Next Phase

Over the past 3 weeks I’ve been moderating a Saturday morning twitter chat to provide an online forum for Ontarians to participate in “From Great To Excellent“, the Ontario government’s public consultation into education in the province. The consultation challenges Ontarians to consider 7 Questions and give the government feedback on the about the future of education.

The format of the chat is fairly simply. We consider 2 questions each week. After the question is introduced we discuss it for 25 minutes and then participants submit a response to the question, all via the 140-character magic of the tweet box.

After three weeks it felt like it was time to draw some of these discussion together in some sort of format to share with other interested folks. Below are the questions, as posed, and clicking on those questions will take you to a storify of the entire G2Echat on that topic.

My hope is that presenting them this way might cause other to think more deeply about questions, to find their own way to respond to the public consultation or to join us for our final #G2EChat on Saturday October 19th at 9 am. Twitter chats are fun, fast moving and fairly informal, so no need to be shy :)

#G2EChat One

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In our first chat we discussed Question 1: “What are the skills, knowledge and characteristics students need to succeed after they have completed school, and how do we better support all learners in their development?” and Question 2: “What does student well-being mean to you, and what is the role of the school in supporting it?”. I clearly had some time on my hands because I separately storified the submission statements to Question 1 and Question 2.

#G2EChat Two

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In our second chat we discussed Question 3: “From your perspective, what further opportunities exist to close gaps and increase equity to support all children and students in reaching their full potential?” and Question 4: “How does the education system need to evolve as a result of changes to child care and the implementation of full-day kindergarten?”. The answers to the questions were separately storified.

#G2EChat 3

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In the first half of our third chat we considered Question 5: “What more can we all do to keep students engaged, foster their curiosity and creativity, and help them develop a love of life-long learning?”.

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We then went on to consider Question 6: “How can we use technology more effectively in teaching and learning?”.

What’s Next?

The final #G2EChat is scheduled for October 19th at 9 am and we will discuss Question 7: “In summary, what are the various opportunities for partnership that can enhance the student experience, and how can they benefit parents, educators and our partners too?” and also take some time to reflect on the consultation process and add any new thoughts to the previous questions. After that the discussions and statement will be submitted to the Ministry for consideration.

It’s been a great experience for me, seeing Ontarians willing to freely give up a portion of the Saturday morning to discuss these questions and contribute. The response to the chats has been fantastic and we’ve had over 200 participants in the first 3 chats in spite of some busy weekends.

I think even a cursory glance at the chat transcripts will show that these are very insightful and thoughtful people who care a lot about education in Ontario. I’m proud to be one of them, and no matter what the future holds education in Ontario is in excellent hands.