Adolescent Success Conference – Day 1 (Gold Coast)

Myself and 4 colleagues from Ravenswood flew to the Gold Coast on Thursday, 20th August for the 9th Adolescent Success Conference on the Gold Coast.

Gold Coast

The morning of the first day started with breakfast and coffee and No Name Lane in Broadbeach, Gold Coast.

Everyone loved the coffee here! We then headed to the Gold Coast Exhibition Centre for day 1 of the conference. This is a great venue, very modern, clean, sparkling, smart and comfortable.

I had been to the Gold Coast a few times previously for holidays, but had never had anything to do with this venue, so it was great to experience this for the first time.

We got ourselves registered and then entered Arena 1B for the keynote from Ewan McIntosh, Managing Director of NoTosh, UK. This was a great keynote, very inspiring and we got lots of great ideas regarding design thinking, thinking skills and routines, and inspiring stories from students and teachers.

Ewan McIntosh

His website looks to have some fantastic resources for design thinking activities and lessons and we were all impressed with this speech, style, resources and ideas to engage young people and staff members in thinking, innovating, creating, communicating and connecting with the community. He is clearly a huge Steve Jobs fan as he mentioned quite a few of his quotes, including this one,

So we all left thinking how we would make a dent in the universe, which we thought was quite inspiring.

We had morning tea and look around the exhibition before heading to the Ewan McIntosh workshop in central room C. We all attended this workshop as we loved the keynote so much, and it was meant to be a double session but only ran for 1 session which was a bit disappointing. However, the session was very hands on and included some great ideas and resources to encourage and engage in creative thinking for adults and children. The resources that particularly stood out for me were,

  • Hexagonal thinking

Hexagonal thinking

  • SQUID – sequential question and insight diagram

We looked at some current and interesting ideas connected with technology, was fascinated me. We looked and thought about Industry 4.0 and self-driving cars, both topics I am involved with at school. The thinking routines we did encouraged us to question these ideas in detail and showed us where we could go next with our learning and what we could research to answer the questions that we were coming up with. We also looked at the idea of a 3D printed car, which linked to what I am doing with year 6 at the moment with 3D printing and built environments.

3D printed car


This was a great workshop by a very engaging and smart person, Ewan McIntosh.

I then went to a session on the Maker culture by Jill Margerison from The Southport School on the Gold Coast. Her story was very engaging about how she is integrating the maker culture at her school and some of the inspiring projects they have been working on.

Maker Culture

We then had lunch with the exhibitors and met some other teachers at the conference. After lunch we went to the second keynote by Dr Dru Tolin from the Association for Middle Level Education (AMLE) He had some great stories and was very funny, however, there was not much in the session that was particularly useful for me in my role.

After this we went to see Melinda and Louise from Ravenswood as they presented ‘Transforming a student leadership wasteland’. They were both great and we learnt a lot more about what happens in the middle school at Ravenswood.

Home after this session to rehearse for our presentation on day 2 and then get ready for the Conference and Awards Dinner back at the Convention and Exhibition Centre.

Awards dinner

The dinner was great, lovely food and wine, some entertainment from some wonderful student performers, met some new people, took some silly photos and heard from Make-A-Wish Foundation Australia.

We had time for a couple more photos before we went back to the hotel at the end of a great first day of the conference.

Matt at Conference

Day 2 was the big day for myself and Karla.


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