There are very few people who grow up knowing what it is that they are born to do. This, however, is Tamara Sullivan, who realised early in her high school years that all she ever wanted to do was teach and educate Australia’s next generation. And since gaining her credentials, the Queensland teacher has not only been at the front of the classroom, but at forefront of implementing technology in schools through training staff and delivering online learning environments to her students.
“Back when technology wasn’t a huge focus in education, I suppose I kept on top of what was happening. So as technology advanced and schools caught up and introduced ICT departments, with my motivatation to learn new and effective ways to teach, I naturally ended up in eLearning,” said Tamara.
Working as the Dean of E-Learning at Ormiston College, Tamara believes that as more Australian schools adopt 21st century teaching and learning, ICT will no longer be considered as a separate area, but rather integrated into all aspects of education.
Tamara believes that as more Australian schools adopt 21st century teaching and learning, ICT will no longer be considered as a separate area, but rather integrated into all aspects of education.
Having been part of the Microsoft’s Innovative Expert Educator Program, Tamara feel this integration will soon become the norm as schools look to other schools for inspiration and to collaborate in delivering more effective education through technology lead projects.
“As part of the program, we have a Yammer forum that allows us to showcase what we’re doing at Ormiston College. It also allows us to troubleshoot and work collaboratively with other Expert Educators to see if they have any feedback or issues with projects we are looking to implement.”
“Yammer allows us to troubleshoot and work collaboratively with other Expert Educators to see if they have any feedback or issues with projects we are looking to implement”
Tamara believes collaboration is key to academic development and that technology is the tool that achieves this. A central part to this growth comes in the form of exploring real world programs, which is why Ormiston College created its Learning Innovations Leadership Committee where teachers redefine the skills students need outside of school and then encourage them to harness these skills through programs such as Robotics real world problem solving and global collaborative tasks.
“We have approximately 17 teacher leaders across the school, so by having productive and honest conversations around technology in the classroom, we have become focused on building more of those crucial 21st century skills,” Tamara said. “This means that once our students leave Ormiston, they have the necessary skills required in today’s tech-centric world to actively contribute and be part of the broader community.”
“Once our students leave Ormiston, they have the necessary skills required in today’s tech-centric world to actively contribute and be part of the broader community”
“Since being part of the Innovative Expert Educator program, I have been able to build a great set of professional networks. The ideas that I have been able to take from the program and then implement at the College wouldn’t have been possible had I not been able to collaborate with those 60 brilliant educators. Recently, I partnered with a fellow Expert Educator in Sydney to create and implement a collaborative peer feedback task, using OneNote online, Lync and Office Mix. I learnt so much from this task that I am now investigating how I can grow this program into a global initiative.
“I would say as a teacher, being part of the Microsoft program has been probably my greatest professional growth in education, which is extraordinary. I think this is because I have developed the relationships with likeminded people from Australia and New Zealand, and have been making those critical connections to bounce those ideas off. Having a group to collaborate with that is both willing and able to support you is absolutely fantastic.”
Tamara is one of six Expert Educators who have been selected to represent Australia at the Microsoft Global Educator Exchange (E2) in Seattle, on April 29 – an annual event that brings together 300 of the most innovative educators and students from around the world.