Zélia Capitão-Tavares, Award Winning Educator Blog Reflection 9th Annual Canadian EdTech Innovation Summit

Reflection 9th Annual Canadian EdTech Innovation Summit

The 9th Canadian Edtech Summit at the University of Toronto, Mississauga Campus was re-invigorating and inspiring! ‘Re-Imagining Sustainable Learning Environments’ set the tone and focus on the most important aspects in education: the student.

Education and industry leaders came together to highlight, encourage and reflect on pedagogy over tools. Promoting competencies to develop skills, nurture creativity and curiosity while supporting a single most simple truth: all students can learn. An innovative mindset is encouraged as it supports development of skills; as the present and future holds new opportunities and jobs not yet known.

Speakers captured a simple common message that was focus on the student as a learner, as a creative critical thinker, a valued member in the learning process, students will continue to be changemakers (big or small)!

OECD Senior Management team member, Andreas Schleicher emphasized the importance of preparing ‘learners for their future, not our past’ and educational institutions need to ‘develop first class humans, not second class robots,’ through developing competencies: knowledge – skills – attitudes & values. Mr. Schleicher left us with this to reflect and rethink: How to make a shift from sorting human talent to developing human talent? Soon after, Tom Murray who serves as the Director of Innovation for Future Ready Schools took the stage. “Kids today… are awesome and have many of the exact same needs that we had and more opportunity to change the world than ever before!” Leadership and a school culture mindset is needed in reimagining sustainable learning environments. Mr. Murray encourages us to consider, What is it that you intentionally do to build culture in your school or district?

Brian Aspinall – Teacher, Coder, Developer, Speaker, Best Selling Author: Code Breaker never disappoints. His high energy and humour drives a message about creating opportunities for student agency… we MUST look at pedagogy! “If technology is an event then it doesn’t become part of one’s learning experience!” He finished his talk with this key message “I believe all students can learn, ”Patricia Gartland has been Superintendent of Schools for School District No. 43 (Coquitlam) highlights the importance of creating spaces that support competency-based learning; which is less about the furniture in your room and more about the optimal use of space both indoors and outside.

The Cross Canada Check-Up panel puts a spotlight on leadership and mentorship! Connecting, collaborating and personalized professional development in developing Global Competencies and leveraging technology. While each of the panelists shared their insights and strategies to developing K-12 and Post-Secondary tech initiatives, I am particularly proud to be present when Peter Singh, TDSB Executive Officer – IT Services shared new initiatives to support educators in building Global Competencies and leveraging technology with teachers to immerse their students in learning experiences across the board. This direction is provided through sessions with Exploration Classrooms hosted by Hybrid Teacher Coaches and Hybrid Teacher Digital Lead Learners, and over 240 educators as Digital Lead Learners offering after school workshops.

There was so much to take in, from the Startup Challenge ‘Dragon’s Den’ style with young entrepreneurs pitching their apps to the round table breakout sessions which provided a smaller, intimate opportunity to connect with EdTech leaders. Allowing them to dig deeper into understanding the direction of their EdTech initiatives supporting educators, students and parent community.

The day is captured by Stephen Hurley and can be revisited here: https://soundcloud.com/voiced-radio/sets/mindshare-learning-9th-edtech courtesy VoicEdCanada.

My top 3 takeaways:
1: focus on students learning experiences via Global Competencies
2: all stakeholders supporting & believing that every student can learn
3: kids will be kids & kids today have the ability to be changemakers NOW; don’t underestimate their creativity and curiosity

What Robert has built here, and continues to build upon each year is a community of education, valued partner sponsors and industry leaders sharing common goals towards building world class education systems focused on the learner. Congratulations Robert on keeping the channels of communication open, current, relevant and focused on innovation in the education system.

Zélia Capitão-Tavares, OCT, MEd
TDSB Hybrid Teacher – Digital Lead Learner