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 name is Leigh Murphy and my current role is is Manager for User Engagement at Education Services Australia. ESA is a not for profit ministerial company owned by all Australian Education ministers which has built and implemented a number of National Online projects and services such as Scootle, Scootle Community, Improve, the Language Learning Space, EdFest, ABC Splash, the Safe Schools Hub, Global Ed, myfuture and more.
I’ve been lucky enough to present at and run online and F2F professional learning conferences and in which I speak to educators around the country about the importance of tools and strategies which support teachers and learners connect and share their ideas, questions and practices with their colleagues nationally.
Prior to working at ESA I was the Professional Learning Manager at ICT in Education Victoria which became Digital Learning and Teaching Victoria during my tenure. I also taught and had a leading roles at Orchard Grove Primary School in Melbourne’s eastern suburbs for 6 years.
I think I became a teacher because I loved and wanted to keep learning. That said, I also entered the profession with a strong desire to teach differently to the ways I was taught and campaign for changes to our education system.
Who or what keeps you inspired and motivated in your work?
I hope its students which will continue to motivate me to to be in education and advocate for educators to keep improving the ways we teach and learn. I am regularly inspired witnessing the level of effort and understanding demonstrated by students who are engaged and empowered in meaningful learning and driven by their passions and their learning’s impact on others.
What do you see as some of the biggest rewards and challenges for people working in education today?
Short term rewards are the meaningful conversations with wide eyed kids who have just been given the keys to the kingdom, long term is the impact had on both individuals and society.
Unfortunately the challenges are varied and many and I empathise with the many teachers who have just put in countless hours of unpaid overtime to produce a report that may or may not significantly impact their students ability to or desire to learn. I see that many teachers are pushed and time committed to a point where there’s very limited time left for joy and creativity in their lessons and classrooms.
However there also great opportunities arising and new tools and practices that can assist educators to be the architect of a thoughtful question and learning opportunity rather than just the source of answers and the keepers of knowledge. There are many beacons out there who are out there continuing to try something new and share it with their colleagues and we are greatly benefited by the tools to connect us and the people who share our passion for learning and education across the country and across the globe.
If you had the ability to make changes to the education system in Australia, what would you do?
I’d change the goal posts. I’d reorganise the year 11 and 12 structure and the ATAR. I’d provide students a day a week to engage in a project which embeds them in and contributes to society. The project would be supported but independent and lead by students passions and would culminate in a presentation through a mode of their choosing. The documentation/presentation of their two year project would represent a significant part in their university or employment applications proceeding.
I’d love people’s thoughts on this…
What role do you see EduTweetOz playing on the education scene in Australia and what are your hopes for the account this week?
Learning networks such as EduTweetOz and social learning tools such as twitter and Scootle Community can play a bit part in advocating and supporting teachers, schools and the education sector to start making effective changes to bring life into learning. There are so many wonderful educators across our country doing extraordinary things and via communication tools and national and global audiences are able to share their ideas, successes and failures which those tuned into are much better for.
I hope to provide a range of interesting questions, resources, articles and opinions during my week at the helm of EduTweetOz, if we don’t cross paths this week please feel free to contact me via another channel down the track.
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