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Can the International School of Paris (ISP) Hack Its Research?  Results from the First Ever ISP Hackathon
ISP Research Centre

Contrary to popular belief, Saturday December 1st was not a day devoted to learning the art of pirating computers, but rather to hacking ideas on the nature of research and what a research center at the International School of Paris (ISP) could accomplish.

Contrary to popular belief, Saturday December 1st was not a day devoted to learning the art of pirating computers, but rather to hacking ideas on the nature of research and what a research center at the International School of Paris (ISP) could accomplish.

While the rest of Paris was under siege from the ‘casseurs’ who were taking advantage of the yellow vest march, 30 members of the intellectually curious ISP community went on lockdown at the Cortambert campus to spend the day discussing research and making plans for the research center. Le Lab de l’Education facilitated a design thinking process which allowed parents, members of the board, senior leadership and teachers to consider the many facets of our learning community and its research needs.

The design thinking workshops were crafted around real data from the ISP community. Work groups reflected on what research could look like from different perspectives - that of a student, a parent or a teacher. The objective was to establish a need and then provide a solution to satisfy it.

The Cortambert campus was electric with excitement. Brainstorming was unbridled: structures and programmes to aid students and teachers in their research were imagined; ingenious new applications for smart technology were envisaged; presentations and sculptures were made. As in every well-orchestrated design thinking process, a plethora of new questions was raised:

 

  • What is the research centre at ISP?
  • Is it open to students too?
  • Can parents participate?
  • What does research mean?
  • Will teachers have time off timetable to carry out research?
  • What is the point of research?
  • Will it be a physical space?
  • How will this research be structured and organised?

It was impossible to answer all of these questions in only one day, but ISP prides itself on its ability to consistently tackle big questions, questions that cannot be answered by performing a simple Google search. So if these questions were left without a response, what were the results of the Hackathon? The importance of research in ISP’s mission and identity was reinforced, and three concrete ideas for demonstrating a research identity were put forth: create tangible tools to help students with their research, focus on self-improvement in order to more productively share learning and develop a research mentorship programme.

The participants’ enthusiasm, brain power and collaboration were testimony to the talent and drive that ISP is lucky to have in its community. ISP has always boasted a culture of continual discovery. Thanks to the hackathon, ISP can now move more rapidly towards a culture of bridge building between research and pedagogy, research and professional development, and research and student agency. The trail this will take is ISP’s to blaze. After all, it is the journey that counts, and the learning that happens along the way, not the final destination.

  • inquiry
  • partners
  • research
  • research center
Building Bridges the WISE Way
Stephine Corso

The 21st of February saw WISE (World Innovation Summit for Education) organise an impressive main event at Le Palais de Tokyo. In partnership with UNESCO, CRI, SciencesPo, OECD and IPSOS, where smaller conferences were held on the 20th,  many educational stakeholders from around the globe were present in Paris to exchange research, ideas and experiences on the future of education.

The 21st of February saw WISE (World Innovation Summit for Education) organise an impressive main event at Le Palais de Tokyo. In partnership with UNESCO, CRI, SciencesPo, OECD and IPSOS, where smaller conferences were held on the 20th,  many educational stakeholders from around the globe were present in Paris to exchange research, ideas and experiences on the future of education.


The WISE event was characterized by true diversity. Although French thought leaders were given the spotlight, educational leaders from just about every continent were invited to speak. Adding to this diversity were seven members of the ISP community, who were present to engage in this impressive think tank of accomplished international academics, school and industry leaders.

Being part of an international event centered around fostering learning societies was inspiring, but more importantly allowed time for ISP participants to discuss the essential role that education has throughout individual lives, in communities and countries, as well as globally.


Recurring themes over the two days included the importance of building bridges to share expertise and self-improvement as a means to more far-reaching educational change.


WISE provoked discussions on the questions below, but the jury is still out on the best educational models and the precise answers to these questions. Read on for summaries of some of the WISE conversations.


What should we be learning?


Curriculum content will always be hotly debated, with some educational institutions incapable of imagining an English curriculum, for example, without Shakespeare or without the Greek classics. Curriculum content needs to depend on cultural and historical context, as well as the expertise of the teaching staff.


How should we be learning?


This is the bigger, more complex question. Student well-being, discovering passions and forging identity were at the forefront of the different panel discussions and workshops.


Enabling students to discover self and passion should drive learning. Finding passion late in life is what the Japanese call Ikigai. It is the idea that living a life devoid of passion makes finally finding it even more rewarding. Every teacher has experienced demotivated learners who don't see the point in school, nor in what they are currently learning. It is impossible  to magically transform lethargy into positive energy and agency, but it needs to be clear that educators have the responsibility of providing learners with experiences that are positive contributions to identity construction. Ikigai may come later in life but education’s role is to ensure that learners can take action when they discover it.


The common agreement amongst WISE delegates was the crucial role that all members of a learning society play in creating systems where individuals can find their Ikigai and develop an inherent sense of worth and resilience. Policy makers, CEOs, social workers, administrators, educators and parents, just as much as children, are all stakeholders in tomorrow’s world and should be vigilant today to ensure that future decision makers are stable, happy individuals.


Who should be teaching?


Each member of a learning society, and every one of the stakeholders mentioned above,  needs to fulfill her role as an educator, and as someone who contributes to knowledge creation. Getting all of these stakeholders together is called ‘weaving’, and certain organisations are already working to weave together disconnected individuals in order to create a network of educational change-makers.


The Weaving Academy, powered by Ashoka, were present at WISE to explain their approaches to aligning visions for change, fostering collaboration and promoting well-being. Most importantly, they presented the idea of being ecosystemic, which means thinking holistically and long-term and diagnosing the system to develop solutions collaboratively.


Another idea that garnered consensus was that of being the example of the change you want to see. Oakleigh Welply put forth the idea that as global citizens, we have a “uniquely individual responsibility to feel better”, while Jasmin Roy reminded listeners that stress is contagious and leads to being a negative role model. To close the day, Zachary Walker declared “if you can’t transform yourself, you can’t transform others”. Examining first oneself, including the unique cultural communities and historical contexts in which one operates, then working towards self-improvement in one’s unique situation is a requisite to membership in an ecosystem for educational change.


For full details of the array of events and activities, check out this link:
https://www.wise-qatar.org/paris-education-futures

Summarizing the buzz of ideas and excitement does not do it justice. You just had to be there. Make sure you are next time!

  • change
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  • education
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