August 4, 2021

Wisconsin to Australia

UW-Superior Education Department faculty Jodie Riek (pictured) and Anne Robertson were invited to present an online workshop for the Early Childhood Teachers’ Association 46th annual conference.

UW-Superior Education Department faculty Jodie Riek (pictured) and Anne Robertson were invited to present an online workshop for the Early Childhood Teachers’ Association 46th annual conference.

Education Department faculty present at online workshop for the Early Childhood Teachers’ Association in Australia.

UW-Superior Education Department faculty Jodie Riek and Anne Robertson were invited to present an online workshop for the Early Childhood Teachers’ Association 46th annual conference

This summer, University of Wisconsin-Superior Department of Education faculty Dr. Jodie Riek, assistant professor of Teacher Education, and Anne Robertson, senior lecturer, were invited to present an online workshop for the Early Childhood Teachers’ Association 46th annual conference in Queensland, Australia.

“This organization put a call out for an expression of interest to present via social media and it was one that I am familiar with as it is in my home state of Queensland, Australia and I have been a member of this professional organization for over 20 years,” said Riek. “Anne and I submitted an application to present and we were one of 24 selected.”

Riek and Robertson presented a workshop about Multisensory Play in the Reading Classroom.

“This presentation focused on providing evidence-based teaching strategies to implement a play-based learning model in the reading classroom, using multisensory, kinesthetic and interactive learning experiences,” said Riek. “Participants were engaged in discussions to explore the teacher’s role in engaging the senses in literacy experiences, particularly in reading.”

The conference was explicitly designed to be a synchronous hybrid event to ensure that it was COVID proof, allowing participants to attend either online or in-person at one of the six hubs located throughout the state of Queensland.

“Presenters either viewed from home or attended one of the sites, but all presentations regardless where the presenters were based were streamed live online and at the hubs for all to attend,” said Riek. “Of the 398 in attendance, 210 chose to participate online while 187 joined colleagues at one of the hubs.”

“My favorite part was being able to actually interact with individuals from a large range of diverse backgrounds,” said Robertson. “The sessions that were chosen were all very different and represented a broad area of topics within early childhood education.

With the multiple options for attendance, the conference was accessible to individuals in ways that were comfortable for all involved.  

“I have participated in virtual conferences before and they are usually disappointing due to the lack of interactivity, sessions being pre-recorded, virtual participation being asynchronous or having major technical issues from the organizational end,” said Riek. “This conference was totally different. The entire thing was live, synchronous and interactive. We could see people that were participating in person at local hubs across the state and those zooming in; and all while we were able to interact and engage with others across time zones and geographical locations in real time to authentically make connections in learning.”

The fact that none of the sessions were prerecorded also brought a refreshing change for the presenters.

“Over the last year and even prior I have attended conferences that were virtual, however this is the first one that I have attended and presented where it was all live with no prerecorded sessions,” said Robertson. “It was an amazing environment with individuals ready to interact and converse. You were able to connect to individuals even though they were half a world away. It was the best organized conference I have attended both virtually and in person. Without this conference being virtual, I would have never had the opportunity to present with Australia being so far from the U.S.”

UW-Superior Education Department faculty Jodie Riek (pictured) and Anne Robertson were invited to present an online workshop for the Early Childhood Teachers’ Association 46th annual conference.

UW-Superior Education Department faculty Jodie Riek (pictured) and Anne Robertson were invited to present an online workshop for the Early Childhood Teachers’ Association 46th annual conference.

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