Cowandilla Primary School teacher and EdTechSA outgoing President, Tina Photakis, was recently recognised by EducatorsSA for her service to education in South Australia with a certificate presented by state Education Minister, John Gardner.
The award recognises the Greek Australian teacher for her efforts and her commitment to provide support and leadership to educators who use technology in learning and teaching for more than two decades through her various roles with professional association EdTechSA.
“When I got involved with the association digital technologies were not even in the curriculum and people who were interested to learn about them were all ahead of their time,” Tina Photakis told The Greek Herald.
“I loved it. I’ve always been a geek.”
Along with this recognition, Mrs Photakis who is currently the Vice President of the Australian Council for Computers in Education (ACCE) became the sixth person in EdTechSA’s history to receive an Honorary Lifetime membership.
Asked about the highlights of her career with the association Mrs Photakis says that she enjoyed using her network to source local and international expertise to help her colleagues learn about integrating technologies in the classroom.
“I seek to learn from others. I am a teacher but also a learner for life,” she said also referring to the challenges of leading a volunteer-ran organisation especially during a pandemic.
“There is a lot of work because when everything fails it backstops with you. Many times – especially these last few years- I had to do things to relieve other committee members with young families and commitments.
“You have to deal with volunteers but you know you need a clear vision and direction for your committee. I’ve built up EdTechSA to be like a family but at the same time I had a grassroots approach and had to roll up my sleeves so many times.”
Commenting on the pros and cons of technology in education Tina Photakis says “technology is a tool.”
“I’ve always believed that technology cannot replace a good teacher,” she said.
“Stay close to your children and discuss with them. We don’t want to have stressed kids online…it’s important to teach them about cyber-safety and this is another thing we do at school.”
Mrs Photakis has embedded digital technologies throughout all her teaching subjects which include ICT, Modern Greek, Drama, Music and Geography.
“Who would have thought a Greek primary school teacher who started of as a member of EdTechSA would end up being the President after many years? Not me,” she says, laughing.
In 2017 she received the Making IT Happen Award for her outstanding contribution to the promotion of digital technologies in learning and in 2011 she was awarded educator of the Year and there are no signs se will slow down any time soon.
“I would like to thank everybody and especially my family. I am overwhelmed from all the best wishes,” Mrs Photakis said.