Thursday, March 27, 2014

Ways of Knowing in Singapore

The IBAP 2014 conference logo and theme

Last weekend I had the pleasure to attend my first IB Asia Pacific Conference in Singapore. I was also one of those selected to present out of many, many submissions. (More about this next post). The conference itself was different to what I had anticipated - it was far more relaxed and inclusive than I had thought it may have been.

I have come home with many thoughts about it all and here are some of my thinkings....

IB educators are passionate people. The IB curriculum is what brings many of us together, we speak our own language and dream big about helping our students be the best they can be. We have tools to help us - ATL's, (Approaches To Learning), LP's (learner Profiles) Criterion, rubrics, Global contexts, etc across the three programmes (PYP,MYP and DP) and we work hard to make those tools work for us.

Being part of a twitter community like #mypchat helps to make connections and friends fast at big events like this. Twitter also enabled me to get a glimpse of what was going on in other sessions that I was not in. It also allows me to have conversations on the side, and even after the conference to follow up, to clarify and to learn. We managed to persuade a few to convert to twitter, however out of 1200 educators, there were only 319 tweeters at the conference. We had a few tweet ups and photo opportunities.

My takeaway from the first Keynote with Prof Marcus du Sautoy. We need to work with students in creating real world problems, not just give them canned problems. Puzzles & problems = inquiry based learning = more learning.

Richard Gerver also gave a keynote which I thoroughly enjoyed. He made some great statements such as "At its essence education has always been  and is about the development of the human being". He also suggested that as educators,  if you want new ideas - ask people who are not in the same occupation or environment as you. Get out of the school. This is where Edcamps are very useful for making connections. he also suggested that school could be like a smart phone with apps. You use the app you need, then close it when you are done. Students select what they need at the time. An interesting concept to contemplate.

I also went to a session on Academic Honesty presented by a Principal at an International School. He made some great points about Academic Honesty. These included the concept that the whole school needs to be on board with a school wide academic honesty / integrity policy. Have open conversations about what it is, what it means and be open about the process. Have students think about how their ideas are influenced by others.
 He stated that academic honesty is a small question in a bigger pool of education integrity - what is happening on a larger scale? He shared research that correlated teaching students explicitly how to write using in text ref, bibliography  helps to remove incidences of academic misconduct. He also suggested that we require bibliographies to be placed first in the assignments to change their priority. This is an easy change to make.

Lawrence Klaus was the final keynote speaker. He is a physicist who understands far more complex things than I. His presentation was full of passion for the sciences, but I am afraid I was left way behind needing a translator and learning support. I did manage to learn something from him though ...  What ever you talk about you need to keep it engaging and link to something people know already otherwise they become disengaged with what you are saying.  He did say some great things that I could understand and resonated with me  'What we need to teach students is less about facts & more about the act of questioning'   "We should celebrate what we don't know, and, what we might learn"

One of the excellent features of the conference was having a couple of artists to create a wall of learning that reflected the keynotes and some of the sessions. The finished product is below.

This is just a few of the takeaways I have. The rest will wait for another time when I have transformed them into action. Overall it was a good conference, and as with all good conferences, it is about the people you connect with over the 2 days of learning. 

A Storify of the tweets is here .

1 comment:

Staceyt said...

I still have conference envy. I love it when IB educators are together the passion is palpable.