The conference was staged over January 21 and 22 at Miramar’s Park Road Post Productions in Wellington, at the private cinema where the screenings of Sir Peter Jackson’s movies are viewed. 

This year was the 11th year this conference has run and to go with the theme of innovation, the staff at Spectrum Education designed the structure of the conference, explains organiser and founder of Spectrum Education and Teachers Matter Karen Boyes. 

“Instead of the traditional keynotes and breakout workshops, we had seven speakers on day one, each with 35 minutes to share innovative ideas and practical strategies,” Boyes says. 

“Day two was implementation day and I facilitated, along with three presenters, the how to put the ideas from day one into practice and this involved a question and answer panel, visioning the future and making an action plan for the year.” 

Day one of the conference was also live streamed to schools throughout New Zealand and Australia. 

“This is the first time that we are aware of, that a conference has been lived streamed and made it more cost effective for whole teaching teams to attend and participate,” Boyes adds. 

The hundreds of live streamers could message in via a dedicated website, while they had the same delegate packs as the people at the venue, which was limited to 150 people. 

“They even had the Jaffas, popcorn and 3D glasses - we had a movie theme for the conference and even had a photo booth with fake Oscars and the real red carpet,” Boyes says. 

The videos from the conference are also now available for schools to use for ongoing professional development throughout the year.

"With a fast changing future, it is imperative that teachers are the best at what we do – the learning and teaching in the classroom – it is no longer just about the content we teach, we must look at the bigger picture to see what sustains after the content,” Boyes says. 

“With Modern Learning Environments and Innovative Learning Practices being the talk of educational chat rooms, it is imperative that teams change their methodology and avoid doing the same things in a new space. 

“Teachers make every other profession possible – and that’s why we host this important conference. The role teachers play in our community is vital to developing caring, confident, connected, contributing citizens of the future,” Boyes adds. 

While the highlight of the conference for Boyes was the teachers in attendance, the array of guest speakers inspired delegates. 

Boyes spoke about promoting student agency and exploring the underlying philosophies of the Modern Learning Environment and practical ways to develop student agency.  

Megan Gallagher, a teacher and educational leader who has specialised in health education for a number of years, explored key concepts about resilience and how this understanding can be used to enhance teaching and learning programmes. 

Gallagher focused on both the classroom and the personal teacher, giving ideas for balance and wellbeing.

Also presenting was Kathryn Berkett, an expert in neuroscience and physiology to assist us to better regulate ourselves, who is committed to helping teachers and parents to work better with children, youth, colleagues and clients.

Deputy principal Adrian Rennie focused on creating a family oriented school culture where successful thinking is valued and nurtured. He shared his success stories, practical ideas, resources and assessment tools.

Inspiration, practical ideas and great team building at the beginning of a new year were anticipated outcomes from the conference, and Boyes says teachers left with a basket of new ideas that could be practically put into place the very next day after a very successful and insightful two day conference.