ASLA conference debrief – at long last

It’s been remiss of me not to write about the brilliant ASLA conference I attended in October. Held at the magnificent St Ignatius College, Riverview between 2-5 October, the conference was a time to finally meet up with online friends like Stacey Taylor, Marita Thomson, Anne Weaver, Jessica Jorna, Nadia Merchant, Trent McAllan, Chris Betcher and Robyn Knowles and spend time with those I’d already had the privilege to meet like Cathy Oxley, Carmel Galvin, Karen Innes and Anne Whisken (hope I haven’t missed anyone – let me know if I did!) It was also a time to be challenged and informed.

Staying on campus was a great experience as the conversations flowed all day and at dinnertime and beyond. The themed dinner was a lot of fun. It was terrific that lots of people that couldn’t attend followed the conference on Twitter via the #asla2011 tag.

Unfortunately I didn’t arrive in time for Karen Bonanno’s keynote, but you’ll find it here.


Judy O’Connell’s keynote was thoughtful and challenging.


Dean Groom’s keynote was as awesome as the man himself.

ASLA 2011

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I’m sure all of the delegates learned as much as me and couldn’t wait to get back to school to put some of the ideas into practice. What does worry me are the people who don’t attend these conferences or don’t follow the conversation from home. I know we can’t get to every conference we’d like to, and often following the # and associated links really is the next best thing. But what about the people who don’t do either? How are they being challenged to move with the times?

Top 10 Bright Ideas

This is the presentation I gave to the NSWAIS teacher librarians on 3 June 2011. As the former author of the Bright Ideas blog, I was asked what were my top 10 tools for keeping up with technology.

If you cannot see the Prezi on your device, try this link.

Supporting documentation on starting or enhancing your PLN and links available here.

The best job in the world

I’ve discovered what the best job in the world is. Can you guess? Not a travel reporter. Not a chocolate quality control person. Even better. It’s being an aunty (or uncle as the case may be). And although it doesn’t pay very well (okay, very well = nothing, as you well know), that’s the last thing on your mind.

Being an aunty means that you get all the good stuff and not much of the bad. You don’t have the role of checking that homework is done, vegetables eaten, school uniform is clean and school bag packed with the correct things for the relevant day.

I’ll never forget the squeal of joy my niece made when I unexpectedly arrived at her school sports day. I heard  a delighted shout of “Aunty Jude!” right across the schoolyard. It made the long trip worthwhile and her happiness at seeing me will remain with me forever.

You do have the job of being a positive role model and if you happen to be a teacher, the school holidays provide plenty of opportunity for that. You can teach your nephews/nieces cooking and rather than seeing a great big mess, you see a lifelong skill being gained. You can play games and rather than see time better spent doing the housework, you are strengthening your relationship while the child learns problem solving skills and how to be a good loser (or good winner).

Children are on their best behaviour when they visit as they know that getting your undivided attention for the entire day is a privilege that just can’t occur pretty much anywhere else. Children feel really special if you take the time to attend their sporting events or school concerts. As I always say to my nephews and niece, the best thing someone can give you is their time. It’s nice to know that even at 14, my oldest nephew still asks and actually wants me to attend his grand finals.

Being an aunty or uncle is an important role that doesn’t get much acknowledgement in our society, but the rewards for all are enormous.

I’m proud to say that I am fortunate enough to have the best job in the world.

Google Teacher Academy

I’d been thinking about applying for the first Australian Google Teacher Academy, but family illness meant that I’ve left it to the very last minute (well, considering the time zone differences, the very last minute is in about 29 hours from now, so not last minute at all).

Part of the application required a one-minute video. Compared to some of the ADE and GTA videos I’ve seen made by friends and colleagues, this is rather lame. Oh well, at least I got it done.

It’s not the most brilliant effort, but I wanted to show that even a low tech video can have good ideas. The video has not been edited and of course, uses my friends Harry, Ron and Hermione to discuss motivation and learning.