This is part of a short series of posts where I reflect on the inaugural Intel Education Visionaries meet up in Santa Clara, California in October 2015.
Built into the programme of the week was a chance to share some interesting practice that was going on within your own school, district or country. These session were called ‘meet and mingle’ and they were spread over three session and two days around the themes
Theme One: Ed Tech, 1:1 Computing, tech solutions and frameworks
Theme Two: Education Transformation and leadership
Theme Three: Professional Learning and learning models/process
I spoke in Theme Two: Education Transformation and leadership, about some of the work we have been doing at Kingussie High School. I also had a chance to talk about some of the wider policy drivers in Scottish Education.
In the session that I wasn’t presenting I valued the chance to get a round and see what other countries / schools were doing. I like education policy and its sessions like this that allow you to ‘borrow’ the best ideas from other systems and re-vent them for your own benefit.
(interesting to find out about whats happening in Trinidad & Tobago)
During the 1:1 Strand it was pleasing to see that the steps we have taken within our own 1:1 role out in Kingussie seems to be consistent with emergent thinking from other areas. Pretty much everything we have done in Kingussie has been based on interesting practice borrowed from around the world and it was good to see that we seem to be holding our own when compared to bigger countries and global school districts.
Another key thing that I was reminded about during the session is how flexible and forward thinking the Scottish system actually is. It was evidence that a number of the other systems straightjacket creativity and rely far to heavily in standardised test scores as the sole source of measuring student achievement.
However, the person who stole the show at the ‘Meet and Mingle’ was Peter Rafferty or the ‘Glittery man’ as he quickly became known. Peter who teaches at Green Park Primary School (and does a whole heap of other things as well) had brought in letters from a number of children at his school explaining how they personally used technology both at home and at school. The letters were addressed to ‘the Intel people’ and all the delegates were tasked with replying to a letter from one of the children – felt tip pens, glitter and foam decorative shapes were obligatory in the reply. It was great to see everybody (including John Galvin) get involved.
It was lovely, powerful idea and great to be reminded about the importance of ‘low-tech’ at a technology conference. After all who actually gets a letter (that is not a bill) anymore – I am sure the children at Green Park will enjoy reading the replies (I just want to apologise in advance for my handwriting!).