June 9, 2016 by readlisaread
I’ve been in Burnaby all week at a conference. The host organization is made up of post secondary institutions, but I have some connections to it through associate faculty work I’ve done in the past, and just an interest in what will be available for my learners as they leave K-12. I had had this idea that over the next few years, as the K-12 curriculum, reporting and assessment practices shift, perhaps the Post-Sec people receiving our learners might, actually, appreciate a heads-up regarding this latest iteration of learners. In short, I had some things to share that I thought were important, but I had no idea if there was any interest on the other end. One can present all one wants, but much like the philosophical tree in the forest, if the room is empty, is it still a presentation?
Well, I needn’t have worried, as it turns out, because not only were a number of instructors and post-sec programmers interested in their future learners, many attendees were also there as mums and dads of current K-12 learners. It was one of the few times I was slightly over-prepared, and grateful that I had not gone with my usual “I’ll just wing it” attitude. The end result was a gratifyingly full room, an extended question period, and many hallway greetings over the next few days of “Hey! I really liked your session, and I was wondering….”. It reminds me of one of the points I made in my presentation– just like my learners, I only need 3 things in place: Authenticity, Relationship and Trust.
The rest of the conference also unfolded with happy surprises. Billed as a “Festival of Learning” rather than a conference, it was a departure from the more typical Keynote…Session 1….Break…..Session 2……Lunch……etc…. Sessions of varying lengths, a wide variety of presentation styles, and presenters representing a broad range of institutions. Oh but there is more… even the social component was unique. The traditional Pub Night was included, but part way through the 4 day event, was The Night Carnival.
I am now convinced that every conference should include a carnival. There is purpose in play, and it’s easy to forget that. Sugar, games of “skill”, a fortune teller… and a dance contest. And sharing our learning. I champion the Carnference.
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