Last week I was very fortunate to be able to attend the VAGTC Gifted Education Essentials Tools for Putting Theory into Practice conference which was held at CQ Function Centre Queens St Melbourne on Thursday 21 and Friday 22 May 2015 http://www.vagtc.asn.au/vagtc-conference-2015
Some of the presentations can be read at http://www.vagtc.asn.au/conference-2015-presentations
The conference was officially opened by Judith Graley Member for Narre Warren Sth and Parliamentary Secretary to Hon. James Merlino, the Victorian Deputy Premier and Minister for Education who spoke of collaborating with the VAGTC to make Victoria ‘the Education State’ by acting on the accepted recommendations from the report into the Victorian Parliamentary Inquiry into the Education of Gifted and Talented Students
Funding has been allocated for increasing opportunities for rural and outer suburban students, Koori students, ESL students and low socio economic group students.
The VAGTC has been contracted by DET to deliver teacher and parent half day seminars in 5 country towns in Victoria. VAGTC are writing an online resource for teachers to be placed on the DET website.
DET were the major sponsor for the conference.
Day 2 was opened by Judy Connell from Catholic Education Office, also sponsors of the conference.
Conference participants were treated to musical performances by Sadie Mustoe 2014 from The Patch Primary School winner of The Maldon Minstrel Award for country music singer-songwriters on Thursday http://www.maldonfolkfestival.com/maldon-minstrel-award.htm
and Alby Sands, a young jazz musician and composer from St Leonards College on Friday.
The excellent opening Keynote address presented by Dr Katherine Hoekman, the Consultant: Academic performance at the Association of Independent Schools NSW was titled Play, Passion and Performance.
Dr Hoekman also presented two mini keynote sessions Creating Agile Learning Spaces to Connect and Support the Community of Learners
and Applying Universal Design for Learning (UDL) Principles: Creating Opportunities for Depth and Complexity
The Keynote address on Friday 22 May given by Manoj Chandra Handa, a Gifted Education Consultant at Oceans of Excellence http://www.oceansofexcellence.com/ Sydney NSW was titled Building Differentiated Schools of Curious Delight.
He also presented an inspiring session titled Strategies for Identifying and Addressing Underachievement among Gifted Learners
There was a great selection of presentations and workshops.
I enjoyed attending these sessions
Andrea Blake It All Starts with Identification
Christine Ireland Tools, Practical Examples and Important Considerations for Teaching Creatively across Domains
Michele Juratowitch “Boring!” Understanding and Alleviating Tedium
A Parent Seminar was run in conjunction with the conference on Thursday 21 May
At this seminar Jenny Gotz Papillo spoke about her experiences in an excellent presentation titled One journey http://www.vagtc.asn.au/sites/vagtc.asn.au/files/Jenny%20Gotz%20Papillo%20Parent%20Seminar.pdf
Next a panel of experts moderated by Paul Double answered the parents’ questions on issues and concerns relating to parenting and educating gifted children.
The panel comprised Dr Gail Byrne, Andrea Blake, Kate Mitchell Dr Anne Grant and Jenny Gotz Papillo
After lunch the parents were addressed by Derek McCormack of Raising Children Network http://raisingchildren.net.au/
Then Michele Juratowitch of Clearing Skies Brisbane http://www.clearingskies.com.au/index.html presented ‘Gifted and Happy?’
Michele observed that whenever she speaks to parents the thing they most often say to her is “I just want my child to be happy!” Her own research influenced by the work of Dr Martin Seligman, Prof Miraca Gross, Dr Linda Silverman and Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi showed that students who were suitably placed in terms of educational challenge and true peers could be happy and did not have to make a forced choice.
I really enjoyed the experience of participating in the conference which ran very smoothly and catching up with friends and colleagues, especially the members of the VAGTC Committee, and also meeting and learning from so many people who are passionate about the education of gifted students.
I am taking up the Twitterati Challenge to name my favourite Top 5 of ‘Go to’ Educators
The conditions of the challenge are posted on Mary Myatt’s bog at
Here they are:
Started by by Ross (never known to nap) @TeacherToolkit – “In the spirit of social-media-educator friendships, this summer it is time to recognise your most supportive colleagues in a simple blogpost shout-out. Whatever your reason, these 5 educators should be your 5 go-to people in times of challenge and critique, or for verification and support”
There are only 3 rules.
- You cannot knowingly include someone you work with in real life.
2. You cannot list somebody that has already been named if you are already made aware of them being listed on#TwitteratiChallenge.
3. You will need to copy and paste the title of this blogpost and (the rules and what to do) information into your own blog post.
What to do?
This what to do:
1. Within 7 days of being nominated by somebody else, you need to identify colleagues that you rely regularly go-to for support and challenge. They have now been challenged and must act and must act as participants of the #TwitteratiChallenge.
- If you’ve been nominated, please write your own #TwitteratiChallenge blogpost within 7 days. If you do not have your own blog, try @staffrm.
5. The educator that is now (newly) nominated, has 7 days to compose their own #TwitteratiChallenge blogpost and identify who their top 5 go-to educators are.
So here are my choices
@cybraryman1 Jerry Cybraryman Blumengarten “I’ve got a page for that.”
Cataloging for education #edchat moderator
Technology gives even the quietest student a global voice.
Jerry does indeed have a page of links for every educational situation.
Particularly useful are his pages about Twitter chats
@gtchatmod Lisa Conrad Moderator of #gtchat
Lisa Conrad is the moderator and hostess for my favourite education chat #gtchat powered by Texas Association for Gifted &Talented.
Lisa conducts a poll to choose the topic for the chat or invites a guest expert, compiles a list of questions for the session and a collection of related links. After the chat she publishes a transcript using Storify and a blog post about the session which gives all the useful links which were shared.
@GiftedHF Gifted Homeschoolers
Gifted Homeschoolers Forum supports families of gifted homeschoolers around the world through education, advocacy & community.
GHF not only support homeschoolers but also provide useful information about gifted and 2E student, online courses and conduct blog hops which provide great information and support.
@murcha Anne Mirtschin
Teacher of ICT accounting & business studies Hawkesdale P12 College. Passionate about virtual classrooms, online learning, rural education and global education
Anne connects teachers and students from all around the world by participating in global education projects, Twitter and Skype classroom connections. She also is the moderator and hostess of the Australia e-Series Tech Talk Tuesdays webinars using Blackboard Collaborate
Lecturer in VET (Lit, Num, IT) interested in all e-learning, virtual classroom lover Often delivering entirely online
Have also run e-learning projects
Jo provides great PD for teachers and everyone interested in education. She develops and presents e-learning projects and webinars which are great for building confidence and enthusiasm.
Thank you all for being great sources of information, support and encouragement!
I was really delighted to be able to present a session for the OZeLIVE! online education conference which ran from 27 February – 1 March 2015. http://australianeducators.ning.com/
The details of my session together with some feedback I received can be seen at
My Persona Dolls representing Neihart and Betts Revised Profiles of the Gifted and Talented made their first appearance at this presentation and I am very relieved and pleased to say that they were given a warm reception.
A recording was made of the session and can be found at https://sas.elluminate.com/drtbl?sid=2008350&suid=D.BE2E9BF65F331889431F277C4B1F15
Errata: The reference slide should contain the wording All photos and images except Gifted Awareness Week and OZeLIVE logos c. Jo Freitag
I volunteered to act as a moderator for the OZeLIVE! online education conference which ran from 27 February – 1 March 2015. http://australianeducators.ning.com/
Prior to signing up I was anxious that
a. maybe the presenter I was moderating for would have connection or other technical problems and I would not be able to help them
b. maybe I would have connection or other technical problems and not be able to help myself
c. maybe I would say/do something wrong
d. maybe I would forget to press the record button
- – z. maybe etc. etc. etc. etc. (You get the picture – I was anxious!)
But I have received plenty of experience and practice in the use of Blackboard Collaborate in the Jo Hart’s Fine Focus and Serendipity sessions, Anne Mirtschin’s Tech Talk Tuesday sessions and the Thursday evening Australia eSeries sessions; so I really should not have been worried. Also there was a volunteer lounge where problems could be shared and brilliant Australia eSeries people in there to step in and help sort out problems. Peggy George from the US and Chris Smith from Thailand also gave expert assistance and helped to solve problems as they arose.
So I really did enjoy the experience of acting as a moderator and do feel I was able to contribute enough to earn the Exhausted Volunteer Badge.
“Three fabulous days of education conversations” That was the phrase that Coach Carole McCulloch used to describe the OZeLIVE! online education conference which ran from 27 February – 1 March 2015. http://australianeducators.ning.com/
And she was quite right. It was an excellent opportunity to engage in PD sessions and be inspired and encouraged by the keynote speakers and presenters at times which were favourable for Australian participants.
If you missed the opportunity of participating it is still possible to hear recordings of the presentations at http://australianeducators.ning.com/recordings2015 and to receive certificates of attendance at http://australianeducators.ning.com/certificates
For a video giving directions relating to claiming certificates see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LHaLhHKh-zc
On Friday 27 February I attended all the sessions. I could not stay for the whole time in some of the sessions as I was also a volunteer moderator.
I heard and really enjoyed sessions from
Ben Newsome: An Aussie abroad; Churchill Fellowship findings into educational video conferencing best practice.
Holly Kershaw: The Physics of Jumping Castles: Using Apps to Teach Science
Vanessa Crouch: Web tools for Inquiry Learning
KEYNOTE Jane Hart on ‘Moving beyond e-learning’
On Saturday 28 February I listened to or acted as a moderator for great sessions from
KEYNOTE Julie Lindsay on ‘Student Autonomy for Flat Learning and Global Collaboration’
Lindy Fors: The Changing Face of ABE: a look at online adult basic education
KEYNOTE Bron Stuckey on ‘Designing badges to motivate, recognise and celebrate learning’
KEYNOTE Georgina Pazzi on ‘Digitally Extraordinary’
On 1 March I attended all or part of or acted as a moderator for
KEYNOTE Ian Murray on ‘Panel Discussion: Leaderships in the 21st Century’
Harry Tuttle, Ed. D. Modern Language Proficiency Through ACTFL Can-Do Statements
Anne Mirtschin Skype in the Classroom
Harry Tuttle, Ed. D.Students Explore Culture Through Mobile Devices
KEYNOTE ‘Sophie Murphy on ‘SOLO Taxonomy’
I would like to say a sincere thank you to the great team at Australia e Series for organizing, preparing for and presenting such an excellent online conference.