On the final day of the Microsoft Partners in Learning Global Forum in Washington the keynote was done as a panel session. There was an opportunity to hear from Kapil Wadhera, General Manager, Education Market Platforms Group at Intel and also six educators who shared some of the work they have been doing.
I wasn’t expecting to hear anything new from Kapil Wadhera as I have been doing some work with Intel recently around their Intel Teach Program, including attending an Intel Teach Course in Poland during the summer holidays. However I liked how Wadhera used Intel’s five part Education Transformation Model of Policy, Research & Evaluation, ICT, CPD and Curriculum & Assessment and linked this to contextual examples.
For example, Wadhera’s argued that in Portugal since the introduction of the National 1:1 programme for primary age children, combined with national leadership, teacher CPD and changes to curriculum & assessment that there had been an increase of 20 points on PISA scores since 2006 in reading, maths and science.
He also linked this to economic growth. Again the Portuguese model is clever as the Intel Classmate PC's were manufactured in country. This led to 350 direct new jobs, 1500 secondary new jobs, over 2B Euro in increased economic activity.
I’m not going to talk about all six of the educators who got up and talked about the work they have been doing - all of the projects were impressive in their own way but some not replicable within a UK / Scottish Context.
I do however want to mention Diana Laufenberg’s (@dlaufenberg) presentation on ‘Experiencing and communicating the power of democracy in action’ because this is such a simple but powerful idea that could be replicated in most parts of the world.
Basically in Diana’s school district at election time they shut the school and turn it into a polling booth. For most students this means ‘a day off’ for Diana’s students this means ‘opportunity’!
The whole day become a live assignment where the young people go out into the community and live report the election day. They interview voters, interview poll workers, find out what its like to stand in the queue waiting to vote, find out what types of people vote and when.
They live tweet, record video, produce audioboos, make podcasts and discuss their findings face-to-face and over SMS. Most importantly it exposes young people to the voting process, helps them understand it and gets them excited about democracy so that when they are old enough to vote… they will!
I was in complete agreement with Diana when she talks about why the project worked so well. Basically it has all the components of good learning and teaching. It allows the student voice to co-construct learning activities by taking part in authentic experiences and sharing their stories with real audience.
The idea has been so successful that Diana has set up a website to help people who might want to replicate the project and to also share their own voter stories at http://votervoice.wordpress.com/.
If your inteested in some of Diana Laufenberg’s other work you might also like her TEDx Talk: