Space to Think

So thinking can develop

Education Leaders Forum (part 2)

As I reflect on the Education Leaders’ Forum (ELF) I think that two ways that would enhance the value for the future would be to have more participants from the work-place learning and development sector, and some smarter ways of gathering threads from the structured and unstructured conversations and identifying emergent themes and patterns.

I would love to have tried aspects of the Cognitive Edge approach to sense making. I think it would have served the gathering well, but would have needed to be a design feature from the beginning. Cognitive Edge is a way of working with messy data from narrative and dialogue and working collaboratively to discern patterns and sense.

As for participants from the work-place, we had valuable insights from Ian Olliver from Fulton Hogan and from Pam Blacktopp from AMI, but they were clearly feeling rather swamped by the weight of school focus. However, the value for L & D people from industry would be in hearing the changing approaches and educational methods being used in schools and tertiary institutions, and in having the chance to give feedback about industry needs for and experience of employees they take on as products of the education system. The value to school educators and policy people from greater industry involvement would be in the feedback about how well the education sector is equipping students for employment, and in developing a greater partnership with industry as co-educators. Certainly the point was strongly and well made by Ian and Pam that their firms were seriously in the education field; picking up employees who may lack foundational skills of literacy, numeracy and commitment to learning, and equipping them for particular work.

October 23, 2007 Posted by | Education, ELF | | Leave a comment

Education Leaders’ Forum

The Education Leaders’ Forum was held last week at Terrace Downs in Canterbury. I attended both as one involved and interested in the learning and development field and as part of the support and facilitation team from SmartNet. Over 90 people participated over the two days, and one of the real strengths of the occasion, in my opinion, was the particular mix of participants.

The mix was one of three distinctive features of this forum. It was rather an ecclectic bunch, and covered most sectors of education: early childhood, primary, secondary, university, polytechnic, workplace, policy.

It was a space for conversations that would not necessarily happen in the normal course of events. And this was also one of the learnings about the organisation of the event. We probably needed to balance the programme a little more toward the conversation space rather than the prepared input. That said, the input we got served to raise a number of key issues that are already, or need to be, claiming attention among education leaders in this country. I will try to list key themes that I discerned in a later entry.

The second distinctive feature of the forum was the commitment from the outset to see the event as simply a launch-pad for on-going conversation and sharing of ideas and resources via an on-line community. I know this is not unique as an aim for a gathering, but it is still unusual. It remains to be seen if this feature actually works. Suffice it to say the infrastructure is in place and a beginning has been made.

The third feature that I think is worth mentioning is that ELF was not organised by an ‘official’ body or government. It was initiated by Lyall Lukey of SmartNet who worked with a steering team in partnership with a range of bodies. It was therefore not constrained by an institutional agenda or history, and provided the opportunity for engagement between parties as true peers on-site rather than as guests of a significant stakeholder.

October 23, 2007 Posted by | Education, ELF | | Leave a comment