Wow- totally feeling energised and hopeful heading into the second day of the Leading a Digital School conference in Melbourne.
After some recent times of feeling disheartened and disillusioned by the education system, my faith in the future of education and schooling has gone a long way to being restored after a fantastic first day at conference yesterday.
The conference kicked off with the MC- Rick Noack- sharing a pearl of wisdom about collecting driftwood on the beach not sure what art you will make out of it and encouraging delegates to apply this to the conference- attend with an open mind never knowing where you will get the nuggets of gold from.
Jane Hunter kicked off the first keynote with a fantastic rendition of some of her recent research. So refreshing to hear an academic researcher speak with such passion and understanding of the schooling system and give such practical examples of her research and the implications coming from it.
Some of my favourite quotes from Jane’s presentation:
“STEM can’t be stand alone subjects, they need to be thought about in terms of arts and humanities too.”
“We are not going to solve the world’s problems if we remain in our silos, if we keep teaching sciences from a pure science viewpoint, we need to move to a transdisciplinary approach.”
“The answer is not to put in Specialist teachers but to deepen the capacity of all teachers.”
Jane finished her presentation by sharing this quote from Ruha Benjamin speaking at ISTE- “We must incubate a better world in the minds and hearts of our students...”
The video of this keynote is now on my to be watched list.
First workshop up was us presenting about our challenge to the status quo in schools- about about how we are trying everyday to make practice at Haeata about learning not about schooling. Having decided to not centre our presentation around a slideshow that we talked to we had created some infographics that compared our learning approach to that of a conventional school and spent a great hour leading a discussion with the delegates in our session about this. Great to hear Jono talk with such passion and clarity about what teachers and learners at Haeata do.
Next up was a session with Adrian Camm on developing the visioning process. He took us through a visioning process he has used successfully. The thing that struck me was his point about making sure you are asking the right questions- the questions he got us to work through were indeed powerful to surface our beliefs about learning and schooling. As Adrian said “Developing a powerful shared vision begins with deeply understanding your own beliefs and purpose.”
My unexpected jewel of the day was attending a session run by Josh McQuade. Josh is in his 3rd year of teaching and he was just so humble and honest about how he is trying to disrupt the system, leverage technology and engage his learners. He shared his successes but also his failures so honestly. He has developed great thought provoking questions for students t guide them through their learning processes. He had such a heart for teaching and young people and he proved to me that pockets of innovation even within big conventional systems are so important. I was just quite blown away by his absolute commitment to keep challenging things and to not be in that large statistic of teachers who leave within their first five years. The future of education is so much brighter when we can retain young teachers of Josh’s quality and commitment in our profession.
The final keynote of the day was Adrian Camm- what a motivational and thought provoking way to end a fantastic day of thinking and learning. Adrian talked about the principles of leading change and then the innately human principles of leading a digital school. Some of my favourite quotes:
“I’m more excited now than I’ve ever been about the potential of what school can be.”
“Schools must think systemically and acknowledge they are complex human centred places of learning.”
“Being a leader is one of the most exhausting but satisfying things you can do.”
“What it means to be human is going to be challenged, and students must be able to regulate, be ethical global citizens Our moral imperative is to support students to be an ethical global citizen.”
I love the challenge that Adrian left us with- lets stop the continual harassment on social media- of conventional vs non conventional educators, of this side or that side, lets come together as a professional group and stand up and be counted for contributing to the future. Let's be those ethical global citizens we need to be educating our young people to be.
As a direct result of today I've purchased two books that Im hoping to get into over the weekend- Jane's book on High possibility classrooms and a book on Gamestorming recommended by Adrian
Thanks to @iwbnet and Margot and Rick for such an inspiring first day.
You always think twice about spending valuable time away from your school on school days.
And there are times I have wondered and questioned the value of face to face conferences given the amount of access we now have to resources and speakers online.
But this day was one of the best I have spent at a conference for many years.
Looking forward to the next two.