Discoslure: My attendance at FutureSchools 2017 was under a media pass provided by the organisers.
My original plan for the final session of FutureSchools 2017 had been to see three speakers. Immediately after the break, Narissa Leung in the ClassTech conference speaking about being the change for technology in the classroom, Sally Wood and SImone Segat in the Teaching Kids to Code stream speaking about being inspired by curiosity and passion to integrate the Digital Technologies curriculum, and then finishing out with Renee Coffee speaking about Indigenous Education. That was before heading out for dinner with Michael Ha and some of his professional learning network, striking up friendships with a number of them. Chatting to Melissa Bray from Adelaide during FutureSchools, she was wanting some way to watch her own presentation after the fact to see how she went and what she could do to improve her presentation, so I offered to Periscope it for her straight after the final break.
I have to confess that I did not expect to gain anything from Melissa's presentation on a professional level. Melissa works in an Early Years Learning context, whilst I am Primary trained, but now working in a vastly different context, dealing mainly with secondary schools, with some K-12 schools thrown in to keep me on my toes.
I could not have been more wrong.
What Melissa and her colleagues are accomplishing with their students was inspirational and incredibly challenging. What they are achieving with their students means that those teaching at the Infants/Primary/Secondary level in their school really need to step up their game as when these students come through they will not accept just doing some coding or some movie-=making as they are used to much more. It goes to show that what many people have said, that students are capable of much more is very much the case, if we only get out of their way, to a degree.
The conversations that Melissa was relating to us that the students were engaging with, of their own accord, around gender, intelligence, the way that the computer and the Nao robot talked to each other, were incredible and as the father of a seven-month-old, terrifying. I will need to step up my game to have Youngling ready to deal with concepts like those Melissa's students were addressing. I definitely recommend watching Her presentation, irrespective of what age group you currently teach.
After Melissa's presentation, I was intending on heading to the Teaching Kids to code stream to see Sally and Simone present, however, when I arrived discovered that the final session in the agenda for that conference had already begun. I am not sure what happened there, so instead, I made the decision to head to the FutureLeaders stream and stay there for the remaining sessions, which I will address in the next article.
If you have missed any of the previous articles in the FutureSchools 2017 series, you can find them here.