Ben Zonca in da EduTweetOz house! (@benjaminzonca1)

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Ben Zonca…plus one

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 path to education came after, and was inspired by, an extended foray into the music industry. I had no intention of becoming a teacher after high school, and remember few of my own teachers fondly – I was the definition of a disengaged student throughout secondary school. After some success as a classical musician, producer and recording engineer, I married a teacher, and was inspired to follow in her footsteps! From there my passion grew, and have since had roles in primary and secondary music education, MYP and Literacy coordinator in the middle years, and am currently teaching Grade 4 in a PYP school where I also coordinate international education and coach literacy.

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

The incredible and often untapped potential of young people; when given the tools to critically and creatively engage in big ideas, to consider the values and beliefs of others, to critically explore multiple perspectives, and to follow their passions, young people flourish, and demonstrate the need for an education system that moves forward with the world.

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

I think I’m stating the obvious, but navigating an expanding curriculum, and an increasingly complex world is challenging, but packaging of this into something relevant, challenging, engaging, and worthwhile of exploration is a challenge that brings with it great rewards. Working alongside students who are actively building an understanding of the world around them, and their significant place in it, is the reason I continue to develop my practice.

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

I’m a huge advocate of the International Baccalaureate as an educational framework that values students as the guiding voice in the classroom, and recognizes young people as an integral part of a globalized society, and believe that a lot can be taken from this and used to strengthen national programs worldwide.

Educators on Twitter, I think at least generally, are more predisposed to keeping up-to-date with movements in education, and in an ideal world this would be the mindset of all educators. Unfortunately though, this may never be the case, but we can hope!

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

Keeping the conversation going, whatever that conversation may be, is incredibly important, and EduTweetzOz is the perfect platform for a diverse selection of educators to do exactly that. Giving a voice to teachers brings them out of their individual context, offering both the host account, and those they interact with a chance to challenge perspectives, be challenged themselves, and to strengthen the Twitter’s educational community.

No, it’s not *that* Taleo – Wendy Taleo in the EduTweetOz hot seat (@wentale)

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Wendy Taleo

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 career spans from milking cows as my first job, undergraduate degree in stuff I can hardly remember, living in different countries and training in my second language to where I am now ~ happily ensconced as a learning technologist in a dual sector university at the ‘outpost’ campus. I’ve worked in a few different sectors and through that process I realised that education was the one for me. My current roles is a mix of systems support for the Learning Management System through to academic support and training on usage of the LMS. I’m pursuing my Masters of Arts in stuff I hope I can remember and use (Online and Distance Education) and continue to jump feet first into way too many fantastic open education opportunities.

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

Curiosity about the way things are and the way things could be.

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

I’ll modify that question to include ed+tech. The rewards are being able to see technology being put to the best use for the student experience. Rewards in getting others to see that technology is not something to be feared or controlled but to be used. The challenge to encourage more people to push past the ‘luddite’ factor and find uses for technology in expressing themselves and helping others express themselves. The challenge to explain to others that I find sometimes non-screen time is the best learning tool and even sometimes even 42 won’t be the answer.

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

   What could be done
   To better the bed we lie in
   What could be said
   To make roses bloom
   Each step that we take
   Each course that we make
   Each attitude we throw
   Effects the system.

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

My hope this week is to survive, really. EduTweetOz will survive, with me or without me. The vast majority of my twitter connections and online study and interaction happen with people that are 3 or more timezones away. I want to connect with other educators in this region and in particular, those ed-tech creatures. By raising some issues, discussing and debating, we can be motivated to keep on going!

Put your fingers to the keyboard for Scott Millman, this week’s EduTweetOz host (@scottmillmanEDU)

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Scott Millman

 

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 originally studied to become a diplomat: modern languages and the history of international relations. There was a federal government election while I was at uni, however, and I realised that (a) I couldn’t support the new government’s foreign policy, and (b) I’m actually quite a tactless and undiplomatic person. As a lark, I decided to try an education subject that had a school-based practicum. If I liked prac enough, I bargained with myself, I’d do an education degree. It was a transformative experience, so the rest, as they say…

I started as a History and English teacher, but I’ve had a crack at Visual Art, Science, Human Relationships Education and Digital Technologies, too. I became a Head of Department (Middle Schooling) back when middle schooling was hip and rad. This has glacially morphed into my current role, Head of Department (Teaching and Learning), at a P-12 state college on the Sunshine Coast. My job involves supporting teachers to provide a good education to our students, mostly through professional development. In the next few years, this will include building a culture of coaching across the college, and that’s my main preoccupation at the moment. I also run our college’s Makerspace, which is amazing good fun.

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

I’m inspired by my favourite teachers from childhood, Mrs Chaseling and Miss Turner, and their unconditional positive regard for students. I’m inspired by my five splendid nieces, and by a drive to make schools and classrooms that are worthy of their amazingness. I’m inspired by my own students (which is true, even though I have to say it) who have that perfect mix of earnest intensity and unfettered joy. (All of my joy is fettered, these days.) I’m motivated by teaching as an opportunity to build relationships that last and matter. And I’m motivated by change and variety, which keep me from getting bored.

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

The rewards are entirely personal, the acknowledgement that we do work that adds meaning to people’s lives and purpose to our own. The challenges are legion, but I think the biggest is the modern tendency to de-personalise the work of educators: We work with (and are) complex humans in complex educational contexts, yet we contribute daily to the mass delusion that every impact can be measured, every risk can be minimised, all parts are interchangeable, and fixing stuff is as easy as a recipe card.

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

I become warm with fury when I read about private-school orchestra pits built with public money. I would ensure that a free, comprehensive education to be provided equally to all, and that all schools have enough resources to be cathedrals of learning and the heart of their communities. Also, I would cut back on paperwork. Hate the stuff!

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

EduTweetOz was one of the first accounts I followed when I joined Twitter, and I love the shared experience. Twitter debates can be vicious and polarising (I’m looking at you, Angry British EduTwitter), so it’s nice that Australian educators have this shared account that values collegiality, community and connection. (I mean, EduTweetUK would last about a minute!)

I recently said that EduTweetOz is a great way to taste someone’s brain and decide if you want a second helping. My hope for this week is that I get to taste some new brains, and that I avoid bringing shame on my family. Given how much I’ve veered between goofy and pontifical in these answers, I’m not confident that I can avoid the shame.

Take a look at Scott’s Blog

 

Managing a rotation curation Twitter account: My week hosting @EduTweetOz

It’s always a bonus for us to have our hosts explore what it meant to them to run the account for a week……

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source: gettyimages source: gettyimages This week I’m experiencing my first time in the host chair of a rotation curation, or #RoCur, account.

I have followed @EduTweetOz for some time and noticed how different educators seem to breeze through the host chair. I’d never considered the thought they may have had to put into hosting. But once I was invited and then appointed for a week, I felt a greater responsibility than just doing what I do with my personal account,@debsnet. Was what I did and said in my personal account appropriate in a shared account? Surely I couldn’t just dip in and out as I saw fit, jumping down rabbit holes and leaping off on tangents, as whims arose? I felt I needed to have some clarity for myself in terms of how I would approach an account that is not my own; I’m just slipping on the robes for…

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Please welcome this week’s host Deborah Netolicky @debsnet

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Dr Deborah Netolicky

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 in education since I began teaching almost 17 years ago. An English and Literature teacher by trade, I also have a background in Fine Art. I have taught in Perth, Melbourne and London and have led English faculties in three Australian schools. More recently, I have managed school-based strategic projects in the arenas of professional learning, coaching, capacity development and continuous improvement. Over the last few years I have been leading a whole-school coaching and professional learning intervention at an independent school in Perth.

This year—after three and a half years of juggling full-time doctoral study, a 0.8 FTE school role and parenting two young boys—I completed my PhD with Murdoch University. My doctoral thesis used a slightly off-the-wall approach to narrative research to explore what experiences transform educators’ identities, beliefs and practices.

I enjoy sharing my work, research and personal journey through various platforms including Twitter, my blog www.theeduflaneuse.com, at national and international conferences, through my PhD thesis, and in peer-reviewed academic journals. I have also contributed pieces to other digital sites such news and views site The Conversation, and international blogs such as Times Higher EducationPhdTalk and Heutagogy CoP. Some of my own best learning happens as a result of connections and conversations that arise from connecting with educators from around the world.

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

Ultimately, education is about the student. I’m motivated by each child I influence, whether through teaching in the classroom, working in leadership in schools, or contributing to online and academic narratives about education and where it’s headed.

I am also deeply invested in the learning, growth and wellbeing of teachers and school leaders. They are the people in our schools charged with leading the learning, thinking, doing and being of students.

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

After the US election result this week, I’m reminded more than ever of the responsibility educators have to help young people become good humans. Our most gratifying rewards and toughest challenges lie in helping to develop knowledgeable, skeptical, skilled, kind, compassionate, generous individuals who advocate for and serve others, question inequities and are empowered to use their own gifts for a greater good.

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

The Coalition government’s dismissal of Gonski, and its attempts to discredit, undermine and slash funding from it, are harmful for Australian education. We need government to take seriously the need for fair, equitable, generous funding for schools. We also need our government to value higher education, including science, research and post-graduate study.

I also feel strongly that education policies and practices need to trust, support and grow teachers, rather than measure, reward and punish them against unreliable or limited benchmarks.

One thing I love about Twitter is that it moves us away from a silo mentality to one of collaboration across schools and systems. Sharing and giving back, especially by those schools that are the most privileged or well-funded, positively impacts education in Australia.

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

I find EduTweetOz a wonderful opportunity to get to know a range of Australian educators by experiencing their ways of hosting the account and engaging with their diverse interests and approaches.

As host this week I’m looking forward to connecting with people who might not yet be in my network and to sharing with the EduTwetOz community some of the voices in my PLN from whom I gain the most.

While I think the power of EduTweetOz is in the community, not the host, I will no doubt explore my own passions of coaching, professional learning, research and literature. As part of the ‘Flip the System’ movement that advocates for bottom-up and middle-out change, I’ll probably continue to advocate for change driven by those with tangible and tacit knowledge of our schools. I’ll also perhaps reveal my fondness using research literature and methodologies to inform educators’ work and decision making. My inner English teacher and narrative researcher will be drawn to sharing some of my own stories this week. I’m looking forward to it!

This week’s host is Jim Lloyd @jimlloyd82

img_1015Please 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?

Both my parents were art teachers  (one is now a professor), so that was an influence. At school I considered pursuing careers in acting and law, and even biology at one point. In the end, I felt I needed a career that allowed me to keep learning and developing in many different areas and benefited society, rather than lining the pockets of a CEO.
I started off as a generalist primary teacher, and gradually became a high school teacher (via middle school!). I have taught in Special Education contexts, a brief stint as a PE teacher, Year 7 Core (Maths/Science) but mostly 7-12 IT and middle years maths. I completed my Master of Education early in my career, via research pathway. I have also done sessional tutoring and casual marking for QUT and USQ within the education faculties. I am starting my Master of Information Technology degree next week.
I am currently employed as a secondary teacher of Information Technology and Mathematics at an independent girls’ school in Brisbane. I have been there for 5 years. I hope to move into a PAR role soon in my career.
Who or what keeps you inspired and motivated in your work?
I am very fortunate to have a dedicated and supportive HoD, as well as highly-skilled colleagues. Nothing quite inspires me as much as my students though – I need to be the best I can for them. My family is always very supportive of my doing online PD courses or going to conferences, so I’d better mention them too.

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

The reward is that look on the kid’s face when they spell the word/solve the equation/get the robot to move/find the bug in the code/apply the last dash of acrylic to the canvas etc. That’s why we keep turning up each day. What else is more important?
I can’t provide anything new in regards to ‘challenges’; my main bugbear is that educators will never cease getting it in the neck from those who wouldn’t know. I liken it to me walking onto a building site and telling the foreman how to best do their job.

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

Remove high-stakes tests (from all areas). Give everyone a breather from NAPLAN. Tell people to stop taking PISA as gospel.
What role do you see EduTweetOz playing on the education scene in Australia and what are your hopes for the account this week?

The account is a great idea, and has had many great educators as host during my time on Twitter. It’s a good forum for hearing from a variety of different educators (something I value highly – vive la difference!). I hope I can make a few new connections and maybe get in a shameless plug for my book… 😉

Please welcome this week’s host Alice Leung @aliceleung

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?

Teaching was something I always wanted to do and I decided to become a teacher when I was in Year 11. A major influence for this decision was my own high school science teacher. I had her as my science teacher from Year 8-10 and then my Biology teacher in Year 11 and 12. She was so inspiring. She made science interesting, relevant and authentic. She made me see that teaching is a creative profession. She was also a caring person and showed me that a teacher can make a huge impact on a young person’s life. This teacher later became one of my mentors. She was my prac supervisor and later my head teacher when I first got my casual teaching block.

I’ve had many roles in education. I’ve been a science teacher, year advisor, Head Teacher Science and Head Teacher Welfare. I’ve worked at Rose Bay Secondary College, Auburn Girls High School and Merrylands High School, teaching a diverse range of students. I’m currently in a temporary non-school based position with the NSW Department of Education, supporting teachers and schools in STEM.

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

My students and my colleagues keep me inspired and motivated. There’s nothing like seeing a young person’s mind spark because of the experiences you’ve created for them. I also have a very inspirational and supporting professional learning network, from my own school community at Merrylands High School, my current colleagues in the Secondary Education unit in NSW Department of Education and my online professional learning network.

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

The biggest rewards are definitely the learning experiences you create and share with your students and colleagues. Sharing your passion for teaching and learning with the next generation is not only rewarding, but pivotal for our society. Some challenges for educators include wellbeing. Sometimes as educators, we are caught up in our work because we are so passionate and forget to look after ourselves. If we don’t look after our own wellbeing, we cannot teach our students effectively.

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

To ensure ALL teachers and students to continuously improve themselves. To make sure all students, regardless of their circumstances to reach their full potential.

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 way for teachers to share their passion of teaching and learning with the wider Australian community and the wider global community. My hope for hosting EduTweetOz for the week will be to share my passion in science education, STEM education and innovation in teaching and learning.

This week’s host is Aaron Davis @mrkrndvs

aaron-davisPlease 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 think that I became involved in education because I had a deep interest in learning. Over the years, my notion of what is actually meant by ‘learning and education’ has really developed. Whether it be starting out as the fifth teacher within a position, teaching a group of Koori boys that traditional education had left behind or working across the breadth of a P-9 college. Each of these situations has taught me the importance of context and growing practice from the ground on up. Earlier this year I left the classroom to take up a position in an education office, supporting schools with the integration of technology.

Who or what keeps you inspired and motivated in your work?
It is the students that help me maintain the rage. There is always space for development in regards to the opportunities that students’ are afforded. What that growth and development might be is a point of conversation.

What do you see as some of the biggest rewards and challenges for people working in education today?
The connected world that we are all a part of means that there is no excuse to being alone and isolated anymore. I remember when I started driving an hour afterschool for a meeting with a group of fellow graduates. Now technology provides the means to easily connect and collaborate, breaking down the old boundaries.

If you had the ability to make changes to the education system in Australia, what would you do?
I think I would put in place a more equitable system. One word: Gonski. Also, I would invest in clusters to provide more opportunities for schools to work as a collective, as opposed to being in competition.

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 this week to continue the conversation. Giving voice to some of the amazing educators on the web.aaron-davis

Read more about this week’s host Jo Clyne @joclyne1

jo-clynePlease 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?

After completing an honours degree in Arts (majoring in performing arts) at Monash University, I undertook a diploma of education in 2004 with the idea that I might like to become an education/arts officer at a cultural institution.  If I’m honest, I was also probably motivated by the opportunity to complete a teaching practicum in the Cook Islands… I had an incredible mentor who inspired me to follow my current career pathway.

I quickly found ‘my people’ when I started volunteering at the History Teachers’ Association of Victoria during my DipEd year as a judge for a free competition called the National History Challenge.  It embodied everything great about history education – rigorous research, a variety of presentation methods and the idea that historians could be creative. I’ve now been a Victorian coordinator of the National History Challenge for 8 years and still love the way that it can change the way students engage with the study of history. Teachers and parents have shared stories with us to explain how participating in the competition has been life-changing for their student/child.

Even though I did spend a few years teaching in the classroom after completing my DipEd, I was more interested in the development side of education i.e. creating resources for other teachers to use. Since then I have worked as a programs offer at the Melbourne Museum, palliative biographer, tutor/guest lecturer at the University of Melbourne, simulated patient for medical exams, magician and freelance history education consultant.

I began my PhD in 2007 at the University of Melbourne and finally completed it last year. My thesis had a focus on museum studies, particularly on how artefacts can be interpreted through museum theatre. I conducted research in Europe and the United States. Doing a PhD is a very hard slog, particularly when you’re also working. I’ve definitely managed to strike a better work/life/health balance since I finished.

My current role is Manager of Education and Consultancy at the History Teachers’ Association of Victoria. I love the autonomy and diversity of the job. A typical week for me could include driving to present to teachers/students in regional Victoria, filming/editing a documentary, writing a book and presenting at a conference. It is equally possible that my week could involve sending millions of emails, lugging a trolley full of boxes up three flights of stairs at a University and feeding student personal information forms one by one into a document shredder.

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

I particularly treasure working with people I like and admire. This includes HTAV colleagues, teachers and staff from cultural institutions/government agencies. I am particularly inspired by students. We run an event with Australian Catholic University called the Kids’ Conference where all presenters are primary or secondary students. They showcase history or geography projects that they have completed using innovative technology. The adults in the room take a very peripheral role during the day – the students are the stars. I really get a kick out of that.

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

Classroom teachers have my utmost respect. It is an incredibly demanding job with stresses and stains that people outside the industry cannot comprehend. It is a privilege to work in a teacher support role.  One of the biggest challenges for teachers is trying to cater for both the social and academic needs of their students. In addition to teaching, they must also be social workers, psychologists, parents and mind-readers. I think most educators agree that the best part of teaching is when a student tells you that something you did changed their life for the better.

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

In an ideal world with no budgetary constraints, I would like all schools to double the number of teachers they employ in order to reduce class sizes. I have observed systems where each home group has two teachers – one to deal with pastoral care and the other to look after the academic side of education. That could be a useful tactic for many regions. Teachers should also have fewer periods in their weekly allotment and be able to use the time to continue developing their own teaching practice.

I would also like to see more new classrooms built with an understanding of acoustics. Many are designed to look impressive, but create a lot of distracting background noise from other classes. This makes it difficult for the teacher to moderate the dynamics of their lessons and can also cause anxiety in some students.

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

I love twitter as an educational networking tool. I’m excited that through accounts like EduTweetsOz educators can access an international peer group to provide ideas, support and encouragement for their teaching practice. Over the week I hope to share free resources, answer questions about working in teacher support and start a range of conversations on classroom layout, digital technology, teachers as entrepreneurs, gifted and talented students, disability training for teachers, differentiating lessons, personal learning plans and project-based learning.

 

This Week we welcome Sally-Anne Robertson @eduemum as our host

sallyannrobertsonPlease 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 recently entered the teaching profession as a mature-aged entrant. Straight out of school I was persuaded out of becoming an educator, having wanted to teach from the age of seven. Instead, I undertook studies in Economics. I spent several years employed in corporate roles prior to giving up paid work in order to be a stay-at-home mother. As my children grew, I started working in management for a large retail chain with the advantage of employment very close to home. During this time I was also appointed as an Assistant Cub Scout Leader which reignited my simmering passion for education. As such, I spent 2014/5 studying a graduate degree in Education supplemented by volunteer work in science outreach and Indigenous education. I was then fortunate to land a part-time position straight out of university teaching primary SciTech.. By term two this year, that morphed into a full-time position so that I now teach SciTech to all students P-6 at my school as well as teaching my own Year 5 class, three coding clubs and a STEM extension club.
Who or what keeps you inspired and motivated in your work?
Inspiration comes in many forms, but primarily from my PLN. I am so thankful to have been welcomed to the profession by so many people involved in education in various capacities. Inspiration also comes from those who are more heavily involved in science – the scientists, the astronauts, the engineers, the inventors – I am in awe of their knowledge, intelligence and experience. The motivation for teaching SciTech is intrinsic. I love the content, I love the pedagogies I’m able to employ, and I love the enjoyment and engagement many of my students experience. The motivation for my year 5 class comes from building an ongoing relationship with the girls in my class, and watching them develop new strengths as students and people. Final motivation comes from my husband and children – they are consistently supportive of my journey, for which I am so grateful.
What do you see as some of the biggest rewards and challenges for people working in education today?
With the perspective of an early career teacher, my focus tends to be on issues close to the heart. At the moment, this is what I see as the lack of true mentorship across all sectors and schools for early career teachers. Time management in terms of work/life balance is also a challenge – living the reality of an educator, I realise how much it encroaches on family life.
The rewards surely have not changed for people in education today – seeing a student “get it”, or succeed in unexpected ways is priceless. Having a student hug you, thank you and trust you are standout moments.
If you had the ability to make changes to the education system in Australia, what would you do?
I would allow teachers have a greater say in policy development and implementation.
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 fabulous resource for bringing together educators in a non-commercial, collegial manner. I love that each week we are introduced to others who are involved in education who bring their various backgrounds, experiences and opinions to the “Twitter table”. My hopes for the account this week is to learn, teach, and share with others my own background, experiences and opinions and provide a vibrant conversation.