United Nations World Teachers’ Day Award Finalist!

Congratulations to Mrs Kylie Kingdon, United Nations World Teachers Day Award Finalist for 2021! Kylie was nominated for this prestigious award for her work with the ViSN Program as well as her response to Covid-19 and Remote Learning times.

Kylie is a valued staff member who has become part of the fabric at Emmanuel Catholic College. She has held various positions, from leading the Student Leadership team to becoming the Director of Innovation. Kylie is always looking at different ways to engage the students to reach their full potential. She has embraced digital technologies as the way forward in allowing students to express ideas and encouraging them to reach their true potential. Kylie’s passion for learning is evident in the way she gains the confidence of staff to challenge their thinking and encouraging them to think outside the box. She is a driver of change, an influencer of free thinking and encourages engagement of technologies for the betterment of those who are prepared to will walk this journey with her.

The Virtual School Network (ViSN) is Catholic Education Western Australia’s online learning program for secondary students. It provides equitable access to quality learning, irrespective of a school’s resourcing or staffing, meaning that all students can access the courses they wish to study, with access to online teachers who are specially trained to deliver quality education online. In this model, teachers remain employed by their own school and teach the one online class as part of their timetable, to students across the state. There is a strong alignment between ViSN and the Sustainability Development Goal #4 – Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.

Kylie has been an exemplary teacher in the ViSN program. She has demonstrated an impressive growth mindset and has accepted the challenge to adapt her teaching practice to reflect contemporary digital pedagogy. In doing so, she has demonstrated a passion for online learning, for sharing her love of Modern History and a strong desire to ensure students can access her course no matter where their school is located across the state. Kylie has mentored new ViSN teachers annually, a part of her natural leadership skill set. She is a part of global teacher networks, ensuring her practice remains current and challenges herself on a path of continuous improvement. Kylie’s students always exit her class as inspired lifelong learners, and with a passion for modern history.

During Covid-19 and Remote Learning times, Kylie was called upon by the College Leadership Team to develop and implement a Remote Learning strategy that would ensure quality continuous learning for all students, in addition to teaching her online ViSN students across the state. Kylie ensured implementation and adoption of the technology tools were sustainable for her colleagues and made countless resources to assist them with this uptake. She was a sought-after educator not only in her own school and ViSN, but also globally, being called upon by her vast network for assistance. She never turned down anyone’s request for help and spent many hours of her own time assisting others, to ensure students were not impacted by remote learning. During this time, her own mother passed away unexpectedly and despite her own grief, Kylie continued to assist the many who needed her help, always
driven by the desire to ensure all students, even those beyond her own school and system, had equitable access to education.

Becoming an online teacher through ViSN has required Kylie to rethink her delivery and pedagogy and has challenged her to embrace design thinking principles. In the process, she has embraced the opportunity for student voice, global collaboration for authentic learning and technology integration for improved engagement. Student voice has become an important aspect of Kylie’s teaching, regularly using technology to gather student opinion about learning design and engagement and most importantly, she takes this onboard and honours this feedback and advice. She has become a Flipgrid Ambassador, utilising this video platform to create an opportunity to collaborate and connect over student voice, ensuring students had a voice, regardless of their school’s location in the state. As a result, her students feel very connected to each other, Kylie and their learning. Kylie’s online class is a great example of a strong, connected student learning community.

Kylie has embraced opportunities to collaborate with other teachers globally to help her students develop a deepened sense of empathy and perspective. She has an ongoing collaboration partnership with a history teacher in Russia and several times a year, the two classes and teachers connect to share different perspectives on the same historical events both classes are studying. This helps each class of students to develop their empathy skills and to understand different perspectives in history – important for their social emotional learning skill development, as well as their academic success. She has also just embarked on a new global partnership, collaborating with a school in South Africa to create a common project around of the SGDs in the context of community service. This promises to be an exciting collaboration. Kylie’s students have developed confidence into presenters, are excellent collaborators and have new-found critical thinking skills – all important for a successful transition to a future focussed workplace.

Kylie is also volunteering her time to work with the local Army Museum of WA, assisting them to develop a virtual excursion so that all students can access the valuable learning even if they do not attend school in Perth city.
Kylie’s approach to teaching and her passion for using technology to connect students with others across the state and world, as well as with community partnerships means her students benefit from authentic learning experiences, develop their own passion for learning and leave her class with a skill set that bodes well for future workplaces. Growing enrolments in her online class reflect the respect which educators across our system hold Kylie and students speak highly of her, which in turn influences the next generation of enrolments.

For our system, this means a growing number of students have access to a course not available in their own school and get to develop skills needed for a successful transition to further study or work post-school. She is generous contributor to her global educator and technology networks, sharing her knowledge and expertise freely, to inspire other educators. Our community also benefits from her volunteer work but in doing so, many more across the state benefit from her commitment to accessible education. There are also many rural communities who benefit from Kylie’s teaching – while their children can remain in their local schools to access quality education, it means families also remain in the community so the socio-economic benefits cannot be overlooked either.

Congratulations on this wonderful achievement Kylie.