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Free programs cater to professional development

Free interactive programs and workshops delivered by experts in teaching and learning at the National Education Summit offer teachers the opportunity to earn valuable professional development hours across a plethora of topics.

Two concurrent education programs taking place at the National Education Summit will provide educators with new resources and insights to take back to the classroom, while earning professional development hours. 

The two programs – ‘Knowledge Centre’ and ‘Classroom of the Future’ – will take place at the summit in Melbourne on 14-15 June, while the Knowledge Centre program is scheduled in Brisbane on 2-3 August.

Teachers can attend as many of the free sessions as they choose, covering key themes ranging from inclusive classrooms, health, and resources, to STEM and digital technology.

The Classroom of the Future program held in Melbourne offers educators two days of professional development sessions exploring ideas and concepts for imagining classrooms of the future.

Organisers behind the event say booking is required for all programs in both venues – Melbourne and Brisbane – as seats are limited.

Marie Kinsella, CEO of IEC Group. Image: IEC

Ms Marie Kinsella, CEO of IEC Group, which organises the National Education Summit, says the teaching landscape is changing fast and Australian teachers are facing complex challenges.

“From the adoption of new technologies into the classroom, the focus on sustainability, and the growing need for classrooms that are as diverse as the students inside them, teachers are under pressure to stay up to date with the latest shifts in education outcomes and best practices,” Ms Kinsella says.

“This is precisely why we are so excited to present educators with the National Education Summit – covering the latest in education research, information, technology and skills.”

Knowledge Centre program – 14-15 June, Melbourne

The first three speakers at the Knowledge Centre program in Melbourne will address inclusiveness.

Donna Wright, Principal at Bandiana Primary School. Image: IEC

Ms Donna Wright, Principal at Bandiana Primary School near Wodonga, is the opening speaker on Day One (Friday 14 June). She will explore the advantages of identifying high-potential students while they are in primary school, and extending them through the appropriate educational opportunities, including acceleration and subject compacting, with the aim of improving their academic performance.

Following Ms Wright, a session on inclusive leadership will be led by Ms Venesser Fernandes, a lecturer in educational leadership studies at Monash University.

In Ms Fernandes’ workshop, participants will use a self-assessment tool to determine their inclination towards inclusive leadership. They’ll be introduced to evidence-based traits or behaviours that distinguish inclusive leaders from others using case-based analysis, and receive a toolkit of inclusive leadership practices that can be used in their schools and classrooms. They’ll also receive an individual self-assessment report on their own level of inclusive leadership.

Third speaker, Ms Annie Khoury, a primary teacher at Matthew Flinders Anglican College in Queensland, will discuss an inclusive approach to reading, spelling and writing instruction that supports readers who may face challenges. 

To shed light on resources for the classroom, ABC’s Behind the News (BTN) presenter and journalist, Ms Amelia Moseley, will lead an interactive session on BTN High, an educational resource for secondary school teachers and students tailored to the Australian Curriculum that launched in 2023.

Ms Moseley will discuss what BTN High is and how it’s produced, the different topics and issues that have been covered, and how the content can be accessed and used in the classroom.

Rounding out the nine sessions on offer on Day One in Melbourne, author and teacher Mr Jeremy Kalbstein and Dr Dvir Abramovich from The Anti-Defamation Commission will walk participants through Click Against Hate, a free resource for schools.

Designed for primary and secondary students alike, Click Against Hate makes it simple to teach students about complex issues like online dangers, racism, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, homophobia, freedom of speech, cyberbullying and more.

Participants will get a tour of the program, which is funded by the Australian Government, that comes with ready-to-teach lessons across a variety of topics including stereotypes and prejudices, media misrepresentation, discrimination and online hate.

Mr Kalbstein and Dr Abramovich will demonstrate how teachers can make students a part of the story with interactive quizzes, videos and games that take lessons from a lecture to a live experience.

On Day Two (Saturday 15 June), a health session delivered by Star of the Sea College teacher Ms Lauren Munday will guide participants on strategies that can be taught to students to encourage a positive and self-determinant learning environment. 

Ms Shelly Michalke, STEM Leader at St Patrick’s Primary School, will present a school community STEM project involving local veterans, and demonstrate how this kind of project could be implemented in any school setting.

In the digital technology space, Mr Grant Jones, from Grow Your Own Teacher Training Program at Western Sydney University, will look at creating versus consuming. 

This session will lead delegates through an exploration of innovative technologies such as augmented reality. He’ll demonstrate how to use a range of innovative applications to collaborate and create, and share ways teachers can get their students’ creative juices flowing.

Classroom of the Future program – 14-15 June, Melbourne

Another key component at the summit in Melbourne is the Classroom of the Future program – a comprehensive program for educators to consider what classrooms might look like in one to five years from now, to share ideas, and hear about new developments.

The program will open with a panel delivered by the Department of Education Victoria with the topic currently being finalised. 

Dr Shyam Barr, University of Canberra. Image: IEC

Fostering students’ self-regulated learning (SRL) is the focus of the second session. Delivered by Dr Shyam Barr, Professional Associate at the University of Canberra, and Ms Louise Wallace-Richards, Assistant Principal Teaching and Learning at Radford College, the session will reflect on a school improvement initiative at Radford College that put educators through a series of professional learning experiences designed to build their understanding of how to teach students SRL, using motivational, cognitive and metacognitive strategies.

Dr Barr and Ms Wallace-Richards will share their reflections on the implementation journey, including key takeaways and practical strategies for leading and teaching SRL.

In other sessions throughout the first day, Mr Tim Hadwen, Director of Micromelon, is leading a hands-on workshop using the Micromelon Rover to guide participants through a series of engaging and real-world activities and challenges that teachers can immediately incorporate into their robotics lessons or after-school club.

Students from Werribee Secondary School and Kingsville Primary School will share their own Student Action Projects that tackled a local environmental issue in their school or local community. Joined by their respective Assistant Principals (Mr Samuel Eason at Kingsville Primary School and Ms Joanna Sommers at Werribee Secondary School), the students will share the steps they took to facilitate and implement their Student Action Projects. Ms Lottie Dowling, who has worked in education for more than 20 years and facilitated one-year Student Action Projects nationally, is also presenting in the session.

On Day Two (Saturday 15 June), Dr Mark Williams, Professor at Macquarie University, will present on the neuroscience of learning. His session will focus on how teachers can implement strategies to improve learning, memory and most importantly, deep understanding.

Following Dr Williams, Mr David Gall, Senior Project Officer in Online Learning at Brisbane Catholic Education, will discuss how to develop a signature pedagogy for the delivery of online learning, including the influence that asynchronous learning has on synchronous live lessons. 

Following a series of other sessions and workshops the day will wrap up with Art Education Victoria’s Executive Officer Ms Lena Cirillo who will explore the evolving landscape of education, focusing on its relevance to K-12 students, engagement for educators, and the practical application of creative pedagogies.

In an era where the conventional classroom is undergoing a transformation, this session delves into the dynamic interplay between creativity, education, and the classroom of the future. 

Gemma Goodyer, Principal at St Gabriel’s and Jarryd Bradford, Director of Traces of Learning, are presenting at National Education Summit Brisbane. Image: IEC

Knowledge Centre program – 2-3 August, Brisbane

Kicking off the Knowledge Centre program in Brisbane, speaker Professor Kate Ames, Director of Learning Design and Innovation at CQUniversity, will discuss the impact of school-based experiences on life and self-belief for adults with ADHD.

Through personal storytelling, she aims to highlight the importance of awareness of ADHD by teachers and caregivers, and the influence it has on student engagement with feedback and interaction in the classroom.

In the health and wellbeing space, road safety is in the spotlight. Road trauma is the biggest killer of Australian children aged one to 14 years. In 2023, 1,266 Australians lost their lives on the road – 98 were school aged. Participants will hear from the founder and CEO of the Australian Road Safety Foundation, Mr Russell White, about why road safety awareness and education are an essential part of lifelong continuing education for health and safety on and around our roads.

On the second day of the free Knowledge Centre program in Brisbane, a representative from the Australian Federal Police (AFP) will provide an overview of online child sexual exploitation. The session will explain the role of the AFP-led Australian Centre To Counter Child Exploitation (ACCCE), the ThinkUKnow program, the sexual extortion trend and what the community needs to know, and how to report and get help.

Also presenting in the Brisbane program, Ms Gemma Goodyer, Principal at St Gabriel’s and Mr Jarryd Bradford, Director of Traces of Learning, will share how they created a school culture where no bells are heard, children do not line up, and there is no whole-class teaching. Instead, children encounter hands-on learning at all times. Ms Goodyer and Mr Bradford will explain their ‘why’ and ‘how’.

To register for the free Knowledge Centre program in either Melbourne or Brisbane, or the Classroom of the Future in Melbourne, visit

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