"We're ready for presentation!"
Before the Summit
Preparations for the Apple Education Leadership Summit 2011 had begun since the beginning of the year. When I heard I was picked, I was a bit concerned. We had Singapore Youth Festival (SYF) to rehearse for, assessments of SST's academic subjects, as well as performance tasks for others. It was a juggle we had to take. Everything clashed with each other.
We were officially informed of the date, as well as our participation, of the Summit later in February. Preparations for presentation material officially began. You might think, "Hey! You've done the project already, there's nothing else to prepare!" Wrong. The slides we prepared took about 2 weeks, not inclusive of rehearsals or the boards we needed.
The heat and anticipation grew. The week before the summit, I had 2 tests, and I knew that the day after the summit, Monday, I would have another 2. We managed to give in our best at the time, and I feel that was sufficient.
Our two different showcases happened on Friday, March 4th and Sunday, March 6th. During the event, we met many different educators and showed them our project. (Some of them were surprised that we accomplished a task so difficult as interviewing a 70-80 year old World War II) We gathered many comments that we could eventually use in our other projects. For example, one educator suggested creating follow-ups of our History podcast and posting them onto iTunes for viewers around the world to enjoy.
They were warm and welcoming, and sincere. Any questions they had were related to our views as students and the project framework or syllabus. Some of the questions made us thought even harder into our project. One example was, "Do you think Challenge-Based Learning can be applied to other subjects (Geography) to solve a real world problem?" I never thought about Geography in the CBL context before, but his example of a real world problem (Over-population in China, something we learnt last year) is probably something that SST and its students can expand on.
At the "Learning Spaces" workshop, I was mostly directly involved in communicating with my group of educators, as compared to taking photos and typing on the wiki. What I found out from both my sessions was that teachers are very open to ideas when working on a team project. They both felt that flexible learning spaces were better than one that was suited to only one subject, as they can be adapted easily.
All in all, the workshop facilitation was a first for me. I loved the atmosphere and the enthusiasm of the educators,
Here's one I would love to talk about. Facilitated by Dan Pink, we were guided by him to answer questions and give frank opinions as students on the school's systems and curriculum. Stage experience was nothing new for me, but the style was something completely different to what I was used to. I felt that it was better for us to let go and relax while being questioned in front of the audience, as compared to a more formal one. All of us had been 'trained' before, but our answers can only be true if we take it from our heart, be natural and reveal our true feelings. Over the reverse mentoring, I found out a lot more about the girls from Perth, as well as thoughts I had never heard before. (SST students like drama, while SOTA students like biology...) Dan was a great facilitator and I loved the experience. If only it lasted a few hours...