During the recent ACEL conference I was fortunate enough to be part of the #aussieED team who ran the workshop on, Using Hashtags and Social Media to Power Professional Development.  I wish to thank Michael Krawec who nudged me in the direction of the ACEL conference. It was great to see some of the Sydney CEO members of the widespread #aussieED team run a workshop for ACEL. As part of our workshop I committed to creating a ‘storify-artefact’ of the event and other key takings from the first day of the conference.

 

Here is the link  https://storify.com/MRsalakas/acelconf15

 

Please feel free to utilise this link as resource in any way which in you see fit, as mentioned in the #aussieED workshop, teachers (be they new scheme teachers or leaders) may use such evidence as artefacts to go towards the AITSL teaching standards. I hope you find it a useful tool. I must say I was blown away by the amazing words shared by @robertsonjan during the #aussieED ‘Hashtags’ workshop. To have such an esteemed educator as Jan Robertson, not only value your work but publicly highlight the effectiveness of it and the role it will play in the future of education, was inspiring. Thank you so much Jan.

 

As I reflect upon my time at the ACEL conference there are a few thoughts and highlights  that I leave with.

 

I thoroughly enjoyed hearing @AlmaHarris1  and her keynote talk.  I found it very refreshing to see her challenge the ‘status quo’ of  putting up the PISA results on some sort of international pedestal.  Alma suggested we need to look at the context of each country and the way in which it analyses its data to achieve its given results.  Alma quoted a principal from Singapore who said, “What works in Singapore works because we are Singaporean.”  As a teacher who spent many years teaching in South East Asia, particularly Singapore I can give a first hand account of how many of the procedures and expectations that are commonplace there would falter and be untenable in Australia. Here the lesson clearly is the cultural context of the environment in which you desire to change educational policy must be reflected in a country’s official policies. Strategies which take that culture into account are likely to be more successful than ones that are simply transplanted from another part of the world and dumped on teachers and students. As Drucker says, ‘Culture eats strategy for breakfast.”

 

I found it  interesting to hear that many of the highest achieving countries, particularly those Scandinavian countries that we hear so much about, do not include migrants or rural students in their PISA data.  Automatically this skews the results.  Clearly something that we need to be aware of when making judgements about what works in other systems.

 

Alma made me think, but she also made me giggle she bookended her keynote presentation  with rugby references.  Both times I tweeted out that Alma must be singing hymns and arias,  unfortunately my little humorous tweets seemed to go over the head of many non-Welsh rugby fans.  One of my favourite personal triumphs of the conference was being able to briefly sing a rendition of ‘Hymns and Arias’ with Alma at the ACEL award ceremony. If only I had broadcast it live via Periscope!

 

It would be remiss of me not to mention the award ceremony at the ACEL conference. It was  tremendous to see so many educators in one room celebrating the achievements of our colleagues.  So often we talk about the need to have heroes and role models.  On the weekend we saw sporting heroes from Hawthorne, the Wallabies and, Johnathan Thurston leading the Cowboys to victory.  We hear of heroes in many areas of life, however, rarely do we acknowledge those who make a difference to our learning.  Australia is known as the lucky country.  But the truth is, you make your own luck!  If that’s the case, we need to be on the forefront of learning so that we are able to create and generation upcoming Australians who can take on the world and achieve greatness.  To do this the education sector needs its own heroes and its own role models.  
My hat goes off to ACEL for continuing this tradition and making inroads into the culture of acknowledging educators for their achievements.  I would like to specially acknowledge one of my Co-presenters @ZeinaChalich who was awarded the New Voice scholarship.  Well done Zeina. I know your family are very proud of you, the #aussieED team are very proud of you,  and as your friend I hope you continue to use your voice to champion the educational causes that you feel so passionate about.

 

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About The Author

Primary & Executive Teacher
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Founder #aussieED | Primary Teacher – 1:1 Educator | Google Certified Teacher | Speaker | Committed to turning Ed Theory into real classroom practice

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