But have schools really thought about stirring the same kind of tech evolution in their business office? How do educators ensure their administration processes are in keeping with the same kind of technological visions that classroom teachers are working to implement? 

It is these questions that drive a rousing opening address delivered by Pam Fleming, customer and markets insights manager at Fuji Xerox Australia, at the EduTECH K-12 Ed Leaders Congress.

When it comes to really nailing a whole-school digital transformation, Fleming argues that business administration processes must too adapt and change.
 
Acknowledging this as the "less sexy" side of the digital evolution, Fleming believes that in order for schools to truly maximise their learning outcomes, an efficient and well-run admin system is a must.

Today, she is here to run delegates through the "small, incremental steps" that business managers need to follow to kick-start their way to establishing a paper-free office.

"From the corporate world we have great advice," Fleming says. 

Firstly, dedicate your resources wisely and allow staff the freedom to make their own decisions with the new processes. 

"You need to assign ownership... business leaders need to lead the cultural change," she notes.

Maintaining clean, up-to-date data is vital for any team wanting to expand and improve their digital operation. Indeed cooperation and collaboration are key to the process. 

"Culture eats strategy for lunch every day of the week," Fleming attests. 

"Clean up your data now ... this is the time for consolidation and optimisation," she urges delegates. 

Working towards the creation of a paperless data management system is entirely achievable, Fleming says, if educators tackle the transformation from three core angles; data storage, general management (and how people share it) and enterprise management (using analytics etc)


Taking the stage next is international gamification expert Dr Bron Stuckey, who is met with rousing applause.

On her agenda is the topic of 'fun' and why educators need to tap into their own joy of learning to bring their ''A game'' to their students. 

"Fun is not a new equation, it's something that's been at our fingertips (through all) teaching degrees," she begins.

So today Stuckey is determined to show us how and why we need to reconnect with the 'fun' to be had in teaching,  in our role as custodians of learning. 

"We spend too much time being serious at work, instead of engaging and having fun," she shares.

But how do we seek out more fun ways of both implementing the curriculum and being a positive, joyful influence in all areas of school life?

Simply look to the unofficial experts, Stuckey says. 

"Game designers know a lot about learning- they get children to do lots of complex hard things for long periods of time."

"Start with thinking that fun is an essential part of bringing your A game to school; how are you going to engage  your students?" she challenges delegates.

Professional development is the perfect place to start injecting some more fun into your own learning, Stuckey says. Get active, move more, be interactive in your learning material and you will be in a better position to uncover that child-like joy and curiosity for the unknown that lies within each of us. 

Do you have an area of the curriculum you dread or find particularly tiresome? Perhaps you find students really tune out in a particular activity or task. These are the perfect things to tackle with a sledgehammer of fun, Stuckey says. 

But first,  a re-working of 'fun' and what it means for learning is needed.

"Stop thinking of fun as just laughter and giggles, it's frustrating, it's challenging..." Stuckey concludes.


Addressing an auditorium packed with technology-enthused delegates, one might say Andy Hargreaves is brave for announcing he has never owned a smartphone.

"I know if I posses one, I would use it, and I would use it a lot," the educator from Boston College in the US reasons.

"So instead of thinking, or reflecting or planning or having a conversation, I would be using my smartphone," he adds.

As the No.6 most influential scholar when it comes to US education and policy, Hargreaves reflections come as a surprise, but by the end of his presentation, it's hard not to admire his deep ambivalence towards technology and its purpose in the educational sphere.

According to Hargreaves, if we are going to teach critical thinking to our kids, then we too have to apply critical thinking to the capacity of technology to either engage or disengage young minds.

"Critical thinking needs to be based on knowledge, not on ignorance," he adds for an extra snippet of punch.

Turning his attention towards unpicking "engagement", the elusive educational buzz word of the moment, Hargreaves notes that the challenges for teachers are not getting any easier.

He notes students are coming to school weighed down by more complex family issues, more mental health problems, and have to overcome more barriers to effective engagement in their learning then ever before.

Given this, the goal for teachers is thus not to try and engage students at the level they would like them to be at, but rather to reach them on their on level, to zone in on what excites and animates their young minds in the present, Hargreaves says.  

"We need to engage the kids as they are, not from where we would like them to be," he says. 

So what exactly does true engagement look like? It's different things for different people, Hargreaves says. For his mother, engagement was found through a nice cup of tea and a chat. For a young student, it was an encounter with a dead snake brought into the classroom that really saw his engagement peaking.

Technology has a big role to play in engagement, but iPads, smartphones or VR headsets are themselves not the answer –– it is not the device, but what you do with it, which creates opportunities for optimal learning, Hargreaves concludes.