I was so excited to be able to bring EduCafe to ULearn this year and it was pretty successful. I thought it would bring a little something extra to an already wonderful conference, which already offers clever and informative breakout and keynote speakers – a chance to connect with fellow educators in an informal manner, whilst focusing on an important question- and I think it delivered.
This connected well to a comment one of the key notes, Ken Shelton, made at the very beginning of the conference –
The smartest person in the room, is the room.
After introducing the event to by far the biggest audience I have spoken to EVER (and being horribly nervous about it!) we were able to get under way. We didn’t have wine this time, but lollies instead, to help fuel the conversation. Most importantly, though, we had a great bunch of people who were passionate enough to stay back during reflection time, when most others were (sensibly!) resting, recuperating or finding bling for the conference dinner. The conversation related to the conference themes and centered around the following timely and poignant question: “How are small-scale, grass-roots innovations enabled and grown in schools?” or, more specifically:
- How are we re-designing and re-imagining what is possible in education?
- How are we tackling our school’s challenges head on?
- How ambitious, proactive and provocative are we being?
- How are these innovations enabled by leaders and fellow teachers?
- How are these innovations tested and how is quality ensured? How are these innovations then grown and enhanced?
I think the most exciting part of the conversations I was involved in was the lack of deficit thinking – exactly what we need if we want to make improvements to our education system in New Zealand.
Below are photos documenting the thoughts and ideas from the discussion (click to enlarge and navigate between all pictures):