I took part of this important event in June 2011.
Building a Global Community of Policy-Makers, Educators, and
Researchers to Move Education into the Digital Age
70 leading researchers, policy makers and educators, spanning six continents, gathered in The Hague in The Netherlands for the first EDUsummIT in 2009. Their primary goals were to: a) establish a clear view of the role of ICT in 21st century learning, and b) examine implications of ICT’s emerging role for formal and informal learning. The first EDUsummIT led to a Call to Action on the Future of ICT in Education (see Annex). Since 2009, the EDUsummIT community has become a community of policy-makers, educators and researchers who have committed themselves to examine the impact of evidence and dissemination strategies on future policies and practices in countries across the world.
It was an interesting experience, and above all, Paris and the UNESCO headquarters as venue couldn’t be better.
However, I asked myself how much of the innovation and the ideas about “moving the school into the digital age” was there, between good coffee and sparkling drinks. Speaking in English, even if there was a good representation of people from around the world, I can immagine that many amazing experiences talking from the ground, about how technologies are changing the educational landscape, were just lost. I asked myself, when the time for functionaries and researchers to be with people and sit with them, listening their real experiences, will come.
I guess we did a pretty good work, and now we will have an article published to JCAL (I participated to the group of Teachers’ Professional Development). But I cannot say the things I heard and the thinghs I said were incredibly innovative. I think, more than ever, that innovation grows in the field, in the little craft workshop, between one conversation an another; when struggling to maintain the dignity of the own practice, as two years ago had taught to me a group of teachers from Argentina, Paraguay and Brazil. We has been doing the things G. Siemens and S. Downes promoted as Connectivism and Personal Learning Environments (see the IRRODL special issue on Connectivism), in 2008 (we had been working in a network of blogs of teachers connected to the blogs of the students as “enlarged cultural context of learnign”). With nothing but the energy of doing domething to renew the old old craft of teaching, to breath the air of a professional practice
I enjoyed the EDUSUMMIT experience but…I think the question of how to innovate should be posed to those that work everyday on the field.