Good educators know our world is more interconnected and interdependent than ever. No matter which part of the globe you are from, we are facing related issues and challenges. So, how can we foster global collaboration in areas like professional learning, teacher leadership, teacher professionalism and innovation? One way is to bring international cohorts together to share ideas, innovations, best practices and resources through an international conference.
MRU Continuing Education embarked on such an initiative, co-sponsoring the 2016 International Research Conference on Innovation and Leadership in Education in partnership with Kappa Delta Pi, an international educational honor society based in Indianapolis. From July 5-7th, the Ross Glenn Hall was a meta-classroom with speakers and attendees from countries including Colombia, Australia, Mexico, Nigeria, South Africa, Russia, China, United States and Canada. There were conversations, presentations and more that prove that leaders in education are lifelong learners themselves.
In the words of several of the presenters and attendees, here the Top 3 benefits that MRU has provided to create and support global leaders in Education:
- Innovative Ideas
Keynote speaker Gloria Ladson-Billings, Kellner Family Distinguished Chair of Urban Education, thinks the networking of ideas and colleagues is imperative, “Many of us are caught up with our day-to-day responsibilities, committee work and answering student concerns… and this is a venue where we get to think about our work and talk about our work without the politics of the institution or the department structure.”
- Empowering Teacher Leadership through Technology
Ludmila Smirnova, Mount Saint Mary College, NY, explains why she is a strong advocate for technological advancement in the classroom, “Pedagogy is still lagging behind because of state regulations, testing and it forces teachers to teach to test. It’s mostly direct instruction. Technology opens doors. Technology is ahead of pedagogy. It allows students to create, interact, collaborate and produce… and teachers are not prepared for that.”
- Open Mindedness
Dr. Clelia Pineda, Associate Professor, School of Education at Universidad de La Sabana, Chía-Bogotá, Colombia tells us, “Open-mindedness. That’s the key. If you are open enough to learn enough from others. To see diversity as a positive aspect not as a negative aspect. To learn, to gain different perspectives, I think that’s the foundation for good leadership.”
Universally these educators and researchers were pleased to come together to learn. Keynote speaker Dr. Pineda says, “We were so used to fragmentation. Now, there’s a strong emphasis on creating these links.”
Though there were countless other takeaways from the international research conference, this event emphasized the significance of global partnerships, and the sharing of innovative educational practices. They came together at MRU.
The Innovation and Leadership in Education International Research Conference demonstrates MRU’s ongoing commitment to teaching, scholarship, and professional development. Follow-up activities include the formation of intercultural teaching and research teams that will collaborate and then share what they learn during forthcoming conferences and professional development courses offered by MRU’s Faculty of Continuing Education and Extension and by Kappa Delta Pi. For more information, please contact one of the conference organizers:
Dr. Charlie Webber, Dean of the Faculty of Continuing Education and Extension, Mount Royal University firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr. Jodi Nickel, Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Education, Mount Royal University email@example.com
Dr. Peggy Moch, Professor, Math Department, Valdosta State University firstname.lastname@example.org
Faye Snodgress, Executive Director, Kappa Delta Pi email@example.com