This past January 31, 2019 and February 1, 2019, ICTAM held their annual DisruptED Conference. The topics focused on Technology, Education, and how to prepare learners for their future careers in a landscape full of technological disruption. Here at the Department of Applied Computer Education (ACE), we were delighted to invite some Maples Met High School students, who have been spending time with us at the ACE Project Space, to join us in attending the DisruptEd Conference.
Since September 2018, we have been thrilled to mentor a group of Maples Met School students as they have been working on developing a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) – a scheduling application for their school to manage end-of-term exhibitions and evaluations. It has been a wonderful opportunity for ACE and the Maples Met School to cross-pollinate ideas and philosophies in our approaches and navigating constraints in each of our systems. This initiative has been mutually beneficial as we are each making our own discoveries in project-based learning and student-led learning.
On day 2 of the DisruptED Conference, there was an unstructured segment called “Coffee with Strangers”. I joined one of the Metsters, pictured above on the right, in a table discussion on Work-Integrated Learning. He had this wonderful reflection to share with his advisors and mentors. This Metster wrote to Matt Henderson, the vice-superintendent of the Seven Oaks School Division and former Principal of the Maples Met School:
How are you? Actually, in the DisruptEd conference there was a section today where we had to get up and move to different tables which had moderators at them. I went to one that was being run by the CEO of ICTAM and the topic that we were discussing at this table was something like Integrating Work in Education. So this session was 1 hour long and I’d say out of that time I spoke for about 35 minutes of it. Because when we were introducing ourselves I said well “I’m in grade 9 and I go to a project-based learning school.”
So we went around the circle which probably contained about 20 adults and one teenager (moi). Right after introductions, we began the informal discussion about experiential learning. When it was my turn I let them know of our internships. Right when those words came out of my mouth at least 10 people had questions about me.
Thus began my educating part of the session. Questions like “How do you evaluate a narrative that you were talking about instead of just giving them a report card with a number on it?” or “How do you even pass through high school in this program?” these kinds of questions were being thrown at me. I tried my best to explain in front of the crowd. The figures at my table were like deans at universities, directors of organizations and many other “powerful” people whose titles were so specific they are hard to remember. While spreading the philosophy I talked about the reason and benefit of feedback, what the 3 Rs are (relationships, relevance, rigour) and value of learning by doing.
One comment I received was that this school is a wonderland.
They asked me, well who do we ask because this is what we should have in each school. So I just mentioned your name. Then they took an ahh moment and said oh I think I’ve heard of this Matt guy.
The last 2 days were really memorable. Thanks to you, MICE and RRC for offering such an authentic experience. I really enjoyed myself there, I hope to attend next year too.
I was fortunate to accompany this student at this roundtable discussion, whereupon Kathy Knight, CEO of ICTAM, mentioned: “We should have a student at every table!” She praised him for his well-spoken nature and was sincerely curious to know more about the Maples Met School, Matt Henderson, and the collaboration the ACE Project Space has with their group of interning students.
We all had some great takeaways from the DisruptED conference this year and feel like we, at the ACE Project Space, are in the midst of living the shared hopes and dreams that a tech-ed conference like this strives for: collaboration, relationship building, personalized learning, and project-based learning. It is not perfect, but we feel that we are on the right path and we have relished the opportunities to learn from our friends at the Maples Met School and fellow attendees from the DisruptED conference.