About Simon

I entered the teaching profession following employment as a Research Assistant at the Baker Medical Research Institute and Monash University. This work enabled me to begin my working life playing with lots of brand new technologies, including the world wide web.

Helix Stairs

My Teaching Philosophy

Anyhow, fast forward and I became a teacher. The image to the left here is from an assignment that I completed during my Dip Ed year and was meant to visually reflect my teaching philosophy. A double Helix, because I was a Biology teacher and the two pathways reflect the paths that learner and educator take together. ūüôā

During my second year of teaching, I found myself teaching Science and VCE Biology at Frankston High School, the first state school in Australia to have students using laptop computers in class. This began my journey in digital education. I then had five years at a private school in Donvale, where students also used laptops 1:1 in the classroom. Here I learned what was capable with high-quality networks and tech support. In reality, my passion at Donvale was guiding students in their first year of secondary college, acting as Year 7 Year Level Co-ordinator. In the end, education is always about the relationships that we foster with our students, this takes good pedagogy.

Over the last ten years, I have witnessed many changes in these high technology classrooms. Digital pedagogy has now begun to become very sophisticated and learning experiences of teachers is now shared ferociously. Ten years ago digital learning resources were scant and information relevant to students in Australia was almost non-existent… except for what teachers curated, created and published themselves. It dawned on me, while I was teaching at Donvale, that I was doing far too much for my students, perhaps falling for the trap of throwing too much content at them …the technologyy at my finger tips made this easy to do. I modified my teaching to put my students at the centre of the process of curation, creation and publication of learning. By doing so I learnt that my students were strongly engaged by this more student centred approach. My students were empowered to be creative and experienced strong ownership of their own learning. ¬†They were given a voice to make their learning visible. Now modern pedagogy asks for all students to be given the chance to curate, create and publish their work to an audience. Of course now this can be a global audience. Used wisely ICTs in the classroom have great potential to improve student learning. However, the challenge as always remains to stand back from your teaching and reflect on why some things work and others don’t.

The teaching profession is quickly changing for some as we react to so called disruptive change.  Teachers are becoming very connected by manipulating social media and tools typified by Google+, Twitter, Facebook, Yammer, WordPress, Diigo and Evernote.  This list of tools is a rich and powerful one. It is my opinion that educators are quickly becoming leaders in the world of knowledge networks and digital innovation. Other institutions are scrambling to catch up. We also, unsurprisingly, know education better than anyone else.

A window into my classrooms

A window into my classrooms

Over the last two years I have been employed by Museum Victoria as a Program Co-ordinator at Scienceworks. My responsibility is to write, develop and offer educational experiences to visiting students. This employment has given me insights into education outside of a traditional school setting and deepened my understanding of how many community sectors strive to contribute to education. Of particular note, and relevant to digital innovation and knowledge networks, I was able to contribute to a project that resulted in the publication of a suite of digital learning objects titled Learning Lab. My major contribution was to the building of learning activities and objects that supported the teaching of astronomy and the physical Sciences. These digital products were published online to support teaching as per the Australian Curriculum.

Astropics

Student astrophotography

Another highlight of my museum employment has been working with the Telescopes in Schools Program as offered by the Astrophysics School at Melbourne University.  I was lucky to make contact with this group via a Melbourne Teachmeet event.  We went on to organise an Astrophotography competition for Victorian secondary students that culminated in an award ceremony at the Melbourne Planetarium. All achieved through the power of collaboration and networking.

Finishing up at Scienceworks mid-2014¬† I took over a ‘hard to teach’ class at¬†Manor Lakes P12 College, a Victorian school renowned for making heavy use of various ICT’s to facilitate learning. ¬†As a Year 8 Generalist teacher; I took my first foray away from teaching just science and VCE Biology. I had an energetic bunch of Year 8s and am already finding the challenge(s) extremely rewarding. Students at MLP12C BYO their own iPads to class.

From MLP12 I have now moved into a Year 9 Centre working at an all boys college. All boys…all Year 9. ¬†It’ll be great they said, in fact it is pretty good. ¬†Currently (2017) I am eLearning co-ordinator and am will finish a Master of Education in October.

I have come to this M.Ed course wanting to consolidate and deepen my knowledge of education whilst learning from other educators.

 

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