On May 24th and 25th past, 88 principals, teachers and curriculum leads from 40 schools across Australia met for the for the Partners in Learning Alumni Schools Forum in Melbourne, Victoria. This forum brought together the 2010 and 2011 Partners in Learning Innovative Pilot Schools Program from 2010 and 2011. The 2010 and 2011 programs focused on transforming teaching and learning practices in their schools and integrating technology appropriately to underpin these transformations. Participants have all demonstrated a commitment to change and an ability to integrate technology in their practices. By uniting both programs and enabling them to continue the relationships, professional learning and conversations participants are now part of a very unique national education community. 

With an agenda focused on 'Shaping our futures together,' participants had a mixture of key note addresses, workshop sessions and breakout sessions. Wayne Craig, Regional Director of Education, Northern Melbourne Metropolitan region, opened the forum with an 'inspiring' key note address about the process of change that has taken place across his region in the previous seven years. Bruce Dixon, Director of Ideas Lab, followed Wayne with a more micro Microsoft PIL 350level look at the modern learner and how educators need to connect with them. Lawrence Crumpton from Microsoft closed the day with a look into the future with what/how technology is going to influence our lives and schools. Lawrence was joined by Matthew Ford and Kevin Gosschalk from QUT who demonstrated, for the first time, their product Skampa, an interactive immersive system that uses Microsoft Kinect to create a interactive play-mat with educational games for children.

Through morning workshops and breakout sessions led by the Australia Partners in Learning Mentor and Advisor school, participants worked together to build relationships across the two program years and develop their professional networks across states and primary and secondary sectors. Breakout sessions focused on Learning Spaces, Innovation, Student Voice in teaching learning & assessment and Sustainability exposed participants to and engaged them in conversations about some projects, practices and lessons from the leading Partners in Learning schools in Australia.

Microsoft PIL 149 

To further the theme of seeing what and how their peers are accomplishing transforming their schools practices, day 2 of the forum focused on school visits to four schools in Melbourne: Wooranna Park Primary School, Dandenong High School, Broadmeadows Valley Primary School and Hume Central Secondary School. The Melbourne weather might have attempted to wash out the forum but participants were given invaluable tours of four fantastic examples of modern schools.

Microsoft PIL 274 

The Partners in Learning Alumni community will continue to grow with the inclusion of the 2012 Innovative Pilot Schools and will work and collaborate together online in the Partners in Learning Alumni online community. The Microsoft Partners in Learning Alumni community we hope will grow into a sustainable national professional education community that continues to include some of the best and most innovative schools from across Australia.

For more information on Skampa, the schools involved or the program, please click on 'Email Blog Author' above.