Global Innovation in Education


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At a conference on developing sustainable, connected and scalable cities, Cisco hosted an international roundtable using Cisco TelePresence, a high definition, lifesized video meeting solution, with education thought leaders from Amsterdam, Brisbane, Hong Kong, London and Lisbon.

The group came together to discuss the barriers facing education innovators, ideas to help accelerate learning and practice as well as new approaches to learning for students in K–12 and higher education.

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Global Innovation in Education

  1. 1. Global Innovation in Education Speakers and participants An International Roundtable Speakers using Cisco TelePresence •  Chair, Martin Stewart-Weeks,  Director, Internet Business  At a conference on developing sustainable, connected and scalable cities, Cisco Solutions Group, Cisco (Brisbane) hosted an international roundtable using Cisco TelePresence, a high definition, •  Brett Wigdortz, CEO and Founder,  lifesized video meeting solution, with education thought leaders from Amsterdam, Teach First (London) Brisbane, Hong Kong, London and Lisbon. •  Chris Sigaloff, Vice-Chair,  Kennisland (Amsterdam) The group came together to discuss the barriers facing education innovators, ideas •  Simon Tucker, Chair, Studio  to help accelerate learning and practice as well as new approaches to learning for Schools Trust (London) students in K–12 and higher education. Participants Ideas to help accelerate learning and practice •  David Jackson, Partner, Innovation  Professional development for teachers and educators Unit (London)  Brett Wigdortz from Teach First outlined how the charity has placed more than 2,500 •  Graham Keys, Director of  teachers in disadvantaged schools to work with students and raise their achievement Technology and eLearning,  Brisbane Boys’ College (Brisbane)  levels. Each graduate teacher receives an intensive six-week training course with ongoing support from a network of tutors, mentors and development officers. •  Miguel Alves Martins, Social  Wigdortz emphasised that the success of Teach First lay in the extent and quality Entrepreneurship Institute/ INSEAD (Lisbon) of its partnerships with a wide range of organisations including schools, teachers’ unions, universities, businesses and other charities. •  Nathan Pilgrim, Director,  Information and Communication  Graham Keys, Director of Technology and eLearning from Brisbane Boys’ College, Technologies, Brisbane Girls  noted that a structured approach to professional development like the Teach First Grammar School (Brisbane) model would work well in Australia, where most independent schools tend to •  Ada Wong, Supervisor of HKICC  build their own professional development programs internally, but lack coherent Lee Shau Kee School of Creativity  guidelines and external support. He was particularly interested in Teach First’s affiliate (Hong Kong) international network Teach For All, which operates in Australia as Teach For Australia. Miguel Alves Martins based at the Social Entrepreneurship Institute, INSEAD, echoed Key’s views and stated that the main issue facing the Portuguese education system was a lack of insight into innovative pedagogy from around the world. He stated that Portugal’s education system was highly centralised, inwardly focused, and could benefit from global benchmarks for innovative education processes and development.1  © 2011 Cisco and/or its affiliates. All rights reserved.
  2. 2. Helping teachers to think differently Several roundtable participants described their experiences in helping teachers and educators think and deliver programs in new ways. In Australia, Nathan Pilgrim, Director, Information and Communication TechnologiesParticipants spoke of from Brisbane Girls Grammar School talked about his school’s internal programrestrictive government – Passions, Provocations and Learning.policies that require Within this program, Passion sessions provide the opportunity for teachers to shareschool leaders to be any topic of interest they are passionate about. Provocation sessions bring outside mentors to the school to provoke debate among teachers and get them thinkingformally qualified in differently about social, political or academic topics. Learning Innovation sessionseducation, without focus on pedagogy and how to reconcile the pressure between teaching a nationally mandated curriculum and subjects or topics that fall outside its scope.recognising theirqualifications in other, David Jackson, Partner of the Innovation Unit, a UK-based not-for-profit social enterprise, also discussed his work with the Coalition of Essential Schools in theequally important areas. United States. This organisation is collaborating on a one-year study program named Transformational Leadership Coalition (TLC), which is funding 90 education thought leaders to study the management difficulties and best practice around implementing new education designs and models. The definition of transformational leadership is when school leaders intentionally become critically aware of their own tacit assumptions and expectations, and assess their significance and consequence in decision making. Partnerships and new perspectives are important for innovation A common theme emerged of schools and educational organisations working with partners to introduce new initiatives for the benefit of teachers and students. Simon Tucker from Studio Schools Trust outlined how a new kind of school model is being introduced in the UK for 14–19 year olds of all abilities. The Studio Schools model aims to provide students with skills and knowledge by connecting them with local employers and a personal coach. At the same time, students follow a curriculum designed to give them employability skills and qualifications they need at work or to take up higher education. While different from the traditional education model in the UK, Studio Schools do not aim to replace other secondary schools, but to complement them by providing an alternative approach suitable for young people looking for a more entrepreneurial option or alienated by traditional pedagogy. Chris Sigaloff from Kennisland in Amsterdam, a non-for-profit think tank working with government, companies and social organisations to develop programs aimed at improving the Dutch education system shared her perspectives on how to create change. So often, education structures and curricula were devised outside the country and then “forced down people’s throats” said Ms. Sigaloff. In a recent example of a Kennisland program, “SchoolSupporters” parents were encouraged , to create a supporter’s network for their school and provide input for innovative, creative school activities alongside more traditional bureaucratic school structures. Common issues facing education innovators Common barriers were also raised. Several participants raised the issue of restrictive government policies that require school leaders to be formally qualified in education, without recognising their qualifications in other, equally important areas.2  © 2011 Cisco and/or its affiliates. All rights reserved.
  3. 3. Ada Wong, Supervisor of HKICC Lee Shau Kee School of Creativity in Hong Kong, described her school’s struggle to have its transgressive approach to learning accepted by the government. She also noted the difficulties faced by the school principal whose extensive skills and experience were not recognised because she lacked the formal education qualifications required by the Chinese government. Simon Tucker from Studio Schools Trust faced similar issues in the UK. He said that Studio Schools had so far managed to circumvent the requirement for formal education qualifications by calling its educators ‘coaches’ According to Tucker, . the focus of Studio School coaches is to teach leadership skills rather than formal learning, and therefore they should not require a formal Bachelors Degree in Education. “Up to half our teachers are not formally qualified,” said Mr Tucker. “We foresee that it will cause issues with the teachers’ union.” Conclusions on innovative education Traditional approaches to education must be supplemented with innovative approaches to learning. This requires governments to think differently about educators’ accreditation, curricula and classroom structures. It requires flexibility to tailor education to individual students, rather than forcing students to conform to set curricula. Greater access to technology and ICT advances such as the internet, social media and telepresence makes this possible by giving educators and students access to a global pool of information and knowledge. For more information Brisbane Girls Grammar School: Brisbane Boys’ College: Cisco in Education: Coalition of Essential Schools: HKICC Lee Shau Kee School of Creativity in Hong Kong: Innovation Unit: Kennsiland (Knowledgeland): Studio Schools: Teach First (UK): Teach for Australia:©2011 Cisco and/or its affiliates. All rights reserved. Cisco and the Cisco Logo are trademarks of Cisco Systems, Inc. and/or its affiliates in the U.S. and other countries. A listing of Cisco’s trademarks can be found at Third party trademarks mentioned are the property of their respective owners. The use of the word partner does not imply a partnership relationship between Cisco and any other company. (1005R)Intel, the Intel Logo, Intel Core, and Core Inside are trademarks of Intel Corporation in the U.S. and other countries. EG1567/GRD1191/10113  © 2011 Cisco and/or its affiliates. All rights reserved.