This Year I attended Ulearn 18 with several colleagues in our ACCoS Kahui Ako.
Ulearn is CORE Education’s annual professional learning conference. The conference is suitable for teachers, facilitators and school leaders alike, from early childhood through to tertiary.
CORE set up a space where we have access to plenary speakers Bios and Graphic Sketches that were created during sessions.
This blog post is a summary of those presentations with links if you want to explore these further.
Each conference gives us access to international speakers. Often I hear inspirational plenaries and I am always super excited to see our own educators take the main stage. I believe that here in New Zealand we also have world class stories to share. This year there were three plenaries who were varied and all had the same message about the importance of humans being at the heart of decision making.
On the first day we heard Hana O’Regan from Aotearoa. Hana asked us to tell stories, stories that have not been told. Stories that were not allowed to be told in the past. She questioned the negativity within stories from our cultural legacy that our ākonga are hearing and described their potential impact on young Maori. Let us “be brave” (Hana’s words); we must reflect on the cultural narrative that is shared in our classrooms and positively override the stereotypes by telling the stories that count. Here you can read more.
On the second day we listened to Pasi Sahlberg from Finland and who is now based in Australia. Pasi reminded us about the power of small data: tiny clues through personal observations, collective human judgment, and raw instinct that can lead to big change in schools. In order for big data to work we as educators have to contribute small data to contribute to our school’s big data. Lead and think with small data first, then use in conjunction with the rest of our skillset and Big Data.
Pasi iterated that rather than develop and agree to systems that put even more emphasis on screen learning and can truly mine data for Big Data, we should be pushing for ‘face to face, eye to eye, breath to breath to get a full understanding of who we are working with.’ Here you can read more.
On the final day we had Mike Walsh beam in via hologram. Mike discussed a reality where we cannot avoid ‘big data’, analytics and ‘machine thinking’. We have to prepare our children and students for this digital world, where our services are more and more likely to be run through a digital platforms. The consequences of of big change are arriving in the world. We need to teach the coming generation about being comfortable with uncertainty / ambiguity and to be flexible in the face of change.
Mike sees great potential in digital tools, environments and artificial intelligence that can assist teachers and parents to help learners reach their own potential. In his view it will not be entirely digital or online, it will be a combination, the screens will be less visible but DATA and algorithms will be prevalent in informing decisions. Here you can read more.
The breakout sessions I attended.
There are links to the abstracts and any resources they shared. Also do follow them on twitter.
Removing specific barriers to access learning using assistive technology
- Presenters: Kobus Van Schalkwyk @Kobusnz,
- Ina Van Schalkwyk @VanSchalkwykIna
- Abstract Link
- Slides: https://goo.gl/gz1UDv
Evaluating games for learning and teaching mathematics and the Key Competencies
Artificial Intelligence – New Zealand opportunities
Va‘atele: Creating reciprocal partnerships and digital translanguaging opportunities with Pasifika learners and their whānau
How to reclaim professional wisdom in schools by using small data
Kāhui Ako: Changing practice at Epsom Girls Grammar School
The importance of humans at the heart.
Ulearn conference is also the time when I reconnect with other educators from around New Zealand. I also have the chance to catch up with CORE Education efellows and hear what they have been sharing. If you want to know more, here is a link for the annual efellowship. It is now known as Dr Vince Ham Scholarship. Vince was one of the mentors for the efellows.
The conference is also time to connect with new twitter buddies via the hashtag #Ulearn18. I have to mention Tim Stevens @MrStevensAGSnz who quickly created shared docs of all the plenaries. It is time too to catch up with old friends such as Ritu Sehji @rsehji
This year our Mathematics Team presented our initiative and work across three schools. For them Ulearn was a first time experience. I was super proud of them all and how together we collaborated to share our years work in one hour. To find out more you can check out the Mathematics tag on our ACCoS Blog.
Auckland central schools use collaboration to drive change in Pāngarau/Mathematics
- Presenters: Sonya Van Schaijik @vanschaijik, Clara Kim @clararosekim, Andrew Lawrence @andyp_lawrence, Emily Hemstapat @ehemstapat, Ainsley Whitfield @AinsEliza, Belinda Hitchman @BelindaHitchman.
- Abstract Link
- Blog Reflection
Overall Ulearn is a time for connections, for collaboration, for sharing and for reflection. A reminder to share back with your schools what you learnt and a reminder to thank your school leaders if they supported your attendance. For us at Newmarket School I am always grateful for the opportunity that our Board of Trustees and principal provide by supporting our attendance at this national conference. They have allowed me to attend every year since I have been at Newmarket school. As we continue with our ACCoS journey I know that more principals within our Kahui Ako will also allow their Across School Leaders and In School Leaders to share our work with educators in and beyond New Zealand.