have also noticed that teachers don’t network very well. Not all teachers of course but a lot of ones I have come into contact. This I find very odd. Science people talk. We chat. We collaborate. That is where the best ideas come from. Social media makes it so easy too. You can do it on your own time here and there.

If you had the ability to make changes to the education system in Australia, what would you do?

I was volunteering, as I do (haha), earlier this year at the Brisbane World Science Festival and also the Australian Science Communicators (ASC) Conference (both held in the same week here in Brisbane). At the ASC conference our new Australian Chief scientist, Dr Alan Finkel said something interesting in his question and answer time. He said that he would like to see all (high school) STEM teachers have a degree in STEM before doing their teaching degree. I agree completely but I would like to take that one step further. We have music teachers at primary schools, why not science teachers too?  We don’t have enough work for the STEM graduates already coming out. Don’t believe me?  Have a look at for “chemistry” jobs on Seek in your local capital city. (PS: ignore the pharmacy ones of course. That is a different field but the Seek search engine notoriously doesn’t “know” that. So frustrating!)

What role do you see EduTweetOz playing on the education scene in Australia and what are your hopes for the account this week?

I see EduTweetOz as being that stepping stone to collaboration, particularly  in STEM vs education. There are a LOT of scientists and science communicators here on Twitter. During my week on @EduTweetOz I hope to introduce followers to:

  • several hashtags,
  • other scientists and scientific bodies who tweet
  • #AMA (Ask Me Anything)
  • social media quirks and foibles,
  • my experience as a scientist in a primary school lab setting,
  • science in the community,
  • STEM careers (what to look for and what to watch out for),
  • Public speaking
  • Lots of citizen science
  • Drones, robots
  • Chemistry and, of course
  • National Science Week!

 

It’s going to be a BIG week!

Have fun!

Sci Girl (aka @michelle_neil)

 

Alycia Bermingham

Please Welcome this Week’s Host, Alycia Bermingham

This week we welcome Western Australian Educator, Alycia Bermingham. This is Alycia’s second round as host of EduTweetOz.

Please tell us a little about your background in education. Why did you decide to become involved in education? What are some of the roles you’ve had and what does your current role involve?

I’ve been teaching since 2010, after spending a number of years at uni accruing degrees. I worked for 3 years in country district high schools, one extremely remote. After a year in the city at two schools, one being my formal introduction to leadership, I decided my heart was in country teaching, so I put my application into the system, and was offered a position at my current school. After a year teaching 11 and 12 History, Years 10 and 8 HaSS, and working as the Year 7 Transition Coordinator for our first incoming cohort of Year 7s, I was successful in winning the position of Head of Learning Area. This is my second year in the position, and I’m still waiting to have 2 days that are the same! Presently I’m teaching only senior school, History and Geography, which keeps me level as Year 11s and 12s keep it real!!!!

Who or what keeps you inspired and motivated in your work?

My students – they’re full of wonder and honesty, and have a way of making every day worthwhile, in one way or another.

My colleagues – both in my school, across all learning areas, and beyond. Educators with passion and motivation, and hearts in the right place!

What do you see as some of the biggest rewards and challenges for people working in education today?

No matter the role, experiencing and understanding the impact each and every one of us has on everyone within our immediate domain, and then beyond, is both rewarding and challenging. We have a big responsibility and when we deliver – whether it’s a student passing ATAR when they don’t expect they will, or a student becoming involved in an organisation or program which helps them realise that there are others like them in the world – or so many more examples – it brings the biggest smile. It’s just a challenge achieving it, because expectations are enormous and saying no isn’t so easy for us!

If you had the ability to make changes to the education system in Australia, what would you do?

I’d like to see teachers feel more valued. I don’t know how I’d achieve it, probably would start with providing tea and coffee in all the staff rooms and offices, and then a whole other gamut of changes from there, such as allowing DOTT to be flexi time to compensate for the many hours we do beyond the 8.30-5.00.

What role do you see EduTweetOz playing on the education scene in Australia and what are your hopes for the account this week?

The varied discussions are so tremendously important to opening eyes and minds to new perspectives. This week I have no set plans, just would like to engage with a variety of educators beyond my regular feed, and let those discussions organically develop.

You can follow Alycia on Twitter and via her blog 

 

Welcome back, Vatché Ansourian, to the EduTweetOz chair!

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Please tell us a little about your background in education. Why did you decide to become involved in education? What are some of the roles you’ve had and what does your current role involve? 

It’s my second time at the helm of the esteemed EduTweetOz account (my first time was back in 2014 when I led the discussions during National Science Week (https://edutweetoz.org/2014/08/10/leading-us-into-science-week-we-have-mrascience-hosting-edutweetoz-this-week/). I’ll be aiming at the doing the same this year, but with two weeks before the event, it will be all about talking about past memories, favourites investigations, events to go and see, technology in the classroom, building resources, assessment and dabbling into how to make science fun. As always, there will be discussions about other areas of education and the account is always open to questions.

Watch out for the competition that will run during the week on the @EduTweetOz account.

Currently, I sit as the Science Advisor 7-12 in State Office at the NSW Department of Education. I moved into State Office in early 2015, where my role is to provide support to science teachers regarding curriculum implementation. It is an amazing place to be and provides a different perspective to education in NSW, a very different environment compared to the classroom.

Who or what keeps you inspired and motivated in your work?

About two years ago, I embraced the cliché of saying it was all about the students. My current role simply reinforces and cements that it is all about our students. The work that all teachers do is about the student, it affects the student, and is driven to help every student learn and succeed. Shout out to every educator out there, including the quiet ones who do an amazing job every single day without hope of praise or reward.

I still maintain the need to have lots of chocolate on hand. The one that comes with added sugar. And corn syrup. And artificial sweetener. Just because.

What do you see as some of the biggest rewards and challenges for people working in education today?

The education landscape has changed dramatically. As a teacher teaching in the 21st century it is a challenging and rewarding time to be teaching. Modern teaching has blurred the boundaries of the traditional school gate and has made education accessible. Technology has become a powerful tool which can be used seamlessly in the classroom (wifi signals pending of course). There are a myriad of resources and support tools for teacher to aid them in developing teaching and learning programs. It is an exciting time albeit challenging.

If you had the ability to make changes to the education system in Australia, what would you do?

Where does one start? I don’t pretend to have the answers. Working at a local level in schools, I push for a strong focus on student learning, with literacy and numeracy taught across the disciplines; strong connections with feeder schools and effective transition programs that use the syllabus as a buy in; developing strong partnerships with universities, local businesses and industry and develop programs which engage students in their respective subjects and adds value and authenticity to their learning.

At a state and national level, I advocate for student voice and equity. Politicians may not see the work that teachers tirelessly carry out term after term. The decisions made do not always provide changes to the system that are effective or sometimes make sense. The move to make education for all, to make it accessible for all and to make Australian education the best in the world all receive ticks in my book.

For those interested, my book is called “Education: a vision for the future”. J

What role do you see EduTweetOz playing on the education scene in Australia and what are your hopes for the account this week? 

EduTweetOz allows educators a powerful platform to be able to discuss and bring up issues in education. It is a wonderful way to showcase what teachers are doing and allow them to voice their concerns and thoughts in a safe place.

This week, it’s all about building up to National Science Week and the Sydney Science Festival. There will be science, I promise, and some more science. And just when you thought there couldn’t be anymore science – BAM! You just got scienced*!

@mrascience

*”science” is pending acceptance as a word in all dictionaries. Currently, as it stands, it means to outsmart or showcase your abilities in science to someone. It can be denoted by dropping a mic, or for authenticity, a plastic test tube, conical flask, Bunsen burner or molecular model.

Wait a minute…two EduTweetOz hosts? Meet Robert Love and Chantelle Morrison

Please tell us a little about your background in education. Why did you decide to become involved in education? What are some of the roles you’ve had and what does your current role involve?

C: I wanted to be a teacher since I had an inspirational teacher in Year 4 – Miss Dewing. She taught me how to love learning which is what I hope to instil in others. I had all of my initial teaching years in the Public ACT system which was amazing and forms the basis of my collaborative, agile teaching and inquiry methods. After this, I worked at Northern Beaches Christian School finishing up my time there earlier last year as Community Leader for Stage 3. I currently work as a classroom teacher at Immanuel Primary School in Adelaide. I also help manage InnovatED_SA which is a small group with a mission to get an alternative voice about education into the mainstream. I am also on the EdTechSA committee.

R: I graduated from Flinders University in 2004, and was appointed as the “High School Teacher” in a remote Indigenous community called Marree (at the junction of the Oodnadatta, and Birdsville Tracks). Since then I have been involved in the following roles:

  • 6-12 Coordinator at Leigh Creek Area School – Responsible for Middle School curriculum, SACE and Vocational Education Programmes.
  • SACE Coordinator at Birdwood High School – Responsible for Year 12 management, SACE and the VET Automotive Industry Pathways program development
  • SACE, VET, HASS and Business and Enterprise Coordinator at Willunga High School.
  • HASS, English, Research Project & PLP teacher at Willunga High School.
  • Consultant – Innovation in Schools – at Flinders University New Venture Institute.

Who or what keeps you inspired and motivated in your work?

C: Twitter has completely invigorated my career. The networking and ideas and research that I gather through Twitter makes me so excited about the changing face of education.
I love watching kids learn and I love watching others teach – I think the process of education is so exciting.

R: This is an amazing time to be in education – and even though there are many problems – there are so many possibilities. At the moment, I’m loving the opportunity to learn from startup entrepreneurs at the New Venture Institute (Startup Incubator). There are so many lessons for education about the process of innovating in this space. I’m inspired and motivated by what happens when we bring students, entrepreneurs and teachers together to co-design innovations in their schools.

What do you see as some of the biggest rewards and challenges for people working in education today?

C: The opportunities for modern teaching and learning are so rewarding. Seeing an entire community grow in their understanding of what this looks like is so exciting. But the process of helping the community to understand the importance of modern teaching and learning is challenging.

If you had the ability to make changes to the education system in Australia, what would you do?

C: I’d help us all to be risk-takers – just try stuff! When teachers are risk-takers; kids will be to – this will create a culture of innovation.

R: I would seek to really involve the community (entrepreneurs, parents & community organisations) in what we do. As educators, I believe that we can be a little bit “insular” and talk a different language to the community around EduReform. If we invite stakeholders into the Edu debate, we can bring about relevant, lasting and meaningful change.

What role do you see EduTweetOz playing on the education scene in Australia and what are your hopes for the account this week?

C: I’m excited about the collaboration and networking – we’re all in this together!

R: I see EduTweetOz as playing a vital role in connecting teachers and leaders to share good practice and challenge our individual conceptions of education. This week I hope to promote conversations around:

  • change management,
  • the changing role of teachers,
  • Students as co-designers of edu-change
  • do we need to attract ‘different thinkers’ into the education profession and
  • innovation in education.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

C: Join in – let’s have fun!

@robbielove79,   @misscmorrison