Last Friday, I was in Quesnel, British Columbia to present at the professional development day for K-12 teachers in School District 28. I was honored to be their keynote speaker, as well as do two workshops afterwards. Here is what I presented:
Keynote address – Global Trends in 21st Century Education: Thinking about Technology, Teaching and Learning in the New Millennium
This talk is based on research I have been doing since 2010 on emerging trends in education across most developed nations and what we might expect over the next 15 to 20 years. I am not a futurist by training, but there are elements of looking down the road and being able to say, “This is where we are today, and it is not impossible that this is where we are heading.”
Workshop #1 – Appreciating Innovation and Incorporating Wisdom Across the Educational Spectrum
This workshop had an educational leadership focus. We looked at how teachers with different approaches to technology can learn to work together for the benefit of students. It was a strength-based approach to working together in the digital age.
Workshop #2 – Learning the Twenty-First Century Way: Making Sense of How to Use Social Media for Classroom Learning and Student Engagement
In this workshop, I shared how I incorporated Twitter into one of my university level classes. Then we had some hands-on time in the lab and teachers got set up with their first Twitter account.
I really enjoyed my time in Quesnel, a small city of 10,000 people where the pulp mill is a major employer and residents are concerned about the land slippage into the Fraser River that is affecting homes and roadways.
I always find that I learn a lot from taxi drivers when I go somewhere to speak and Quesnel was no exception. The cab driver who picked me up at 7:15 a.m. to take me over to the high school told me that his fares so far that morning had included a round-trip drug run and that poverty was a major issue in the community.
Stories like that were countered by the one told to me by Mike Adams, the principal at Correlieu Secondary School, where our PD day was held. He told me that the young man who got the sound system set up for the day had essentially been abandoned by his parents as a teenager. Instead of turning to drugs, he was surrounded by friends, teachers and administrators who wanted to help. As a result, he was on the football team, in the band and part of the school musical. He turned his life around thanks to the strong sense of community and support he found.
Thanks to Lisa Kishkan, who organized the whole PD day for the teachers, including the other workshops that included sessions on intrinsic vs extrinsic motivation; the art of Pysanky (Ukrainian Easter Eggs); and the aboriginal medicine wheel. I really enjoyed my time in Quesnel and as always, I think I learned as much as I shared.
I am excited to try the “birch syrup” that the teachers gave to me as a thank you gift at the end of the day. And I love coffee and I’ll enjoy the new coffee mug that will always remind me of the trip. Thank you to the educators of Quesnel for the great work you do.
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Sarah Elaine Eaton is a faculty member in the Werklund School of Education, University of Calgary, Canada.