Team #aussieED goes to Texas

Their tweets reach up to 8 million people, now the Sydney Catholic school teachers behind Australia’s largest Twitter Chat have captured another audience.

Four of the six teachers who began the Sunday night #aussieED conversations in May last year held a workshop for principals and American education policy makers at The South by Southwest Education Conference in Texas on March 10.

Zeina Chalich from St Finbar’s Catholic Primary Sans Souci, Magdalene Mattson from St Joseph the Worker Catholic Primary Auburn South, Nick Brierly from St Therese’s Catholic Primary Denistone, and Kimberley Sutton from St Kevin’s Catholic Primary Eastwood spoke about the Australian Curriculum and ways to get students to think on a deeper level.

aussieed

“Twitter is a great leveller. You can get on there with your PhD or be in the first year of your teaching degree and everyone is equal” – Brett Salakas

The ‘Aussie ED-agogy’ workshop was chosen from a shortlist to be part of the conference by attendees.

Founding #aussieED member and teacher at St Kevin’s Catholic Primary Eastwood, Brett Salakas, said he believed that like the workshop, the chats were popular because they allowed teachers to
guide each other rather than be told how to teach by an ‘expert’.

“Twitter is a great leveller,” he said.

“You can get on there with your PhD or be in the first year of your teaching degree and everyone is equal. You’re judged purely on the quality of your idea.”

Highlights have included the time champion cyclist Cadel Evans tweeted to offer support to a bicycle safety initiative a small school in Adelaide had planned.

“Our last chat had just under 3000 tweets within the hour and 12,000 retweets, so it had a tweet reach of about 8 million,” Mr Salakas said.

“It’s just amazing to see how comprehensively people have taken it on board.”

#aussieEd members share why their work has them excited.

Kimberley Sutton

St Kevin’s Catholic Primary Eastwood, teacher for four years.

What do you love most about aussieED?

“The fantastic team. We support, motivate and challenge each other.”

What was your favourite twitter chat topic?

My favourite chat topic so far has been Google Apps for Education (GAFE). This chat came just before I attended the Google Teacher Academy so I went with a wealth of knowledge.

As a teacher I… am constantly amazed by the phenomenal things that my students are capable of achieving.

Magdalene Mattson

St Joseph the Worker Catholic Primary Auburn South, teacher for six years.

What do you love most about aussieED?

We started with a small dream of creating a quality Twitter chat and now we have a website with a range of resources, videos, podcasts, and blogs to reach educators with.

What was your favourite twitter chat topic?

Nurturing Creativity and Building Relationships because they were about skills that go beyond the classroom and can prepare students for life. I also really enjoyed ‘Teach like a PIRATE’ and ‘Be more Dog’ because they linked to fun ideas that were really relevant to education.

As a teacher I… strive to create an environment where students can display tolerance, respect and a love of learning.

Nick Brierley

St Therese’s Catholic Primary Denistone, teacher for more than nine years.

What do you love most about aussieED?

The aussieED Professional Learning Network allows teachers to share and search for valuable, practical teaching resources and strategies. It makes me proud to think of the innovations in practice, connections that have been forged, and the relationships that have been built because of this concept.

What was your favourite twitter chat topic?

The Authentic Learning chat in December. The Genius Hour chat in June 2014 was also important because it was the first time that the chat discussed a concept that was known by only a few of the participants. The potential for learning about this exciting and purposeful project saw teachers from all over the globe clamouring to know more. education.

As a teacher I… want to be the educator that strives to become what students need and deserve to achieve their full potential.

Zeina Chalich

St Finbar’s Primary Sans Souci, teacher for 10 years. St Therese’s Catholic Primary Denistone, teacher for more than nine years.

What do you love most about aussieED?

I love the fact that #aussieED is an authentic and global professional learning network. There are no fancy titles or ‘have to-s’, just genuine chats about effective pedagogy and the exchange of awesome ideas. The team has an amazing synergy that naturally inspires this.

What was your favourite twitter chat topic?

The chat on ‘Maker Space’ was an exciting one because it focussed on the different ways we could encourage tinkering and risk taking in a flexible learning environment using technology, while also promoting critical and creative thinking skills in our students. The other chat that I cherished was the one I co-moderated with the Twitter Principal, Eric Sheninger, who is famous for his role and recent book on Digital Leadership. He woke up at 4.30am in New Jersey to join the chat.

As a teacher I… hope to inspire my students to think big and then go bigger! To question why and ask ‘why not?’ in life and in learning.

Kelly Hobson

Marist Sisters’ College Woolwich, science teacher for 10 years.

What do you love most about aussieED?

aussieED gives a voice to Australian teachers. I love the fact that if I am stuck for an idea or need to vent that my close aussieED Professional Learning Network will be there or the wider aussieED community will be there at the end of a 140 character Twitter post!

What was your favourite twitter chat topic?

I enjoyed ‘Getting Stuff Done’, hosted by our Newcastle aussieED team-mate Rob. It was a really fast-paced chat that gave me heaps of ideas of how to … maximise my teaching and ensure that I have a good work-life balance.

As a teacher I… As a teacher I … hope to provide my students with opportunities for learning that goes beyond the exam at the end of the year.

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