Alan November’s (@globalearner) annual Building Learning Communities Conference (BLC12) in Boston continues to foster pedagogical design that transforms education and spreads the seeds for student-driven learning across the globe. With Keynote Speakers such as Chris Anderson (@TEDChris), Geetha Narayanan, Eli Praiser (@elipraiser), and Greg Whitby (@gregwhitby); the combined acumen for teaching and learning was inspiring and fueled the educational passion of all educators in attendance.
Alan November's vision for globally connected and collaborative learning for students in which their work matters, provides a sense of ownership, and makes a contribution to the global community was pervasive throughout the conference. Educators from around the world were engaged in break-out sessions that will have a tremendous impact on student engagement in our schools. In addition, through pedagogy such as project-based learning, students will not only be passionate about their work, but the world will be a better place due to their positive impact far beyond the classroom.
In the 'Creating Your Window on the World: Students Leaving a Legacy' session, Garth Holman (@GarthHolman) and Michael Pennington (@ProfessorMike1) shared their students’ work in a glowing example of 21st century learning. Their pedagogical design has cultivated an environment of passion-driven learning within their classrooms. As Alan November would say, their students 'own the learning'. Garth and Michael’s students do not complete work simply because of course requirements or a grade, they engage in in-depth cross curricular learning endeavors with a vigor and self-driven tenacity that many educators could only dream of for their students. Garth and Michael have made this dream a reality by giving their students a global voice via blogs, wikis and a multitude of digital platforms for publishing their work. Their vision has created a learning environment driven by purpose and a global voice. The students’ ongoing global contribution is evident through their digital history book (dgh.wikispaces.com).
Educators who attended the BLC12 Conference must continue to share the powerful pedagogical concepts conveyed throughout the conference. In the words of Geetha Narayanan, ‘we should approach our charge as an oceanic theme with our ideas and efforts rippling out in concentric circles, ever expanding the impact’.
As an educator, I am honored and humbled to be part of the Building Learning Communities Network. Further, I feel a tremendous sense of responsibility to contribute to education’s global professional learning community and remain focused on educational practices that provide students with a learning environment in which their work matters, they have a sense of ownership, and their work makes a contribution far beyond the classroom.