Special Events

Over the past ten years MacICT has hosted a range of national and international special guests to share their expertise with teachers and educators. These events were often a gauge of interest in topics MacICT were interested in pursuing in its development of ongoing professional learning for teachers. Below you will find a record of just some of these special events.

Coming up soon

What's the deal with PBL?

28-29 November 2016

Explore the potential for Project Based Learning (PBL) to change the way you teach. Carefully planned and managed authentic PBL projects, that effectively integrate technology encourage students to become independent workers, critical thinkers and lifelong learners. Join us for this two-day special event at Macquarie University featuring special guest Dr Mitch Parsell.

Read more

Some of our Previous Events

Storytelling with LEGO!

Storytelling with LEGO®!

Three workshops on LEGO’s potential for supporting students’ skills in literacy, design and coding. (2015)

By capturing stories generated through play, teachers can utilise children’s individual interests and emerging capacities to develop language and expression, and build creative and problem solving skills. By encouraging storytelling within robotics activities, it is possible to engage a wider diversity of students as well as strengthen literacy and reading. Combining narrative and robotics helps learners to think of stories more interactively, so that characters and scenes respond to inputs from sensors. The day featured a keynote by special guest Barbara Bratzel and hands-on workshops featuring the LEGO StoryStarter Kit, LEGO WeDo and LEGO Mindstorms.

MacICT was excited to have Barbara Bratzel back at the Centre, after her previous, very popular visit. Barbara Bratzel runs teacher workshops and develops curriculum at the Center for Engineering and Education Outreach at Tufts University in Massachusetts, USA. She has taught science and mathematics to students from kindergarten through high school. Currently, she teaches science and robotics at the Shady Hill School, a preK-8 independent school in Massachusetts. She is the author of several STEM robotics activity books for teachers, most recently STEM by Design (College House Books, 2014).

Epic Learning!

A hands-on, minds-on exploration of games and the curriculum, featuring special guests Peggy Sheehy, Marianne Malmstrom, Bron Stuckey and Dean Groom (2014)

This day explored the ways in which games, whether dedicated to education or off the shelf, can open up opportunities for engagement and learning for all students. Presenters demonstrated programs where games such as World of Warcraft and Minecraft are truly igniting learning and participants got the opportunity to explore these programs during a hands-on session. Sessions included:

  • The State of Play: Are You Game? with Peggy Sheehy
  • Follow the Learning with Marianne Malmstrom
  • Console Games like Project Spark with Dean Groom
  • Gamification for learning communities with Bron Stuckey

Peggy Sheehy is a Library media Specialist, Instructional Technologist and Humanities Instructor. As a “Teacher on a Mission”, Peggy encourages educators to reclaim their passion, challenges them to rethink their role, and shares her first-hand experience in bringing the tools of this generation into the classroom to increase authenticity, autonomy and agency and create compelling learning.

Marianne Malmstrom is a recognized leader in the use of virtual environments, digital games and multimedia in education. A “cognitive architect” at The Elisabeth Morrow School, she draws on over 30 years experience as a classroom teacher and administrator.

Reimagining Learning

Reimagining Learning


In 2012 MacICT ran a “Connected Learning” special event with Dr Alec Couros and was pleased to welcome him back in 2013 for another professional learning opportunity for teachers and school leaders.

Dr. Alec Couros is an Associate Professor of educational technology and media at the Faculty of Education, University of Regina. He has given hundreds of workshops and presentations, nationally and internationally, on topics such as openness in education, networked learning, social media in education, digital citizenship, and critical media literacy. His graduate and undergraduate courses help current and future educators understand how to use and take advantage of the educational potential offered by the tools of connectivity.

The ”Reimagining Learning” event focused on the Four Essential Skills for 21st Century Learning: Collaborating, Communicating, Creating and Critical Thinking. The event also featured a hands-on Google Apps workshop by Google champions Greg Swanson (Senior Project Officer eLearning, from the Catholic Education Office, Sydney) and Joachim Cohen (Learning Tools, Teaching and Learning Systems, ITD). Due to its popularity with teachers, this special event was leveraged in the development of “Professional Learning in a Digital Age” course.

Invent to Learn

Invent to Learn

Workshop day with Dr Gary Stager (2013)

In light of the focus around the use of ‘Maker Spaces’ for student engagement and learning, MacICT invited Dr Gary Stager to bring his “Invent to Learn” workshop to the Centre based on his popular book by the same name. The workshop begins with the case for project-based learning, making, tinkering, and engineering. Participants view examples of children engaged in complex problem solving with new game-changing technologies and identify lessons for teachers’ own classroom practice. Powerful ideas from the Reggio Emilia Approach, breakthroughs in science education, and the global maker movement combine to create rich learning experiences. Fabrication with cardboard and found materials, squishy electronic circuits, wearable computing, Arduino, robotics, and computer programming were all on the menu.

Invent to Learn is a day-long workshop led by Dr. Gary Stager, co-author of the new book, Invent To Learn: Making, Tinkering, and Engineering in the Classroom. Gary Stager is an internationally known champion for student-centered authentic technology use, an entertaining speaker, and the world’s foremost authority on teaching children of all ages to program. He has worked across Australia since 1990 when he led professional development in the world’s first laptop schools. Dr. Stager worked closely with Seymour Papert for more than two decades and his doctoral research at The University of Melbourne was based on work with Dr. Papert in creating a high-tech alternative learning environment for incarcerated at-risk learners.

Game On!

Video game community festival (2011)

The Game On festival was a celebration of video game culture and the opportunity to promote the positive benefits of playing and designing games and to highlight career opportunities within the video game industry. Over 500 people attended the festival day at Macquarie University, which was organised by MacICT staff Cathie Howe, Simon Hutchison and Anthony Fennell. It was supported by a number of passionate volunteers and was a big success with visitors. The festival included:

  • An indie developer’s showcase where 32 developers representing nine indie studios chatted to students and adults about their game and answered questions related to designing and the video game industry.
  • Information sessions:
    • We play, we design, we learn – Joanne Cologon – Catholic systemic high school, Alice Leung – Public HS, Peter Robson – Independent school, Simon Hutchison – Public primary school.
    • Pecha Kucha session – Gordon East PS Year 6 students
    • Managing Children’s Gaming Habits – Dean Groom – parent and co-founder of Massively Minecraft social enterprise.
    • Inside the Head of a Gamer: what is happening when we play and design games – Professor James Dalziel and Lecturer Kate Highfield
    • So you want to develop games? How to break into the video game industry – Dr Rowan Tulloch
  • Field reporter from Good Game Spawn Point, Gus Reynolds a.k.a. Goose and robot D.A.R.R.E.N. covered the day and the Game On festival was the feature story on the show the following weekend. Gus interviewed people at the festival and presented a game talk about the video game industry.
  • Game On Kodu Speed Challenge
  • Massively Minecraft multiplayer minecraft world
  • Microsoft xbox kinect trailer
  • Zombie live action nerf game
  • Microsoft Xbox Kinect dancing
  • Scavenger mobile phone ARG QR code hunt
  • Mario Kart challenge
  • Retro gaming hub
  • Battle tetris

“It was “Action Packed” and the visitors loved it. There were so many enthusiastic gamers, enjoying the wonderful selection and variety of gaming opportunities the ‘Game On’ team had co-ordinated. I even met locals from my neighbourhood because the day was advertised in our High school’s newsletter.”

“The number of parents, both mums and dads who were keen to learn more was outstanding.”

Playing and learning with LEGO StoryStarter

Playing and learning with LEGO® StoryStarter

Workshop for Kindy to Year 4 teachers sponsored by LEGO® Education Australia (2015)

This workshop focuses on LEGO StoryStarter as a resource to support literacy development in the K-4 classroom. By capturing stories generated through play experiences, teachers can utilise children’s individual interests and emerging capacities to develop language and expression, and build creative and problem solving skills.

This workshop featured special guest presenter Chris Rogers and MacICT staff member Karolina Novak. Chris is a Fullbright Scholar and current Professor at Tufts University. He has received many awards including the 2003 NSF Director’s Distinguished Teaching Scholar Award for excellence in both teaching and research. His work has been funded by numerous government organizations and corporations, including the NSF, NASA, Intel, Boeing, Cabot, Steinway, Selmer, National Instruments, Raytheon, Fulbright, and the LEGO Corporation. His teaching work extends to elementary schools, where he talks with over 1000 teachers around the world every year on ways of bringing S.T.E.M into the younger grades.

Robotics in Action!

Robotics in Action! Powered by LEGO® Mindstorms Education

Workshop featuring special guest Barbara Bratzel and the new EV3 robotics kit. (2013)

Through its partnership with LEGO Education, MacICT were proud to be able to offer teachers a first look at the new LEGO Mindstorms EV3 robotics kits. A successor to the hugely popular NXT robotics kit.  The workshop day featured special guest Barbara Bratzel, a highly respected and world renowned expert in the use of robotics in education. The day held featured presentations, Pecha Kucha sessions from students and workshops for both beginners and experienced teachers.

Barbara Bratzel has taught science and mathematics to students from kindergarten through high school, as well as teacher workshops in science and robotics. She is a science teacher at the Shady Hill School, an independent school in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA. In addition, she is a consulting teacher at the Centre for Engineering Education Outreach at Tufts University. Her most recent book, LabVIEW Lessons: Classroom Activities for Learning and Using LabVIEW with LEGO Mindstorms, was published in July 2011. Barbara has authored many titles on robotics including the very popular “Physics by Design with NXT Mindstorms”, now in its third edition.