Monday 20 August 2012

Kidz @ the Centre

Was great to be back in New Plymouth last week at the Taranaki Secondary Schools boutique AP DP conference. I caught up with my old teachers from the great FDMC, reminisced about my school days and then listened in on challenging and enriching presentations.

Topics included brain development, society changes and technology - and suitably wrapped up by Massey University VC - Steve Maharey. What is now known about the human brain, that wasn't known even as recently as 5 years ago coupled with the possibilities modern technology provides for more personalised learning, all point to significant change for New Zealand schooling. Not everyone is excited about change - many find it daunting if not outright frightening. But we are in the middle (or maybe just the start of) a huge revolution and there will be a lot of change.

MUSAC contributes to a number of conferences each year (and in turn we get a lot back to push into development). What I've sensed this year is a lot of excitement and positivity in schools for students and their learning. Sure there are issues and massive amounts of hard work, but fundamentally the teachers, Principals, senior managers, students and BoTs I've spoken with are excited and positive about the future. The Taranaki APs and DPs were no exception in that regard.

It has been said that one should avoid live demonstrations involving small children, animals and technology. With this in mind I prepared more vigilantly for my short presentation to the group - did an extra run through the night previous, checked everything the morning of ... only to have my MacBook not recognise the data show moments before I was ready to go on and then have the wireless network play up after swapping out laptops. I was smiling on the inside, doing a poor job of it on the outside but managed to demonstrate the Classic Web Portals and describe Edge - our cloud based student management system.