Zeina Chalich is on a mission to shift our students from being consumers of technology to being active creators of it.
As our inaugural Learning Leader – Technology and Innovation and Gifted Coordinator P-5, Ms Chalich is breaking down classroom walls and bringing the outside world in through collaboration and communication on a global scale.
‘I’m a teacher by trade but a learning experience designer by choice’, she says.
In the Primary Years and beyond she is setting up video game challenges, getting younger girls involved in the Tech Girls’ Movement, introducing a coding course, designing STEAM challenges using apps and introducing robotics and invention kits.
With her Bachelor of Education and Masters of Educational Leadership Ms Chalich is an award-winning digital technology educator and teacher mentor. She has taught in several Catholic Schools as well as at her alma mater, the Australian Catholic University. She presents at international conferences and co-founded #aussieED – Australia’s largest educational professional learning network on Twitter. Everyone from beginning teachers to education Minister Simon Birmingham gets in on her conversations.
‘ICT is watching a story online, digital technology is being a creator and making that story,’ she says.
‘Focusing on STEAM in class is not for the sake of future careers, it’s for future problem-solving. Technology is an enabler but it is imagination and curiosity that makes a difference. I’m passionate about creativity and nurturing creative confidence.’
Any tool that allows you to be creative – from Makey Makey invention kits to the humble notebook and pencil – are in Ms Chalich’s educational toolbox.
Her students get really excited about the infinite possibilities of VR headsets, robotics and invention kits, but their first STEAM lesson with Ms Chalich usually involves playdough, pipe cleaners and cardboard.
According to Ms Chalich the emerging trends in digital technology teaching are Virtual Reality, gamification (game-based learning), the Internet of Things and wearable technology. But none of these are much good without purpose.
As for purpose, ‘know what you are trying to do and who you want to connect with and gather the best toolset around you to do that, she says.