Sharing experiences and building on ideas

Collaboration is the key word at this year's Excellence in Professional Practice Conference (EPPC), as members of the education community share their stories of school-based improvement projects.

Delegates will hear about collaborations within subject teams, across year levels and between campuses, as well as wider-reaching partnerships involving clusters of schools, universities, professional associations, education departments and community organisations.

The annual conference, hosted by the Australian Council for Educational Research, is an event where classroom practitioners are the presenters as well as the attendees. They'll be giving valuable insights into the education challenges and successes in their own school communities, and how their evidence-informed projects have impacted on student outcomes.

The two day conference takes place in Melbourne next month and features more than 60 presentations and 12 workshops. One of the keynote speakers for EPPC 2016 is Dr Chris Chalmers, leader of Robotics@QUT. The Queensland University of Technology Outreach Program is a collaboration involving academics, pre-service teachers, classroom practitioners and students.

Through the program, the university provides free professional learning and resource kits to dozens of schools in low SES (socioeconomic status) areas to build staff capacity in teaching robotics-based curriculum activities.

Dr Chalmers tells Teacher her message to EPPC 2016 delegates will be around the importance of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics), robotics and coding in schools, what it looks like in practice and how members of the education community can work together.

'I know governments are starting to talk about it now, but as educators we've got to think about how we can actually bring [STEM] into the classroom and work with the children, not just the big ideas that are being spruiked out. Also, how we can collaborate together to make it so that it does work.'

The academic says the QUT program and EPPC 2016 provide valuable opportunities for teachers to share their work and experiences, allowing others to hear new ideas and build on them.

This year's Excellence in Professional Practice Conference takes place in Melbourne on 19 and 20 May. The theme is Collaboration for school improvement. To view the program and register, click on the link.

Stay tuned for future articles, podcasts and videos featuring EPPC 2016 presenters.

The Teacher team will be at the conference, posting live updates via our Twitter @teacheracer (#TeacherMag).

UPDATE: EPPC 2016 Outstanding Presentation Award Winners

Denise Hayward, Tara Anglican School for Girls – Junior School, NSW
Developing the capacity in our staff to effectively use data

Dr Kevin Anthony Perry, University of Aalborg, Denmark
What works to promote classroom wellbeing and learning from the perspectives of children and young people?

Dominic Fecteau, Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Thamarrurr Catholic School, Wadeye, NT
Classroom profiling: A data-driven approach to creating positive, supportive classrooms

Sacha Webster and Amy Tickle, Pittwater House, NSW
Meeting to learn: An innovative approach to learning at work

Brett Moffett and Andrew Walmsley, Hervey Bay State High School, QLD; Rob Proffitt-White, Department of Education and Training, QLD
Numeracy contextualised: Initiating and sustaining numeracy transfer across a high school culture

Nikki Urlich, Campbells Bay School, New Zealand
Four teachers and 120 learners: The shift to ‘modern maths

Sheri Evans, The Institute for Professional Learning, WA
Survive and Thrive: Connecting with early career teachers through coaching

Amadeo Ferra, McClelland College, VIC; Julia Kirk, Experian Australia, VIC
Corporate collaboration for whole-school improvement

Alicia Hoddle, Leigh Creek Area School, SA; Leigh-Anne Williams, Unley High School, SA; Susanne Jones, Department for Education and Child Development, SA
The Jetson's World: Online collaborative moderation between small, remote and metropolitan schools

Josephine Wise and Michele Walliker, Independent Schools Queensland
Self-improving schools: A collaborative success story from Queensland

Stuart Taylor, Riverside Christian College, QLD
Learning walks: The mental pictures that change practice

Steven Capp and Sarah Asome, Bentleigh West Primary School, VIC
Structured language: Unlocking the mystery of literacy for all

Bruce McPhate and Sally Moloney, Katandra School, VIC; Tracey Walker, Department of Education and Training, VIC
The Katandra Project: Special and mainstream schools working together

To read about previous EPPC presentations, and the impact the projects are having on student outcomes, visit the Teacher archive