Dear Kathy…

I wrote this blog entry in response to a Facebook post by former teacher, Kathy Margolis, that was later featured on news.com.au and the Courier Mail.

It was originally posted in February 2016 and shared over 36, 000 times. Here I am more than six months later and while I may only be one voice out of 36, 000, I am a voice. This post is always coming up in my feeds online and I wanted to share my thoughts.

This is an open letter to Kathy and to educators everywhere.

Dear Kathy,

Congratulations on a 30-year career in education. What an amazing achievement. I am sure that there are hundreds of children you have touched and who have been positively impacted on from you being their teacher. What a special job we have to be able to do just that.

I don’t write this to cause a fuss or to create arguments, I agree with a lot that was in your letter, but definitely not all…so when I read posts splashed through the media and posted in my social media feeds, written on “my behalf”, I am compelled to speak up. I do write this post to hopefully give you and those who have read your letter another perspective.

I am an educator, and while my 7 years and 6 months might not remotely compare to your thirty…I have packed a lot into those 7 years. And, I have a lot to say.

I need to start with your comment about consolidating basics and that “every teacher will tell you that the early years should be about the 3 R’s”.

I wouldn’t.

I’ve never much liked that saying anyway…I think still using it makes a mockery of our profession, especially since we all know that writing and arithmetic don’t actually start with the letter r. That aside, I think it is contradictory when you say that Prep teachers are no longer allowed to run play based programs because they are too busy “teaching children sight words and how to read and write” and then follow up with the importance of teaching the 3Rs in the early years.

My school has a wonderfully rich discovery, play-based program in the early years, built on students learning through social play, their own curiosities, and designing, making and building. The teachers’ guide and question when needed, provide the foundation for oral language development and focus on developing students to be curious thinkers, questioners, and researchers…all in a child’s first year of school. Early literacy development and reading and writing skills are a natural progression from this.

Yes, they also learn about history and geography…even science and technology. This is built through their own questions, wonderings and discoveries, and our belief in children learning through inquiry.

They do not learn about these areas in ‘subjects’.

They do not sit at their tables all day and learn sight words or complete maths worksheets.

They do not solely focus on learning the 3Rs.

They do however become excited and curious about the world.

Our world has changed. By focussing on the ‘3Rs’ alone, we’re robbing children of a full, well-rounded education that will allow them to be active participants in the rapidly changing world that we are living in.

I also disagree that we have an ‘over crowded’ curriculum. You see, as a believer in learning through inquiry, I have come realise that not segregating the curriculum into ‘subjects’ allows for so many more intuitive pathways. I do believe that discipline-based learning still has a place, but I believe it is how schools and educators go about it that matters. When I first started teaching, I did what I was told, had ‘subjects’…but slowly and surely, the more I learned, the more I reflected on how my students were learning…not what they were learning, things changed. I realised how my change in approach to teaching and learning actually covered more of the curriculum than I could have ever tried to plan for. For me ‘curriculum’ has become something that we check against, not something that we plan to ‘cover’.

You go on to discuss an over crowded classroom and being “told” that we must differentiate in order to cater for individual students. For me, that is not something I am told. It is something I believe in. Isn’t this exactly what education should be? I wholeheartedly agree that many teachers feel guilt when faced with the pressures of so many different needs in a classroom, we lay awake at night wondering if we’ve done enough. I don’t think that is just a sign of system pressures alone, I think it is a sign of a human being that cares deeply about the development of a child in their care.

You say we need to “claim back” our profession but we are powerless. I do not think we are powerless. We are the ones who can make the biggest difference. We have a voice. You used yours. I only wish that instead of focussing on all the negative that you focussed on the good too, even just some of it. The innovative. The contemporary. Showed the media, parents and the wider community how amazing being an educator can be, how thrilling it is when you witness children learning and have been an integral part of that journey. If we want to change our profession we need to have that voice. And there is far more good in our education system than bad. Yet all everyone seems to talk about is the bad.

You say that you could no longer watch as the joy was “sucked” out of learning. There is one person who could have changed that. You.

I think you were so brave to admit that you can no longer be a teacher because it requires you to go against your philosophy- although, from your post, I’m not too clear on what that philosophy is. It takes huge amounts of courage to not only admit that to yourself but to do so in such a public way. Sometimes I get so frustrated when I meet and work with educators who have a philosophy that differs to mine. It is hard. But I often remind myself that just because it is my belief and my philosophy, does not mean it is right for everyone or right in all circumstances.

You see, I don’t believe that ‘loving’ children has ever been enough for one to become an educator. Neither do I think ‘passion’ is the answer. It is so much more than that. In fact, I’m not even sure I have the words to explain what education means to me. Loving children is not enough.

I believe that educators need to love to learn themselves. If they are not learners first, can they really give what is needed to teach?

I believe that educators should be enthralled by not only the art of teaching but the science. The theory. The method. The history. The academic. Without both, how could they truly reflect on what it really means to educate?

I believe that educators need to know that their work will be hard. That yes, there are many things in our system that need improving but like many other jobs, it is hard. What I also want them to know, as they ponder the last point, is that is it is so indescribably and unbelievably worth it.

I am not denying that there are problems with our education system. There are many, so many. And I am not denying that the things you mentioned do not happen in schools. But I will deny that this is the case in all schools. And, I will deny that your point of view is not the view held by all educators. The media constantly reports on the negative points in education and what teachers and the system should do and your post has played right into their hands.

There are schools and educators out there that are pushing the boundaries of the traditional system, that are asking questions, that ARE making change. Let’s share and celebrate those stories. The more we can do of that, the more others will notice, perceptions will change. If you disagree with the last sentence, then I am so happy you have chosen a different career pathway. The minute I become cynical or pessimistic about the work I do is the minute I will know it is time to move on. I hope it never happens.

If we as educators do not believe that change will occur and are not prepared to put in the work to make that change happen, then why should we expect others to do it for us? Shouldn’t we come together rather than stand apart?

We can be the change.

I wish you well in where ever your next career journey takes you.

Bec

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Small Talk

Last week I had to call RACV for some help with my car. The man that arrived was very polite and friendly, excellent customer service. We got chatting, as you do in those situations. Just small talk. He asked what I did. I said I was a teacher. Oh, his wife was a teacher- instant connection. He seemed quite happy sharing small talk about what a great job it is, keeps you busy, again still very polite. He asked what year level I taught…this lead me to explain I was a leading teacher so didn’t have my own class and that I have been relieving as an Assistant Principal for the last couple of months. With that he looked up at me, paused, went back to doing something to my car, looked up again and asked “so what do all the senior teachers think of a young girl like yourself being in that job?”.

Seriously? 

Does it matter what they think? Does it matter what he thought? I must admit I was quite taken aback. At this point I just wished he would stop talking, hurry up and just finish his job. Lucky he was almost done, I basically just laughed the comment off and now am wishing I had of said something.

The worst part of this experience was feeling like I owed him an explanation. Like I had to explain to the stranger in front of me why I am a young, successful, ambitious person.  Like I had to prove myself.

It’s not the first time this has happened to me. In my job I have been mistaken for an administration officer and an education support staff member by parents and visiting teachers of both genders. Sometimes others are shocked to hear the range of accomplishments that I have achieved in a relatively short time span. Yeah, I’ve done a bit, but so what, so have many others.

Is it so shocking that a thirty year old female is in such a position of leadership? Is it so shocking that I have been driven, committed and hard working? Is it so shocking that I may have something to offer…even though I’m young…and a woman?

It is ridiculous that comments like these are still heard. We often talk about how far society has come in regards to gender equality but it’s obvious we haven’t come far enough.

So…Dear Mr RACV, the answer to your question is that I’m not too sure what they think, but I do know that we treat each other with respect, we work alongside each other, we share advice and feedback and we make the world that little bit better by caring about the education for the students in our care. I’m pretty sure that’s all that matters.

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Code the Future- 1 Year In

One year ago today I rocked up to Startup Weekend Education Melbourne (some would say I was coerced to attend). I went because I was bored of the usual edu events I had been attending and was craving something different, something challenging, something exciting.

I completely underestimated how that weekend would change me as an educator and a leader.

During the weekend I was pushed to think differently, I was pushed to stand up for what I believe in and I was pushed well and truly out of my comfort zone. See, at the time my thought process kept cycling around the fact that I’m ‘just’ a teacher…I thought I had no place at such event, I had no confidence to actually think that I had anything worthy to offer all of these entrepreneurial types or that I could be a part of something big. I attended thinking it was a weekend thing, little did I know that I would be here a year later writing this post…a timely reminder that ‘just’ a teacher should never, ever be something people say. No teacher is ever ‘just’ a teacher.

One year ago today I met Will Egan, confidently sharing his thoughts on why kids need to learn how to code. My favourite part of that? He wasn’t a teacher…and he wasn’t trying to tell teachers what to do. He was honest, genuine and had experienced success of volunteering himself at his former high school. It just made sense.

Throughout the weekend, lots of thinking, probing questions and some heated discussion saw Code the Future emerge. Here we are a year later. In the last 12 months Code the Future Ltd as it is now legally known has become a registered Australian charity, has thousands of educators and developers signed up, just employed two developers to finish the website, has an amazing team who work tirelessly, has appeared and been featured at numerous conferences and events, has T-shirts…and stickers, has partnered with some amazing organisations and is kicking goals all round.  Who knew that I would be a part of making all that happen!

People often ask me how I find the time. The simple answer is I don’t. I don’t find it, I make it. There’s a big difference. We all make time for the things we believe are important.

I have learnt so many things this year, I am becoming more confident when speaking to industry (it still scares me a little) and I am still as excited and passionate about Code the Future now as what I was after our pitch that very first weekend. The future is bright.

codefuture.org      t @code_future      f /codefutureorg

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Stop playing political football with coding education

This post first appeared on codefuture.org

There has been so much emphasis lately on coding in the political sphere and while I appreciate the conversation that has risen from such debates, I am so frustrated that this has become yet another game of political football getting in the way of what really matters in education.

It became widespread when leader of the opposition, Bill Shorten MP gave his budget reply speech, declaring how important it is to teach coding in Australian schools. As a response, Prime Minister Tony Abbott stated that “unless kids are working, coding should not be taught” and since then social media has blown up with many sharing their thoughts- some more informed than others.

I think the problem is that both parties are holding on to only one aspect of what really is a much larger education ecosystem. When we talk about wanting students to learn to code what we’re talking about is giving our students and future generations the opportunity to participate in authentic learning opportunities and challenges that foster curiosity, persistence, innovation and creativity. As the world we live in has become increasingly digitised and automated it is unfair not to give our students these opportunities. As educators and as a society in general I believe it is important that we support the education community to give students the deep knowledge and skills for them to be able to become innovative and creative developers of digital solutions. This does not mean I want every child in Australia to become a computer scientist. It means I want every child in Australia to participate in real world learning experiences that expose them to effective ways of using and managing data, information and digital systems. Coding is just one part of this.

I have also noticed how many politicians, organisations and community groups jump on the ‘coding in education’ band wagon without consulting educators. When was the last time they actually explored the Australian Curriculum? If they did, then they may discover that computational thinking and coding is already in the Australian ‘Digital Technologies’ curriculum with early algorithmic concepts and thinking being introduced in a child’s first year of school. This new curriculum is expected to have full implementation in most states by the end of 2017. When looking at the curriculum it is important to note how the content descriptions that involve ‘coding’ are only a small fraction of a much larger curriculum.

The content descriptions below taken directly from the Australian ‘Digital Technologies’ curriculum demonstrate the progression of SOME of the process and production skills students are expected to learn from their first year of school until Year 10.

F-2:

  • Follow, describe and represent a sequence of steps and decisions (algorithms) needed to solve simple problems

3-4:

  • Implement simple digital solutions as visual programs with algorithms involving branching (decisions) and user input

5-6:

  • Design, modify and follow simple algorithms represented diagrammatically and in English involving sequences of steps, branching, and iteration(repetition)
  • Implement digital solutions as simple visual programs involving branching,iteration (repetition), and user input

7-8:

  • Design the user experience of a digital system, generating, evaluating and communicating alternative designs
  • Design algorithms represented diagrammatically and in English, and trace algorithms to predict output for a given input and to identify errors
  • Implement and modify programs with user interfaces involving branching,iteration and functions in a general-purpose programming language

9-10:

  • Design the user experience of a digital system, evaluating alternative designs against criteria including functionalityaccessibility, usability, and aesthetics
  • Design algorithms represented diagrammatically and in structured Englishand validate algorithms and programs through tracing and test cases
  • Implement modular programs, applying selected algorithms and datastructures including using an object-oriented programming language

I suppose the point that I am trying to make is how about we stop arguing over whether or not coding should be taught in schools and let teachers just concentrate on doing it. The new curriculum is quite complex and will be very new for many teachers. How about instead of arguing and sprouting about coding in education, politicians and organisations focus their attention on supporting teachers to implement the new curriculum which will in turn enable students to participate in best opportunities and an education they deserve.

This is exactly what we are endeavouring to accomplish at Code the Future. We are working on creating authentic connections between the education and technology industries, placing volunteer developers in schools to work alongside teachers. This creates a partnership to support student learning and innovation in school hours, not just as an extra curricular activity.

Get involved- sign up at codefuture.org

Bec Spink
Co-founder / Director
Code the Future

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Education: More than just my job

This post first appeared on Fractus Learning.

Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. – Steve Jobs

I love teaching. I love education. I live it, I think it, I dream it, I breathe it. It consumes me. It dominates my conversations, and I will devour anything I can about it. I will do all of this, and I will not apologise for it. For what you may think is just my ‘job’, is not, it is my life’s work.

Your life’s work can be described as the ‘job’ that does not feel like a job, it is more of a way of living. I don’t think I have always felt like that about the work that I do. As I continue down my path and the more involved I get in my projects and commitments, the more I know that being an educator means far more to me than just the ‘work’ I get paid to do. It is almost like I have this innate need to have education in my life, it feels like something more than a passion, I find it difficult to describe, but one thing I do know is that it just keeps growing, and I can’t get enough.

I often get asked what I do in my ‘spare time’, if I ever stop ‘working’ and what I do besides ‘work’. I have a lot of side projects that I am involved in, different committees, establishing a non-profit organisation, connections to many different things, but at the end of the day, each and every single one of them has education running through their core.

An important element of what can be described as ‘your life’s work’ is that it shouldn’t feel like work, of course, you should still have the ability to live a full, happy and enjoyable life. However, work and play are often intertwined. I have been a teacher for only a relatively short amount of time, coming up to seven years this October and I am just as enthralled in what I do, how I do it and why I do it, now as I was like a new university student, maybe even more so. My ‘personal’ and ‘work’ lives are no longer separate, some of my closest friends are those who I have found through educational networking and social media.

Through my journey I have come to believe that to be a truly effective teacher in this fast paced, knowledge-based society, one must think of themselves as a knowledge worker. That is how we can have a real impact on education and the future of teaching and learning. Research indicates that ‘knowledge workers’ are people who think for a living, whose main role surrounds developing and using knowledge. They are highly motivated, possess factual and theoretical knowledge, find and access information effectively, curate and organise information. They continue innovation and change. In today’s world, educators need to think beyond traditional education paradigms, my belief in this is a driving factor in what I perceive to be my life’s work.

I know I have found my life’s work because I never want to stop sharing, this need further ignites and sparks my continued interest. My family and friends know that it is what I will always talk about and for them, that’s ok because they can see and hear how happy it makes me and more often than not, will want to share in that joy.

All of this does not mean it will be easy. Being an educator can be hard. The more ambitious your goals, the more challenging it can be, often feeling like you are on a roller coaster. There will be road blocks but being driven by your life’s work, you will come to see these challenges as opportunities for learning and growth.

Never settle. Always want to be better, strive for more and continue to want to change the world! Teaching is more than ‘just a job’, it is the ‘job’, it is the ‘job’ that creates all others- never underestimate that.

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The ‘Why’ of Conference Keynotes

A few months ago I was discussing a conference with a staff member at my school, she had recently been to her first ‘edtech’ conference and I was asking her for some feedback. The topic of Keynotes came up and she quite innocently asked me what the point was of a Keynote, it was an interesting question and one I found I could not answer her fully but just give my opinion. The fact that she felt compelled to ask the question made me think that the Keynote must not have been successful.

Wikipedia defines a Keynote as follows:

Now think for a minute. Remember the last Keynote you listened to. Did it do this? I have sat through many a conference Keynote and some have been more successful than others. I have left feeling inspired by new ideas, had my thinking challenged and for me, most importantly have been left with more questions than before. On the other hand, I have been left feeling bored, uninspired, grappling at the choice and relevance and disappointed. I have sat through Keynotes where some ‘big names’- even celebrities have stood on stage and delivered speeches that I could have found on Google and YouTube. Even worse, they have spoken about so called ‘new ideas’ that my peers and I had been doing for years. Given my somewhat bias opinion I took to Twitter and asked the same question.

The responses were varied but some key ideas I liked were:

  • Future thinking
  • Challenge the status quo
  • Urgency for change
  • Element of story

A particular response I liked and that made me think was “make me stop Tweeting and listen”, this is something that resonated with me. I am a huge fan of back channelling and I love to Tweet during conferences but I’m not sure if I have EVER stopped completely and just listened and taken it all in.

I think an important thing to note is that a Keynote needs to go far beyond being inspiring. Any good entertainer can stand on a stage, pump people up and ‘inspire’ them but for how long? An hour? Until the days end? Will they have the courage to actually go, persevere and enact change in their schools?

Check out the Storify below for more responses. What are your thoughts? What do you want from a conference Keynote?

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Leading Change is Hard

creative commons licensed ( BY-NC-ND ) flickr photo shared by m-c

Leading change is hard. Don’t listen to anyone who tells you it isn’t. If it was, I doubt there would be so many expensive books, people and programs out there that claim to revolutionise your working environment in ‘just a few easy steps’. The books on my coffee table currently include ‘Start with Why’, ‘Leaders Eat Last’ and ‘Think Like a Freak’…I have watched countless YouTube videos on leadership and educational change and I have listened to some amazing people share their stories about leading change. I think it is safe to say I’m always looking, reading and researching ideas to help me be better at my job.

I have been in my current position for a little over a year now. I have learnt a lot, a lot about leadership and I have learnt a lot about people. Some days I get so frustrated- a big part of my learning has been about patience and learning to understand that not everybody thinks the same way as I do…and may not be quick to take on new ideas and challenges like I do. I remind myself all the time to slow down- but it is so much easier said than done! I don’t recall having these kind of challenges with students I have taught- those challenges are different. But working with adults- well that is a whole other ball game. Don’t get me wrong- I absolutely love what I do- to be able to work so closely with teams of teachers and individuals…to challenge their thinking, to support them to take risks and try new things, it is amazing and incredibly rewarding…but it is hard!

In the past few weeks I have felt stilted by what I viewed as a lack of change and movement. I have constantly had to remind myself to take a step back and look at how far we have come- as a school, how learning is being transformed on a daily basis and how teachers are now challenging each other’s thoughts, ideas and reasoning. Instead of focusing on what is not happening, or that massive list of ideas I have…I have had to reign myself in and just relax and go with the flow…something that I am not comfortable in doing.

Today, three things happened that reinvigorated me and reminded me just how much impact I have had on some people I work with and how far their learning (and my own) has come.

1. I watched as two educators wrote a proposal to present at a conference, something they have not done before- and while they may be anxious about the whole experience, they have amazing stories to share it would be a shame if they were not shouted from the roof tops. Listening to them discuss what they wanted to do and say and reflect on what they have achieved says a lot for the effort and commitment they have made to their own learning.

2. I received a message that thanked me for challenging another’s thinking…something that I am myself thankful for with my wider networks of educators and friends I talk to. It is where I learn the most so to know someone thinks of me and what I do in a similar way confirmed I was asking the right questions.

3. I received a reply to an email I had sent yesterday asking for feedback about some of our Inquiry / CBL processes. The reply whilst may not have seemed like anything special to an outsider…clearly demonstrated how far this person has come in their own thinking about inquiry learning. What I appreciated most was when this person questioned me and could back it up…and made me think differently.

I felt compelled to write this post to celebrate the successes- however small they seem from the inside…they are pretty huge on the outside and will continue to motivate, engage and challenge me to keep on keeping on!

So yes, leading change is hard but it is most definitely worth it.

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The Best of the Best – 2014

A new year calls for new lists, lots of lists; best of lists, who to follow lists, what to try lists, what to read lists…so many lists!

I’m not sure how I feel about this growing ‘list’ culture.

I’m sure that many people appreciate being given lists of things to do, try or read but I question the authenticity of some of these lists and question the culture of ratings and rankings we find ourselves in. Lately, given the time of year, I am sure, such posts are overflowing in my social media feeds. However, I’m not saying that every list out there is ‘unreadworthy’, I have been known to write a list post or two in the past and have found myself or my blog on many lists. I just hope that as competent educators we don’t take such lists as verbatim.

I think my biggest concern is that many of these lists are often subjective and lack depth and substance. Who are creating the lists? Are they crowd sourced? Is it just one person with a specific agenda? What qualifications do they have? Why should I listen to them? Perhaps I am being too critical, but I would prefer to see more posts written that discuss the pedagogy underlying the reasons behind using such tools as an example, rather than a top 10 list of the ‘best’ edtech tools.

When reading such lists I think it is important to think about context- what works for one, may not work for another. Question the advice, do further research…talk to someone, have a conversation. I am also concerned that more and more of these list-type posts I am seeing are being used for marketing purposes- which frustrates me. Posts like that do not seem to care about teaching and learning or education in general.

It seems I’m not the only one having these thoughts…a quick Google search ‘the problem with lists’ finds many people out there with similar thoughts to me from a variety of industries, far beyond education. My advice? Whether you find yourself on a list, reading a list or creating a list this year, think about the context and if said lists are actually going to help or teach you anything…

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#Evernote Work Chat

Recently, many Evernote users would have noticed the Work Chat feature appearing in their accounts.

Evernote Work Chat lets users communicate and collaborate without leaving the app…which for me has been a major time saving feature. Since the soft launch, I have been experimenting with Work Chat with both my colleagues and students.

Work Chat works on all platforms and even in the web version. It allows users to, first and foremost, chat…as well as quickly and easily share notes. Another cool feature is the ability to see who is viewing or editing a note, which for the students at school, has been great in eliminating note conflict issues. With this visibility users can easily start chats with the people who are viewing or editing the note.

Part of my role at school is coaching and mentoring other teachers- I have found Work Chat to be beneficial for me communicating with other teachers seamlessly and quickly, without clogging up their email inbox. Through this way of communicating I can share notes I want them to complete, feedback I have for them or readings and articles that would be beneficial for their professional learning. This way things are open and saved in Evernote straight away, rather than fussing about back and forth from email to Evernote.

Another way I have been using Work Chat is with my Digital Leaders group at school. They wrote their own post about using Evernote and Work Chat.

These are students who are 10-11 years old. With this group we often work on notes collaboratively and the use of Work Chat has been a life saver when in comes to eliminating note conflicts. Students share ideas, give each other feedback, ask questions, share links and check things with me when I am not around. It has really developed their independence with some of their tasks and it has only been a couple of weeks.

You can read more about Work Chat on the Evernote blog. I’d love to hear about how others have started using it and how it has impacted their digital work space.

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Startup Weekend Education Melbourne

Call me crazy (and many do), but I am one of those educators who quite happily gives up my weekends and ‘holidays’ for conferences or other professional development opportunities. Over the last few months however, I have been dissatisfied, for numerous reasons, with the type of events I was attending. Nothing was quite hitting the mark, inspiring me or challenging me to think differently about education.

I heard about Startup Education Weekend Melbourne, initially reading about it online and thinking it was far too scary for me to attend. It sounded so full on…and there would be people there who weren’t from the education sector so that scared me even more. After much encouragement, I decided to go, after all, if I wasn’t prepared to get out of my comfort zone and try something new- I shouldn’t really be complaining about my lack of inspiration or thought provoking conversation.

The idea for the weekend was to find and identify a problem and ideally come up with a solution…but it was more than that. It was about challenging assumptions, thinking differently, asking why. The weekend was mapped around the design thinking process…thank you #INF536 I actually felt like I knew what I was doing. It’s interesting how quick people immediately start heading straight for a solution…this happened with my group and it was difficult getting people to slow down and back up, to think about the problem more deeply. I feel like in education, we always get solutions thrown at us and sometimes we never even ask what the problem was or question if the solution we are given is truly the best one. To actually sit down and think about what the issues are, find patterns and think divergently to identify multiple solutions was probably one of the most self gratifying parts of the weekend.

creative commons licensed ( BY-NC-SA ) flickr photo shared by melicash

By the Saturday night my team was ready to get some feedback and market validation and at this time I was so thankful for my extended network and being a connected educator. The amount of survey responses we received in such a short amount of time has evidenced two things for me. One, my PLN rocks and two…it seemed as though we had a pretty awesome idea! The support on social media was quite prevalent too, I created a Twitter profile and a Facebook page for our solution and overnight had many supporters, both locally and globally. This further validated our idea.

I really enjoyed the questioning and challenging conversation with the coaches and organisers, forcing me to change my direction and think more divergently, or prompting me to add depth and reasoning to my thoughts and ideas. I also learnt a lot about the startup world, I’ve always been a startup fangirl…from afar, but to actually be involved in it was a unique experience. I learnt a fair bit about the business side of things, creating a lean canvas and pitching.

It was hard. Working with so many different people and personalities so closely in such a short amount of time was hard. And these were people who I never imagined I would find myself working with…people whose jobs I do not even understand! But alas, I came out the other end, unscathed and reinvigorated. I was that inspired I’m pretty sure I went to bed that night thinking I could single handedly conquer the worlds education problems.


creative commons licensed ( BY-NC-SA ) flickr photo shared by melicash

One of the most inspiring parts of the weekend was meeting so many people who do not work in education but are so passionate about making education better for all…and took the time out to actually listen to what teachers are saying.

My team did come up with a pretty amazing solution (I may be a little biased) and I’m looking forward to seeing where that leads and the adventure it will take me on. Watch this space.


creative commons licensed ( BY-NC-SA ) flickr photo shared by melicash

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