There I was, sitting in the school hall listening to our Principal during her welcome back to Term 2, when an overwhelming urge came over me to take out my phone and start tweeting her inspiring messages. But then I remembered – there is a time and a place for tweeting and Teach Tech Play came flooding back.
A prize! For the best tweet! The competition was on – my enthusiasm for the conference was overwhelming for my colleagues at 8am during school holidays but I knew this was going to be excellent PL. The atmosphere was alive with energy and as soon as Eleni stepped on stage to welcome us all, I was back in the learning frame of mind and ready to take risks and try something new.
Alice Keeler brought the room alive with her energy and I completely understood when she said she was feeling like a fluffy pink unicorn dancing on a rainbow. It made me realise that if we, as educators, are passionate and enthusiastic, our students will not only want to learn but also challenge themselves to make the most out of every opportunity. Her videos were engaging and her passion for Google reminded me why I was a teacher – sometimes we need this when we are feeling snowed under with the amount of work we have to do.
I was then ready to head to my first workshop; the hardest part of the two days was choosing where to go without experiencing the fear of missing out! I decided that Mike Reading’s ‘Using Technology Better’ workshop would be relevant to me at the present time and I couldn’t have been more inspired! Mike gave practical advice to ensure that we are using technology appropriately and effectively as a complement to our already strong teaching methods. The ‘Three Pillars’ – Access, Professional Development and Confidence – gave me many ideas to take back to my school and allowed me to reflect on my use of technology in my classroom.
I can’t write a reflection on Teach Tech Play without mentioning the delicious food supplied by Ivanhoe Grammar. The morning tea and lunch provided were a great addition to the conference and it was wonderful to have a space to share ideas with colleagues and meet new people.
Following workshops on day one included a collaborative session hosted by No Tosh where we explored taking on different personas to consider questions from another perspective. This is something I am definitely going to use with my students very soon indeed! Bec Spink inspired me to integrate more coding into my teaching and learning more about Seymour Papert – I see a project coming on! The final workshop of the day – ‘Stop, Collaborate and Listen’ – was an introduction for me to the Microsoft Suite – so much to learn!
The first day ended with another inspirational Key Note – Ryan Trainor and I truly couldn’t believe the day was over. My mind was buzzing with ideas and my phone was well and truly on its last legs with all the tweeting – an early night for me to prepare for another exceptional day.
Day two was certainly not a letdown – dare I say better than day one? Mark Anderson opened the day and once again, I was ready to learn. Mark’s personality added humour, grace and passion to the room with his KISS (keep it simple silly) analogy resonating with me. There were so many ideas from this one-hour session that I was already taking home more than I imagined I would.
Suan Yeo was a definite highlight of the two days for me. Google Expeditions have such potential and I can really see a future for exploring our world first hand. I was truly amazed at the potential and have since purchased five for my classroom in the hope that we can trial some world-wide adventures.
After his inspiring Key Note, I decided to listen to Mark once again and learn about Adobe apps. Wow! The ability to create powerful posts with Adobe Post is such an addition to my already strong ability to communicate with my school community. I then ended the day with two sessions by Alice Keeler – Sheets and Slides. As a recently qualified Google Educator, level one, I wanted to brush up on my skills and advance my learning in order to progress to level two. I wasn’t disappointed.
The day ended with some student digital leaders sharing their experience and the handing out of yet more prizes. Despite not winning the ‘Best Tweet’ prize, I was not disappointed, the conference had exceeded my expectations. I highly recommend that all educators attend this phenomenal conference next year, I know I will be there with bells on!