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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

Introducing Jane Kibble, this week’s EduTweetOz host

JanePlease 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 have had a strong sense of social justice since I was young. I completed an Arts degree and went straight to work in the non-profit non-gov sphere. I spent three years working at Jenny’s Place women’s refuge and then four years working for Newcastle Family Support. While working in these areas, I saw that almost every person I worked with shared a common trait: they had not had a successful time at school. This appeared to have a negative impact on their ability to access a range of life choices. While still working (and being pregnant – I know, what what I thinking!) I saddled up for a Dip Ed, intending to Save The World ™. Still working on it.

I’m currently the principal of a rural school on the outskirts of Tamworth, NSW. I’ve been here for 10 years and I’ve been a principal for 20. I’ve held a range of positions in schools, from casual to permanent part time, from RFF teacher to principal.

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

I’m fortunate to work with a staff that brings a very broad range of skills to the table, and to work in and with a community that generally supports the school to be the best it can be. It’s a cliche that the students make it worthwhile, but they do.

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

To be honest, I see this as a time of churn and challenge. There are societal forces playing out that are beyond our control and we just need to buckle up, because the ride could get bumpy. We are living through a time of shrinking resources, a time of global challenge, both environmentally and politically. As educators, we cannot help but be affected by this. We are affected because so many children world-wide are still denied an education. We are affected because our political leaders are grappling with a world that seems to have so many major challenges on so many levels. We are affected because budgets world-wide are shrinking. There appears to be a general lack of focus about our key purpose in some places, and in some areas, Australia being one of them, a lack of societal respect for the teaching profession.

It sounds very negative, I know. The challenges are large and global and the rewards often appear small and local. But they are worthwhile nonetheless. It’s yet another cliche to say the main reward is to be entrusted with the lives of people’s most precious beings: their children. But cliches are cliches because they are so often true. So there’s that.

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

Fund schools appropriately. Recognise the knowledge and passion that teachers bring to their job every day. Make stronger connections between organisations that have the welfare of children at their core. Be multi-disiplinary. Celebrate the fun and joy in learning more and test scores less.

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

It’s always interesting to read of people’s special interests and the teaching and learning environments that they exist in. This account allows people to showcase their passions and their special skills. I hope to showcase my capacity to get out of bed and get to work each morning without any disasters. Fingers crossed!

@janiekibble

Introducing Elke Schneider, this week’s EduTweetOz host

ElkePlease 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 was asked to teach e-Commerce subjects at the tertiary-level at Durham College, Canada, in 2001 and I jumped at the chance. I had been working as an IT Analyst at EDS Canada, a multinational IT organisation, primarily developing & de-bugging the General Motors website. But the idea of teaching at the College where I had received my Diploma in Business & IT sounded exciting; plus, I liked the social and caring culture of the institution.

While teaching at Durham College I learned how to teach and how not to teach! I stumbled through teaching and only really felt like a successful teacher after I had my first child. Going back to work after 16 months paid maternity leave (+ generous holidays) was difficult but I approached teaching differently; I approached it thinking that these students in front of me (mostly 17-18 year olds straight out of High School) were once babies like my baby;  what kind of teachers would I want for my son? I became a more caring teacher, I built relationships with purpose, I got to know my students & I created events where they could get to know each other better.

Fast-forward a decade: after more College teaching, a lovely stint as an expat-wife/stay-at-home-Mum in Michigan, a big move back to Australia, graduated BofEducation(Secondary) from USQ and now I am a High School teacher. I was employed for the past 2 years as a full-time contract teacher at 2 state schools in the Gold Coast. I am now a permanent teacher at Somerset College, Gold Coast.

At Somerset College I am primarily employed as an IT teacher. This past semester I have been busy trying to teach in a fun & passionate way, learning about the International Baccalaureate, getting to know students, getting to know new colleagues, collaborating with a small group to enhance IT at the school, re-developing & re-imagining IT subjects, running teams in the Tech Girls are Superheroes competition, and networking with industry.

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

My kids and my experience of High School is what motivate me to be an awesome teacher. I hated High School; I only remember 2 teachers that were fun, inspiring and actually seemed to care about me. I want so much better for my own children (grades 3 & 7) and so far it sounds like they are surrounded by caring, inspiring and FUN teachers.

There are many educators from the past and present that keep me inspired professionally.  Alfie Kohn, Nel Noddings, Gary Stager, Chris Sarra, Joe Bower and John Dewey, are some of the people that have built-up my professional philosophy and view of education. I have also been involved in the development of a paper submission for the ACCE Conference 2016 with Dr David Jones, USQ, Senior Lecturer (Education), and this experience has inspired me to continue learning, researching and to question IT in education agendas.

https://davidtjones.wordpress.com/2016/02/02/what-if-our-digital-technologies-were-protean-implications-for-computational-thinking-learning-and-teaching/

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

There are many potential rewards: watching kids “get it”, when you see their “a ha!” moments, that’s pretty fantastic; when kids yell across a busy school yard between lessons to greet you and sometimes there’s an added “You’re an awesome teacher!” bonus; driving the development of a subject and making sure it’s authentic and fun; when parents tell you they appreciate you!; when you see graduated students who are happy and successful; working with passionate teachers.

There are many challenges too: time poor; societal disrespect of teachers; organisations making decisions about what you should teach that sometimes just doesn’t make sense (#coding for everyone!); digital tools are dictated to use or some are blocked; teacher contracts & not feeling like you belong; lots of talk but no action; confusing array of agendas in education; commercial interests in education; developing a balance of teaching for future skills & the love of learning.

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

Get rid of the term “coding” in education and focus on computer science and digital literacy; this would be a good start. Remove all blocks to the Internet for students and teach children about digital citizenship and digital footprints; instead of acting like a communist state we should be ensuring all youth actually understand the good & the bad and have the open environment where they question what they see and read on the Internet. This of course would require MORE teaching time, which we simply don’t have unless we drastically change the way we teach and what we teach.

Get rid of assessments and put a mega Makerspace in every school. Oh wow, that would be awesome, but I know this would likely be impossible to do in our current education system.

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

EduTweetOz is a great place for discussion to occur about education in Australia. Twitter allows us to remove hierarchical labels, which can often get in the way at school or education events, and let us have real conversations about issues in education. EduTweetOz is also a great way to connect Australian educators and this may help educators feel like they belong and also build their Professional Learning Networks (PLN). It doesn’t matter if we agree on an issue or not, we all know that the reasons behind our, sometimes passionate, tweets is a love of teaching and learning.

I am especially interested in discussing how teachers are feeling about and preparing for the new Digital Technologies curriculum in Australia. I hope to engage with lots of educators this week and help maintain existing relationships and build new educator relationships for @EduTweetOz, @elketeaches and @qsite I am also a board member of the Queensland Society for IT in Education (QSITE) and I have recently started managing the @qsite Twitter account.

Elke Schneider

@elketeaches

https://elketeaches.wordpress.com/blog/

Welcoming Sherrie Myers, this week’s host

FullSizeRender.jpgPlease 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?

One of my dreams from primary school was to be a teacher. To make a difference for children through education, ensuring that all children, irrespective of their background, be given an opportunity to be anything they want to be and be educated to make choices.

Although I had my dream, journey of life takes different roads at times and my pathway changed after completing my school years and I joined the workforce. It wasn’t until I was working in education as a tutor funded by ASSPA that the dream shone again and I started university as a mature aged student.
On completing my studies I graduated with a Bachelor of Education, Primary.
I am employed by NSW Department of Education and have taught in public schools across South Western Sydney. My educational experience expands from classroom teacher, Reading Recovery accredited teacher, Early Literacy Initiative officer and for the past eight years as a senior education officer with the Aboriginal Education team, which also included a temporary R/Curriculum Advisor position.
I am currently the R/Aboriginal Education and Wellbeing Advisor for the Ultimo Operational Directorate and co-lead the Aboriginal  Education team to support primary and secondary schools in the area of Aboriginal Education.
We provide advice and support to schools to implement the Departments Aboriginal Education and Training Policy (2008) and build strong partnerships between schools, AECG and Aboriginal students, staff and communities.
The Aboriginal Education team provides professional learning to support teachers to embed the cross curriculum priority area, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and culture delivering a range of registered and non-registered courses. We also provide curriculum enrichment opportunities and programs that support engagement and attendance for Aboriginal students.
The Team supports Aboriginal staff in school and non-school based positions through professional learning opportunity, network meeting and individual support.
The Aboriginal Education team’s priority is to build a strong relationship with schools to develop cultural competencies that strengthens the partnership between schools and Aboriginal communities to work collegiality to improve the educational outcomes for students, families and communities. Aboriginal Education is everyone’s business!

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

I am constantly inspired to continue my work by the strong relationships  I have with students, schools and the wider community.

I am very reflective of my work and realise that without the partnerships I have with my Team, other non- school based educators, executive leaders, schools and community, we would not see the improvements that are occurring on a daily basis for our Aboriginal students.

We have noticed a shift recently with schools wanting to be part of our work and to become culturally competent. That

inspires me that we are making a difference and others are contributing to the change.

Seeing and hearing about the success and achievement of our students and communities, motivates me to keep working hard to ensure that everyone is working towards the priority goal of improved outcomes for students, families and communities.

Working collegiality with many stakeholders in education, other government and non-government departments, and Aboriginal and non- Aboriginal organisations keeps me inspired, that together we will make change that continues to motivate all to move forward for a fair and equitable future for Aboriginal people.

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

The biggest reward is how education is moving forward within the 21st century. Schools are adapting and changing to what students require and are becoming very transient and flexible learning environments. Although, this is a challenge for some educators, but generally the overall flexibility of educators and the open- mindedness allows us to move forward.

Rewards are seeing the improvement of student outcomes and the confidence our young people are displaying as they interact with peers, educators and other adults.

I think the challenges are still current and possibly increasing, as they have been for sometime, the wellbeing of students. The holistic approach supports wellbeing but difficult to coordinate at times to ensure a student is getting the assistance from service providers as required. Within the Department, ensuring that we have the service provision available by means of additional specialist staff, experts in a range of behaviour and mental health issues, support for differentiated learning, the list can go on. In summary, I guess the challenge would be guided by available funding.

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

I would ensure that all children have access to a fair and equitable quality education. Each community is different and needs of that community would differ from their neighbour. Authentic consultation with communities to ensure that needs are met and that the school is a priority for building strong foundations for the future.

Education system needs to be guided by overall policy and legislation but flexible enough to meet differing needs. This could include number of teachers, specialist teachers, curriculum requirements, specialised curriculum, etc.

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

EduTweetOz provides a platform to share, inform and discuss on education.

During the week, I will share the significance of NAIDOC and provide information of what’s happening when and where so that others can read about or join a local event. Sharing and celebrating the achievements of Aboriginal and  Torres Strait Islander people’s during NAIDOC is very important as we continue to support each other from historical happenings and move forward together for a prosperous future for our First Nations people.

I look forward to sharing my week with everyone.

 

Introducing Matthew Beggs, this week’s EduTweetOz host

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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?

I have been teaching for nine years now in a variety of different locations within Victoria. I began teaching in regional Victoria before moving to Melbourne where I have been teaching for the past seven years. I have primarily been involved in classroom teaching, however I spent two years out of the classroom working in an intervention role with students where English is an additional language. I have always worked in primary school environments where most of my teaching experience has been from F-2, with the exception being the past two years where I have been working in an open-plan ¾ Classroom. I think education was always something that I wished to be involved in, even though it was not what I initially pursued at University (I have a degree in Media Studies in addition to my education degree) it was always something that even from a young age that I enjoyed doing. Sometimes life has a funny way of finding the true path, not in the way that one initially expects.

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

I think it’s the constant surprises that keep happening every day. It’s the risk of trying something new along the way and not being afraid if it does not work. Also that the smaller events in the classroom are often for part of a bigger picture that you as a teacher help shape. As Finn in Adventure Time puts it so eloquently “Everything small is a smaller version of something big.” That sometimes the smallest accomplishment that my students can be something that takes on a path to something truly great.

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

I always think the greatest rewards come from the conversations that one has with students. The moments where the students minds suddenly click is always a wonderful moment for anyone, no matter where you are or what you are doing. I think that is always the greatest rewards is just seeing students take those small steps as the begin and continue their learning journey.

I think one of the biggest challenges that education and the role that it has now in the modern world is the pace that it is changing. How do we prepare the students now for situations that we haven’t even begun to think of 10-15 years down the track. How can we equip students with the skills to be life-long learners when the voices that we need to listen to are coming from so many different viewpoints that it is hard to find the right path to take.

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

I think the biggest change and one that needs to continue to be refined is to develop a consistent approach to education across Australia not only for students but for teachers as well. It needs to be much easier for students and teachers to migrate between states in order to provide the best educational environment that we can have for students and teachers alike.

I also think one of the changes that we as teachers and educators make is actually selling ourselves. I feel sometimes we are our own worst enemy. We are doing a wonderful job in a very challenging and ever-changing job and it’s something that we fail to celebrate in the wider community. Rather than simply challenging the message that many have about the current education system, we need to actual celebrate rather than downplay the job that we do.

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

I think EduTweetOz not only helps provide a chance for teachers to interact with each other but it also provides us with opportunities to see us as people. I think sometimes we can get so bogged down in our working life that we can forget to actually remember that we are people as well, with our own things that makes us tick and drive us. I think I just want to find the things that make us inside and outside the classroom, as if we can have a greater understanding and acceptance of the varied experiences that we have, it ultimately gives us a greater appreciation of the things that make every single stakeholder in the educational experience tick.

(@MatthewBeggs)