07 Apr National Future Schools 2018 – Rose’s Recap
What an intense couple of days! The National Future Schools expo and conferences ran over the 21-22nd of March and consists of an exhibition and five conferences designed to tackle different areas of the future school:
- Future Leadership
- Young Learning
- Learning support and inclusive education
- Teaching about and using emerging technologies
- STEM, coding, robotics and the new digital curriculum
One of the main highlights for many at this conference was the keynote speaker: Sir Ken Robinson, most famous for his TED talk titled: ‘Do Schools Kill Creativity’, Sir Ken is an internationally recognised authority in creativity and innovation in education. He spoke about how children are naturally great at learning but not all are great at education, which highlights some fundamental problems with how we teach in a traditional classroom. One of his points was that schools do not have to be the way we all imagine they are.
He also spoke about the role technology plays sometimes disrupting the current education system and how it is helping to facilitate new and creative forms of learning. We have seen this first hand working with schools to integrate technology to create transformative experiences and provide learning opportunities for some of these students who are not good at traditional learning.
He also stressed that teachers need to embrace new things and the fear of not knowing all the answers. We are great believers in having a growth mindset and this quote from Sir Ken got it in one.
“Learning and teaching is a conversation and teachers don’t have to know everything… the great teachers are also students”
The conference I chose to attend was STEM, coding, robotics and the new digital curriculum. There was more content then I can recap in one blog- some old favorites like Growth Mindset principals and SAMR theory plus a lot of new thoughts and theories to incorporate into my teaching.
One thing I did take away was the discussion around introducing students to coding by showing them what it looks like in a physical way- sequencing in making a Vegemite sandwich, physically demonstrating input and output with writing out sets of instructions. Doing this before moving onto block based coding with fancy robotics gives some context and deepens understanding.
The other important discussion that I wanted to pass on was concerning the devices your school chooses to invest in when they begin to introduce coding. Robots such as Beebots are limited as the designers have already set the outcomes- so if you want to move up the SAMR ladder and have students retell the narrative through coding a robot- you can’t! Once you give students an open ended device, like sphero, the possibilities are endless. Coding does not have to be it’s own subject- get the students to code the robot through a maze where it has to go to different countries, design an obstacle, 3D print it and code the robot to go around it. It’s all about making the most of your robots, and integrating technology for a better experience.
Future Schools was an amazing experience that will help inspire my teaching and learning for the year to come!