Thursday 28th May
It is indeed becoming a global world, or should that be a ‘flat one’. Checking out my blog, I noticed that I had a comment from a parent of one of the 13 students who are also attending a part of this amazing conference. Last night at dinner the NZ and Australian contingent went to a restaurant with the Australian MS Manager. One of the NZ teachers told me that she was there as a chaperone for a student. At lunch today, I met the student and it was just after that that, that I received the comment from the NZ Mum. As part of the opening ceremony, this same student was one of a panel of three who admirably answered questions re their preferences for education, from the assembled crowd of 200 or so. How wonderful!
Reflections on the day
The morning started with another sumptuous breakfast. From 8:30am, we were to stay with our posters for the judging. Any spare time was to be used to complete our collaborative project proposal. However, my poster was not to be judged until 11am. So, I spent some time watching others being judged and looking around at other posters.
All 15 countries (involving approximately 100 teachers) were judged by two or three judges from other countries. Australians and Canadians had a Malaysian and a Korean judge. Everyone was dressed in stylish business outfits or gorgeous national costume.
After lunch, 100 student teachers and other teachers from Malaysia, walked around our exhibits. Then, at mid afternoon we had our opening ceremony. Just prior to that Ministers of government, the Secretary to the Prime Minister and other dignitaries also walked around our exhibits.
The theme of the conference is “empower, enact and engage”. First speaker was the convenor or director for Microsoft in Malaysia. She talked about the grass roots needing to accept change but that it is far better if change is instigated from the grass roots. She also talked about her mother, who was a teacher and later a fierce headmistress as being her inspiration. She remembers her mother walking to school, carrying her bag which inlcuded a comb, powder, tissues and biscuits. The tissues were to clean the faces of those who had not washed and the powder was sprinkled on first. The comb was for those who did not have combs to tidy their hair and the biscuits for those who did not have breakfast.
Integrating ICT into learning provides excellent opportunity to raise the playing field in global equality. This conference is a platform to show creativity and innovation which offers an opportunity to share with each other and continue connections beyond the conference. It is necessary to continue producing human capital and develop unique citizens. Exploiting opportunities of ICT help us to perform this goal.
The two guest presenters were Gwang-Jo Kim, the Director of UNESCO Bangkok and Michael Furdyk, the co-founder, Director of Technology and Finance, TakingITGlobal. Michael is one of Tenn People’s “20 teens who will change the world.” Gwang-Jo spoke about technology and how it should be accessible and affordable for all. It will eventually change the pedagogy and how people will learn and will change the way that teachers prepare lessons and manage. He showed some images – one being of a robotic teacher who may teach in a classroom in Tokyo contrasting with another, of a teacher who had carved their lesson in a slab of stone, teaching his students in the street rubble. (no classroom, no blackboard). This teacher was still delivering and students are learning, despite the hardships. More details on his presentation and the work of UNESCO can be found on their website.
Michael Furdyk started his own business at the age of 12 and sold it at the age of 16, becoming an instant millionaire. He then started a websited encouraging global youth to collaborate to change the world. He was awarded the title one of “20 teens who will change the world”. The student component of the conference have been working with him. They presented their statements on effective education and a panel of three were questioned by the audience on their views on education.
Some of the student comments were as follows:
- These students wanted more project based learning.
- Teachers need to understand what students listen to and are involved in outside school hours.
- Students want learning for learning and not just for the sake of learning.
- Teachers can explore with students together.
- Teachers should accept that one person cannot know everything.
- The world is changing so what is in textbook may not be updated.
- Allow time for students to go out and explore on their own, but with teacher’s guidance.
- I see everything on the screen,why wont teachers let me use screens at school.
- Inspire me to want to learn what we are learning.