I spent the last 2 days at the ACER Excellence in Professional Practice Conference 2013.
Overall it was a good experience for me. The best part about conferences is the face-to-face contact and discussions that result from being in the same location with the same focus. It has been my experience that teachers are often too busy to actually meet-up and discuss Educational issues and/or my teaching progression if it is not during or around a set professional experience time frame. So given that I am an Online student it is an advantage for me when I get the opportunity to talk to teachers and other teacher students.
I especially enjoyed Anne Mirtschin‘s presentation that highlighted all of the wonderful ICT integration that she has included in her teaching, especially connecting her classrooms with other classrooms & professionals around the world. I already knew that Anne was an inspirational teacher from what I’ve read from her website, blog and through Twitter, so it was wonderful to have the opportunity to have lunch with her too. 🙂
There was also an interesting presentation by Donna Evans about teacher self-efficacy and embracing change. I also enjoyed the presentation by Daniel Buttacavoli and Sean Collins regarding their school’s progress with implementing robust curriculum that focused on pedagogy and driven by National Teacher Standards.
We hear a lot about the need for our Education system to catch up with our technology-driven economy by embedding ICTs in an integrated and authentic way in lessons. Yet, we still go to the same type of conference model. I enjoyed the lectures at this conference; however, I would have preferred more small group discussions if they were available. I was also surprised at the heavy use of PowerPoint by most presenters. The conference encouraged that you Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) and also promoted the use of Twitter. Personally I found the Twitter contribution to be very low considering the number of people attending this event; plus, many of the tweets were from teacher-students! Have a read of Tom Whitby’s recent post for further thoughts on the inconsistency between how teachers are expected to teach today and the type of conferences that teachers attend.