I feel like I have gone back in time to my days as a columnist at the Richmond News – news to share and deadlines to meet. This post will try to capture some of the key points from the first day of the British Columbia School Superintendents Association Fall Conference – Personalized Learning in the 21st Century: From Vision to Action.
I have framed this post (and its title) on a post I did in early September: What is Ontario Talking About? which was a summary of some of the key ideas coming out of Ontario’s Building Blocks for Education: Whole System Reform Conference (I didn’t actually attend the conference but followed the tweets and saw some of the presentation webcasts).
I will leave the speeches from Education Minister, George Abbott, and Premier Gordon Campbell aside, and focus on some of the big ideas from Valerie Hannon and Tony Mckay, and the three case studies they shared.
The opening session made the case for change. This included a couple of videos that have been well used in staff meetings in recent months, but are worth seeing, if you haven’t seen them yet.
The first was RSA Animate – Changing Education Paradigms (if you like this video you can find all the RSA Animate videos here)
The second video was 21st Century Education in New Brunswick
There was also an emphasis on the work in Finland. Like BC, Finland has a very high achieving system. Valerie spoke about Finland’s Pedagogy for Tomorrow which is based on work she is doing there, and includes:
- ubiquitous technology, ubiquitous opportunity?
- collaborative, social-constructivist learning
- problem-based instruction
- progressive inquiry, experimental study
- peer feedback and peer cooperation
The Finland example (click here for more details on their reform) resonates with me in West Vancouver — a strong system not content with itself. We have an exemplary public school system in West Vancouver, with amazing results, but like Finland, in order to continue to perform at such a high level, we need to be looking at how we are preparing our students for a changing world.
Other examples shared to push our thinking included:
High Tech High, San Diego (Resources here from Edutopia)
These are 23 secondary schools for students between the ages of 12 and 16, and nine, sixth form schools for 16 to 19 year olds, totalling 10,000 students focussing on personalized learning. A full description is available here.
What these, and other examples did, including ones from New York and England (interesting key themes for Learning Futures Schools), was to nicely set a context for the global conversations taking place. They are absolutely different contexts, and it is easy to get caught up in how what is happening in X cannot happen in Y.
Given this base of knowledge, it will be interesting to see how we personalize it in our district conversations tomorrow.