I have a few education conferences under my belt now and of course with each conference comes a keynote or several. Some keynotes I walk away from invigorated and inspired whilst others I can’t even remember what happened (I may have tweeted and checked my emails).
Watching keynotes via Ted Talks or YouTube is great but having the live experience with a great presenter is something else. With an inspiring speaker there’s an immediate total emotional or mental connection, a stage presence, an energy which captivates and a room that seems to light up. The best thing I find about a great keynote or presentation though, is that I leave feeling and thinking either “I can’t believe I haven’t been doing that!” or “that is something we must try!”
When George Couros came to Adelaide in 2012 he connected with our school and presented his digital citizenship and blogging as a port folio workshops. He inspired action from many of our staff and we now have a twitter presence across our staff and several who blog regularly for professional reflection. A handful of faculties (including mine) have incorporated student blogging and faculty blogs. I think these acts speak for the impact George had on our school.
A similar experience was had at the Hawker Brownlow Education Conference in Melbourne this year. I attended two sessions with William Ferriter with other colleagues. Bill speaks passionately about being a teacher and it is hard not to be entertained by his charisma and southern American ” y’alls”. What Bill shared was his own experiences building PLCs. His message was powerful and his advice was practical and resulted in immediate change in my own approach to building my team and how we support faculties across the school.
Recently we have had David Giles (Flinders University Dean of Education) speak twice with our leadership group. Whilst these were not large presentations, in fact somewhat intimate affairs, he spun an atmosphere that aroused a firm connection to his message. Staff have reflected that these sessions have impacted on how they view and value relationships with others.