A wonderful write-up of George Couros’ recent tour in Adelaide, as told by CEGSA’s vice-president, Tina Photakis, who was responsible for organising George’s time in Adelaide.

In November 2012, George Couros was back in Adelaide for an intense 11 day tour. If you have not heard of George Couros, he is the Division Principal of Innovative Teaching and Learning for Parkland School Division in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. George was also our dynamic and thought provoking opening keynote at the CEGSA2012 state conference in July. Our conference delegates were absolutely raving about George and were eager to work with him again as they really connected with him and with what he had to say.

On this latest trip to Adelaide, George worked with many groups and across all sectors. These groups included, the Association of Independent Schools of South Australia (AISSA), Lutheran Schools’ Association (LSA), the South Australian Primary Principals’ Association (SAPPA), CEGSA, Flinders University and schools – Cowandilla, Hackham East primary, Wirreanda Secondary and Star of the Sea. CEGSA was proud to be able to build upon the fantastic connections and collaboration that George had started back in July, by coordinating George’s time in both Adelaide and Canberra.

George’s sessions ranged from workshops to keynotes and covered areas such as social media, digital citizenship, leading schools in a digital age; blogs as portfolios…the list is endless. He personalised each session and ensured that each participant was able to access all parts of his sessions. George also stressed that he was accessible after the sessions to connect with people online and he meant it. He has responded to countless requests to check out people’s blogs and to give feedback which he does. He has maintained online relationships with those who took him up on his offer. This in itself is amazing as he has over 21000 followers on Twitter and he still manages to respond one to one. This is all part of George’s focus on connecting and it is very easy to connect as George reaches out and puts himself out there too.

Throughout his 11 day tour of Australia, George managed to connect hundreds of educators online with many even coming out of their comfort zone to where the magic happens. He made no apologies for making us feel uncomfortable at the CEGSA Masterclass as he really had us thinking and by the end of the day, we were discussing, sharing, creating and no one wanted to leave, even though it was a Saturday afternoon. He also had groups of high school students, both in Adelaide and Canberra, hanging onto his every word when he

presented about digital footprints and what it means for them, especially in social media.
Leaders also connected with George and were challenged to lead by example, using Twitter hashtags to join in conversations and starting blogs of their own to connect with their staff and students. Preservice teachers were left excited and eager to try everything George talked about because they ‘got it’ and the frenzy of activity online has been amazing and continues.Many of us ventured into Twitter, or started blogs for the first time and felt like the young skierin one of the many videos George showed us, who was about to make the biggest ski jump of their life. We could hear the child’s voice, nervous, excited but also guided by the person next to them, just as we had the reassurance of George on the sidelines.

Those of us who had heard George back in July got even more out of our sessions because we were able to reflect and put into practice what George had started with us and we hit ‘publish’, whether it was with confidence or trepidation. For me it was a case of hitting the publish button with apprehension because the confidence wasn’t there yet but I was willing to step out of my comfort zone and I am glad that I did.

All of this is the George Couros experience of engagement, collaboration, connectedness and inspiration. We have not seen the last of this innovative educational leader who is passionate about inspiring educators to transform learning.

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EventsThe George Couros experience in Australia continues…