Last weekend I was privileged to be invited to present a couple of workshops at Sitech’s IWB conference at Koraunui School in Upper Hutt. Apart from from being the only person there without an IWB I found the conference to be quite affirming and energising. I was so impressed with Koraunui School- they closed the school early on the Friday and some of the senior students stayed behind to assist participants. There was fabulous parental support as well. We started with a powhiri which set the welcoming tone for the whole conference. I also admired the way the whole staff at the school watched out for each other and supported each other. You could see it was a real learning community.
My workshops were based around the concept of using wiki to enhance learning in science. I shared a couple of science wiki that we had created to serve as a resource centres for our learning like our one on Flight. I also shared the one Lisa Parisi and I had co-created on comparing hemispheres which, I think showcased an even better use of wiki- that of collaboration and authentic learning.
Not surprisingly I learnt more than I shared. Chris Betcher was one of the keynote speakers at the conference and I was able to get to a couple of his sessions. I made notes- even having to resort to using a piece of paper once as the wifi wouldn’t let him go on line and if you’re presenting a workshop on Google Labs you really do need wifi- I had my trusty Telecom T-Stick with me so lent Chris my computer so he could get on with his workshop, leaving me computerless! Imagine that!
The first of Chris’ keynotes was titled “When the Wings Fall Off.” Here are my notes (in black) …
The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn.
Example Swiss watches- 1968 the Swiss had the world market sown up. Within a couple of years Japan took over through the invention of the quartz movement watches. The Swiss monopoly wasn’t able to adapt to the changes and they withered.
Example camera makers- camera manufacturers who were not able to shift to digital withered.
Example- vinyl records, tapes, CD, digital and they withered.
Example- newspapers are withering.
Those most adaptable to change will survive, not the strongest or the cleverest as Darwin proposed.
‘People who are able to adapt are successful, those who can’t fail- the change makers are those who are the ‘troublemakers’, the creative one that think differently. Think of Maui- the youngest brother who stirred up trouble and started a new order!
Example- fall of the Berlin Wall- the troublemakers in a dockyard in Poland spread across Europe. An invasion of armies can be resisted; an invasion of ideas cannot be resisted. Victor Hugo.
We still reward compliance- Sir Ken Robinson– creativity not valued. Not innovation in classrooms- one size does not fit all.
Why the wings just might fall off education- Social networks, search tools, falling costs, free, Web2.0, jobs that haven’t been invented yet. Things are changing- what worked in the industrial age will not work now.
Google is 12 years old. Pre-Google like pre-printing press- a defining moment in history. Google has changed everything- the way we find out stuff. Where did all the questions go before Google?
Recognition of play- can we do some play- to follow ideas for a time, find a time each week/fortnight. How can we allow for experimentation, the following of a passion. Let kids play with ideas. Google company allows their staff to ‘play’. Some of their best stuff comes from play. I like to let kids play with new tool or software before I ‘teach’ it, but should pursue the idea of play within the curriculum.
Why? Other countries have an abundance of riches- NZ does not- we need to have a point of difference- successful just doing lots of something isn’t enough- you need to be ‘beautiful’ well designed as well- eg iPhone, iPad?
Automation- if your job can be done by a machine it should be done by a machine.
What then is left- creative, design, aesthetic… That’s what we CAN do well.
How do we encourage creativity in children? Come up with something interesting for them to work on. Give them time, tools and skills they need. Get out of the kids way and let them get on with it.
Recognise individuality- interests, choices, flexibility, thrive on ambiguity– my long time Twitter bio , encourage risk, allow and grow from mistakes.
The less restrictions you place on the task, the more creative the response. Where does success criteria fit here? Are they too limiting?
Think big- make it hard fun but still push the kids further than they thought they could achieve.
It was an excellent conference, well organised, with great network and learning. Thanks for the invite.