Social Media and Gamification Take Center Stage in Learning – Noelene Callaghan, Australia

For Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert Noelene Callaghan, her career and passion were a matter of happy circumstance. As an IT educator trainer in the corporate world, Callaghan loved teaching others to use technology.

“Coincidentally, I began teaching at university and teaching young adults and really found my passion,” says Callaghan. “I loved that and thought, ‘I want to work with younger children and make a real difference.’” Callaghan went back to school herself, and became a teacher.

And lucky for her students that she did. Callaghan – selected this year as an MIEE – is known for her commitment to developing 21st century skills and learning strategies in her classes, mainly through personalized learning and gamification. Callaghan and her students were part of the Mineclass pilot program, working to establish new teaching and learning programs through Minecraft Edu.

“I love going to class and not knowing what to expect,” says Callaghan. “My school is one of those school communities where everybody embraces one another. I will park my car and I will have students waiting for me to get out of my car so they can talk to me as I walk to the classroom. It doesn’t matter what mood I’m in, my students will always take me out of that mood and inspire me to do a lot more for them.”

At the recent Kent Technology Expo, Callaghan – a social media maven — presented on how to create Personalized Learning Activities using matrices that encompass Bloom’s Taxonomy and Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences. She also participated in a panel discussion on using Minecraft in the classroom, helping teachers implement it in their own schools.

“I was very quick to discover that all of the concerns and questions that I possessed when setting up Minecraft in my own school were the same [as those] of all of these teachers from all parts of the world,” says Callaghan. “Understanding that each school operates differently, I was able to provide them with my experiences and reassure them that embedding Minecraft and gamification into teaching and learning is possible to implement and effective in enhancing 21st century learning dimensions.”

Next up for Callaghan? “Making technology much more accessible to students, regardless of where they are located, and to break down those boundaries that exist.” She is already well on her way to breaking down barriers by regularly sharing her ideas and experiences on her blog and Twitter daily.

Enjoy today’s Daily Edventure with Noelene Callaghan!

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