My takeaways from Leading a Digital School conference in Melbourne


In the past week I had the pleasure of attending the Leading a Digital School conference in Melbourne, Australia. Not only was it my first international conference, it was also my first taste of Melbourne! I found Melbourne to be a beautiful city that was welcoming to tourists with a city that was easily accessible and affordable.

There were a number of fantastic key note speakers that were both thought provoking and inspirational – speakers such as William Richardson who addressed the changing accessibility to information and data, and why schools and education must change because of it. Lee Watanabe-Crockett was a gifted speaker who threw out doozies such as “Kids are 20% of our population but 100% of our future!” and got me thinking about human casualties as a bi-product of disruptive innovation and change. I also enjoyed Mal Lee and Martin Levins who introduced me to the terms “Digital Normalisation” and “Digital Darwinism“. 

However, as superb as these speakers were, the big draw card for me was to hear Jon Bergmann speak and if possible get to meet him! Many of you will know my passion surrounding flipped learning and how it has really influenced my teaching of Physical Education over the last four years. My initial exposure to flipped learning came about after reading the book that Jon co-authored with Aaron Sams – Flip Your Classroom: Reach Every Student, in Every Class, Every Day. This book completely changed my approach to PE and I was extremely excited about hearing a keynote from a person who has indirectly had so much influence on my teaching. Jon’s keynote was based around the question:

What is the best use of face to face class time?

I plan on deconstructing and exploring some of his keynote content in later blog posts, but for now I just wanted to touch on one small thing that I took from Jon’s presentation, and also from some of the presentations from other “flippers”. My takeaway was related to content creation. The one thing I dislike about the flipped classroom is the heavy focus / emphasis that new flippers place on content creation. Emphasis needs to be placed on the repurposed class time where you can continually ask the question what the best use of face to face class time?! However, after hearing Jon speak and observing video channels from other great “flippers”, it is clear I have a lot of work to do around the way I create my content. Essentially I need more energy and excitement when I create my content. I tend to create late at night, while my daughter is asleep which really effects my ability to get excited!

In the video below, Jon Thomas-Palmer over at Flipping Physics demonstrates high energy and persona that students would have no problems engaging with. He clearly loves his subject area and exudes confidence in front of the camera!

Jeremy LeCornu is a presenter whose session I attended while in Melbourne. His videos have quite a high production value, although not quite the excitement the Flipping Physics videos have. However, his crystal clear explanations and unique approach to filming his content make them hard not to watch and enjoy!

I was lucky enough to meet up with Jon in between sessions. This led to an opportunity to be interviewed for his podcast, The Flip Side. Although I was a little nervous, I had fun recording my take on flipping in the PE environment. PE in New Zealand is quite different to PE in the United States so Jon was quite interested in my approach. During the interview I explained a story about the first class I flipped with – a student put his hand up during one class and said “We love this new way of teaching and learning and we really appreciate the effort you are putting in; but man, you gotta get excited about explaining the concepts you want us to learn!”.

Sadly, this memory had faded a bit and I feel my content creation was slipping back into monotone domain! Hopefully I can get back to being excited about my content have students more engaged with my videos!



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About Me

Carl Condliffe is a Health and PE teacher passionate about using technology to create authentic and meaningful learning experiences for his students.

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