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Future Schools – Day 2:

Today’s sessions overall didn’t inspire me quite as much, though I still made some good connections, had some good conversations and heard and saw a lot of interesting approaches (and the wifi was good!).

The highlights for me were a session from Sacred Height College and their Real World Project based approach that was in some ways the most novel I have ever heard of – some great ideas to follow-up on. Will come back to this.

And the other highlight for me was on the Jaycar stand, namely Tobbie The Robot – Hexapod Kit.tobbie

Check it out here:

It’s only $50, runs on a Micro:bit and uses Blocky Coding – I can’t wait to introduce this to some of our students. I think it would be a great activity for the Junior School especially!

I’ll now give a brief overview of some of the other highlights in no particular order.

Matt Fyfield on Youtube:  Many teachers use Youtube, or at least Clickview or TeachED, or TED.com,  etc. Matt did some research for his PhD on the use of video in the classroom and his findings are very much worth noting.

He gives just 6 main points to be aware of including not to show videos longer than 6 minutes. Some data analytics has shown that, while viewers can maintain 100% focus on a video for 1-2 mins; it’s down to 90% for 3-6 minutes; only 40% for 6-9 and 22% for 9-12.

If you need to show more than 3-6 minutes, break it up every 3-6 minutes and ask relevant questions or do relevant activities before continuing. See his article on this research here: https://www.monash.edu/education/teachspace/articles/6-ways-to-use-video-effectively-in-class

Dr Vanessa Pirotta, a Marine Biologist, from Macquarie University loves studying whales and uses specially designed drones (when auto-opening petrie dishes to collect whale snot! Just goes to show that with a bit of imagination new technologies can be used in fascinating ways to learn new things that were not previously possible. Believe it or not, learning about what is in a whales sprouting (it’s not just water) is important in helping to protect this species.

Amanda Third, a Principal Research Fellow for the Institute For Culture And Society at Western Sydney University shared some interesting research on young people’s use of social media and how important it is to them. She highlighted the need to therefore protect them online while not curtailing what is now a very vital part of their relational world.

I met the CEO of a new Australian start-up that is using AI’s deep learning algorithm in an attempt to help teachers and parents keep abreast of what their children/students are doing online and, in turn, try to help them develop ‘appropriate’ online approaches and behaviours  – read a little about Visible Internet here.

There were a few presentations from the Australian Computing Academy (ACA). For example, Prof James Curran spoke on the development of the ACARA Digital Technologies curriculum (he was one of the co-authors) and in particular emphasised the 10 key concepts.

10 key concepts.PNG

Amanda Hogan, now also from the ACA, presented some very good ideas on the use of Mirco:bits in the Digital Technologies curriculum.

See her presentation here: https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1TeQkVXKbIZ6wyH8KUfZUWCOiknY0qT5AO80OV7THF8w/edit#slide=id.g54f1a05c74_0_6 and Micro Fishing: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=437Ajl-4cGs and Squishy Circuits – Sylvia’s Mini Maker Show: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UDZo51k2BWQ&feature=youtu.be&t=5m19s

Laura Bain from just down the road at Springfield Anglican is doing some great work with AR and VR in the Primary years – she gave a short presentation on how to use the Windows 10 tools Paint 3D & Mixed Reality Viewer  for some very engaging lessons and also to make some surprising real world connections

Michael Ha from Hillcrest College on the Gold Coast at Burleigh presented an interesting and helpful skills framework from the UK – see https://www.hillcrest.qld.edu.au/news/secret-skills-uk-study-tour

And https://learningbyladders.files.wordpress.com/2014/04/pbyp-secret-skill-ladders-with-one-per-page.pdf

Ravenswood School for Girls https://www.ravenswood.nsw.edu.au/ are doing some very impressive work in the use of 360 degree VR with an Australian start-up VRTY https://vrty.io/ is would be well worth following up on and perhaps leading the way with this in Queensland. Some case studies here https://vrty.io/vr-case-studies/

It was also great to see Foundation of Young Australians (fya.org.au) have a stand in the exhibition. Their ground breaking research on the new work mindset and ‘job clusters’ needs to have much greater exposure, as it is so important in helping guide our school students into viable and valuable career paths.

As I mentioned earlier Adam Cole the Science Coordinator at Sacred Heart College introduced his schools unique approach to PBL. His students has been involved in some really innovative projects from Wearable Technology projects to creating the longest DNA double helix structure in the world at  61.377m long. They did a data analytics Property Prices Project that found that properties in streets with silly names were typically worth 20% less than surrounding street properties (effectively around $40k less!).

Adam Francis did a great session on ‘The 9 elements of a successful STEAM program’:

There’s much more, but that’s all I have time for right now – I leave you with some interesting statistics to reflect on:



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