Study Tour of the US

The Year 5 Geelong College teaching team of Kelly Watson, Andrew McKie and James Colbert have spent their mid-year break on a study tour of the United States supported by the Centre for Learning, Research and Innovation.

The tour began with the team presenting the work that they do in the Year 5 program ‘Designing the Future’ at the International Society of Technology in Education (ISTE) Conference. This annual conference serves as a forum for exploring and exchanging ideas about education technology with educators from around the world. The event, held in San Antonio, attracted 21,000 educators and education leaders across the six days, with the conference including keynote speakers, hundreds of sessions, student-led workshops and a massive expo where vendors can show off the latest products and services. The feedback they received on the work that they do was affirming and in many ways positions them as leaders in the field of maker-centred education.

Amongst visits to other schools and universities, the team also attended a five day conference called Constructing Modern Knowledge (CMK) in Manchester. CMK is a minds-on institute for educators committed to creativity, collaboration and computing. Participants have the opportunity to engage in intensive computer-rich project development with peers and a world-class faculty. While the outstanding faculty is comprised of educational pioneers, bestselling authors and inventors of educational technologies, the real power of Constructing Modern Knowledge emerges from the collaborative project development of participants. Each days program consists of a discussion of powerful ideas, mini tutorials on-demand, immersive learning adventures designed to challenge one’s thinking, substantial time for project work and a reflection period.

Kelly, Andrew & James had the privilege of learning and working alongside the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Media lab researchers and teaching staff. To put the scope of this into context, the MIT Media Lab was at the vanguard of the technology that enabled the digital revolution. Their innovative research around holography, wearable computing, wireless communications, artificial intelligence, new forms of artistic expression, and innovative approaches to how children learn, is today combined with the work of nanotechnologists, data-visualization experts, industry researchers, and pioneers of computer interfaces who work side by side to invent—and reinvent—how humans experience, and can be aided by, technology.

Some incredible learning has taken place that will no doubt enhance the educational experience of students at Geelong College. The team will each share their own reflections on their experiences with our community in the coming weeks