TEDx Melbourne – Educational Leadership

TEDx Melbourne 19th July 2012

Last Thursday I headed to the State Library for a TEDx Melbourne event.  I have watched a great number of TED talks online, but this was the first time I had attended a TED event.  I think it’s great that TED has expanded to include regional TEDx events across the world, it’s a nice example of how a successful idea can spread without being overly controlled.

Speaking at this TEDx event, that was specifically on the topic of Educational Leadership, was Will Richardson, Stephen Dinham and Jenny Luca.  All the speakers provided a different message, but all three were focused on improving education for students, particularly improving education beyond the standardised measure of tests.  To me the theme seemed to be preparing students for the unknown real-world future that awaits them.

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What makes a good museum?

Article Reflection – What makes a good museum?

Recently, one of my Twitter colleagues, @stoleasheep, sent me an article: What makes a good museum?  It was good to read an article suggested by someone else, rather than one I had looked for myself.  The article caused me to reflect on my beliefs about what makes a good museum, but also my experiences with museums in both a personal and professional capacity.

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Inspiration for Meaningful Education

With all the talk about NAPLAN and performance based pay for teachers that has been circling around lately I felt the need to seek out some inspirational material to restore my faith in the purpose and possibilities of education.

My first port of call was to return to one of my old favourties, Sir Ken Robinson.  I have always found solace, but also excitement, in his ideas about what makes meaningful education and in this clip I like how he disputes the very foundation of our education system.

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Museums Australia Victoria Conference – 29 March

Museums Australia Victoria Conference at the University of Ballarat

Last week Ballarat hosted the inaugural state conference for the Victorian branch of Museums Australia.  It was great to have the event in our regional town and a good initiative to support those from smaller regional organisations to attend this kind of professional development opportunity.

I attended the first day of the two-day conference, which included six keynote presentations, a parallel session and a workshop.  I was also one of a small, but dedicated, group of tweeters.  Big twitterers included: @Maggiwithoutane @LMBourke and @MeganSheehy who helped to keep the conversation robust.

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Community Events – The Penny Farthing Festival

Penny Farthing Festival 2012 by Robin Jennings

penny-farthing-festival-parade-rob-jennings
Penny Farthing Festival 2012

Every year in the last week of February, the historic and picturesque town of Evandale Tasmania comes alive for the annual Evandale Village Fair and National Penny Farthing Championships. Starting in 1983, the festival has been growing in popularity ever since.

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Valuing Historical Fiction

Historical Fiction – making history fun

Working in history education is great fun, especially at a place like Sovereign Hill.  I ended up working in this field, I believe, largely because of my love of reading and watching historical fiction.  I have not trained as a historian or a conservator, but I like to think of myself as having a little bit of both inside.  But I’m not a purist.  I love history for the fun, fascinating stories about the past.  I find the most pleasure in the creative imagination that comes from thinking about history’s people and their deeds.

Sure, evidence is important (and archaelogy is cool, especially when it involves Tony Robinson!) and teaching kids to read and understand sources is a necessary part of history teaching.  But it’s the stories that make it amazing and joyful.

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What I learnt in 2011…

2011 is rapidly drawing to a close and now is the time when people and organisations look back on the year that was.  Google’s Zeitgeist is a good one:

2011 was a big year for me – personally and professionally.  I got married, temporarily lived interstate, went back to the classroom as a casual teacher, travelled through the US, UK and Europe for over 2 months, bought a house and moved.  I also shifted strongly into the digital world and invested more time into my professional online presence and that of Sovereign Hill Education through a blog and twitter.

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Museums Australia Conference – Reflections from Day 4

The last day at the MA and IA conference began with another contrasting mix of keynote speakers.  First was Professor Ross Gibson who talked about the power of art to transform a person and the importance of considering emotions and aesthetics when planning exhibition to encourage this transformation.  I understood the ideas he expressed and I have seen the power an aesthetically thoughtful space can provide, but I thought the ideas were possibly over-analytical for a good portion of the audience and that some practical suggestions could have made the information more useful.

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