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 started my journey in education in 2005, teaching English in Tokyo, Japan. That glimpse into the teaching experience gave me the courage to draw upon my performing arts background and begin integrating the two. When I arrived back in Melbourne, I started freelancing as a Drama teacher at places such as the National Theatre and St Martins Youth Arts Centre. I found work as a Teaching Artist through the Song Room and delivered 6-month programs, one day a week each, in up to four schools per Semester. Many of the schools were English Language Schools or in areas with high migrant and refugee populations. This work required a high level of energy and shortly before I fell pregnant with my daughter, I was lucky enough to be asked to work as a Program Coordinator for the Song Room.
At the same time I was running a production company, Xmachine Productions producing health education videos. This led to the more and more work in the digital education space, and for four years I worked alongside the Song Room and various industry partners including Education Services Australia, the Australian Teachers of Media, AusDance (Victoria) and the Museum of Contemporary Arts to produce the content for ARTS:LIVE as well as see the platform through various iterations.
Following this I completed a Masters in Education (Digital learning) at Monash University, and I am currently the Ambassador for Entrepreneurship at the Faculty of Education where I have been using design-led thinking strategies to inspire pre-service teachers to solve ‘wicked problems’ in education, including asking the question, ‘How might we design the ultimate learning experience?’
I also work as the Learning and Development Specialist at the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Foundation, designing blended and e-learning courses for educators, producing video content as well as project managing the re-development of the online professional learning community the Shared Table.
Who or what keeps you inspired and motivated in your work?
Watching my daughter enter the schooling system this year has been fascinating. It’s provided me with the opportunity to work with her school to question how digital technologies might be better used to enhance learning.
The ground-swell of education change that goes hand in hand with the speed of technological advancement and the continual questioning of these learning technologies excites me. At the moment, uncovering and asking questions around this is what motivate me.
What do you see as some of the biggest rewards and challenges for people working in education today?
The scale at which educators can be both rewarded and challenged in a digital age is vast. There are ‘rock-star’ teachers who can impact thousands of learners in less than 5 minutes via video-based mediums alongside global education challenges that take time and are limited by access and equity. One a smaller scale, educators are challenged and rewarded daily. It can be a challenge in itself to work out what solution you can be a part of as an educator, but this I believe this is where the rewards will lie.
If you had the ability to make changes to the education system in Australia, what would you do?
Inspire educators to engage in agile practices, to take creative risks and not to be afraid of the failures.
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 about dialogue. I hope not to leave too many questions unanswered and to draw on the collective knowledge to uncover new, fast and curious solutions.