Monday, January 16, 2012


On Saturday January 14, 2012 I attended my first ever EdCAMP in Coquitlam - an "un-conference". Sessions I attended were on the following topics:
  • Inquiry in Education
  • Transformative Power of Technology
  • Are Report Cards still relevant?
I was amazed at how quickly and simply the "un-conference" came together and how rich the dialogue was throughout. The first 45 minutes of the day was spent brainstorming session topics. People would suggest a session by writing a theme onto a large sticky note and place it onto a rolling white board. Each participant would then place a smaller sticky note with their name on it onto the larger sticky notes. The most popular topics were selected as sessions for the "un-conference". Simple. Efficient. Effective.

Some themes emerged for me as the day moved along. The people in my sessions clearly were ready for a new paradigm in education. Questions I heard went like this:

  • Can we have a more loosely defined curriculum based on a model of student inquiry?
  • What would happen if students were given much more control over when, when and how they learned?
  • As we move towards a more personalized learning model, how do we address issues related to "tolerance", "collaboration" and "building consensus"?
  • What impact will "personalized" learning have on "culture", "socialization" and "community"?
  • Technology is not a replacement for sound pedagogy; however, it certainly can have a profound impact on how and when students learn. How will technology effect how students access learning?
  • As students' learning paths and methods become more complex so too will the methods they choose to demonstrate their learning. Will report cards as we know them now still be a relevant assessment/accountability tool in this new more complicated learning environment?
We didn't find universal answers to these questions, but the dialogue was rich and thought-provoking. One thing seemed clear...people were feeling ready and willing for change. The biggest question remains how to transition from the present to the future in a manageable way.

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