Last week, we had our annual Administrator’s convention for our district. It is always a great time to get together, network and connect with one another. This has been especially important this year because it has been, in many ways, a more challenging year due to labour difficulties.
Our convention is a yearly event that includes a keynote speaker on Friday morning and another speaker on Saturday morning. This year, our speaker on Friday was outstanding. Michael Wesch was inspirational. He really put the buzz words “21st Century learning” into perspective. He demonstrated how it could be done. He showed us through photos and videos what “engaged” really meant and looked like – for both students and teachers. He was a wonderful story-teller and engaging speaker, who did this in a humble manner. (Don’t mind the pirate hat in the photo to the right – the theme for the convention this year was pirates.)
Michael showed us a number of videos throughout his presentation. He showed part of the video he made in his basement. This viral video now has more than 4.5 million views: The Vision of Students Today.
Michael Wesch talked about how important it is to move our students from becoming knowledgeable to knowledge-able. Information is there and we have to teach our students how to access and leverage that information. But, it is more than that, according to Michael Wesch. We need to inspire a sense of wonder in our students (and teachers). He showed this amazing video about wonder, where people in Wellington, New Zealand experienced the sense of wonder through the first snowfall in over 30 years. Isn’t this the kind of powerful sense of wonder we want to inspire in our students and teachers?
According to Michael, if we want to know what our students are wondering, we need to listen to their questions. Unfortunately, most of these questions are questions like, “When is it due?”, “How much is it worth?”, “How many pages does it have to be?”, or the worst, “Is this good enough?” Wonder flourishes where we feel inspired and safe to …
- Quest – Requires true freedoms to learn
- Embrace our vulnerability – Requires the freedom to fail
- Invite connections – Requires the freedom to commune (love) – The Art of Loving by Erick Fromm
Michael Wesch describes a three-part process to promote wonder in our schools:
1. Start with a real and relevant question. Develop this as your common goal. You know it is real if your don’t know the answer already. You don’t know the end product/solution. You know it is relevant when students are willing to do the work outside of the classroom – without a grade.
2. Create learning communities – create connections/build relationships to solve the problem together.
3. Harness and leverage various technologies. (Technology (alone) is not the answer.)
Some examples of this includes:
I would say our convention was a great success. Not only was it wonderful to re-connect with administrators, school trustees, and district staff I have known for years, but it was also great to connect with new administrators and new-to-be district senior management. My roomie for the convention was a wonderful new Vice-Principal to our district: Liz Simpson. She was lovely to chat with and get to know. She is a wonderful addition to our district!
Thanks to our wonderful SPVPA Convention Committee for organizing this yearly convention. All your hard work and dedication is appreciated by us all!