For teachers, teaching young people can be a fulfilling, yet a demanding job. Today, as 21st century educators, a combination of specific skills, knowledge and experiences are required to excel in the profession. In this interview our speaker Jacques du Toit shares his views on what skills, knowledge and experiences are needed to be ahead of the curve.
1) Tell us a little about yourself and your work.
I’m the Head of Humanities & Business studies at an independent school, Riverside Christian College, in Maryborough, Queensland, Australia. I’m currently studying Master of Education – ‘Knowledge Networks & Digital Innovation’ through Charles Sturt University. Over the past 5 years I have taught a range of subjects from Years 9-12, and focused on continuously trying new ideas in my classrooms.
In 2014 I presented on the use of Evernote in Education in the 2014 EduTECH TeachMeet sessions, and ran a workshop at the CSA Queensland Conference. This lead to being selected as one of the 50 educators for the Google Teacher Academy in Sydney in 2014.
Over the past 18 months I have had the opportunity to host a number of TeachMeets and Google Educator Events on the Fraser Coast to create a network for teachers to connect and collaborate. In July 2016 I was awarded the ACEL ‘New Voice’ in School Leadership Scholarship Award.
2) What tools have you used in your own classroom to engage students? How has this changed your relationship with students?
I have used a range of tools – Evernote, Google+, Twitter, Facebook, Google Sites and others – to extend the learning of my students. The tools allow greater connection and collaboration with students, and show students the power of a connected & collaborative network. One example of using technology in the classroom has been the #TweetingAztecs project I did with students. You can find the details here.
3) As a full-time teacher, how do you manage your own professional growth and keep up with tech innovations?
I use Twitter as my main source of news, growth and inspiration. Having a diverse network to interact with opens up many discussions and challenges my thinking on a regular basis. I also use blogs and podcasts to supplement my learning, and provide access to different ideas. I also host and attend TeachMeets, which provide a great avenue for professional growth and building of networks.
4) According to you what is the top skill required today for effective teaching?
Be willing to connect through building their own Personal Learning Networks and be lifelong learners as part of having a growth mindset. The importance of networked learning cannot be underestimated, as we have access to a world of knowledge that does not just reside in the classroom. Technology and information access is evolving, and as educators we need to be actively learning and developing our skills; otherwise we will become outdated and irrelevant. The willingness to embrace the changes and adapt will be key as we move forward.
5) Can you give us a sneak peek into what you will be presenting on at the conference?
I will be sharing how teachers have the opportunity to grow through social media and other platforms. I will be sharing about the power of connections and why there is a need to develop personal learning networks. As well as how this encourages a new mindset and ability to become more agile in an ever changing world. There will be research, examples and practical stories of the power of this new collaborative learning through a PLN.
6) Why are you excited to attend the show?
It is an opportunity to connect and share with educators across a range of sectors and nations. Come join me for two days of exciting content and great networking.
It’ll be an exciting conference – be sure you do not miss out!
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