Attending the DEECD Innovation Showcase today highlighted the amazing and inspiring environments that are being created by students and teachers in Victorian schools. It kicked off with 2 incredible Secondary school students as MCs who were articulate, confident and brilliant ambassadors for both their schools and their generation. Another highlight in the opening was Monica Scully of Huntingdale Primary School, who talked about the bilingual education that students at her school experience and the benefits it has been shown to provide.
The practitioner showcases had been hard to choose from as so many were appealing. I watched and talked to students in the ‘Learning through games’ room, where learning through play was clearly demonstrated. I was particularly impressed by Meredith Primary School and their ‘Digital sandpit’ time to promote school attendance and the very articulate students from Tyrrell College who were keen to discuss the learning that happened through and around online games such as ‘Lord of the Rings’.
The next two sessions highlighted for me that innovation doesn’t have to involve new technologies – it can just as easily be about rethinking our practice, identifying problems and finding solutions through creativity and imagination. Staff from Ouyen Pre-School discussed their use of flip cameras to assess and record the learning of children in their care and River Gum Primary School students and teachers wowed the audience with examples of multimedia embedded deeply throughout their curriculum. As I said, it was a good reminder that innovation comes in all sorts of packages but is primarily a change response to an identified problem. Both presentations triggered my own ideas that could change and improve my own setting, some small and some ambitiously over-large.
Finally, after an inspiring performance from Cultural Infusion, we were treated to a closing keynote by Anh Do. As well as many laughs, I’m sure I wasn’t the only one in the room wiping away tears as he wove his inspiring tale of overcoming adversity and always ‘having a go’. He reminded me why I teach – because I believe that all children deserve the chance to dream that they are capable of achieving anything and that education can open those doors for them.
Thanks to the organisers and those who contributed in whatever way to the showcase – events like these renew our enthusiasm, provide new ideas and inspirations and remind us why we teach. If you couldn’t attend but want to be inspired, try the Educators’ Guide to Innovation where you can make connections with some of the amazing educators who presented today.