The past weekend was amazing. I was engaged in conversation and learning together with people from 59 countries. I saw amazing presenters from Italy, the US, and many other places. I even helped to moderate and that meant speaking to sometimes 120+ participants (even though I get quite flustered when it is not face-to-face). Yes, I did all of this, from the comfort of my own home.
That was the first online and FREE Reform Symposium, organized by the amazing (applies to all three): Shelly Terrell, Kelly Tenkely, and Chris Rogers. I was amazed how well this worked. They used the Elluminate platform for the sessions, and it was pretty much perfect.
The questions I have been asking myself since the conference was “Where do I begin to blog?”. I usually find that a few days away from everything helps me to reflect, to synthesize and apply. So I have taken the break. But you know, this conference is different…. as all the sessions are now also available as an archive. How cool! You can imagine though…. the past day I spent looking through the archives. I need time to collect my thoughts though.
For me, the conference had two major points. On quick reflection, it showed me that working within the IB PYP, many things that educators all around the world wish for and hope for, are already in place. And it also showed that many advocated practices would be perfectly suited within any of the three IB Programs.
The other great inspiration was: Blended learning. Redefining school. It is amazing to hear about online K-12 schools. To hear about students and teachers (Monika Hardy and students) who redefine school so much, that life-long learning makes sense in every aspect, and the term “authentic learning” becomes validated.
And then there are the little things, such as using images and twitter in education, how to use word clouds for reading and writing, abolishing grading (though we don’t grade) and and and. Every session, every presenter and every participant made this conference a great success.
Not only was the content so exciting, it was also the act of setting this up that inspired me. I would love to see IB (cross-regional even) events online like that. I would love to be involved in this forward thinking…. action. Yes! As you can probably tell, I’m still excited, I learned a lot. I am a different person (aren’t we all) now than I was before the conference, knowing that the boundaries of location can be overcome “so easily”.
If you missed it, check out the archives!