Posts Tagged ‘BCSSA’

One notion that stuck with me this morning from Valerie Hannon, a keynote speaker at the BCSSA Fall Conference, was  that education requires disruptive innovation in order to prevent an “institutional bypass.” In another post I will share some of the key points from Valerie and other speakers today, but I want to focus on the conference going on behind the conference and how many of us have bypassed the traditional structure, through disruptive innovation to make meaning at the event.

As I write this post at the end of the first day of the BCSSA Fall Conference, ninety-three different people have tagged posts on Twitter #bcssa10 and tagged close to 1,000 tweets.  At different points today the conference has been a trending topic both in Vancouver and across Canada.  There were more people using Twitter to talk about the future of teaching and learning than to discuss the Canucks or the weather. 

I believe one year ago at this conference there were three  people sharing information on Twitter.  The ninety-three tweeters today included participants in the room, and those who engaged in the conference from many sites around the province and beyond.

In addition to the dialogue on Twitter, there was  a second back-channel conversation happening on TodaysMeet (a great tool for in-class online conversations – no account required).  Several dozen more people used this tool to extend the presentations.

While the conference has looked very similar to the conferences I have become accustomed to since I first attended this event about a decade ago, I think we have found a way, using Valerie Hannon’s notion, to bypass the traditional conference structure.  The presentations were largely stand-and-deliver lectures, but those of us who learn by engaging with others had an amazingly rich un-conference experience. 

Thinking about the change in just one year with how we engage in professional learning, I wonder what these type of events will look like over the next few years.

Some other wins with the un-conferencing:

  • We have exposed dozens of educators in a variety of roles to the power of Twitter as a professional tool
  • We have been able to share our learning with colleagues in our districts who were not able to join us
  • We have collaboratively compiled notes to use after the conference
  • We have modelled cross-role and cross-district learning

We often talk about the need to “go where the kids are”.  Our efforts in engaging in social media to support our learning, is part of this journey.

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There is much anticipation leading up to this week’s British Columbia School Superintendents Association Fall Conference – Personalized Learning in the 21st Century:  From Vision to Action.

The conference features many internationally known experts, who have been widely quoted over the year, as the province has been investigating 21st century skills and personalized learning.  Also included in the program are Premier Gordon Campbell; Minister of Education, George Abbott, and Deputy Minister of Education, James Gorman.

The topic is directly in line with so many of the conversations we are having in West Vancouver.  We will have a team of close to 25 at the event, including trustees, administrators and teachers.  The event has sold out at over 700 participants – clearly, similar conversations are happening in many places across the province.

In advance of the event, conference organizers have shared a number of resources for participant consideration, and they are available here on the BCELC website (this site is full of links to resources connected to personalized learning).

One article conference organizers have suggested is What’s Next?  21 Ideas for 21st Century Learning by Charles Leadbeater.  It is a very interesting read with lots of ideas to mark for further discussion.

One quote that stood out for me, when describing centres of innovation, was:

The school leadership provided an igniting sense of purpose to propel innovation and encourage managed risk taking to develop new approaches . . . That kind of ‘igniting purpose’ is vital when innovation is such a highly collaborative, cumulative endeavour, which relies on mobilising and motivating staff, pupils, parents, partner agencies, other schools. Collaborative innovation relies on the participants having a strong shared sense of purpose.

This is absolutely in line with what we have seen in our district around a series of initiatives, including the Primary Years Program and Middle Years Program IB implentations.  I am so impressed by the “shared sense of purpose” from students, parents, staff and community.

In addition, the 76-page report is a series of resources including presentation slides from Charles Leadbeater that support his findings.

My own suggestions for background material leading into the conference include:

A short video from Tony McKay that gives insight to his work

Another short (3 minute) video worth watching is linked here, from Dr. Stuart Shanker, discussing brain development;  additional backgrounder material, The Innovation Unit site, gives a good sense of Valerie Hannon’s work.

From my blog archives, I  have previously blogged on Teaching, Learning, Technology and Personalization and What is Personalized Learning?

For those attending, or following the conference from a distance, there are a couple of ways to participate.  Engage on Twitter by posting comments tagged #bcssa10, and use this same hashtag to follow the conversation.  If you don’t have a Twitter account, you can engage at TodaysMeet (no account sign-up required) at:  http://todaysmeet.com/bcssa10.

I will try to update this blog with daily summaries as well.

UPDATED – Videos from Conference Organizers

The following videos have been shared by conference organizers to help prepare participants:

Rod Allen, Superintendent of Achievement on how to prepare

Valerie Hannon and John Gaiptman discuss the learning agenda in BritishColumbia

Tony McKay on how a team should be prepared to bring some key information with them

Valerie Hannon on what can we expect when we attend the conference in November

Tony McKay, Steve Cardwell and Keven Elder on the goals of the BCSSA November Conference

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I just finished spending the day with about 220 students, and 60 adults, representing several dozen schools from across the Metro Vancouver area (including all three secondary schools in West Vancouver).

It was the latest installment in our School Completion and Beyond Series.   The program, initiated by a Ministry of Education grant to the BC School Superintendents’ Association, focuses on improving the quality of students’ high school experience.

The basic premise is schools work on a project, or inquiry question led by students, intended to influence the structures or behaviours in their school.   Schools and districts meet twice during the year, to be re-energized and track the progress of their work.  They also share and learn from each other – something the students love!

Today’s work was framed by John Abbott, who is quite popular right now in B.C. with current conversations swirling around personalized learning.  John spoke to the students (including a history lesson on Peter Puget), as well as during the morning table discussions.

Many of the schools’ inquiry topics were built around the following themes:

  • Having Our Say
  • Real World Learning
  • Our Technology – Making Schools More Like Our Lives
  • The Teacher and Me
  • Why Are We Here Anyway?

What has been particularly assuring about the sessions is the work has been sustained over several years, and now continues with younger students joining on as older students take on greater leadership.  For the first time in the three years of the series, students did all of the organizing and logistics planning today – truly owning the process.

The key request from student organizers asked of adults today – dress like us, no suits, no ties, be part of the group.

As for the title of the blog post, it comes from a question I was asked this morning.  Students seemed surprised and impressed that the coffee and muffins were not just for the adults – they were partners today – and could drink the coffee.

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