I am indebted to Lawrence Williams, Secretary of World Ecitizens, and Margaret Cox, Professor of Information Technology, for providing the information on which this article was based. Please feel free to tweet about it using the hashtag #edusummit19, in order to help spread the word about the conference.
What are the differences between the Edusummit conference and most other education conferences?
It’s invitation only.
It takes place every two years.
It is hosted in different countries.
It has the support of several prestigious organisations, such as universities in different parts of the world, and UNESCO. This year the venue was the Université Laval in Quebec, and the conference was co-sponsored by Kings College and the University of Laval.
After each conference it issues a call to action to educational leaders across the world, and an ebook containing information about the conference and reports from the Working Groups. The ebook for 2019 is being edited by Petra Fisser.
The group includes political leaders who are in a position to initiate change. This year’s conference, for example, was opened by Canada’s Deputy Minister of Education. It was led by Margaret Cox of Kings College, London, and Thérèse Laferrière, of the Université Laval.
The conference organisers are very keen to disseminate their work. With that in mind, they utilise blogging and other social media. This year, the conference blogging team comprised Lawrence Williams (Blogging Team Leader), Marie-France Boulay, and Audrey Raynault.
The overall theme of the 2019 conference was Learners and learning contexts: New alignments for the digital age. Participants were, as usual, working in thematic working groups TWGs). This year the themes were:
TWG 1: Technology developments: how human computer interactions change with technological innovation
TWG 2: Learners as learning leaders: how does leadership for learning emerge beyond the traditional teaching models?
TWG 3: Creativity for teachers and teaching - Access to TWG 3's Working document
TWG 4: Thinking about machine learning – implications for education - Access to TWG 4's Working document
TWG 5: Safe and Responsible Internet Use in a Connected World: Teaching Critical Thinking and Accountability to Promote Cyber-wellness - Access to TWG 5's Working document
TWG 6: Putting learning back into learning analytics: optimizing learning through analysing the data - Access to TWG 6's Working document
TWG 7: Connected learning: online human interaction and interaction with digital resources - Access to TWG 7's Working document
TWG 8: Pedagogical reasoning and reflective practice: a framework for teaching in a digital age - Access to TWG 8's Working document
TWG 9: Advancing models and theories of technology integration: implications for researchers, practitioners and policymakers - Access to TWG 9's Working document
TWG 10: New paradigms for researching digital technologies: achieving scaleability and sustainability - Access to TWG 10's Working document
TWG 11: Cross-cultural alignments, fertilization, differentiation: bridging the gaps through technology - Access to TWG 11's Working document
TWG 12: National policies in curriculum reforms: what makes a quality curriculum in a technological era? - Access to TWG 12's Working document
TWG 13: Knowledge building/knowledge creation in the school classroom and beyond - Access to TWG 13's Working document
You will find more information, and links, on the conference website.
In many conferences, discussion groups tend to be relatively unstructured, and rely on a strong chairperson to keep everything on track. However, Edusummit group discussions are conducted rather differently. Lawrence Williams writes:
“Following Breakout Sessions, which briefly outline the problem to be addressed, the 13 Thematic Working Groups move into discussion where they link their work closely to the conference theme. They identify key issues: dilemmas, double binds, and challenges.
They then invite two or more of the other Working Groups to critique their thinking, and to discuss joint action. This is summarised in a poster presentation, and from a list of possible strategies for policy makers, practitioners, and researchers, they recommend advances in IT in Education.”
Further notes on the themes
It’s worth spending some time delving into the themes more closely. All will be of direct interest to teachers. If you’re a subject leader, consider taking one or two of the topics and discussing them in your next team meeting (see #30 in the article 30 Ideas For Organising A Team Meeting With A Difference).
If you decide to do that, you will be pleased to learn that many of the TWGs’ briefs are accompanied by a discussion paper in pdf format. These papers outline the issues, citing and summarising research in that particular area.
Margaret Cox writes:
“Each working group at the conference produced a 2 page summary of their deliberations which will be followed by reports for an E-book, as stated above. This will be distributed to every UNESCO country, and be followed by a series of academic papers in two leading journals, and subsequent papers in various journals. The 2 page summaries and the E-book will be widely available on the Edusummit website. The impact of the previous Edusummits includes over 67,000 citations.”
The conference known as “Edusummit” has not long finished, but the work goes on. You can help by sharing the link to this article and the link to the EduSummit website.