Three of the 2012 CORE eFellows were inspired by Ignition 2012, the two day ‘unconference’ held at Albany Senior High School during the Easter break.
Whereas top-down organization is usually a feature of conventional conferences, an ‘unconference’ is a participant-driven meeting which typically avoids the various aspects of conventional conferences. The gathering was billed as an Emerging Leaders Symposium. CORE Education senior researcher and eFellows co-ordinator Michael Winter spoke with Paula about the experience.
Paula said that she found Ignition an “awesome experience”. She was very impressed by the physical layout of Albany Senior High, with the combination of flexible, open plan learning centres and traditional classrooms.
The event began with a ‘World Cafe’ icebreaker. As the School Library Manager of the combined Riccarton High School and Christchurch Upper Riccarton Library, Paula was particularly inspired by the ‘one thing I’m having fun with’, and ‘What will School Libraries look like in 2022?’ sessions that were on offer.
Various participants impressed Paula, including Mark Osborne (Albany SHS), Chris Clay (Botany Downs) and Tim Kong (Seatoun). Mark contrasted ‘helicopter conferences’, whereby keynote speakers fly in and out from around the world and impart knowledge, with unconferences like Ignition, and gave the 110 participants the overarching message ‘the answers are in this room’. Another key idea was that of being ‘disruptors of education’ - that the way forward involves a deep questioning and shake-up of the way we ‘do’ education.
Another key attitude that impressed Paula was the belief that everyone is an educator - titles like ‘teacher’ or ‘librarian’ are less relevant: we can all teach and learn from each other.
The key sponsor for Ignite 2012 was Vodafone. Rachel and Paula, along with 60 percent of the participants at the event, both received scholarships to attend, All in all, Paula commented that the whole experience was “inspiring”. “The message is to look out for future Ignite sessions in your area and get your colleagues to attend!”
Paula’s blog is at http://librarypaula.wordpress.com/