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A Personalised and Inspiring Weekend of Professional Development
By Holly Fraser, Primary School Educational Technology Coach

The Learning 2 Europe Conference in Zurich

Learning 2 is a conference for teachers by teachers, and for the first time in Europe, my favourite international conference was co-hosted by two schools: the conference took place at our neighbouring school ZIS, with organisational support and participation from ISZL. Although the two schools regularly meet on the field/court in sport competition, this was the first time both staff and students worked together in a truly collaborative manner: bringing people together in a fabulous weekend-long learning experience. 

ISZL Director Barry Dequanne and ZIS Director Jeff Paulson discuss Collaboration

This year’s theme was ‘It’s Personal’ and this was evident in all aspects of the conference - from its Ted-Style talks and extended workshops, to the teacher and student-led workshops, job-alike cohort meetings, and ‘unconferences’ - spontaneous (yet organised) meetings on burning topics proposed and run by participants themselves. I was part of a dedicated team of teachers who sat on the organising committee, ran workshops, facilitated social events for participants, and mentored student leaders. As Learning 2 is a responsive and ever-changing conference, this time a new element was added: a student panel discussion, based on the huge success of ISZL’s Youth Forum Switzerland earlier this year. Student representatives from both campuses researched, discussed, and fielded audience questions on the topic, ‘Technology makes schools obsolete: myth or reality?’ with a confidence and skill that led many participants to state that this new element of amplifying student voice was the highlight of the conference.

ISZL and ZIS Student Speakers

The feedback from participants has been overwhelmingly positive. Many of our attending teachers were inspired and empowered to try out new tools and approaches (podcasting; honing visual presentation skills; taking on more leadership opportunities) as a result of the new learning, connections and deeper relationships formed at the conference. It has been a few weeks now since the wrap up of the Learning 2 Europe conference, and the after-effects (inspiration; application; collaboration) of participating teachers and students continue to live on. 

Learning2 Global team, local team and presenters

 

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