2016 Tour to San Francisco and Denver

Following the success of the previous AISWA ICT Study Tour to the USA which included attendance at the ISTE Conference (International Society for Technology in Education), Principals and ICT leaders and educators are invited to submit an expression of interest to attend. The tour is scheduled for 20th – 29th June, 2016.

ISTE is the premier membership association for educators and education leaders engaged in improving learning and teaching by advancing the effective use of technology in K–12 and teacher education. ISTE’s annual conference and exposition to be held in Denver in 2016, is the premier face-to-face forum in which to learn, exchange, and survey the field of educational technology. This event attracts upwards of 18,000 from all over the globe including Principals, technology coordinators, teachers, integrators, administrators and policy makers. https://www.isteconference.org/

The study tour will provide an insight into the impact of digital technology on the evolving nature of schooling and teaching. In particular, current research will be explored to address the profound impact of developments such as schools’ normalised use of the digital, BYOT, STEM and the move to a more collaborative mode of teaching and the shift to a networked operational paradigm. Furthermore, the study tour will include a showcase of innovative and ICT leading schools together with insights to the future of technology in education when visiting Silicon Valley giants such Microsoft and Google.

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For those wishing to further their personal and professional awareness of current best practice in international ICT education programs, a limited number of positions for this study tour are available for educators and leaders who are currently working in a member school of AISWA. Contact us to express your interest.

More information about the AISWA ICT Study Tour can be found on the AISWA website or in the 2014 Tour Blog Archives.

Microsoft Technology Centre

Our last day as a tour group brought us to the Microsoft Technology Centre in Alpharetta, Georgia. Travis Smith, Australia’s National Education Specialist hosted our group and introduced us to his colleagues from the Worldwide Education team; Dr Cathy Cavanaugh, Director of Teaching and Learning and Wole Moses, Americas Business Development Manager for Education.

Cathy began by presenting an overview of Microsoft in Education and their vision of the future of education. The session highlighted ways Microsoft in Education aims to lead effective engaging learning environments where teachers are empowered to focus on student and professional learning.

Cathy and Wole went on to showcase Microsoft in Education programs and products, exemplar scenarios and schools, supports for integration, and evidence for learning in a variety of educational settings that focused on collaboration, gamification, project based learning, data analytics and assessment.

Throughout the briefing and in the closing session AISWA delegates were invited to share their experiences, ask questions and engage in meaningful discussions.

ISTE Conference: The ISTE Opening Ceremony

ISTE Delegates from around the world began flooding the halls of the Georgia World Congress Centre for registration, pre-conference sessions and workshops this morning. Our group attended a briefing for International delegates intended as an orientation for the Conference plus an overview of ISTE’s international reach, organisational objectives, professional development offerings and standards for teaching and learning.

The Opening Ceremony and Keynote presentation followed. Almost 17,000 people were greeted by a 10-piece New Orleans Jazz band before the first formal address from the ISTE group President Kecia Ray and CEO Brian Lewis. Ashley Judd, actress and human rights activist, was invited as opening keynote where she explored the role of empathy and connectedness in education.

Over the next few days, delegates have registered for and will be attending a variety of sessions. Each delegate’s ISTE experience will be unique with reflections shared via this blog.

ISTE Conference 2014

Today the group travelled to Atlanta for the 2014 ISTE Conference. Delegates will attend and participate in various workshops, lectures, BYOD sessions and other Conference activities over the next 4 days at the Georgia World Congress Centre.

Apple Executive Briefing

Our last day in San Francisco. The AISWA ICT Study Tour group arrived at the famous 1 Infinite Loop address and made their way to the Executive Briefing Centre for a full day session with the Apple education team. Delegates were introduced to some of the latest Apple advances and specialist knowledge on learning strategies, content and tools, mobile devices and technology management in education. Although much of the content cannot be shared in this public forum, delegates may wish to reflect on how Apple’s digital content, mobility and opportunities for “targeted pedagogy” learning discussed today is transforming education within their own educational context.

Public resources shared today:

IT in the Classroom

Simon Sinek: How Great Leaders Inspire Action
Simon Sinek, author of the bestselling Start with Why, has a simple but powerful model for inspirational leadership all starting with a golden circle and the question “Why?” His examples include Apple, Martin Luther King, and the Wright brothers .

TED Talk – Meet the SixthSense interaction (Pattie Maes, Pranav Mistry)

TED Talk  – The Child-Driven Education (Sugata Mitra)

ACOT 2 (Apple Classrooms of Tomorrow – Today)

Challenge Based Learning

iPad in Business Profiles

The SAMR* Model (*substitution, augmentation, modification, redefinition)
Dr. Rueben Puentedura (Blog)
Slides: SAMR: A Contextualized Introduction
Video: Technology in Education: An Introduction

One Best Thing
A collection of books, created by Apple Distinguished Educators (ADEs), that demonstrate the use of Apple technologies to transform teaching and learning. Each One Best Thing book shares a unit, a lesson, or a best practice and is designed to help another educator implement a successful practice. It’s a professional learning idea championed by an educator—in word and action—that others can look to for ideas and tips on how to replicate.
ADE Wes Molyneaux
ADE Kristi Meeuwse
ADE Larry Reiff

Example of iBooks created by students:
Invertebrates (created by 8th grade middle school students)

Understanding Digital Kids (Ian Jukes) (children’s brains wired differently)

Textbook: E.O. Wilson’s Life on Earth
Textbook with great examples of interactive content and “widgets” — being distributed chapter by chapter

Augmented Reality Apps
Spacecraft 3D from NASA / Jet Propulsion Laboratory
ColAR Mix

Managing Devices in Education
Mobile Device Mgmt (MDM)
IOS 8 in Education

Hillbrook School and Microsoft Innovative Educator Presentation

Today’s itinerary took our group to the Hillbook School, an independent coeducational K-8 school in Los Gatos, Santa Clara County, California. Hillbrook was one of the first schools in the world to implemented a 1:1 take home iPad program and through digital citizen education is helping to lead the conversation about preparing children to navigate an increasingly complex digital world.




Ilsa Dohmen, Head of the Learning Spaces project and Research Designer at Hillbrook introduced the group to a number of the school’s initiatives including education research, the Centre of Teaching Excellence and Resident Teacher program. One of the most exciting initiatives at Hillbrook is not specifically based on technology, but was inspired by it. When iPads came to Hillbrook, they quickly noticed that teaching and learning was instantly more mobile, and more flexible. They emptied the old computer lab, brought more laptops (in addition to iPads) to the classrooms, and were left with new possibility in the new space. In consideration of how environmental factors influence behaviours they attempted to create a space where students could be engaged, creative, collaborative critical thinkers. This involved stripping the area of anything that provided a directive of how the space should be used and introducing mobile furniture to create the Hillbrook Idea Lab. Students take ownership of their own learning environment and can arrange the room to suit their needs.

Measured successes in student learning led to the roll-out of similar set ups in classrooms. The group viewed some of these classrooms and the original iLab which is now known as the Maker Space. Christa Flores, iLab Coordinator, explained to us the Maker Movement based on the premise that knowledge is a consequence of experience. In the Maker Space students can use tools and technology for various problem solving tasks that infuse experiential learning into the curriculum. Stations were set up for textiles, manual arts, 3D printing, laser cutting, electronics, graphic design and more.





In the afternoon delegates met with Robin Hrivnatz, Microsoft Innovative Educator Master Trainer and Instructional Technology Specialist for the Lamar Consolidated Independent School District which enrols over 27,000 students. Robin discussed how she works with educators and learners to integrate technology revolutionising the classroom into the 21st century and prepare students for today’s workforce.

Robin explained an ICT Rubric for coding used to assess how technologies are used in ways that support and enhance learning activities. She then presented the group with examples of how she has seamlessly integrated technology to facilitate learning and not define it. Robin emphasised the importance of introducing new technologies as constructive mediums for students to create with technology and do things they couldn’t do before. For example, a large scale project where over 200 students worked in teams with members from across the globe using Microsoft 365, particularly Microsoft One Note, to undertake a collaborative a science investigation. Robin also showed examples of how she and teachers in her district are using 365 for collaboration, planning and professional development.


The following resources were shared with delegates:
WorldWide Telescope
Avatar Kinect
Office Mix
The Microsoft Educator Network
ITL Research
and apps:
Physamagig, Novamind, I Explain, Augmented Anatomy, Create a Book, Corinth Micro Plant.

Overall a very inspiring day thinking about how learning spaces are being transformed in the physical and digital realms to change learning and how students interact. Are any of our tour delegates already working in agile classroom environments or using some of the tools/software Robin demonstrated at their school in exciting ways?