I’ve spent the past three days at the National Association of Secondary Deputy and Assistant Principals (NASDAP) conference in Hastings – not as a presenter or speaker, but working on a trade stand – quite a different role for me 🙂
With over 400 DPs and APs from around NZ, the conference had a strong emphasis on leadership and leadership development, with a trio of Australian keynotes providing a trans-Tasman perspective (Frank Crowther, Tony Mackay and Julia Atkin) along with several New Zealand presenters.
As someone who regularly attends conferences with an ICT flavour, it was of interest to me to attend one with quite a different emphasis. A noticeable difference was that, despite the fact that there was an open wireless network provided, I didn’t notice anyone with an open laptop in any of the sessions, and only one or two in the foyers or trades area. This provided a healthy dose of reality for me as I’ve come to think that perhaps we are at a point where ICTs are a ‘taken-for-granted’ part of what happens in schools- not just the ICTs of course, but the assumed use of these as a natural part of how teachers communicate and record and share ideas.
Of the presenters it was Steve Maharey, ex Labour MP and now Vice-chancellor of Massey University whose message resonated with me. He said…
“… education is at the cross roads. Choosing one direction will lead to efforts to lift performance within traditional educational models. Choosing the other will see radical changes in education that will shift the way we think about learning and what is needed to meet the challenges of the 21st century.”
Sadly, I feel that we’ve been at these cross-roads for a while, but, like sheep, we often drift down one path or the other simply because the first group heads that way. We end up vacillating between the two – and not really going anywhere.
What must we do to take this challenge seriously?