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Tribune News Network
In today’s changing and fast-paced world, it is imperative to build a generation of creative thinkers to face uncertain situations. But equally as important is creating a culture of kindness among young people, listeners heard during the second edition of an international conference on transforming education.
The three-day Leading Educational Advancement through Progressive Schools (LEAPS) summit, organised by Qatar Foundation’s (QF) Pre-University Education, saw experts come together to discuss the future of schools globally through presentations, discussions, and workshops.
Mitchel Resnick, Lego Papert Professor of Learning Research at the MIT Media Lab, spoke on the first day of the conference, under the topic of “Education Reimagined”.
“A couple of months ago, I got an email from an educator in Ukraine, called Olesia Vlasii. I’d never met Olesia, but she wrote to me on March 7 and introduced herself,” Resnick said. “She told me she’d been using our Scratch programming language for 15 years, since it was first introduced in 2007.”
Resnick explained how Olesia had told her students to create “kind” programmes on Scratch, to bring something good to the world. “This connected with our goals,” he said.
“Scratch is a programming language that lets young people create interactive stories, games and ani-mations, and then share their creations with one another in an online community. By doing that they learn the technical skills of programming and many mathematical concepts.
“But actually, our goal for Scratch was broader than just programming,” he said. “We really wanted young people to use Scratch to express their ideas, to develop their voice, and to be able to collabo-rate with one another. Or, as Olesia said, to create kind projects. So, it wasn’t just about learning skills, but about making a contribution to the world.”
Resnick said that Olesia’s message to him came on March 7 – just ten days after Russia had invaded Ukraine, and that she’d reached out to him to ask for help to create the largest wave of kindness – through Scratch.
“I think part of what Olesia was getting at is that if each of us sends even just a small wave of kindness, it can add on to one another, to – in scientific terms – superpose on one another to create a tsunami of kindness, a culture of kindness.”
Resnick explained that as he continued to talk to Olesia, he felt that they were in agreement – that to deal with all the challenges in the world today, it is important to create a culture of kindness and a culture of creativity.
“If we really want to solve the big world problems in the long term, we need to engage the next generation – today’s young people. We need to develop a culture of creativity where they can express their ideas and come up with creative solutions to unexpected situations. But also to create a culture of kindness, looking to work together and support one another.”
Louka Parry, the CEO + Founder of The Learning Future, also highlighted the importance of creativity in his keynote speech delivered on the final day of summit, on the topic of “Wellbeing”.
Speaking about moving away from the traditional A to F grades – A to F students – Parry suggested six new concepts instead.
Posing his hypothesis to the listeners, who were tuning in from all over the world, he said: “To what level is our school activating agency, increasing belonging, enabling creativity, focusing on and training people on discernment, moving into embodiment. And ultimately creating a flourishing environment.”
The “Power of Play” was another focus of the summit, and the keynote speech was delivered by Dr Stuart Brown, Founder of the National Institute for Play.
Qatar Foundation’s innovative school Academyati is collaborating with some of the world’s most progressive schools to share their proven methods for disrupting traditional education and making schools future-proof at this conference. Some of the progressive schools that participated were Real School Budapest, Hungary; Portfolio School, US; Liger Leadership Academy, Cambodia; and Anji Play, China.
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