Last week I had the privilege to attend the International Conference on Thinking (ICOT 2013) that was held in Wellington for two of the 5 days. I say privilege because of many reasons, such as the financial contribution from my school, the chance to meet, share stories and make connections like-minded individuals and the trust from my principal that her investment will have an impact on the staffroom, classroom and school.
Above all of these reasons, the biggest privilege for me was to be in the same room as, talk to and listen to some of my all time teaching heroes – Edward De Bono, Guy Claxton, Ewan Mcintosh, Lane Clark, Simon Breakspear, Kipral Singh and Pam Hook. These educators have have had an immense impact on the way that I view education and the learning process. To be with them in person was as true Fan Boy moment.
Aside from the awe and inspiration that I recieved from this conference I am now in the position where I need to summarise my learning journey from ICOT in a 45 minutes session as part of our teacher only day professional development (I also get to share back on separate breakouts throughout the rest of the year). What are the key points from 2 Key Note Speakers and five Breakout sessions and not just what are the key points, but what would be the key points that would be most pertinent to be thinking about at the beginning of a new school year?
Ewan McIntosh, Guy Claxton and Simon Breakspear all look at the changing dynamics of education. How we should not look at the knowledge, as if a question is answered by a simple Google search then it is pointless, but the process that drives the learning and the thinking that is happening through the process. Guy Claxton uses the 3Rs and 3Cs of Challenge, Collaborate, Choice, Responsibility, Respect and Real things. Both Ewan McIntosh and Simon Breakspear champion the the use of design thinking within the classroom and design does not simply mean create a model, but prototype a model and improve it and test it and so on; the Dyson Bagless Vacuum cleaner that is world famous was prototyped over 3000, so that means it had failed and been improved and tested over 3000 times before it was successful. (Persistence)
Smart Failure = Learning
DeBono stated that education as we know it has placed little emphasis on creation in preference of knowledge, where in the modern workforce this is changing as anyone can gain knowledge through a Google search, but creativity is now paramount in the skill set that is required. DeBono also raised the idea of EBNE,
excellent, but not enough
Yes what we are doing is great or excellent, but it is not enough and we can still take it further.
Lane Clark’s Cognitive Load Theory was around the impact of our teaching and are we providing the learning environment and learning experiences to help children retain an idea or concept in their working memory or making that experience more attentive to the learning style and needs of the child so that they are able to adapt in into their schema and take it to long term memory.
Pam Hook’s work around SOLO Taxonomy (Structure of Observed Learning Outcomes) followed perfectly from Lane Clark’s CLT as SOLO, in my early level of understanding, involves students having the language of how they can describe their level of understanding of a learning experience. Additionally this coincides with a hand gesture and clear outline of what the next progression is and what it will look like. SOLO’s multi symbol approach seems to be an excellent way to help students take their learning from their working memory to long term memory as there is action, experience and language based connections made.