Category Archives: Guest Tweeters

Please welcome Louka Parry to 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?
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I choose to teach because education can transform the trajectories of young people – it’s the greatest social lever for change. Through my formative expriences as a young man, I came to deeply understand the power and opportunity that education gives to individuals and communities and opted to begin my official teaching career in a remote Indigenous community in the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Lands while taking every opportunity to learn my craft. It was supremely challenging and deeply rewarding. I had great support and developed quickly as a leader, becaming the principal at 27 years old after working to support teachers at a regional level. Although trained as a middle school teacher, I’ve taught from K – 12, acted as a regional mentor and studied two Masters degrees, one in Applied Linguistics and one in Instructional Leadership. I also spent some time in policy at the South Australia Department. In my current role at EC I’m best described as an adult educator I suppose, working with teachers, leaders and entrepreneurs all over the world. As Director of Programs, I endeavour to ensure every minute of our professional learning is engaging, relevant and enabling and I’ve loved the challenges thus far.
Who or what keeps you inspired and motivated in your work?
The teachers and leaders I’m lucky to support most days. They are the true heroes of education, the anonymous extraordinaries, who work incredibly hard to be the key figure in the learning journey of their students. I love seeing a teacher or leader’s idea become reality and the positive impact that it makes on learning. I also love interacting with my network of curious, engaged educator colleagues on multiple platforms and geeking out on some research from education, psychology, linguistics, economics and policy.
What do you see as some of the biggest rewards and challenges for people working in education today?
The greatest challenge for educators is receiving and taking the time to be revolutionary not just reactionary. That’s difficult to achieve with an established status quo and the inertia from the set of expectations from the industrial model of education. The world has changed in profound ways and it’s education’s time to also transform. That will only come from empowering school leaders and teachers to make the change they wish to drive.
If you had the ability to make changes to the education system in Australia, what would you do?
In a sentence, I’d attempt to rehumanise education by personalising it.
First, totally rethink the ATAR regime to enable secondary teachers to have additional freedom to use their passion to teach. I’d also look to broadly transform assessment expectations to formative model based on developmental continua targeting students point of need, leveraging technology to make this happen. I’d find a way to schools to shift to deep learning, foregrounding the need for empathy, collaborative problem solving and curiosity. And I’d find a way to systemically support all teachers to continue to grow at every career stage, ensuring incredible teachers and great leaders. Ulitmately,
I’d love to raise the status of teachers so that is actually reflects the incredible dedication and hard work that it is.
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 brilliant community of educators and it’s only through frank, focussed and respectful discussion that we can increase our collective understanding and make change happen. I hope to be able to throw out some interesting provocations and catalyse some practical insights over the week 🙂

Welcome to EduTweetOz, Kelly Maree Cheung (@AustralasianEdu)

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?

20160418_130449School avoider. Truant. Forger of parental signatures. Frequent visitor of sickbay with phantom pains. Socially anxious. Quiet underachiever. Constantly reading. I was the kid that didn’t cause trouble in class – god forbid attention would come my way. Even when I was in class – I wasn’t really present. Yet, I really liked, and still like, learning. I really liked, and still like, dialogue and discussion about what is and what could be. With much hesitation, I thought I’d give teaching a try, and I quickly realised how much I loved the work.

Returning to the school environment on my practicum made me realise that schools can be places where even the misfits can fit in, if a community is welcoming, knowledgeable, and willing to work towards a sense of inclusive belonging. In my years since, I’ve taught secondary English and History, coached debating teams, mentored students as a Year Advisor, and constantly worked towards ensuring all students know that they are recognised and valued for who they are.

I’m currently away from the classroom completing a PhD on the text choices of secondary English teachers while primary parenting a kinder child and a one year old.

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

My own teachers – the good and the exemplary, have always inspired. Shoutout to Kevin Williams and Paul Cannon from Primary, and Josie Mitchell (deceased), Anne Heaney, Brian Bowe, Graeme Judd, Deborah O’Neill, and Michelle Peters from Secondary.

My students have always inspired and motivated me to give them my best.

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

The biggest rewards are always in those moments of shared success; whether it’s a student finishing a novel for the first time in their life or writing something that is really important to them. The challenges are the barriers students and teachers face in and beyond the classroom. Education may be a series of personal accomplishments, it may be the unfurling of a larger world but while a competitive ethos strips opportunities and avenues away from all but the most privileged, education as a mission is tarnished by iniquity.

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

I would make schools centres of communities and open to the public. Health and specialist professionals should work within communities of schools and be freely available to all families to ensure all students receive timely interventions in support of their learning needs. I’d also ensure needs based funding was sustained for as long as it’s needed.

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

EduTweetOz brings together a range of individuals across sectors providing snapshots into the complexities within the Australian education sphere. I hope my turn on the account provides insight into some of the complexities within my experiences and understanding of education in Australia.

Batter up! It’s Marco Cimino (@MrMCimino)

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?

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I have been involved in education in a lot of different forms throughout my life. I went to a Catholic primary school, then a Catholic high school, then a Catholic university, then I worked at a University, and then gained employment at a Catholic high school. Whilst I have been heavily involved in Catholic education, I am committed to furthering the cause of education across all sectors and systems. I spoke about why I became a teacher on my blog, but, I will paraphrase it here. On the first block of my practical visits during my Graduate Diploma of Education, I sat in with my supervising teacher during parent-teacher interviews. About half-way through the interviews, a man appeared with his son (an all-boys school in a working-class suburb – my old high school as it were). The boy’s father sat down in front of us, wiped his black, greasy hands onto his mechanic’s tunic and shook both of our hands. The following moment is forever seared into my memory, never to be forgotten, and eternally there to inspire me to be the best educator I can be: at the moment we told him that his son had topped his class, he broke into tears and said in broken English, ‘I have worked 2 jobs for the last 5 years to make sure he doesn’t end up like me: breaking his back to make sure his kids can have the best life.’ That is when the totality of my decision to become a teacher really hit me: This is exactly what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. The rest of my life is to be dedicated to changing the live’s of others. After all, even if I only change the life of one child, then it’ll all be worth it.

I am now a HSIE and RE educator in South-West Sydney, and have worked at a University in the past, acting as the Student Rights Advocate (providing support to students), and also helping the elected student representatives. In 2017, I will be undertaking a few major ‘projects’: I will be the Assistant Year 11 and 12 Coordinator, I will be going back to uni part-time to do my Master in Educational Studies, I will be training to teach VET, and I will also be undertaking a leadership formation program.

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

The students. It’s as simple as that. I am there to serve them. After all, if it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t have a job. I aim to provide them with the best learning experiences they can get. They keep me honest and push me to help them.

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

Rewards: Being responsible for the formation of young minds as they enter the world and become our future leaders. One of my favourite moments is when students approach me either when I am still teaching them, or many years later, and tell me that I helped to make them who they are today (I always assume it’s for the better – it helps my ego).

Challenges: Not really knowing where the world is going: how can we prepare students for the world when we don’t know what’s around the corner. There are trends and fads, sure, but as sure as night follows day, there will be something new on the horizon that we will then need to prepare students for. Trying to stay on top of it all is a challenge.

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

I would like to see an increase in teacher professional development allowances in schools. Something along the lines of 20% of their timetable should be release time to allow them to undertake professional reading, program, or do something that will ultimately benefit their student’s.

I would also like to see (as do many educators) an increase in funding and an increase in the type of technology available to students – along with appropriate training for the teachers on how to use it. After all, the only thing worse than spending money on technology is spending money on technology and then have it sit there because no one knows how to use it.

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

EduTweetOz goes a long way to helping educators connect – as I always say, no educator is an island. Where student learning is concerned, every educator anywhere should be doing whatever they can to help them. I never claim to know all of the answers – sometimes I need to run it by others. 

It is my aim that this week I can engage everyone in a meaningful and respectful debate about education and to help as many people as possible to connect to not only benefit their own professional development, but also their students.

To kick off 2017, please welcome Ben Kirkman (@ben46k)

 

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?

nt38e3eeI have worked in a number of Primary schools across South West Sydney as a mainstream and special education teacher. I have always enjoyed a challenge and have often put my hand up to undertake a variety of roles within the Department of Education. During my career I have undertaken roles as an Assistant Principal, Itinerant Support Teacher Behaviour, Disability Programs Consultant and have worked as a Deputy Principal in two schools. In 2017 I am about to begin a substantive role as Deputy Principal at Prestons PS which is near Liverpool in New South Wales.

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

The three main stakeholders within schools motivate and inspire me. I want to ensure that public education in NSW consists of outstanding teachers and I aim to serve them as part of a supportive executive. I have worked with wonderful staff (teachers, SLSO, Office admin) and their commitment to student learning inspires me.  I want parents of public education students to be proud of the system that their children are educated in and am motivated to ensure that home/school relationships are a priority of the schools that I work in. Lastly, the students are what drive me the most, especially those who require additional support or assistance. I am lucky to say that each day, I drive to work knowing that there is nothing else I would rather do!

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

On a personal note, my biggest reward working in education is seeing that ‘teachers make the difference’ and that in the schools that I have led, student growth is linked to quality teaching and can be backed up by data. I have been fortunate to work with amazing teachers in wonderful schools that each day make life changing differences to students, families and communities.

The biggest challenge for me from a big picture perspective is the national conversation regarding education. (As these conversations often reflect policy).  I have always been interested in words like vision, culture, purpose and why… and I think Australian society in general is often unsure about what they want schools to be. What is innovation? How innovative do we as a society want schools to be? What is fair? What content does society value? What skills drive the workforce? How do you measure engagement? Do we value compliance? To drive conversation around those themes, we need to understand the why… What is our purpose? I think that is a big challenge moving forward that affects policy and decisions that influences how successful we can be.

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

If I had the ability to make changes to the education system my first three priorities would be.

  1. A Pre School attached to each Primary School to support early intervention.
  2. A continuation of or improvement to the Local Schools Local Decisions reform.
  3. A funding model that is sustainable, valued and equitable at a National level.

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

The poisoned chalice of hosting on the last week of the holidays! My intention over the week is to support all educators in beginning 2017 with a growth mindset, inspired to make a difference in students’ lives. I hope to have conversations about instruction, current research, goal setting, relationships and hopefully provide a platform where each contributor can share ideas and thoughts that can support quality instruction and build positive school cultures.

Find out about this week’s host @asteroidproject Damian Marley

 

Please tell us a little about your background in education.
 I’m Principal at Warburton Primary School, a small rural school in the Upper Yarra Valley, 70km east of Melbourne. I’ve been Principal here for the past two years, and prior to that I have been teaching for a decade at three very different Primary schools.

Why did you decide to become involved in education?

I think I was destined to be a teacher, even though I arrived here late. As a big kid I’ve always felt like one of the kids and I find myself inspired by the learning process that young people go through. There’s a lot of teachers and life-long learners in my family, from my grandmother who taught for over 50 years in Primary schools and my dad who taught electrical trades. When I was in VCE, two very influential secondary school teachers advised (and almost implored) me to not get into teaching, and I think I lacked the right kind of confidence when I was younger, so I began a career in retail after graduating with a major in English, working and travelling as an operational auditor. I think I did my job well, but it did nothing for my soul and it slowly became unfulfilling. My decision to go back to university and become a qualified teacher hit me like lightning one day. I was checking the cash contents of a safe in a back room and I suddenly decided to go back to uni and become a teacher. I rang my wife to tell her. She’s a Principal now herself and she said: ‘Go for it.’ I have no regrets at all.

What are some of the roles you’ve had and what does your current role involve?

I’ve taught as a generalist Primary teacher, from Years 2 to 6. I found myself getting involved in the leading of ICT early in my career, and then slowly started thinking about moving into school leadership. I’m a space nerd and book nerd and a lot of that goes into my teaching. My current role as Principal is ever-changing and always complex. There are so many layers to this role and so much movement between one layer and the next, sometimes within a matter of minutes. We’re a small school with 55 students and three classrooms, so I’m not in a position to have assistants or deputies. I rely on our staff and teachers and we really need to be working on the same page and holding a lot of trust in one another. I have a teaching role two days per week, teaching Digital Technologies as a specialist subject, and sharing the Year 4/5/6 classroom teacher role with two part time teachers. I think it’s important to have the Principal in that role of instructional leader and fellow teacher.

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

It’s the kids and their awe and wonder that keeps me motivated. When things get tough in the office, or when we’re in the middle of a crisis (and there’s plenty of those), the thing that grounds me and re-energises me is time in the yard with the students, being at their level as a big kid. My wife Beck is a Principal and I’m so lucky to have support from someone who fully understands the demands of the role. We motivate each other and share ideas. When I see our teachers wanting to learn and grow professionally, it inspires me to keep a firm hand on this train. I like the train metaphor. You get on, you get off, you make connections and you start to wind up the mountains.

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

It’s rewarding to see the huge benefits that come from small changes, such as working on a school-wide culture that values the giving and receiving of feedback. We are always challenged by the uncertainty of funding and the political warfare that circulates around the profession. There is no doubt in my mind that funding, when applies properly, can achieve wonders. For me, extra resources means an extra adult or two who can really make a difference to a child.

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

I would unleash Gonski. I have an imaginary hashtag ready: #Release the Gonski. I would work on lifting the status of the teaching profession to where it belongs. I would work on turning us all into teacher-researchers.

Get to know this week’s host Jenny Ashby

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Get to know this week’s host Jenny Ashby @jjash

Please tell us a little about your background in education.

I have been a  Primary teacher for over 30 years in Bendigo Victoria. I have taught all year levels and specialist areas including library (although no training) ICT (Master in ICT Ed) and Reading Recovery/Literacy for the last 13 years.

Why did you decide to become involved in education?

Teaching was my preferred career path since about grade 2. Must have had a good year that year.  I have continued in education because I believe education can be a life changer.  I also believe everyone should have the opportunity and access to education regardless of their race, gender, SES, health or location.

 What are some of the roles you’ve had and what does your current role involve?

My current role is reading recovery and literacy support.  This sees me working with the hardest to teach children and believing in them so they can learn and develop their literacy skills in both reading and writing.  I am the ICT administrator at my school and have previously coached staff and ran specialist programs. I created a WIM centre last year which stands for Wondering Imagining and Making. This centre is in the library and has activities set up for student to engage with including coding, beebots, robots, lego etc.

I also run minecraft club on a Thursday after school.

I’m a founding member of Slide2Learn, a group of teachers who provide an annual professional development event for teachers about using mobile devices for learning.

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

The children keep me inspired  at school.  Seeing them learn and grow inspires me each day to continue. Also other teachers on twitter inspire me to try new things in my school and to consider and reflect on new ideas.

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

Obviously its the children growing are the biggest rewards.  The hardest thing is working with children with trauma.  Its effecting many of our children in our communities.

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

I’d make NAPLAN less and school level assessment more.  Individual student achievement  should be the priority and where the action is each day.

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

EdutweetOZ can be a place where liked minded people come together and share ideas, inspire, question and discuss all things about learning. This week I’m hoping to focus upon virtual learning.

What is virtual learning?

Why use virtual learning?

How have you used virtual learning?

What are some examples of virtual learning?

Is there a place for virtual learning?

This week’s host: Ben Lannen

Ben

Ben Lannen, an primary school teacher from Melbourne, will be taking over  EduTweetOz account this week. Here are his answers to our five questions:

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 always wanted to be a teacher growing up, my Pa was a principal and always looked up to him. I had some great role models as teachers that also fuelled the passion to one day become a teacher. However my university degree took me towards an enjoyable and successful 5 year career as a Video Game Designer. Eventually, working and learning about engaging teens and kids through the game development process fuelled the fire to begin teaching and thus started my fruitful career as an educator. Along with being a 5/6 classroom teacher, my current role is eLearning ICT Leader. This leadership role oversees the whole school eSmart Safety program, the digital curriculum, our staff and student GAFE implementation along with future planning and maintenance of the school with a digital lens.  

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

Too many to mention, I get inspired easily. I love seeing my students grow in their own individual ways. From academic to well being to sporting to technology, it’s always inspiring seeing a student ‘level up’. Open minded staff and leadership are very motivating, I don’t enjoy doing things repeatedly, unless they are amazing! So to have staff and a leadership team that are open for change and risk taking is hugely motivating.
Global connections through twitter have been so motivating, I look forward to mentioning some of these people during the week.

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

Rewards: Without doubt, the relationships you create with your students. Nothing beats the hourly, daily or termly ‘wins’ you get with your kids and seeing their reaction and what they can achieve.

Challenges: Time. I am constantly trying to find more time to do the things I want to do on top of the things I need to do. Sometimes the things that teachers ‘need’ to do are not always the most important.

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

This could be dangerous! Firsty get rid of NAPLAN. End of story.

Provide an easier way to move disengaged teachers from the system

A bigger emphasis on global education and awareness through the curriculum. We are helping to shape the future generation to make the world a better place.

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

Twitter is an amazing resource for education PD. EduTweetOz is a great concept that centralises it all. I’m very passionate about Global connections and hope to share some upcoming projects in my classroom to make my students more globally aware.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

Looking forward to the week and feel free to follow my Twitter account @bjlannen

Dean Kuran: PYP Educator from Melbourne

This week we’ll be moving  from Western Australia all the way to Melbourne as Dean Kuran takes over the hosting duties for @EduTweetOz. A huge thank you to Mags Lum who shared so much of herself last week.

Dean is a Year 3 teacher at a school in Melbourne, working with the Primary Years Program of the International Baccalaureate. You can follow him on Twitter at @Mr_Kuran

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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 am a Year 3 teacher at an IB-PYP school in Melbourne, Australia. It also happens to be the same school that I attended as a child.

I was lucky to have the opportunity when I finished high school to coach a group of Under 10 basketballers at the club I played at as a junior. From there, I developed a passion for developing the skills of young children. I received a position as an after-school program sports coach and knew that I wanted to become a teacher because I got a thrill out of seeing children solve problems, acquire new knowledge and understandings, learn both independently and as a group, and develop themselves as human beings.

I spent one year as an integration aide before completing my Graduate Diploma of Teaching (Primary) at Deakin, and am now in my third year of teaching.

I am passionate about ICT integration to enhance teaching and learning. In my first year of teaching, I was my school’s ICT Passion Team leader and collaborated other teaching staff to strengthen appropriate ICT usage and develop our students’ skills in independent and collaborative inquiry, research, editing and publishing, networking, and communicating.

I am intrigued by inquiry-based and concept-based learning, collaborative planning processes and am inspired by The School In The Cloud project by Sugata Mitra.

I am blessed to be surrounded by a staffroom full of unique personalities with a wealth of experience and a willingness to succeed.

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

I truly appreciate that every day is a new day in our learning space, and an opportunity to really make a difference in a child’s life.

The late Rita Pierson, in her well-known TED Talk, said, ‘Every child deserves a champion: an adult who will never give up on them, who understands the power of connection and insists they become the best they can possibly be.’

I’m inspired by the creativity, responsibility and tolerance of other educators and am grateful for the way they share their ideas.

I will never, ever be the best classroom teacher in the world, but I will always endeavour to make my students better academically, emotionally and socially.

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

I believe the biggest reward is inspiring students to become life-long learners. As educators we are literally shaping the next generation and the future of our world. Knowing that we as teachers are in a position to inspire, provoke, challenge and bring the best out of children is the biggest reward.

The challenge? Making every minute, every lesson and every day count. The next ‘Aha!’ moment is around the corner.

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

More funding for students with special needs, and giving students more opportunities to be involved in community service.

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 fantastic way to celebrate the diversity of educators around the country. It allows everyday people in the education system to share, connect and challenge the thoughts of others.

I hope the be able to share some of my positive, negative and mind-changing experiences from my time as an educator, and hopefully spark some critical discussion!

Is there anything else you would like to add?

A big thank you to the EduTweetOz moderators for having me on!

Our next host: Mags Lum – Teacher, Chemist, Metallurgist and Writer

We’re delighted to welcome Western Australian STEM teacher, Mags Lum to the EduTweetOz chair this week. With a background in chemistry and metallurgy she brings a unique perspective to education.

MagsLum

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’m a Graduate Teacher in Western Australia. I teach Science and Mathematics at a secondary level. I volunteered as a Peer Tutor in classrooms for just over a decade while I was working as a chemist and metallurgist on various FIFO rosters. I was also involved in many science outreach activities in the community through National Science Week and the WA Museum.

A couple of years ago I decided to formalise my interest with working with people outside of the scientific community and enrolled in a Master of Science Communication and Education. It is through this that I gained a teaching qualification.

Last year was my first year of teaching and that was at Karratha SHS in the Pilbara. I taught a combination of Science and Mathematics. I was also allocated a Year 11 Physics class to teach. It was daunting at first but both of my HOLAs/HODs were incredibly supportive and provided valuable advice when I asked.

This year I will be teaching a combination of Science and Mathematics at Esperance SHS. I am not sure what my load is yet or my timetable. I am looking forward to my time in Esperance.

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

This is going to sound corny and scripted. What keeps me motivated and inspired is good teaching. I’m very much addicted to TED Talks especially the education related ones. I’ve learned so much from them and at the end of a bad day or a horror week, I will sit down and watch one. I find it helps me with self-reflection and finding mechanisms to improve my practice. I’m a Graduate Teacher so I’ve got a lot to learn about teaching.

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

I can’t speak for other people working in education. My biggest reward is that I am in a profession that I enjoy and most days it doesn’t feel like work in the classroom. A close second is the support and relative freedom to improve my practice.

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

If I had this ability I would ask teachers, principals, and parents what they needed and what their visions are for their schools. Then I would help where I could to make their vision a reality. Each school is unique so who am I to bring in a change without asking or the rich experience of people at the coalface.

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

EduTweetOz brings so many different faces of education together and the sharing of ideas has been incredibly enriching. My hope this week is to highlight teaching in regional areas and resilience needed.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

It was an honour to be accepted to be a curator.

You can follow Mags on Twitter @ScientistMags

About this week’s host: Dr. Narelle Lemon

This week sees the start of the school year for most teachers and students across Australia. To keep us company as we go into that journey is Dr. Narelle Lemon who’ll be hosting the EdutweetOz account. Dr. Lemon has a wealth of experience as an arts teacher, a primary teacher, a researcher and a teacher educator.

Here are her answers to our guest questionnaire.

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’m a trained K-12 arts teacher, originally with a music background but now focused on visual arts. I have had the opportunity to work in schools with learners as young as 3 years of age through to VCE in the arts, as well a a stint as a generalist primary school teacher. For the last 8 years I have been working in teacher education in arts education and professional studies focusing on interdisciplinary skills such as reflective practice, cooperative teaching and learning, and the formation of communities of learners. I currently work in the School of Education at La Trobe University and hold the leadership position of Program Leader Teacher Education Primary which sees me working with undergraduate and postgraduate degrees and pre-service teachers training to be primary school teachers. I’m also researching in arts education, social media for professional development, and building teacher capacity with cultural organisations such as museums and galleries.

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

I’m so lucky to have colleagues from a variety of sectors within education who keep me inspired. I’m particularly taken by creative thinkers and people who like to look at challenges with motivation, passion and a sense of “can do”. I do have to say my #PLN on Twitter is one of my most motivating professional communities.

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

The biggest reward of working in education is that we have the opportunity to learn so much everyday from everyone around us. The challenge if for us to acknowledge this and to use the knowledge to continually move forward.

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

I’d like us to a change in how the arts (dance, drama, media, music, and visual arts) are viewed within the education sector of Australia. I would like to see a move forward in understanding just how much the arts as a whole supports all areas of learning and that it should not be one of the first areas to be cut within schools. I wonder how long it will take for us to realise there are so many skills that are transferable to the often more curriculum privileged areas of literacy, numeracy and science?

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 such a wonderful opportunity for a community to celebrate best practice, ideas, and strategies nationally, and indeed internationally. I love that it is such a positive example of how social media can break down physical boundaries to support sharing of content while nurturing relationships, participation, connections, collaborative knowledge making, and conversations  in a mutually respectful way with an education focus. I’m hoping to contribute to this practice.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

So excited about this week and can’t wait to see who connects and what ideas are generated.