Change is the only constant. I was fortunate to attend the E2 conference in Paris held by Microsoft which was attended by over 250 teachers from more than 90 countries. It has been two weeks since I returned but ideas are still running through my head and I can feel the next stage of evolution from a teacher to change-maker.
After last month’s celebrations I was always on the “What’s next?” train. But after attending this conference I have been blown away by the work that teachers are doing around the globe. For example, a teacher teaching his students about bullying through the creation of comic books, another teacher using Minecraft to recreate worlds that have been forgotten, a teacher using VR and MR to give experiences to kids with disabilities to name a few. One thing I learnt was how little I was doing to support change in my community. I also realised how much my ideas are constrained by the dreaded word “assessments”. Every innovative thought always ended with “Can this be assessed?” It was almost as if the “Why” for my teaching was being challenged in every possible way.
In a traditional conference you attend a few keynotes and then attend a series of workshops. E2 is different. We had the Global Educator Challenge. We were placed in teams based on our subjects and levels and were given a task to complete in just under 26 hours. In my team I had Aliaa from Egypt, Jean-Claude from Rwanda and Yu Lei from China. Our mentor was Piaa from Finland. Our challenge was to immerse the learner in Paris. All of us were secondary teachers and naturally we shifted towards the specifics of each subject. We had a Stem co-ordinator, Math, Chemistry and Chinese teacher. When our final project was handed in I felt the pressure some of our students feel on a daily basis. The adrenaline rush from handing in an assignment before it was due was exhausting.
After the Global educator challenge it was time to set up for the learning marketplace. My highlight from this experience was talking to Anthony Salcito about how he had read my name out as a winner for a #classhack challenge in 2016. I mentioned how one day I will be keynoting at this event in the future. He said “Let’s make it happen!” The second highlight was seeing the incredible stands from teachers around the globe. I hardly stayed at my display as I roamed around learning from all the other displays. More than 250 displays were there and it was overwhelming. I could have easily spent a week talking to the teachers.
The next day was a big day as I was invited to be part of a panel of speakers that were discussing the idea “Preparing Teachers for Tomorrow: Innovative approaches to professional learning” We were to speak leaders of education around the globe and I shared the stage with
- Papa Idrissa Ndiaye, IT Communication Manager, Ministry of National Education (Senegal)
- Meredith Roe, Virtual School Program Manager, Catholic Education of Western Australia (Australia)
- Arti Chopra, Principal of Amity International School Gurgaon (India)
The talk was well received as I opened my address with a mihi and my pepeha. Speaking in Te Reo Maori in an International conference got their attention and the rest is history. For the remainder of the conference I was approached by many leaders to commend me on the work I was doing with the Maths community back in New Zealand and was invited to talk to their respective country’s Maths teachers. This led us to the Awards night and it was held at an incredible venue and all the work over the week resulted in having a good time at the dance floor as we waved goodbye to E2.
I came away with some incredible experiences meeting teachers from around the globe and just witnessing the magic in other classrooms. It made me realise how much more learning I am capable of. For anybody that made it to this far in the blog, I cannot recommend this event enough as it changes everything. It is revolutionary in your evolution from a teacher to a ChangeMaker.
In short I would love to do this every year regardless of where in the world this event is. Some four years ago I joined the MIEE program and I have no regrets in what I have learnt and it is credit to this MIEE community. Thank you from the bottom of my heart in allowing me create my own journey in this evolution.