Monday, 15 May 2017

No ordinary digital technology conference

As you would expect in a climate where the use of digital technology is gaining traction in all of our schools, digital technology conferences and other digital technology professional learning flourish. The choice for school leaders and teachers is huge.

When it comes to embracing what it takes to lead a digital school two critical ingredients must be readily accessible to the leader:

An understanding of and experience in leading staff to achieve superior digital technology outcomes for themselves and their students

An understanding of the crowded digital technology product space and the ways digital technology can best be employed to advance teaching and learning.

The Leading a Digital School Conference addresses both of these critical ingredients ensuring that it rightfully takes its place as “no ordinary digital technology conference”.

The Leadership

Attend the conference to immerse yourself in contemporary leadership issues and environments. Hear from your colleagues who are successfully grappling with the contemporary challenges that school leadership must address. Reflect on the models of leadership that can position your school as a leading digital school striving to provide that competitive advantage for your teachers and students. Network with and learn from schools that are leading digital programs from the top, through synergistic team leadership and through powerful grassroots influence.

The Technology

One of the biggest challenges a school leader faces is keeping up with the rapidly evolving technology available to them so that the digital programs they lead are cutting edge and relevant with high educational value.

Attend this conference to take the opportunity to explore among other things how global networks and emergent connective technologies empower learning communities; appreciate the power of iPads as a learning tool; explore practical strategies of how to share innovative practice across a school and scale projects for a global audience; discover the various programs, networks and agencies that can assist with protecting your students’ online presence and identity; see how simple robots can create deeper connections across your curriculum, support developmental play, inspire deep learning and thinking and enhance and extend problem solving; discuss how to use social media to interact with students, engage parents and promote your school to the world; ask questions about data and the educational value of data collection; consider the positive effects of disruptive technologies and much more.

Special Feature – Jukes and Mohan Program

A special feature of the conference in 2017 is the Jukes and Mohan program, a 3 day program included within the Leading a Digital School Conference. It will provide a very attractive choice for many delegates.

Three (3) workshops (Leadershift: Renewing Schools for Modern Times; Disruptive Innovation in Education; and Creating Significant Learning Environments) presented by Ian Jukes and Nicky Mohan have been developed in partnership with Lamar University (USA.) Participants can choose to attend purely for professional development to enhance their own practice; or they can utilize attendance at this PD to begin the process of completing the course requirements for a Masters of Education. This model, which is a perfect fit for busy educators, has been carefully designed so that it seamlessly integrates into your daily practice.

Learn more

If you wish to learn more about what it takes to lead in a digital school in today’s challenging educational climate, why not attend the Leading a Digital School Conference to be held at the QT Hotel, Gold Coast on 17, 18 and 19 August 2017? For more information and to register go to:

Thursday, 11 May 2017

Flipped learning growing at pace globally

All the signs are indicating that flipped learning is a teaching and learning phenomenon gaining rapid and strong traction globally.

Flipped learning is not complex if we focus on Jon Bergmann’s 5 essential core principles:


Flipped learning requires a radical redefinition of the role of the teacher, the student and the best use of time between them.

Successful migration to the flipped learning model requires an investment of time. This means support from school administrators and school leaders is pivotal.

Successful implementation of flipped learning requires a mastery of the pedagogy and best practices of the flipped classroom.

Technology is central to flipped learning. Identifying the right technology, the right technology providers and securing the necessary technical training are vital.

In the end, successful flipped learning comes down to fostering more productive relationships between students and teachers and keeping the process simple.

With these 5 essential core principles at the fore of his work, Jon Bergmann is very successfully taking flipped learning global.  Around the world, increasing numbers of teachers and school leaders are flipping their classes. Jon’s goal is to help spread flipped learning’s best thinking, best practices and best technologies worldwide.

FlipCon Australia 2017 will contribute to this global movement. It is a national conference embracing flipped learning. Emerging and established flipped educators will attend this concentrated high touch, hands-on event. No prior experience in flipping a class or school is needed. When delegates return to their school after attending, they will have the skills, knowledge and passion to start or continue to cultivate a learner centred classroom and get to know their students better.

At the conference experienced flipped educators will share their knowledge, experience and skills with their colleagues offering beginner and masterclass streams and sessions focussed on: making flipped resources; pedagogy and best practice; subject specific flipping; assessment and flipping; scaling up; research; flipping a lesson; and learning outside the classroom.

Jon Bergmann is one of the pioneers in the flipped class movement after successfully flipping his own classroom and sharing the teaching model with other educators. Jon will be one of the keynote speakers at the conference.

Join Jon and other teachers experienced and not so experienced in flipped learning, at FlipCon Australia 2017. We look forward to meeting you at the host school - Inaburra School, Sydney, NSW on Friday 20 and Saturday 21 October 2017.

For further information about FlipCon Australia 2017 go to:

Saturday, 11 June 2016

Social media and its place in the classroom

Do you need to be wary about using social media in the classroom? Probably, but we argue that this should not be an impediment. You will ignore social media in the classroom at your peril. If you aren’t going to teach your students to communicate online, then they will do it themselves in their own way without valuable guidance from you. Is this desirable? No!

Social media is another tool that you can use to make your classroom more engaging, relevant and culturally diverse - making learning irresistibly engaging, attractive, seductive, pervasive and sophisticated for all.

Exciting times

There is plenty of evidence to demonstrate that teaching with Twitter creates a classroom of emboldened students. Students who are not outspoken in class seem to love the chance to make their voices heard without having to actually speak. Twitter encourages questions that may have never been asked by students who would not dare to ask them – a fantastic opportunity to change the dynamics of the classroom and engage many more students in personal and meaningful learning.

Social media is a common sense way to keep parents informed. Schools are always looking for ways to bring parents into the classroom and to include them in their child’s learning. This is not an easy task to achieve as parents are time poor and have plenty of other things to do. But believe us, parents are very interested in how things are progressing. Newsletters are fine but a bit impersonal and frankly “old hat”. Set up a blog, get some discipline going in posting to it, get the parents engaged in commenting on your posts and the sooner you know it you will have built another dimension into your teaching, and you, your students and their parents will be the richer for it. Quick, easy, interactive feedback is gold to a dedicated teacher.

School projects have grown a new life and brought new meaning because of social media. Kids can now create projects that are polished, vibrant, dynamic, interactive, and their learning shared with the world. Facebook is so much more than vapid status updates. Take for example a Facebook project where your students use Facebook to follow politicians. If your class is studying the current election, using Facebook to follow politicians on the local, state, and national scale brings a reality and authenticity to the lesson that far surpasses how you might have otherwise tackled the topic. You can even ask students to interact with the candidates, posting questions and getting feedback.

Pinning with Pinterest! This is an easy medium for your students to share likes and interests by posting or “pinning” to their own or others’ boards, images and videos usually with a common theme. This is a perfect way for them to dig deep, focus, explore, grow and refine an interest. This is the stuff of forming and feeding life-long passions and hobbies. This social network has a visual orientation which attracts another type of learner. It is very much focused on the concept of a person's lifestyle, allowing one to share tastes and interests with others and discovering those of likeminded people – quite a social and sophisticated learning experience for your students wouldn’t you agree?

With Google Hangouts kids communicate by video. Up to 10 people at one time can “hangout” in a virtual room. The experience can be as simple or as complex as needed by the task. All your students need is a Google account. Great for connecting classrooms. Imagine a group of primary students spread across different countries participating in a weekly book club meeting, to discuss the book that has been assigned for reading. This is a powerful opportunity for students to understand different cultural perspectives and build tolerance for difference in a world that surely needs it.

Emboldened students, greater parental participation, real authentic learning, awareness of passions and lifestyles and cultural perspective and tolerance – this is what social media offers!

What precautions do you need to take?

These examples of social media in action in the classroom are exciting, inspirational and have great educational potential. Let’s now turn to the things that should happen or should never happen!

When teaching with social media you will want to be confident that you have the privacy issues sorted. Train your students to check all privacy settings and have them articulate the implications of setting privacy settings in the way that they have chosen.

Also pay attention to assisting students to:
  • Manage their passwords
  • Always assume that everyone in the world will be able to see what they write even if the site limits their posts to friends exclusively – it is important that that they understand this standard for posting
  • Be vigilant about cyber imposters
  • Be responsible global citizens.

K-12 Digital Classroom Practice Conference
The K-12 Digital Classroom Practice Conference provides a fantastic opportunity to explore the digital technology terrain suitable for using in your teaching in your classroom, including using social media. You have an amazing choice!

If you are just getting started in teaching seriously with digital technology, or you have considerable expertise, you will walk away from this conference with great ideas to take up in your teaching.

A special feature of the conference is the spotlight on social media: the good; the bad; the must dos; and the never do!

The social media up for discussion include: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Flickr, Pinterest, Google Hangouts, Edmodo, Blogs and Wikis, LinkedIn, Padlet, Voicethread, Podcasts.

Learn about using social media in your teaching, and be ready to share what you know.

Register for the K-12 Digital Classroom Practice Conference now at:

The global rise of flipped learning and why flipping the class is the perfect answer for today’s educational climate

Classes globally are flipping

The rise of flipped learning globally is indisputable. Jon Bergmann, one of the pioneers of the Flipped Class Movement is leading the worldwide adoption of flipped learning by working with governments, schools, corporations, and education non-profits. Jon is coordinating or guiding flipped learning initiatives around the globe including China, Taiwan, Korea, Australia, Singapore, Thailand, the Middle East, Iceland, Sweden, Norway, the United Kingdom, Italy, Spain, Mexico, Canada, South America, and the United States.

In addition to Jon’s work, flipped learning projects mushroom in schools and other educational institutions all over the world. Take for example here in Australia in a project run at the University of Adelaide, the flipped classroom concept is being translated into practice in first year Health Sciences. In New Zealand, Kiwi classes are flipping. The Head of Department Social Studies at Waitakere College, is an advocate for flipped learning. He first saw the idea of the flipped classroom through Twitter. As he trawled through Twitter feeds watching clips on the flipped classroom idea, it suddenly dawned on him: ‘Why on earth haven’t I done this before?’ It made perfect sense and seemed simple to implement.” He is not alone. Just witness the growing mass of teachers globally who are on to this “good thing”.

Educational climate and pervasive digital technologies

Today’s educational climate is crying out for a pedagogical model like flipped learning.

Currently there is widespread dissatisfaction with poor learning outcomes. The global education community is pressuring for student centred learning environments. Schools are everywhere, thoroughly infused into society. Parents view schools as places for them to learn too. Teachers are everybody and they are everywhere.

Supporting this educational climate is an ambient, digital universe blessed with prevalent digital technology with the potential to make learning irresistibly engaging, attractive, seductive, pervasive and sophisticated for all. This is digital technology in the service of learning.

Taken together, the current educational climate and the prevalence of powerful digital technologies, have opened up an opportunity and niche for sound pedagogies to thrive, delivering improved learning outcomes and greater learning satisfaction. Flipped learning, one such pedagogy, has positioned itself well to take advantage of the demanding climate and pervasive digital resources. Flipped learning is about to make a powerful and arguably permanent mark on the education world stage.

Why flipping the class is the perfect answer

The concept of flipping is driven by answering two fundamental questions:
  • Am I teaching to the group from the front far too much?
  • Am I using my face-to-face time with my students well, befitting the trained professional teacher that I am?
When teachers begin to unpick and answer these two questions, their practice begins to change and the elements of good teaching come to the fore.

In the simplest of explanations flipped learning is essentially where the student absorbs the lesson at home and does the homework in class. The emphasis is shifted from a teacher-centred classroom to a student-centred learning environment. Flipped learning is making the best use of face to face class time. Flipped learning transfers the ownership of the learning to the learners and it personalises learning for all learners. The model gives teachers the time to explore deeper learning opportunities and pedagogies with their students. Learning not teaching is the centre of the classroom.

Technology is central to flipped learning. Identifying the right technology, the right technology providers and securing the necessary technical training are vital. Flipped learning takes advantage of the seductive and pervasive nature of digital technology.

In summary flipped learning meets most of the demands of today’s educational climate and stakeholder expectations for improving learning outcomes.

Jon Bergmann – flipped learning pioneer and FlipCon Masterclass

Jon Bergmann one of the pioneers of the flipped learning movement will be in Australia in October and November 2016. Why not come and learn from Jon at the FlipCon Masterclass day at the Gold Coast (Saturday 15 October) or Adelaide (Saturday 19 November)? The choice is yours!

Meet Jon and the other Masterclass leaders and hear briefly about their expertise and passion for flipped learning. Learn from global experts on flipped learning, why flipping the class is the perfect answer for today’s educational climate. Learn the four categories of technology necessary to flip your classroom, how to create flipped videos students will love, and get important tips on how to build in interactivity into your flipped lessons regardless of which technological tool you use. There is not just one way to flip a classroom.  Learn how teachers from all disciplines and all levels can flip their classes. And for those interested in flipping a school what are the best practices for bringing flipped learning to scale?  How do you bring key stakeholders into the picture?

Register for Gold Coast now at: or

Register for Adelaide now at:

If you want something less intensive than the FlipCon Masterclass provides, then there are other FlipCon options for you, available at:

Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Digital Leadership and Scaling Innovation

The Australian Digital Technologies Curriculum is a comprehensive and exciting challenge for school leaders. The Curriculum has been introduced as a means of preparing our students for a world that is increasingly digitised and automated.

Digital technologies provide students with opportunities to: 
  • Use design thinking
  • Be innovative developers of digital solutions and knowledge
  • Become innovative creators of digital solutions
  • Become effective users of digital systems 
  • Become critical consumers of information conveyed by digital systems
  • Engage in authentic learning challenges that foster curiosity, confidence, persistence, innovation, creativity, respect and cooperation
  • Be regional and global citizens capable of actively and ethically communicating and collaborating.
School leaders have a great responsibility in developing a culture in their school that creates the environment for this critical learning to take place.

School leaders have two challenging tasks. First they must understand what is possible in digital teaching and learning. Secondly and most importantly they must take the next step of scaling up the fantastic innovations and creativity in teaching that they observe in their inspirational individual teachers – building an agenda for change and innovation that can have an enormous impact in a school.

How do you scale up to lead and innovate?

You really have to think about this and as a leader consciously work on it.
The trick to achieving sustainable change in schools is to learn how to scale innovation - how to take a great idea and have it reach every leader, teacher and student in the school.
Acknowledging the work of THNK (school of creative leadership) and the THNK community it is useful to think of scaling innovation by considering 3 main categories: Emergence, Networks and Waves. Keeping all 3 in mind as you seek to scale your innovations is definitely a sound idea.

Emergence is about keeping your eyes wide open for all the things that your teachers are doing as a collective. Hop onto it and as the good leader that you are, make sure that you design openness into the system and design rules for interaction, which allow successful behaviour to surface and spread.
Encourage (without stifling) target setting; emergence; and balancing control. Foster an ecosystem by bringing people in – expand to adjacencies, encourage the followers and engage the crowd. Experiment to improve and use the data to inform everyone how they are doing and keep moving forward.

Networks as a way of scaling innovation cannot be ignored.
Your job as an innovative leader is to take advantage of the properties of networks, the structures and technology supporting networks, and the social conditioning that exists with network members.
Networks have hubs and amplifiers – target them. If existing networks have gone to sleep, activate them. Encourage networks to jump across each other and infect each other with ideas. Aim to develop from this cross fertilisation, not another network, but a much larger coherent community and keep moving forward.

Emergence is a little like waiting to catch a wave. However the Wave category of innovation is not about that at all. It is about you taking the reins and exerting strong and powerful leadership.
The very powerful wave approach to innovation is about creating, nurturing and sustaining the wave and steering it in the direction of your entrepreneurial vison. You as the leader will unleash the wave, have others catch it, ride it and create a movement. You will synchronise all efforts and the wave will build to a crescendo always moving forward.

As we said at the beginning of this blog it is definitely a good idea to mesh all 3 approaches to scaling innovation.

For many years the Leading a Digital School Conference has been addressing the issue of how to scale innovation.

This is an invitation to attend the conference to add to your growing knowledge of what is possible with digital teaching and learning, and join the network of like-minded school leaders eager to take the best of the ideas presented and scale them up for the benefit of all students and teachers.
The conference is being held at the Crown Conference Centre, Melbourne on 25, 26 and 27 August 2016. Register now at:

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Just one of many critical issues for schools – the need and opportunity to rethink schooling

Leading a school in an age of disruption driven by technology is not easy. There are so many critical issues that schools are facing and need to be tackled.

In this blog we want to confine our thinking to one issue only – the need and opportunity to rethink schooling.

The need

Sounds desperate. But we are not desperate! Some talk about the issue of rethinking schooling as if we had never started. This is silly. For years keen educators all over the world have been exploring ways to rethink and improve schooling. We are not just starting now, much progress has already been made in transforming schools. What we need to do is to continue this work, moving at a faster pace than ever before, just to keep up with all the other changes in society – especially the immense opportunities afforded by the huge advances in digital technology.

Rethinking schooling does not mean that schools will disappear any time soon. It means that at every opportunity we will leverage all of our resources, knowledge and skills to make the contemporary schooling experience, challenging, stimulating, relevant and future focussed.

The opportunity

What role does and can digital technology play in this exciting movement? How can our schools continue to evolve? Digital technology is making many things possible now and our quest to continue to transform schooling is greatly enhanced.

Global collaboration and cooperation by school students is now commonplace and growing. No longer do students need to be confined to their four classroom walls. Team work, group work, sharing and collaborative problem solving, bring a refreshing new look to many classrooms, all made possible by the advances in digital technology.

No longer does the teacher need to be the expert. A myriad of technologies available provide diverse knowledge sources, a phenomenon which has drastically changed the role of the teacher in progressive schools. The potential for organising a classroom differently, is now very high.

Technology offers schools the opportunity to customise on a large scale. This is a far cry from the uniform learning practised in more traditional schools.

Standardised assessment has driven what we accomplish in schools for far too long. Technology changes this to the extent that it encourages students to forge their own direction, pursuing their own interests. Individualised lesson plans, specialisation and specialised assessment are the result.

Technology has shifted the need for knowledge to be stored in the head. Because of the explosion of knowledge and technology, knowledge can now reside outside of our heads in external resources and our reliance on these resources is great. In short, with technology, we can know and get through a lot more.

The knowledge explosion makes it very difficult for a school to cover all the important information students may need for the rest of their lives. Covering an overcrowded curriculum is nigh on impossible. The nature of learning has to change and thankfully the explosion of technology allows it. Students must now learn how to learn and search for the information and resources they need. A very different kind of interacting in the classroom emerges.

By its very nature technology fosters a more hands-on, activity based schooling experience, allowing “learning by doing”, in contrast to passively learning by simply acquiring knowledge. Creativity, making, robotics, imagining, hypothesising, simulation and augmented reality experiences are more possible and come to the fore.

We cannot underestimate the value of digital technology in developing students with analytical minds. One time complex problems are now made simple earlier in a child's development. Through technology, our students experience the joy of understanding concepts that were once out of their reach, allowing them to engage more fully with their environment and the things that truly interest them - and they are capable of doing this at a much earlier age.

Sustaining the change

The opportunities to change by leveraging technology clearly abound. However the trick to achieving sustainable change in schools is to learn how to scale innovation - how to take a great idea and have it reach every leader, teacher and student in the school. Scaling innovation will feature in our next blog.

If you wish to learn more about how to leverage technology to rethink schooling, why not attend the 2016 Leading a Digital School Conference to be held at the Crown Conference Centre, Melbourne on 25, 26 and 27 August 2016? Your colleagues will be more than happy to share their experiences with you.

Friday, 28 August 2015

Will Richardson at Leading a Digital School Conference

Will is an author, speaker, publisher, consultant, parent and co-founder of Modern Learning Media/Connective Learning.

Keynote Address 22 August 2015 - Educating modern learners: the opportunities and challenges of schooling in the connected world

Summary and thank you.

Will you have described our new learning environment as:

  • Dynamic
  • A kaleidoscope of colour and movement and knowledge
  • Allowing us to: connect, network, engage in self-directed learning and to create.
All of the above is freely available outside of school. But what about inside school? No! Not always! Perhaps not often!

The picture you paint of what happens inside schools is a bit dismal. Not your fault! Compared with the picture painted above - it is!

You ask: How can/should kids learn in school?

And you suggest: Our job is to create an atmosphere/conditions where students want to learn.

Thanks for reminding us that we do "know" what these conditions are (we told you here today), but often we ignore them and do something else entirely.

Thank you for provoking us into questioning our current practice and structures so that we may continue to seek to change learning "inside schools" into the awesome, rich and passionate experience it can be.