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20 January 2017

TransformEDx goes to Geelong

TransformEDx recently held the Innovations in Education Marketplace at Deakin University, providing an interactive space for Associates to engage with leading education organisations in Australia.

Last week, at Teach For Australia’s National Inter-cohort Week, TransformEDx held its Innovations in Education Marketplace at Deakin University’s Waurn Ponds Campus in Geelong.

The Marketplace was an interactive space for educators and school leaders to engage with organisations that offered a suite of classroom and teacher resources.

The event was joined by Cohort 2016 and Cohort 2017 Associates who took the opportunity to build upon their knowledge of digital technologies and tools, design thinking, formative assessments, student health and wellbeing, classroom technologies and professional development.

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Set within a large hall at Deakin University, the Marketplace was attended by seven key education organisations, each displaying a stall for Associates to engage and learn from the variety of resources on offer.

Among those participating was Berry Street, an independent child and family services organisation that showcased an education model of curriculum and classroom strategies for student wellbeing.

Berry Street’s Senior Education Adviser, Tom Brunsell, was delighted to present the organisation’s classroom wellbeing strategies to the Associates:

“Part of our mission is to help change the way people think about our kids. We want to help teachers understand the effect of student’s trauma on their development,” said Tom.

He believes that the Berry Street education model can prepare Associates for the challenges facing students in high need communities.

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“We are strengthening the Associates capacity to meet the complex psychosocial needs of their students. New Associates often encounter really dysregulated students and their behaviors can be confronting as many have experienced chronic stress from an early age.”

“A lot of the Associates will do the work with us and then go back to their principals and say this is powerful we want out whole school to do this,” Tom said.

Other education organisations, such as In2Science, used the Innovations in Education Marketplace to show Associates how they could use volunteer student mentors as a method of re-engaging their students in STEM subjects.

In2Science aims to increase student engagement in maths and science by placing university students from STEM fields as “peer mentors” in Year 8 and 9 classes.

Ollie Barrand, Program Coordinator for In2Science at La Trobe University, believes that the young mentors provide a human face to science, engineering or maths.

“The mentors build a rapport with the high school students and they feel comfortable asking them questions about pursing maths and science at university,” said Ollie.

dsc_0266Colleague, Joanna Oreo, says the In2Science program helps engage students from low socioeconomic communities in STEM.

“We focus specifically on low socioeconomic schools, so for many of the high school students it might be the first time they’ve had a meaningful encounter with a university student,” said Jo.

Teach For Australia Alumna Michaela Epstein (Cohort 2012) is also working to engage students in STEM, using the marketplace to promote the work of her current organisation, Maths Pathway.

Maths Pathway is a holistic maths course that moves away from the one-size-fits-all model for learning. As the Associate Director of Learning at Maths Pathway, Michaela is passionate to improve the way maths is taught to students because “it is one of those areas that is underlying so much of what we do”.

“There is so much value in mathematical thinking in professional life – beyond school, beyond university and throughout people’s lives,” she said.

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“We are really excited to be at the Innovations in Education Marketplace today to chat with a lot of the Associates and talk to them about what Maths Pathway could look like in their school and how we could support their students,” said Michaela.

Other organisations attending the event were Emerging Sciences Victoria, ATSE STELR Project, Teach To Lead and Destination Imagination Australia.

“Throughout the Marketplace, our Associates engaged with exhibitors and identified which programs, curriculum and tools were most relevant and tailored to the needs of their students and classroom,” said Kelly Anderson, Teach For Australia’s Senior Manager of Development, who organised the event.

The Innovations in Education Marketplace was highly successful, giving Associates the opportunity to connect with leading education organisations in order to improve their teaching and wellbeing practices, use of technology in the classroom and curriculum design.

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