November 16, 2016
by rcrellin
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The Kids’ Conference Offers Students an Opportunity for Digital Innovation

Our guest blogger is Dr Jo Clyne, History Teachers’ Association of Victoria

The Kids’ Conference was founded in 2011 by Stephen Spain from the Australian Catholic University and Dr Jo Clyne from the History Teachers’ Association of Victoria. It is sponsored by the Australian Catholic University and the Department of Veterans’ Affairs.

Kids conference Carrum PS

In the past, digital technology has been very much the domain of information technology and science teachers. In these classes, students were provided with opportunities to build robots, assemble Dick Smith electronic kits and play Space Invaders. If history teachers felt a bit jealous, they could always be comforted by a resource cupboard full of pottery shards, diorama-making materials and colourful posters of historical figures spouting inspiring quotes.*

Advances in technology have completely reconfigured the educational landscape and the nature of subject-based learning. The integration of digital technology is now the responsibility of all teachers. As a consequence many history teachers struggle to envisage how they can develop the same ease with technology as their scientific colleagues.

In creating the Kids’ Conference, our overarching objective was to provide an opportunity and the inspiration for history teachers and students who wanted to use digital technology more meaningfully in their classes. As seasoned conference delegates and presenters, we knew the value of learning through the sharing of ideas and projects. As a child, I viewed conferences as Very Important Adult Business – but do they need to be?

The premise of the conference was to hold a forum where school students of all ages could present a finished project about history using innovative technology that could be shared beyond the safety of the classroom. The project had to be innovative and about history – and it had to be good.

In the first year we assembled eight primary and secondary students who presented their projects in a two-hour block to a small audience of teachers, pre-service teachers, staff from cultural organisations and academic staff from a cluster of Victorian universities. Six years on, the program is now conducted over a full day with primary students in the morning and secondary students in the afternoon.

How do we define ‘innovative technology’?

After the first year, we realised that teachers and students around Victoria had very different ideas about the concept of ‘digital innovation’. We have since placed a very strict ban on PowerPoint as an ‘innovative technology’. It was mind-blowing in 2004, but in 2016 we can do better

The Kids’ Conference provides students and teachers with a forum to showcase innovative projects, including those involving game coding, app development, Minecraft, augmented reality and the use of techniques and applications such as green screening, Puppet Pals, Book Creator and stop motion.

A favourite conference moment was when a senior student demonstrated the notetaking app he had developed to help his class study for a VCE history exam, and teachers began to immediately download it onto their phones. A winning scenario for the historically-minded student entrepreneur.

What could go wrong?

Organising conferences with student presenters can sometimes be a challenge. What if they get stage fright? What if they cry? What if their digital project doesn’t load properly? Will the students travelling from regional areas get to the conference venue on time? What if presenters are subjected to non-constructive criticism from the audience? Is it fair to ask students to stand up in front of an audience – a concept many adults struggle with?

Stephen and I were both justifiably nervous when our youngest presenter, all of seven years old, stepped up to the lectern. However, our fears were unfounded – she sailed through her content with the confidence of a professor emeritus. Indeed, I still show her presentation at teacher professional development training.

Do participants enjoy it?

Our conference evaluation forms from that first year were extremely simple – they included three thought bubbles or ‘sound bites’ and a question: ‘What did you think of the Kids’ Conference?’. However, the response from both students and audience members provided the sort of positive feedback required to know that we were on the right track.

‘I’ve never been more excited to use technology in the history classroom. See you next year!’

‘An inspiring student-led experience…not to miss!’

‘As a pre-service teacher this is the perfect day to demonstrate creativity and best practice in the history classroom.’

‘Very informative regarding what technology students are finding most beneficial to their learning.’

‘Hearing from both primary and secondary students was priceless. It’s great to see growth through the age groups.’

‘Who are these students? Where do they come from? They are the world’s future leaders and they come from our classrooms. Very impressive students.’

‘So great to hear kids excited about history.’

‘Made me think creatively about setting assignments and assessment tasks.’

‘Can’t wait to bring some of these ideas to my own classroom!’

‘A great experience for teachers and students to share learning.’

‘Learning first hand from other students was inspirational.’

‘Positive reinforcement of teachers as well as students.’

‘Audience was really engaging and supportive.’

Six years later and the evaluation form is still exactly the same. We’ve continued to use the format for other combined student/adult events. We’re also yet to receive a single negative comment about the conference. It seems to bring out the best in both presenters and the audience.

Is it worth it?

Some of the highlights for me have been a student presenter who shared details of her learning disability with the audience as a preamble to showcasing her project. Because her disability made it difficult for her to write fluently, making a film allowed her to express her ideas. Her point was that technology had allowed her to excel in history, where in the analogue classroom she might have been dismissed as ‘not good at history.’

Each year we have students with disabilities – such as those with Asperger’s syndrome, a condition that can affect their learning and communication – participating in the conference. These students find their voice through technology and the conference empowers them, along with students from our gifted and talented program who appreciate the opportunity to spread their wings. ESL students have also featured heavily in our program.

Full disclosure: the Kids’ Conference is messy and unpredictable to organise. But every year after the last student speaker has finished and received their framed certificate we think ‘yes, this is worth it’ and start planning for the next year.

Click here to register if you would like to attend the 2016 Kids’ Conference. Students and pre-service teachers can attend for free, but they still need to register online.

*I actually really love pottery shards, diorama and historical posters.

Dr Jo Clyne
Manager of Education and Consultancy
History Teachers’ Association of Victoria
Twitter @joclyne1
joclyne@htav.asn.au

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July 29, 2014
by rcrellin
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ICT: It’s Everywhere

Last week I was invited to attend the Campaspe Cohuna Local Learning and Employment Network (CCLLEN) ICT forum for Year 9 students at Kyabram P-12 College. This interactive even featured young ICT professionals, higher education and industry representatives providing real insights into ICT studies and careers. Technology in areas ranging from games, robotics, applications and what drives a computer, were featured in a fun and interactive way.Kyabram ICT Day3

Students participated in a series of hands-on workshops and found out about qualifications, skills and interests that are vital to succeed in many aspects of the ICT sector including:

  • Robotics from La Trobe University
  • Game Making from GOTAFE
  • Software and app development La Trobe University
  • Computer repairs and maintenance from Advance Computing, KyabramKyabram ICT Day1
  • Multimedia cartooning from Splatoon Cartoons, Beechworth

The event was in good hands with a year 10 student being MC for the day; and students enjoyed the Q&A panel featuring three young people working in ICT industry.

The event was a great example of schools connecting with local industry and educator providers. It also showcased how engaged students are listening to other young people.

For more information contact CCLLEN: http://www.ccllen.com.au/contact-us.html

Local newspaper story: ICT 2014 Ky Free Press

Kyabram ICT Day4 Kyabram ICT Day2

 

 

 

 

 

CCLLEN

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July 16, 2014
by rcrellin
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National ICT Careers Week

2014 NICTCW logo banner

Each year during National ICT Careers Week, organisations and groups across Australia present an activity or event to encourage young people to consider studying ICT after their schooling and to consider a career in ICT.

What is happening in Victoria?

digital_learning_showcase_postcard-smaller_0

Digital Learning and Teaching Victoria are hosting the Digital Learning Showcase.

WHO:   Prep – Year 12 students

WHEN:  9am – 1pm Thursday, 24 July 2014

WHERE: Swinburne University of Technology, Hawthorn Campus

Bookings are essential – register via the DLTV website

View full program

ICT: IT’S EVERYWHERE

A free, intereactive event for Year 9 students.

Features young ICT professionals, higher education and industry representatives providing real insights into ICT studies and careers. Technology in areas ranging from drones, games, robotics, applications, what drives a computer, graphic design and the dairy industry will be featured in a fun and interactive way. Students will participate in a series of hands-on workshops and learn about qualifications, skills and interests that are vital to succeed in this booming global sector.

Details: Kyabram P-12 College,  Wednesday 23 July 9:00am – 3:10pm

ICT its everywhere Student flyer

More Information on ICT Careers

Video from Youth Central, which has a great interactive page: www.youthcentral.vic.gov.au/jobs/ict 

National ICT Careers Week Key messages:

  • ICT is about working with people, solving problems, finding solutions and making a difference to peoples’ lives
  • ICT is a truly global career – your work in ICT can take you around the world
  • ICT offers cool jobs, earning awesome money with a great lifestyle
  • ICT creates opportunities for entertainment

National ICT Careers Week marketing material including messages for parents and students.

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June 5, 2014
by rcrellin
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H.O.T.T. Team

IMG_0169 HOTTOur guest bloggers this week are the H.O.T.T. Team students from Horsham West and Haven Primary School (thanks to Ben Miatke)

At the end of 2011, Horsham West and Haven Primary School moved away from specialised ICT teaching, opting instead for the integration of ICT use in the classroom alongside other learning areas. To assist teachers in this change, a student leadership team, called ‘The H.O.T.T Team’ was created.

What is the H.O.T.T. Team?

The H.O.T.T. Team stands for ‘Helping Others Through Technology.’ The team is designed to help younger students from Years 1-3 further develop skills in using technology and give the teachers more experience for future classes. The members come from the Year 5-6 group and need to apply and prove that have what it takes to be part of the team.

In 2013, the team was quite small with only 10 members and focusing on Years 1-2. This year, there are 17 members and due to the bigger team, we having expanded to Years 1-3, much to the excitement of the Year Three teachers and students.

The Application Process

To get into the H.O.T.T team we have to send our teacher Mr Miatke some reasons why we think we could teach younger people and some of our technology skills and devices we use and feel we could teach. Since Mr. Miatke was the IT teacher, he also knew how good we were with technology as well.

Our Training Process

 “We have training weekly, being taught what to do when a child is being naughty, how to plan things, how to give rewards properly and fairly, how to make things fun and to be confident in front of a group of children. This has been great because some of us were a bit nervous about teaching and worried about naughty students.”

What we actually do

 The H.O.T.T. Team members work in pairs with one class. They have regular meetings with the teacher from the class, ensuring there is full understanding of what is being taught, plan the sessions, organise days and times to teach and the best way the team members can teach the students, or which students they should work with. For example, all classes have kids with different skills in ICT and the members need to understand what skill level of the students they are to work with. Once they have done this, they teach small groups of around 3-6 students in the focus program for around usually 30mins. The members have to be patient but firm with the students and all the members have different ways to control the behaviours of their students. Some strategies for the H.O.T.T. Team use to control and reward students we teach are ‘Big Bucks,’ group points, mini prizes and lollies. They work well and we haven’t really had any problems so far.

The positives and negatives of the H.O.T.T Team

In the H.O.T.T. Team there are more positives than negatives. One of the positives is that we get to help kids that do not know some things about technology, which is great. One of the things that can get in the way though is that some kids play up and don’t listen, which means that other students have to wait for them to get it right and we have less time to teach the others. Being in the H.O.T.T. Team will be great to put on our résumé and help us get a job in the future. Another positive is that we get an awesome T-Shirt that we get to wear on the days that we teach, it makes us feel special and people ask us about what it is like.

More information:  Contact Ben Miatke at Horsham West and Haven Primary School on (03) 5382 1285 or email  miatke.benjamin.p@edumail.vic.gov.au

http://hwhpshott.global2.vic.edu.au/

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April 9, 2014
by rcrellin
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Students leading the way

Schools can empower students to help build the capacity of their peers, staff, and the wider school community in the use of digital technologies by providing and promoting ICT leadership opportunities and by showcasing students’ digital work.

By training ICT mentors and student experts, or encouraging students to work alongside their teachers and help them learn new skills, schools give students recognition and positive attention and help them develop a positive profile as tech savvy kids.

Victorian schools are already exploring options for students to assist in the development and leadership of digital learning policies.

  • What can teachers do to encourage students to mentor and support each other and their teachers to use technology?
  • How can students contribute to the professional learning of their teachers?
  • Why would teachers involve students in planning and decision-making?
  • How can student skills and understandings in the use of technology be leveraged to supplement technical support processes already in place?
  • How do online tools and spaces support student reflection and learning?
  • How do collaborative learning spaces support students to connect, collaborate and co-create knowledge?

Competitions

  • Nominations for the 20th national iAwards are now open to all segments of the ICT industry. The iAwards honour the achievements of the student and the school through state and national exposure.
  • ACMI’s Screen It is Australia’s national film, animation and game making competition for school-aged students. Designed to encourage imagination and inventiveness in primary and secondary school students.
  • Trop Jr is a filmmaking competition and free outdoor festival for kids 15 years and younger.
  • The Australian Teachers of Media (ATOM) Awards celebrate the best of Australian and New Zealand screen content from the education sector and screen industry professionals.
  • RoboCupJunior Australia is a project-oriented educational initiative that supports local, regional and international robotic events for young students.
  • Young ICT Explorers is a technology competition for primary and secondary students to submit their best ICT project. This competition is sponsored by SAP, Group X, NICTA and Swinburne University. It aims to inspire creativity and innovation while encouraging students to consider a career in ICT.

Leadership Events

  • The Global Education Conference is a collaborative, inclusive, world-wide community initiative involving students, educators, and organizations at all levels. It will take place online from 17 – 22 November 2014.
  • The Digital Demons – Playing by the Rules program saw elite footballers and Year 9 students discuss how they can behave safely and responsibly online.
  • EcoCentre Education team members can visit schools and inspire students to reconnect with their local environment through creating, installing and monitoring nest-box homes for wildlife.
  • Adobe Youth Voices is the Adobe Foundation’s signature philanthropy initiative empowering young people to ‘Create with Purpose’.
  • Kids Congress is an award winning technology and learning conference for 9-12 year olds. The conference challenges the digital generation and their teachers to take part in fun, problem-solving workshops using cool software and technology. What’s unique about this event is that it’s run by kids, for kids.

More Resources

Kids Congress Bendigo

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