A capacity group of over 200 educators and board leads gathered near Toronto recently to learn, share and interact as part of the CODE symposium, Anytime, Anywhere: Innovative Programs for Summer Learning and Learning Outside the School Day.
With a focus on creative approaches to student learning experiences, the symposium kicked off with an inspiring keynote presentation by Dr. Mary Jean Gallagher, former Assistant Deputy Minister and Chief Student Achievement Officer of the Ontario Ministry of Education and an internationally renowned advisor, consultant and speaker.
Dr. Gallagher shared her insights on innovation in student learning and the importance of opportunities for educators to be creative, inventive, flexible and forward looking.
Reflecting later on her talk, Dr. Gallagher noted that “Ontario’s summer learning program has the potential to be one of our innovation incubators. When supported by district leaders with careful recruitment and opportunities for teacher professional collaboration, students accelerate their learning to learn and teachers get to ‘play’ with new teaching approaches, exploring what works and how to build efficacy. This pays dividends for everyone for years to come. Congratulations to so many boards, leaders and teachers who have ‘seized the day’ and used learning outside the day as such a creative and successful learning and teaching laboratory.”
Dr. Gallagher’s symposium presentations:
Breakout Sessions – sharing innovative approaches
Following Dr. Gallagher’s talk, attendees could choose from over 23 breakout presentations by district school boards. These wide-ranging sessions highlighted the symposium’s theme of innovation and boundary-stretching possibilities through summer learning and learning outside the classroom.
Topics covered in the breakout groups included Integration of Robotics, Computational Thinking and Coding in Literacy and Numeracy Guided Centres; Experiential Learning Summer Camps; Camp Migizi – a Journey Celebrating Indigenous Culture, Learning and Language; and Fostering an Open Stance to Teaching and Learning.
Carousels and Wrap-up
To complete the day, symposium attendees were provided with an opportunity to network and chat with colleagues from boards around the province in a ballroom set aside for Carousel Presentations. Across tables adorned with colourful displays, educators and leads discussed innovative programs and initiatives such as Travel for Credit; Engagement is Just a Tweet Away; and Chef Connection: Supporting Learning Outside the School Day.
As one educator participating in the symposium put it, “Excellent day! I was able to meet with other boards and look at their structure and learnings around SLPs. Learned so much and am bringing back lots of suggestions for our board.”