Learning is....
Planting a seed in our brain... learning to water, nurture and grow it.... so we can live on the fruit of our learning and plant more seeds.

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Teachers Matter Conference 2015: Simply the Best

Last week I went to the Teachers Matter conference, Simply the Best, at the Novotel in Rotorua.  This conference is hosted by Karen Boyes of Spectrum Education, a leading advocate of Habits of the Mind in New Zealand.  This was my first formal PLD (professional learning development) of 2015.

One of the things that I found different about this conference were the number of 'connected' people there were in the room compared to going to a ULearn or and Educamp.  It seemed like I was only one of five people tweeting at the beginning.  Maybe there were eight tweeters by the end, but they were not very prolific.  I was tweeting out as much as could hit me, as well as participating in many other Twitter conversations on a variety of discussions at the same time.

It seems to me that we still have a very large group of teachers who are still not technology savvy and are still far more comfortable with pen and paper.  While I strongly believe pen and paper still has its place, we are teaching the future of our country, and they need technology capable teachers. 

I did wonder at times if people considered me rude to be tapping away on my tablet constantly.  But at ULearn or Educamps this is the norm.  Connected teachers are sharing their learning with their VLN (virtual learning network) and having discussions with people who are not present in the room as well as those who are.

Part of the conference really focused on encouraging teachers to engage their learners, but some of the presenters need to work on that themselves.  Others were great.  They got you up and moving, or stopped to allow controlled discussion in your group on a set of questions.  Some had hand outs, which I considered to be valuable.

Steve Gurney was an outstanding speaker in my opinion.  Firstly, if you are a New Zealander and you don't know even half of what Steve has achieved in his multi-sport career, then you must have lived under a rock!!  He is a legend of his own time. 

And his stories were real.  He talked of failure being the biggest part of his success, along with perseverance and creativity.  Steve talked about how important risk is to the development of our students and young people. 

Steve was definitely a highlight and his workshop about rapport was interesting too.   He made an effort to walk his talk by getting us to abandon and move the tables and sit in a semicircle to enhance his message.

Michael McQueen (http://michaelmcqueen.net/) was also a stand out speaker.  He spoke on generations.  We are now teaching Generation Alpha, and he described the differences between them and the other generations: baby boomers, Generations Y and Z.  He also described some trends to come and gave some sage advice on dealing with Gen Alpha and their parents who have a Vitamin NO deficiency.

I had the opportunity to join a round table discussion with him later in the morning where we discussed strategies and theories and experiences in regards to Gen Alpha and the differences with the other generations.  Michael came across very genuine and was an engaging speaker.

The other workshops that stood out for me was the Habits of the Mind workshop with Karen Boyes (@karenboyes) and the Leadership workshop with Megan Gallagher (@buttonsmeg99).  Both these ladies used the art of small group quick chats expertly.  Karen is very good at taking the visual learner with you on a journey.  Meg's ideas on leadership were a breath of fresh air, or though we may disagree on aspects of staffroom culture. 

Below is my Storify of the tweets from the Teachers Matter conference.  I have headed each group of tweets with who the speaker is or who is taking the workshop.

Sadly, Storify has deleted itself from the Social Media scene, so all my Storify stories have gone.  😭😭😭😭😭

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing your reflection Melanie, I haven't got to writing mine yet but it is coming. I appreciate your feedback and love that we can disagree on things, robust discussion and discourse is how we can grow in this profession :) All the best for a brilliant year and I reckon that the conference has been a pretty good way to start.