I was lucky to head to the recent MYSA (Middle Years of Schooling Association) conference on the Gold Coast, as a representative of NZAIMS (New Zealand Association for Intermediate and Middle Schooling). OK, enough acronyms!
Ten things I learnt while I was there:
1. The ‘must have’ gadget was the iPad. Presenters and delegates alike left bulky laptops at home and stuck an iPad in their handbag / manbag. Those who didn't have one got jealous and bought one. And no, we weren’t just playing Angry Birds (see 7. Below).
2. Parents - avoid being 'helicopter parents' and rescuing your kids from every minor tricky situation. They need to learn some resilience. [Scott Anderson – Nazareth College - 'Disappointment by Design']
3. The Gold Coast Convention Centre is a great conference venue – walking distance to the beach, shops, hotel and casino, fabulous food and friendly staff. Top marks. And they didn’t pay me to say that.
4. We don’t teach kids how to think – they innately know how to do it, just as they know how to walk and talk. However, we can coach them – and lead by example - to be skilful thinkers. [Art Costa – Habits of Mind guru - pictured with rabid fan]
5. "Pasta is just a vehicle for getting cheese to your mouth." Gem from Art Costa over dinner.
6. 21C learners have ‘mind flit’ – they juggle umpteen tasks and stimuli. This can be unproductive/distracting – so how do we tap into it and make it help learning? [Andrew Fuller - inyahead]
7. The Twitter chatter at #mysa11 was informative and stimulating – hearing other educators’ thoughts and reactions in real-time plus making new buddies. @EduSum said, “I made more human connections as a result of backchannel than ever before at PD”. The ongoing hashtag #mysaoz has been born to keep the conversation going for middle years educators in Australia. How about a NZ version? Any suggestions?
8. There are no excuses any more: upgrade your teaching with some of the many great web 2.0 applications out there. Go to www.go2web20.net to explore. [Heidi Hayes Jacobs – Curriculum 21]
9. A recurrent theme was student engagement through achievable challenge. Ties right in with our 21CHALLENGE competition and Challenging Learners Conference in the July holidays. I knew we were ahead of the game.
10. Why is it always a ‘top ten’ or ‘top five’? I vote for ‘top nine’ from now on. Time for lunch.
Catch you soon, Sue.