It’s been a month (and a bit) since the annual ECIS November conference in Copenhagen. Our TID team did some reflecting on the conference and our own takeaways. The theme of the conference was ‘Cultivating Curiosity’. The two keynote speakers, Bill Rankin and Ewan McIntosh, both did a wonderful job of addressing this topic from their various perspectives. Ewan McIntosh of NoTosh focused on the need to rethink education. ‘How we learn is as important as what we learn. Sometimes it’s the haystack you need to find, not the needle.’ How do we rethink the way we teach to make it meaningful and engaging? He gave some wonderful examples of flipping the model so students start with the practicing and application part of the learning and get to the theory when they’ve made sense of it and are engaged.
Have a look at the NoTosh website to dive in and find out more.
Ewan also lead the group through the ‘Design Sprint’ exercise later in the day. As ECIS moves forward they are keen to change the way this conference looks. They are keenly aware that the standard giant conference model isn’t working and looking for new ideas and new thinking around what conferences should be and how every attendee can get more out of the conference. The design sprint activity got everyone actively engaged in rethinking what we want from conferences and why it hasn’t always worked in the past. Big conferences can be like a taster menu where you walk away not quite full but having sampled lots of ideas. Most people agreed that they want a richer, deeper experience. They want to make connections that last longer than two days and come away with actionable items and goals as well as a support network to help make them happen. There was certainly consensus in the room about wanting to make change happen in our classrooms and schools but feeling the excitement of the conference wears off as soon as we step foot on campus again. What kind of professional development models could help support real change? That is the question.
Kevin Ruth and the ECIS team along with Ewan will review the ideas and thoughts generated at the design sprint and report back in January about their plans for the future of the ECIS annual conference. Last week I was able to meet with Kevin and the other committee chairs in an online chat to offer our feedback about some of their preliminary ideas. Things are looking good and I’m excited about the possibilities! Watch this space for more information in the new year.
Finally, our amazing TID team hosted a pre-conference session ‘Going Google’ with boot-camp style day to get participants into the GSuite. We had plenty of positive feedback from attendees. It was a fun and successful day.