Innovators, Designers and Researchers: Leading a New Knowledge Network Conference
I attended the Innovators, Designers and Researchers: Leading a New Knowledge Network Conference this week sponsored by the Galileo Educational Network (http://galileo.org/) and the Faculty of Education at the University of Calgary. I was part of a panel of six graduate students that were asked to attend different conference sessions and keynotes during the three day conference. We gathered information in relation to the conference themes and priorities:
- What are the key innovative practices or ideas presented?
- What research aspects were highlighted as informing those practices?
- How does this innovative practice live in the teaching and learning in the classroom?
The following is copy of the words I used to express the big ideas identified and how I addressed why visible learning and courage are critical for today's learners and learning environments.
I will begin with a phrase from a popular children’s book published in 1967 – “Brown Bear, Bear What Do You See?” written by Bill Martin and illustrated by Eric Carle.
What do you see? We all see and sense different IMAGES as part of the bigger picture. I believe this was demonstrated by the confluence of ideas presented by my peers on this panel. We leave this conference with inspiration and courage to change our lens and reframe thinking.
What do you see? A re-occurring theme emerging from the conference is that learning is visible or in John Hattie’s (2009) words – in his book Visible Learning – “excellence is attainable” and “there are many instances of excellence” (p. ix). We saw instances of excellence.
Learning is VISIBLE, we see. We see VISIBLE learning.
We see evidence of exploration, empowerment and engagement in rich inquiry.
We see evidence of creating. For instance, numerous examples presented interconnecting theory and practice to foster knowledge-building.
We see evidence of openness for sharing and publicly celebrating provocative artifacts in technology enhanced learning environments.
We see evidence of collaboration and trusting partnerships for rich inquiry and innovative practice in the company peers.
We see evidence of collective action in service of authentic, trans-disciplinary and creative work.
We see teachers, students, school leaders, parents, community members and researchers passionate about their work; taking risks and at the same time incorporating play and messy learning. We had the opportunity to engage in professional dialogue and networking; we had the opportunity to discuss VISIBLE LEARNING.
What do the blind see? One group provoked all of our senses and shared an inspiring experience of color and inquiry, and taking action to make a difference for the blind in our community.
What do you see? One presenter reminded us that “kids can hit any target they can see.”
Another presenter, one of our keynotes - Punya Mishra, shared an example of being out at a soccer game and observing a coach standing on the sidelines. Impressed by the strategy used by the coach, he later approached him to share his observation. He told the coach that he particularly liked the phrase he kept repeating to the players during the heated action of the game. Instead of telling the players who they should pass the ball to or what they should do next, he continually coached the children by repeating “what do you see?” encouraging them to see the bigger picture. LEARNING IS VISIBLE.
We need courage to be part of the dialogue. We need courage to innovate, design, and research.
We need courage to be part of the non-scripted path towards possibilities. A quote shared in a session from a participant involved in a research study suggests we need courage: “It’s not thinking about what is. It’s thinking about what could be. It’s about what’s next.”
We need the courage to be shouting “what do you see?”