Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Innovation and Excellence - Words or Global Imperative - ISTE 2010 Tuesday Morning Keynote & Panel

ISTE 2010 got off to a great start this morning with a panel discussion featuring "a dynamic group of global education enthusiasts sharing their perspectives on the relevance and importance of excellence and innovation." (ISTE 2010 Program) You can watch a video of this panel on ISTE Vision later today.

I thought that this keynote panel was very well done and included an interesting mix of people. I felt it did its job to inspire and make us think and proposed some solutions for making a difference in education today and into tomorrow. It was well worth sitting in a cold and dark theater first thing in the morning.

The panel was moderatd by Jennifer Corriero from Taking IT Global.(Toronto, ON)

The panel consisted of four others:
  • Karen Cator, Director of the Office of Education, Technology, US Department of Education (Washington D.C., USA)
  • Jean-François Rischard, former VP of the World Bank (Paris, FR)
  • Shaun Koh, Student, Singapore
  • Terry Godwaldt, Director of Programming, Centre for Global Education (Edmonton, CA)

Here are my notes from the panel discussion: (I apologize in advance if there are parts that I miss or are unclear. I'm sure I missed some things that were said as I was processing what was said during the keynote this morning.)

Rischard: non educator perspective
Proposes three new agendas: (1) New global citizenship agenda, (2) New skills agenda, (3) New learning, teaching and education technoloy agenda. Talks about these three agendas working together to solve urgent global problems, developing and applying 21st century skills and turning students into producers, not just consumers of information and solutions to problems.

Godwald: classroom perspective
Gave example of live video conference from the UN CLimate Change Coference in (Copenhagen, 2009)
Students are charged to do reasearch for a problem. They then make smart goals to solve the problem. They network with other students working around the world on the problem, they contribute their ideas and solutions and then receive global feedback and propose new solutions.

Koh: student perspective
Loves to use technology. Technology is just an enabler for a passion for teaching. Just adding technology isn't good enough, but a good user of technology makes that passion come alive.

Cator: US Government Education Department.
Talked about the process of continous improvement. Talked about the formal environments for learning which need to be improved and reinvented. and then the Informal which transform and innovate to supplement and drive students inside and outside the formal learning environment. We need to change the discussion inside the classroom - 21st century skills emphasis - need to be able to think for yourselves and be able to read differently. Not just the traditional way, but in the new way so that students understand why they are learning the skills they are practicing.

Questions and discussion:
Koh: Key thing is to listen and observe your students to learn more about them. Keep an open mind and listen to the ideas of your students to help drive the learning in the classroom. Keep the flame alive in your students. What happens when the shift of the students' goals change from wanted to do big things in life to wanting to pass the year end exam. He wished that he had learned to learn. There are so many things out there to learn that don't fit into a certain subject.

Godwald: Techer challenge is to find the balance between covering the curriculum and embracing and teaching all the new things that are out there that also need to be taught.

Rischard: Conversations that need to happen in the classroom are around contemporary issues, such as the BP oil spill disaster in the Gulf. World debt, global famine, air quality, etc. Wants to see students engaged in global issues and have them come up with solutions that affect their future.

Cator: problem based learning is not as hard as it sounds. Have students come up the questions and teaching how to ask good questions and coming up with solutions during these challenge based projects. You need all the traditional skills that were always taught. It would be great to design an assessment that measures the impact of innovation in teaching.

Godwald: Balance of individual needs and perspectives with the common goal of the classroom. Networking kids with others around the world to make them independant learners. Empowering them to become independant learners to meet their own needs. This is always a challenge with the diverse needs of the classroom and students.

Rischard: Curriculum change is required to make it possible to change

Cator: It is not a bad thing that everyone needs a certain level of reading skills and math skills. The change that needs to happen to make much more immersive learning environnments that are scaffholded and support learners to become independant. These new ideas need to bubble to the surface to make them more standard.

Godwald: We need to empower teachers by trusting them to do what they need to do.

Koh: How do you learn how to learn? Give students the framework to follow to learn more about what they want to learn about and where to begin to think about solving this problem.

Cator: We need to teach about how to stay in the question for a long time to solve the problem.

Rischard: Education systems need to change where they are factories that produce students who are consumers of knowledge. They need to change to be systems where everyone is working together where students become producers of solutions and make a much more deeply embeded learning.

Godwald: Talked about how the social learning works together on social networks with the back and forth questionning to give feedback in each other. It needs to be grounded in reasearch so that the students are reasearching their knowledge and solutions before they are shared.

Rischard: How do we create students who have a global mindset and have a global perspective? We need to teach world history. Make sure students understand how thin and delicate life is (biosphere). Teach problem solving with solutions and foster deeper learning. Think multiculturally. Put yourself in the place of other people before saying what they should do without understanding their perspectives.

Koh: Considers himself a global citizen. Likes to say he was educated in Singapore but grew up on the internet. A way to understand another culture is to watch their television programs and movies because you get to see and understand point of view of someone else.

Cator: Learning is empowered by technology by personalizing learning. This provides an opportunity to spark interest and get them to dig in and struggle with complex information.

Koh: His curriosity has been sparked by something is by watching TED. You can really see and be inspired by people who have a real flame for what they are passionate about.

Godwald: What would this teaching look like. Opprortunities for students to share and collaborate their ideas. It is grounded in a wealth of information that is facilitated by the teacher. It is about accessing the world.

Rischard: How do students really make a difference? They do this by getting involved in the solutions to the global problems. Engaging them at their level in the creation of these solutions. Concerned about the divide between those who dictate what is done in schools and those who are moving ahead and making change.

Cator: It is not about age, it is about mindset. With the internet and the ability of grassroots movements to inspire and create change.

Conclusion and/or last piece of advice:
Goldwald: Encourages us to take one thing that you have learnt or observed and take an action on it.

Rischard: ISTE members have this new mindset already engrained in what we need to be doing and we are well set-up to make the change, make it happen to open the door on the global citizenship agenda. His advice is to go for it.

Cator: Look for inspiration wherever you can. Reach out to your social networks and your students for inspiration.

Koh: Listen to your students and don't be dismissive. If you listen to what a student wants to say, you've got them and they will learn and grow with you.

Great panel and great discussion! Wonderful way to start off my Tuesday morning!

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