Wednesday, April 16, 2014

OPPI: celebrating learning

Finally, an international learning festival dealing with the most fascinating and mind-blowing issues in learning and discussing global challenges and mega trends without stiff self-important lectures and academic jargon. Even if some of the topics were serious and heartfelt, the atmosphere in general was relaxed and joyful.

As hierarchies are inevitably crumbling down and flexible global networks and learning communities are gradually replacing them, as students become more and more engaged in their own learning, more and more self-organized and they participate in the process as designers, it’s only proper that also in “conferences” participants are actively taking part, learning by doing, creating new contacts and joining new networks. The 21st century way of learning in which the learner is at the centre should be applied throughout in professional development, teacher training, seminars, workshops and conferences.

New ideas and fresh points of view were presented in many of the discussions, lectures and workshops. Students’ voices were heard and a little bit of music and circus and lot of play were included.

For me, PISA statistics and comparisons were very thought-provoking. Why do boys and students with immigrant background do so badly compared with girls? How much of that is due to teachers and teaching? Majority of Finnish teachers are white female high-achievers. Do they even speak the same language with boys and immigrant pupils? How is it possible that the Finnish students with very low self-belief, motivation and engagement still have the best learning results in Europe? Is it, at least partly, due to the “good girl” syndrome? And, seriously, what does this kind of lack of motivation and engagement do to creativity and collaboration?

On the other hand, Saku Tuominen’s workshop in which he presented his mindset for dreaming and doing was quite inspirational. I’ve always been an advocate of learning by boing, but now I think I’ll include dreaming in the equation as well. I’m sure a dreamstorming session now and then in a Finnish classroom would make a difference. Dreaming as such is fun, but including doing (realizing your dreams) in the process is what makes it life-changing. It goes very well together with “thinking globally, acting locally” principle.

I also took part in OPPI TeachMeet livestream, my first ever. I really enjoy these semi-spontaneous meetings in which the participants are at centre. The feeling was very warm and encouraging thanks to Oliver Quinlan and Tim Walker. I also shared a little OPPIstory from my classroom a few years back. Yey!

I love Sugata Mitra. I’ve once heard him lecture about the hole-in-the-wall experience/experiment a few years ago and I’ve been an absolute fan since. His school in the cloud is a dream almost come true. It was fantastic to hear him again. He never fails to challenge us. He’s all for minimally invasive teaching and self-organized learning. So, he suggested, teachers shouldn’t be guides but friends. Wow! What do you say to that? A lot of re-thinking to do!

1 comment:

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