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Held in the last days of August, the administrators’ meeting and conference is a key event for many districts across North America, and it is no different in West Vancouver.
So, last week we made our first effort at taking some of the aspects of an unconference to create a more participant-driven event for district principals and vice-principals. While the unconferencing allowed for more unstructured time, it also gave everyone the opportunity to make their own sense of session content.
Three videos (embedded below) were shown for morning discussions, and served as a spring-board when groups pulled their learning together for PechaKucha presentations in the afternoon.
And just what is a PechaKucha?
It is a series of 20 presentation slides, each displayed on the screen for 20 seconds (we modified it to 10 slides, for 20 seconds because of time constraints).
Along with my district colleagues, we did a run-through the day before based on these videos that were shared by Edna Sackson on her blog:
Our group found the process valuable in creating their presentations because it forced debate on the key aspects of learning. If we debrief videos during a professional learning experience, we are rarely pushed to come up with key messages or takeaways. Definitely, the process built-in some accountability for us. The PechaKucha format (20×20) also impressed upon us to be succinct in our presentations. If we went over the 20 seconds with one of our slides, we were cutting into the time of one of our own group members.
In selecting the videos, principals and vice-principals wanted material that challenged our assumptions and that linked to a number of themes we have been discussing: inquiry, motivation, assessment and technology.
The first video we selected was the RSA Animate based on Daniel Pink’s book Drive:
The second video was the popular, and somewhat controversial Salman Khan TED Talks:
The final video was a segment from Nightline, that focussed on some of the findings from the Daniel Coyle book The Talent Code:
Thirty to 45 minutes of unstructured discussion followed each video and participants could discuss any aspect of the video with anyone. We also created a learning wall where each person wrote one key finding or idea from the video or conversation. Then, after lunch, participant groups of four to eight people put together and tried their hand at PechaKucha.
It turned out to be a very powerful way to synthesize and share our learning, and created a takeaway product that can be used for other purposes — more valuable than the binders of notes I have taken at events and have never looked at again.
As we continue to look for ways to change how we share information, and particularly how we use Powerpoint, PechaKucha is another strategy that has possibilities for both student and adult learning.